Visualization – Guided Imagery
I was a visitor at Christmas time in a large church filled to capacity. A young man home visiting his parents had been asked to offer prayer prior the sermon. When he came to the podium he asked the audience to join him in a special form of prayer. He explained that some years before while in a Christian college a teacher in the theology department had taught him a special way of praying. He asked us to follow him in our minds through imagination as he, by imagery, took a walk down a beautiful country path lined with trees, the leaves on the branches hanging low as we walked through them. We journeyed into a pleasant meadow with a stream running through, here we were asked to kneel and present our prayer. As we knelt, in this imaginative endeavor, we were advised that a beautiful little bird might fly to our shoulder singing a melodious song of praise. The young man then proceeded to pray a proper prayer for the occasion.
As he was leading the congregation in this imaginary walk prior his prayer, I wanted to stand up and shout “NO, NO, just get on your knees and ask forgiveness for what you are doing.” It was an extremely strong impulse that came to me, being timid and a visitor I did not do what this impression was suggesting I do. “No one would understand,” I reasoned and probably I was right, but I was concerned about what he was doing even if he was not. He had received direction by his college professor in “guided imagery.” Well so what! He had made a beautiful prayer and presentation so why all the fuss in my mind?
Within the past year I received an e-mail message from an alarmed mother of a college student telling me of her daughter’s recent experience in a nearby Christian college. A guest speaker was featured at the usual Friday evening vespers, who, during his sermon asked the students to get out of their chairs and walk to some location within or just outside the auditorium in which they were meeting. At their selected location they were to put away all outside thoughts and begin to visualize—in their minds placing them selves’ on some distant planet. In this imagery they were to find a bench or place where two could sit.
Continuing, they were to conjure up Jesus Christ, then invite him to sit and join in conversation.
The following story was shared with me by a participant in a Church sponsored seminar. In 2010 a special seminar was conducted at a church Conference’s convention center. In one of the classes, at the later part of the seminar, the subject of handling stress and burnout was presented. The participants were asked to get comfortable, put feet flat on the floor, close their eyes, and relax. Music began to play that was without melody, and played continuously in the back ground. A man’s monotone voice, friendly and welcoming, was heard coming through the music asking that each one go deep down inside themselves to find any negative energy. Again to go deep, deeper down, pushing out through the arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers and toes the bad energy.
Once the bad energies were pushed out then in imagination they were to conjured up in their mind a forest scene with a path lined with golden stones. The invitation came to wander down this path observing the birds and listening to the noise of the nearby stream. When coming to a small clearing the invitation came from the voice to choose a “spirit guide” to assist in the rest of the journey. This guide could be anything of our choosing, bird, dog, an angel, whatever. Next on the path a fountain of water was observed and the voice suggested taking a cup and to drink in positive energy from the water. Then the voice said “let us take time now and thank the spirit of the earth.” To close, the voice suggested that positive energies could be sent out from each one to others who might need it.
The participant, who shared this story with me, said that when it was all over (22 minutes) he expressed his concerns to the instructor and the class about the practice, and mentioned that the only time he could remember a creature guiding in a decision, led to the fall of our first parents. Then came the accusations from some of the class— “narrow minded.”
Recently I was reading a book, written by a Christian psychiatrist, who had gained my attention and admiration in a very convincing way. I believed God had impressed this author with wisdom from on high. Suddenly I came up short in my reading as I looked at the next sentence in the book. The doctor was commenting on the value and benefits of a technique referred to as “guided imagery.” I had a feeling of concern as to how he might be using guided imagery; does he use it in a way that points to power of the Creator God or to a power that is supposed to be immanently within self, the counterfeit of the power of God? What is it with me that trigger these responses to words and phrases naming certain techniques that others may consider proper and even valuable? Allow me to share with you why I have these feelings when encountering the word and the expression— “visualization” and “guided imagery.” You will need to make your own decision concerning the appropriate use of such nomenclature and the techniques in their use after you read the explanation of why I am affected so, as I choose not to make the conclusion for you.
In the past thirty years I spent thousands of hours reading and studying the topic of this book, looking for answers to questions I had, as well as questions of others concerning many popular healing techniques that are herein presented. While reading about many different techniques of alternative style healing, I frequently encountered the word “visualization” and the expression “guided imagery.” It was obvious that I needed a better understanding of the origin, history, use of, and the meaning of these terms. Let me share a little of what I learned.
First, the following is what I understand these expressions to mean as I have seen them used. The two terms “visualization” and “guided imagery” are used synonymously. I have found them to be used that way in many writings. A definition of, visualize, guided imagery follows: by imagination in one’s mind forming a picture, an action, a change of something, etc. As one repeatedly forms and thinks upon the imaginary mind picture, a happening, etc., there is the belief that doing such will actually cause it come about or to form. Is it analogous to being a creator, by the power of your mind?
A definition, from another source, of visualization and guided imagery is given:
Creative visualization is the technique of using one’s imagination to visualize specific behaviors or events occurring in one’s life.1 Advocates suggest creating a detailed schema of what one desires and then visualizing it over and over again with all of the senses (i.e., what do you see: what do you feel? what do you hear? What does it smell like?).2…
What is its origin? Michael Harner, the leading shaman of today claims it is ancient with the shamans. He points out that holistic medicine of today is trying to re-invent many of the old techniques of shamanism. He cites, visualization, altered states of consciousness, aspects of psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy, meditation, positive attitude, mental and emotional expression, etc.,3 as some of these techniques.
We know that Hinduism was formed more than 3500 years ago and that visualization or imagery is a fundamental doctrine. The goal in Hinduism is to bring the latent divinity of man into full godhood, then to leave this world of reincarnation and join the spirit world, nirvana. This is done by raising the latent kundalini (Mother serpent god power) in the chakra at the base of the spine, up through the other six chakras to meet the male serpent god Shiva at the crown chakra (top of head) where they (male and female) meet in sexual embrace, and thus immortality and full godhood are achieved. Meditation, visualization,
and chakra clearing (or cleansing) are necessary to achieve such.4 This information comes from a book that was dictated by a spirit calling itself “The Tibetan Master” or “Djwal Khul,” the same name given by the spirit that channeled through Alice Bailey the information in the books that are the “Bible” for the New Age Movement. The thought comes to me perhaps this channeling spirit is Satan himself?
From the book Milarepa: Tibet’s Great Yogi we have the following comment in regards to entering the state of “Tranquil Rest.”
In realizing the non-existence of the personal Ego, the mind must be kept in quiescence. On being enabled, by various methods, to put the mind in that state as a result of a variety of causes, all thoughts, ideas, and cognition cease, and the mind passeth from consciousness into a state of perfect tranquility, so that days, months, and years may pass without the person himself perceiving it; thus the passing of time hath to be marked for him by others. This state is called Shi-ney (Tranquil Rest) …Thus, by thought –process and visualization, one treadeth the path.5 (emphasis added)
John Ankerberg and John Weldon in their booklet The Facts on Holistic Health and the New Age Medicine present additional insight to the subject of visualization:
…the practice of visualization is ancient and claims to work in a variety of ways. For example, by using the mind to contact an alleged inner divinity or “higher self,” practitioners claim they can manipulate their personal reality to secure desired goals such as optimum health and the acquisition of wealth.”… “visualization is often used as a means to or in conjunction with altered states of consciousness and it is often accompanied by occultic meditation. It has long been associated with pagan religion and practice such as shamanism and shamanistic medicine. It is frequently used to develop psychic abilities and in channeling to contact “inner advisers” or spirit guides.6…
Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon stir the muddy water with their following statement:
Paul Yonggi Cho declares: ‘Through visualization and dreaming you can incubate your future and hatch the results.’7 such teaching has confused sincere Christians into imagining that “faith is a force that makes things happen because they believe.” Thus faith is not placed in God but is a power directed at God, which forces Him to do for us what we have believed He will do. When Jesus said on several occasions, “Your faith has saved (healed) you,” He did not mean that there is some magic power triggered by believing, but that faith had opened the door for Him to heal them. If a person is healed merely because he believes he will be healed, then the power is in his mind and God is merely a placebo to activate his belief. If everything works according to the “laws of success,” then God is irrelevant and grace obsolete.8…
As stated previously, visualization and imagery are fundamental, core concepts of Hinduism, and have spread into many holistic healing techniques, such as crystal healing, biofeedback, and most self healing methods. Elmer Green in his book Beyond Biofeedback, states that visualization seems to be the quickest way to program the body. He feels that the body will follow a “command visualization” and the whole body will respond to this directive given by thought and imagery. He explains:
…Instead, we visualize what we want to have happen globally and body converts the command visualization into the individual neural process for execution. The body seems to know what to do if the person knows what is desired.9…
Green further explains his use of visualization in therapy relating to biofeedback (self hypnosis, see chapter on biofeedback).
In attempting to make a physiologic change through the focus of attention, it is important to realize that it is not accomplished by force or active will. It is done by imaging and visualizing the intended change while in a relaxed state. (Mind in passive or neutral state) We call this passive volition (passive will). Relaxation is important because It is easiest then to have the casual, detached, and yet expectant attitude that is useful in bringing about the desired change. (Underline by author)
“It has been found helpful to try to visualize clearly the part of the body that is to be influenced while using the autogenic phrases (which means “self-regulating phrases”—mantras) that I will give you. In this way a contact appears to be set up with that particular body part.” This seems to be important in starting the chain of psychological events that eventuate in physiological changes.” 10
Elmer Green is telling us it takes a mind in an altered state of consciousness to effectively respond to visualization. Stilling the mind is done by meditation. And then, by using visualization, healing that is said to come from within is “tapped” into.
Visualization has gained great popularity and is presently used as a way to bring about success in many endeavors and enterprises, business, sports, education, psychology, religion, military, and even health
and healing. This world-wide popularity can to a great extent be credited to the efforts and writings of Shakti Gawain. In 1978 she wrote Creative Visualization and by 2002 six million copies had been sold, and the book translated into thirty-five languages. It truly has had a world- wide impact. Other authors had written on visualization prior, but without the popularity and extensive circulation that Shakti’s writings have gained.11
In the following paragraphs a short summary of the information contained in Shakti’s Creative Visualization will be presented. The principles she presents as to the source of power of visualization, methods of utilizing such, and application to life experiences are shared by other authors.
Ophiel wrote the text The Art and Practice of Getting Material Things Through Creative Visualization in 1967; Ronald Shone wrote the book Creative Visualization in 1988, and there have been many others with the same basic concepts. The purpose and goal of visualization is to create what one desires or feels need of. To make use of visualization in our own life, Shakti tells us, it is not necessary to “have Faith” in any power outside of our own selves, we need only utilize the principles that govern the working of the universe.
Creative visualization is Magic in the truest and highest meaning of the word. It involves understanding and aligning yourself with the natural principles that govern the workings of our universe, and learning to use these principles in the most conscious and creative way.12
Let us review the principles that writers, who give support to creative visualization, tell us are the forces that govern the universe. The concept of universal energy, life force, ch’i, etc., is foundational. Every material thing is energy, turned into solid matter. Energy is said to vibrate at various frequencies having different qualities, from lighter to denser. Thought is considered a light form of energy and is easily changed and transformed into something else. Creative visualization is the act of thought being transformed into what we have imagined or image in our minds; it is proclaimed to be a simple act of rearranging the form of energy by the power believed to be within our mind—Self. In reality it is the attempt to mimic the creative power of God.
To effectively perform visualization one has to experience a mind altering status, by bringing the brain wave pattern from beta to alpha rhythm. This is done using the same procedures and acts as is done in meditation. Actually it is a form meditation.13
The mind comes to the attitude of “letting go of attachment” which is really passivity of the mind allowing the opening of channels to the soul and causing creative energy to flow.14
Shakti tells us that only good can be produced from creative visualization; how is it that if there is power to transform energy by the power within man’s mind it can only form that which is good? Behind this concept is the belief that man is inherently good, that there is no sin, and that man will judge himself.
Another point presented in how to be successful in visualization is to have a feeling of being connected to “your inner spiritual source.” What is this inner spiritual source? We are told it comes from the infinite supply of love, wisdom, and energy that roams the universe. In her book, Gawain gives several names by which she feels one may identify his or her source, such as, “God, Goddess, universal intelligence, the Great Spirit, the higher power, or your true essence, the higher self, the wisdom that dwells within, etc. This power is identified by those writing on this subject as coming innately from within SELF. Simply stated, it is the pagan’s god. Shakti expresses it in the following comment.
Almost any form of meditation will eventually take you to an experience of your spiritual source, or your higher self. If you are not sure of what this experience feels like, don’t worry about it. Just continue to practice your relaxation, visualization, and affirmations. Eventually you will start experiencing certain moments during your meditation when there is a sort of “click” in you consciousness and you feel like things are really working; you may even experience a lot of energy flowing through you or a warm, radiant glow in your body. These are signs that you are beginning to channel the energy of your higher self.15
We can agree with comments made in Gawain’s book concerning the positive effect of our thoughts relevant to our health—that of entertaining thoughts that are positive, happy, of gratitude, appreciative, etc., instead of negative, constrictive, accusative, and other similar moods. Our expressions of appreciation and gratitude are to be directed to the Creator God, Jesus Christ the Son of God as the source of our strength and well being, not some power that is lying latent within one’s self which is said to be a part of the universal mind and just waiting to be found and put into service. We also are aware that as we express thoughts of praise and gratitude to others it can in turn be positive in their lives. This truth is counterfeited by the adversary of God in the following way.
The teaching in the Eastern and pagan dogma is that the universal energy throughout the cosmos of which our mind is a part, is interconnected to everything in the universe and also to other people’s minds. By creative visualization one is able not only to influence one’s self toward healing, but by visualization one is able to affect someone else’s health, even if at a far distance by the visualization act. This is said to bring “instant cure” many times even without the other person being aware of your act on their part. This healing by visualization and at a distance, unknown to another, is believed to occur by having universal energy flow through that person doing the visualization and on to the person chosen to receive this energy. Ones higher energy is connected to another’s higher energy.16
Remember in the chapter on Ayurveda we learned that the goal of the Hindu is to move the ﬂow of universal energy through the chakra system so efficiently that the connection with the energy of the universe is so strongly connected as to cause one to be “one with all,” “as above so below,” “one is all and all is one,” and that this status brings a person into “nirvana,” connected with the “spirit world” of bliss. Visualization combined with meditation is taught to be a necessary and an integral part of this ascension to godhood by opening the energy centers, the chakras.
The beginning of this chapter presented the story of a young man asking the church congregation to join him in a visualization experience during his prayer. He had received guidance in this style of prayer from his religion teacher in a Seventh-day Adventist university; he had been guided to create a sanctuary in his imagination. The sanctuary was the meadow through which a small steam flowed and a bird singing its song of praise flew and lit on his shoulder. This sanctuary is promoted (falsely) to be a place of retreat, a place of rest and relaxation, of safety, that one can go to when weary and tired.
Shakti Gawain, as well as other teachers of visualization present the way to meet our “inner guide” after we have created the “sanctuary” in our imagination. The inner guide has many names, such as counselor, spirit guide, imaginary friend, master, etc. To meet this guide, place yourself in meditation and by visualization walk down the path to your personal sanctuary. As you come down the path into the sanctuary your guide will come from the opposite direction to meet you. This guide may be a bird, squirrel, rabbit or any type of animal as well as a human being. You then begin a conversation with this guide and show it around the sanctuary. You ask the guide what advice it has for you, express your appreciation for its presence and assistance. Invite this entity back; thereafter the guide is there for you to call on anytime you have need of counsel, wisdom, knowledge, support, love, or guidance of any type.17
Ronald Shone is Senior Lecturer at Stirling University in the United Kingdom and author of Autohypnosis, Advanced Autohypnosis, First Steps to Freedom, and Creative Visualization, Using Imagery and Imagination For Self-Transformation. While Shakti Gawain has gained vast popularity with her book and lectures over many years, Shone presents a more intellectual expose′ of his understanding and belief in imagery and visualization. Although Shone is in agreement with Gawain on this subject of visualization he does add to her explanations in several areas. These additional points will be presented in the following paragraphs.
A most fundamental precept to visualization is to be in a relaxed state. This, he tells us, is best achieved by the use of autohypnosis; he actually refers to it as a hypnotic state. One needs to arrive at a condition wherein the eyes are closed, breathing is slow and regular, and muscles totally relaxed, words or phrases are verbally being repeated. This state can be accomplished either in a lying position or sitting. To arrive at this situation practice is necessary, and eventually it will happen almost suddenly as one chooses to place their selves in this deeply relaxation or hypnotic state. To illustrate to the reader the depth of “relaxation” of which Shone is writing. I will take a quote from page 139 of his book Creative Visualization, Using Imagery and Imagination For Self-Transformation.
One final observation: before you awaken, you should picture yourself totally free from pain and doing all the things you want to do. (Emphasis added)
Shone teaches that this act of visualization is carried out in the brain; it is a “right brain” function. What does he mean by the expression “right brain”? He teaches that the left side of the brain has to do with logic, reason, mathematics, reading, writing, language, and analysis while the other, right, side functions for such acts as recognition, rhythm, visual imagery, creativity, synthesis, dreams, symbols, and emotions. Why is it important to form an image in one’s mind? Shone tells it this way:
Why are visual images in the mind so important? The most important things about visual images is that they can influence the body… A strongly formed image will lead to an emotional response or some other bodily response. It does not matter whether the image is about reality or something totally imaginary. Both will create changes in the body that are consistent with the image…
But it is not only the body that is influenced by images. Behavior, too, is influenced by them. Again the result is similar. A strong image leads to behavior consistent with the image being formed in the mind’s eye. It does not matter whether the image is one of reality or unreality. What matters is whether the image is strong and whether you have belief in the image.18
He makes reference to the power of the will. He refers to such as a force which belongs to the inner self, and which gives direction and purpose to our actions. There is no outward manifestation of this entity; it simply directs, or makes the choice of our actions. It is a force which in our use will command, stimulate, regulate, and direct all activities.
Elmer and Alyce Green in their book Beyond Biofeedback frequently refer to the use of visualization with biofeedback therapy. In the preface of their book they comment that the principles of psycho-physiologic self regulation has been known for 2500 years but primarily used by shaman (witch doctors). They have attempted to translate the writings of a shaman into modern language as follows:
…(1) we can more easily understand how involuntary process of body and mind, the major part of the “internal cosmos,” are continuously influenced and controlled by VISUALIZATION, and (2) we begin to understand that the “external cosmos,” outside our skins, also responds to visualization—though only shamans and occultist seem to have known much about the latter…. From our view point, the development of full human potential starts most easily with mastery of body energies (through internal control of images, emotions, and volition (the will), and the process can be extended to energies which influence the outside world. It is striking that in yogic theory ten pranas (ten kinds of energy), which can be self regulated, control the World inside the skin — and the corresponding pranas affect the outside world. “As below — so above!”…19
I wish to add a comment made by E.G. White concerning the power of the will.
Through the right exercise of the will an entire change may be made in the life. By yielding up the will to Christ, we ally ourselves with divine power. We receive strength from above to hold us steadfast. A pure and noble life, a life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible to everyone who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering will of God.20
That which is critical to the use of the will is to whom do we yield it? Christ or Belial? As I understand the use of visualization as outlined in the books I have read I believe that to participate in imagery and visualization as taught, I would be yielding my will to Satan. Later in this chapter I will write about the proper use of imagery and visualization wherein we give our will to Christ, not to Satan, for his direction and guidance in our lives.
The subject of “Self” is frequently written about in most disciplines in alternative healing techniques. Ronald Shone expands beyond the usual explanations of the beliefs behind the term “Self.” It is important to have an understanding of this term to better comprehend the subject of “inner guides” which are, in truth, fallen angels, workers for Satan—demons.
To help in understanding this teaching let us use the following illustration. Envision a core circle somewhat like a nucleolus of a cell, which Eastern thought and Western occultism refer to as the “true self”; encircling this first small circle in this illustration is another circle, the nucleus, referred to as the “conscious self.” Enclosing both of these small circles would be the cell, a much larger circle containing the entire contents of the cell and is referred to as the “unconscious self.” At one end of this cell visualize a small area separate from the rest of the insides of the cell; this area would represent the “Super conscious self.” We have one more term to list in our pursuit of understanding the terms used in this subject. “Collective unconscious” which is the area outside the cell we have envisioned, representing a large area of influence which acts upon and, in turn, influences the components of the interior of the cell. Think of it as the universal energy concept. Now let us define them:
The Conscious Self: This is the part of our consciousness of which we are directly aware and function within.
The Unconscious Self: A complex term referring to all thought, feelings, sensations, etc., that goes on below our level of consciousness but influences our behavior. The unconscious self is said to be influenced by imagination, dreams, and symbols and everything that enters our mind. It is actually thought of as higher level than just the accumulation of influences, it is believed to contain latent wisdom of the universe.
The True Self: Think of it as a screen to show pictures on. Many different pictures can be shown on it, but it remains the simple plain white screen without change from the pictures. It is also considered to be the “divine within”.
The Super Conscious: Area of highest thought, hopes, goals, aspirations, love, etc. Level of consciousness that connects with the “collective unconsciousness”, in Eastern teachings this is where the person’s consciousness and unconsciousness connects with the Universal mind or Creative Spirit (man joins and is a part of the godhood).
The Collective Unconscious: The above conscious and unconscious divisions constitute the cell in symbolism; a cell belongs to a group of cells or an organism. The organism exists within a sphere of influence is called the collective unconscious, equivalent to the Eastern thought of universal energy, vital force, life force, prana, ch’i, etc.
The author Shone now presents to us the idea that each of the above unconscious entities has an “inner guide” that we can call upon to assist us in life and gain wisdom and advice from. Within Eastern thought and Western occultism concepts, the unconscious levels of the mind have available, latently, the entire wisdom of the universe. To access this wisdom “inner guides,” are contacted, discussion ensues and the information or understanding which we wish to know is obtained.
The technique of contacting an inner guide necessitates a deep state of relaxation, a quieted mind, (hypnotism), or the attempt will not be successful. Notice the following quotation.
In this section I wish to discuss how you can use creative visualization to call on your own inner guides. The technique itself is straightforward, but it does require a little practice. First, get yourself into the deepest relaxed state that you can, ….For this particular use it is important to get as deep as possible because your inner guides reside in those layers of consciousness not so easily accessible while conscious thoughts “cloud” the mind. Only when the mind is quietened can you even begin to approach an inner guide, or earlier attempts will be wasted.21
Shone goes on to explain that we not only have a guide for each of the unconscious selves but a male and a female guide as well. We are said to have the privilege to contact whichever guide we wish to speak to, and be able to talk and ask questions. The guides are to help us reach “our other selves.” We are to invite the guides to return and thank them for their service. In this way they are available whenever we desire their presence and service. It is also important to express to the guides that we desire to be able to contact them in the future. Using visualization in health and healing is a common practice.
The basic principle is that your body and mind are inseparable. The whole person must be treated—mind and body. In holistic medicine prevention is also important. First and foremost one must obtain a deep relaxed state, a hypnotic state, to be able to use visualization in healing. In an infection one will image white blood cells attacking the germs and destroying them. In a broken bone imagine repair cells laying down bone, restoring intact bone, etc. An additional practice for which some may use visualization is the diagnosing and detecting of a disorder in the system. It is done in the following way.
An Inner Body Search: Start with very deep relaxation, then the body must be changed into a very small entity, then enter yourself through the blood stream, through the nose, through the throat, through a sweat gland, etc. Once inside you may make your way around the body inspecting all regions. You find a tumor in the brain, you clear it away with a laser, then you leave via the tear duct.22
There seems to be no level to which visualization cannot function. If you think the above-mentioned beliefs and practices are a bit out of the ordinary then consider the next proclamation that author OPHIEL makes as to our origin.
OPHIEL has written several books which by the titles alone a person can gain an appreciation as to the belief system he supports. Titles:
Art and Practice of Astral Projection; Art and Practice of the Occult; Art and Practice of Clairvoyance; Art and Practice of Caballa Magic; etc. and also The Art and Practice of Getting Material Things Through Creative Visualization. I present his answer as to where we came from:
WE CREATED OURSELVES, FOR OURSELVES, AND BY OURSELVES, BY OUR OWN MENTAL POWERS!
Naturally we did this creating ignorantly but we did it nevertheless. As I said before the time can come that you can take, and will take, your own Personal Divine Powers into your own hands and direct the Right Use of the power. AND THEN ONLY WILL YOU BEGIN TO USE YOUR DIVINE POWERS AS THEY SHOULD BE USED AND AS YOU SHOULD USE THEM— IN THE RIGHT WAY AND FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT!!!23 (emphasis from original text)
And the Buddhist says: “We have created our own bodies.”24 Think back to the incident I spoke of in the opening paragraph, the prayer imagery. After walking down a path covered with foliage, a bird appeared as you kneeled to pray. I read of such a scenario occurring after repetition of the imagery, the bird, squirrel, rabbit or whatever creature appears in this guided imagery appears quickly and may even dialogue with you. It may become your “guide,” appearing even without imagery initiation.
I wish to share with the reader comments and information relevant to guided imagery and visualization presented by Richard Gerber M.D. in the book he authored, Vibrational Medicine. He is considered one of the outstanding scientists and writers in New Age scientific writing. He is an internal medicine specialist, yet governed in his thoughts by his deep belief in the pantheistic Eastern belief system. In his book he states that he and his wife are “clairvoyant,” and that much of the information in the book has come from channeling, I quote:
I would like to point out to the readers of Vibrational Medicine that I believe this book is the result of a cooperation between healers and researchers on the physical plane and beings who exist on the higher spiritual planes. This cooperation has made possible the transmission of a wealth of information that is much needed on the planet at this time. Many of the sections of this book are actually “messages from spirit” that I have accumulated over the years, channeled through various sources.25
In a discussion of the value and use of a type of meditation which Dr. Gerber labels “active meditation” which involves use of visualization combined with imagery, he gives an illustration as to how they can be used to obtain advanced knowledge. A person will imagine himself enrolling in a school of higher education, one that grants advanced degrees. Continue by imagining yourself attending classes in a school of higher learning:
…Often times the advanced meditator, when visualizing him or herself attending classes in a school of higher learning, may actually be working with inner teachers (spirits) and learning on an astral level.26
Gerber adds another illustration of visualization and guided imagery. The individual stills the mind and body by various relaxation techniques then turns their consciousness to their “Higher Selves” (innate inner knowledge) concerning aspects of the past, present, and the future. The person, then listens for meaningful information which may come in the form of words, images, or feelings. An additional illustration gives us added depth in the use of imagery in a spiritistic manner.
This example has to do with dialogue with “Higher Self” (a spirit) while being dedicated to higher learning. This dialogue will be combined with various types of visual imagery exercises which involve cleansing the auric field and the chakras, as well as creating a greater alignment of the physical and subtle bodies. An example of an imagery exercise is as follows. Take a crystal in each hand, hold your hands in front of the third eye center (forehead) and visualize subtle energy in the form of colored and white light entering into the body through the crystals. The energy taken into the body causes a rising of the vibrational rate of the body and raises the consciousness to a higher frequency level. The person can see one’s self shrinking and entering into the crystal. You can then decide to enter a hall of knowledge within the structure of the crystal:
This hall of knowledge can be set up like a library. Only this unique library allows one access to information about oneself in present and past lives, as well as allowing one to obtain general information about any number of historical subjects. The visual metaphor of the library allows one to use imagination to tap into higher levels of cognitive processing. The technique of visual ization itself, when used in conjunction with the meditational process, allows human beings to not only reprogram their own biocomputers (as in biofeedback and autonomic control) but also to access levels of inner potential not ordinarily available to waking consciousness. Visualization and imagery holds the key to unlocking the hidden reserves of human thoughtpower.27
…Behind imagination lie the doors to higher levels of reality. The ability to use symbolic imagery also holds the key to tapping into vast inner sources of creativity and insight.28
The deception of imagery and visualization has entered the church like a “Trojan Horse” according to Hunt and McMahon, in The Seduction of Christianity. How did it get there? Let’s follow the trail as authors Hunt and McMahon unfold the story.
To understand our present society and our world, it is important to understand the influence that secular psychology has had on its formation. The great expansion of this influence took place following World War II. In 1946 U.S. Congress passed a National Mental Health Act, establishing a federally funded program to expand the study of psychology in universities, including seminaries, throughout the nation. This was new to seminaries. Hunt & McMahon tell us that by 1950 nearly 80% of these seminaries were offering advanced studies in psychology. Paul Vitz, in the 1980’s a professor of psychology at New York University wrote the following:
Psychology as religion exists…in great strength throughout the United States … (It) is deeply anti -Christian…(yet) is extensively supported by schools, universities, and social programs financed by taxes collected from Christians…. But for the first time the destructive logic of this secular religion is beginning to be understood…
29 (Italics by author)
In 1951 Carl Rogers, one of the foremost proponents of secular psychology, spoke of “professional interest in psychotherapy,” as being the most rapidly growing subject in social sciences of that time. Hunt and McMahon comment that by the mid 1980’s psychology had attained the status of a “guru” and “who’s who”: “Scientific standards of behavior” are relieving consciences of obedience to God’s moral laws. In this way, as well as through introduction of sorcery as science, psychology is the major change agent in transforming society.
…Humanistic and transpersonal psychologies have now embraced the entire spectrum of sorcery. For example, the 22nd annual Meeting of the Association for Humanistic Psychology held in Boston August 21-26, 1984 was heavily flavored with Hindu/ Buddhist Occultism.
The official daily schedule included “early morning; Yoga, Tai chi, Meditation.” About half of the “Pre Conference/Post-conference Institutes” involved blatant sorcery, with such subjects as Visualization and Healing…Trance States and Healing…operation of alchemy…guided imagery… Shamanic (witchcraft) Ecstasy and Transformation…Being the Wizard We Are.30
Dr. Beverly Galyean, consultant to the Los Angeles school system, wrote in an article in The Journal of Humanistic Psychology the following:
…Human potential is inexhaustible and is realized through new modes of exploration (i.e., meditation, guided
imagery, dream work, yoga, body movement, sensory awareness, energy transfer (healing), reincarnation therapy, and esoteric studies.)…
Meditation and guided imagery activities are the core of the (confluent/holistic education) curriculum.31 (underline emphasis added)
Is it any wonder that visualization and/or guided imagery have entered the Church? Few religious or science leaders have perceived that this sorcery is not neutral and is in fact anti-Christian. To partake of the use of visualization is to partake of the world view out of which it has its origin, pantheistic concepts, the belief that within ourselves divinity exists which can be articulated to actually create. At the root of modern and humanistic psychology is “SELF,” while the Bible teaches us to die to self.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)
What about visualization, imagination, imagery, which I do in my mind and that I use to plan my future, to do work for today, to invent, to solve problems? Has the author of this book lost his judgment, his common sense by incriminating any imagination or originality? What may seem like an unbalanced attack on visualization and guided imagery, by careful analysis will reveal a distinct difference between Satan’s counterfeit and God’s true gift of imagination and use of imagery. God in creating man gave him a mind that has attributes making it capable of reflecting upon the mind and character of God; he was given the ability to reason, to imagine, and to use imagery to grow in mind and wisdom. These activities are to be guided by God and under His influence.
When we allow the influence of Satan to be our guide, accepting his concept that we have divinity within ourselves, and by using the techniques of visualization and guided imagery, we are led to believe that we are able to use that divinity to achieve certain accomplishments. Remember from previous paragraphs we learned that those activities are part of the Hindu’s trek to reach the Supreme Self—Godhood.
We must ask a question: the author E.G. White, writes a great deal about our imagination, which can be used to gain health or to destroy it, or to learn great truths from the Bible. That is true, so what is the difference between the imagery written about in the previous pages and this imagination and imagery White speaks of? Answer: One method seeks to transform thought into action or change, from a power believed to be within self, while the positive value of the imagination from E.G. White’s point of view is that the power in imagination and imagery does not come from within but from above.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do (it). (John 14: 13, 14)
Let’s take a look at some of those statements on imagination and imagery.
All who profess to be followers of Jesus should feel that a duty rests upon them to preserve their bodies in the best condition of health, that their minds may be clear to comprehend heavenly things. The mind needs to be controlled; for it has a most powerful influence upon the health. The imagination often misleads, and when indulged, brings severe forms of disease upon the afflicted. Many die of diseases which are mostly imaginary32.
Thousands are sick and dying around us who might get well and live if they would; but their imagination holds them. They fear that they will be made worse if they labor to exercise, when this is just the change they need to make them well. Without this, they never can improve. They should exercise the power of the will, rise above their aches and debility, and engage in useful employment, and forget that they have aching backs, sides, lungs, and heads.33
Even imagery is described as being of value.
The minister who makes the word of God his constant companion will continually bring forth truth of new beauty. The Spirit of Christ will come upon him, and God will work through him to help others. The Holy Spirit will fill his mind and heart with hope and courage and Bible imagery, and all this will be communicated to those under his instruction.34
If the Bible were studied as it should be, men would become strong in intellect. The subjects treated upon in the Word of God, the dignified simplicity of its utterance, the noble themes which it presents to the mind, develop faculties in man which cannot otherwise be developed. In the Bible a boundless field is opened for the imagination.
The student will come from a contemplation of its grand themes, from association with its lofty imagery, more pure and elevated in thought and feeling than if he had spent the time in reading any work of mere human origin, to say nothing of those of a trifling character.35 (emphasis added)
The Bible contains imagery throughout the Old Testament and the New. The sacrificial system pointing to the future death of the Son of God as a substitute for sinful man was initiated by God Himself. This ceremony was to help man realize that sin resulted in death of the sinner, but through accepting by faith the merits of the shed blood and death of Christ the Divine Son of God, as man’s substitute, man could regain paradise and eternal life. The entire Tabernacle service was imagery and teaching God’s plan of salvation for man. The parables Jesus told used imagination and imagery to teach saving truths. They were written to stimulate the mind of man to seek for eternal truths stored in the Bible. The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are filled with imagery.
To close this chapter the following quote has been chosen to emphasize that imagery has a place in our thoughts and minds but it is imperative that we have chosen the Holy Spirit to guide our imagination and not the power of Satan.
When the teacher will rely upon God in prayer, the Spirit of Christ will come upon him, and God will work through him by the Holy Spirit upon the minds of others. The Spirit fills the mind and heart with sweet hope and courage and Bible imagery, and all this will be communicated to the youth under his instruction.36
1 Fink, Ronald A., Creative Imagery: Discoveries and Inventions in Visualization, Routledge Publishing, (1990), ISBN 0805807721 reported in Wikipedia/visualization.
2 Roeckelin, Jon E., Imagery in Psychology: A Reference Guide, Greenwood Publishing Group, (2004), ISBN 0313321973 reported in Wikipedia/visualization; Fezler, William, Creative Imagery: How to Visualize in All Five Senses, Published by Simon and Schuster, (1989), ISBN 0671682385..
3 Harner, Michael, The Way Out, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, (1990), p. 136.
4 Prophet, Elizabeth Clare, Djwal Khul Intermediate studies of the Human Aura, The Summit Lighthouse, Inc. Colorado springs, Colorado, (1974) p. 78, 114, 121.
5 Milarepa, Tibet’s Great Yogi: Oxford University Press, (1971), p. 141
6 Ankerberg, John, Weldon, John, The Facts on Holistic Health and the New Medicine, Harvest house Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, (1992), pp. 45, 46.
7 Cho, Paul Yonggi, The Fourth dimension (Logos, 1979) p. 44; Reported in Hunt, Dave, Weldon, John, The Seduction of Christianity Spiritual Discernment in the Last Days, Harvest house Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, (1992), p. 24.
8 Ankerberg, John, Weldon, John, The Facts on Holistic Health and the New Medicine, Harvest house Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, (1992), pp. 24, 25.
9 Green, Elmer & Alyce, Beyond Biofeedback, Knoll Publishing Co., Inc, (1989), p. 168.
10 Green, Ibid., p. 33.
11 Gawain, Shakti, Creative Visualization, Nataraj Publishing a division of New World Library, Novato, California, (2002) p. xi.
12 Ibid., p. 6.
13 Ibid., p. 43.
14 Ibid., p. 37.
15 Ibid., p. 53.
16 Ibid., p. 83
17 Ibid., pp. 94-97.
18. Shone, Ronald, Creative Visualization, Using Imagery and Imagination For Self-Transformation, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, (1988), page 6.
19 Green, op. cit., p. xix.
20 White, E.G., Counsels on Health; Pacific Press Pub. Assn., Nampa, ID,
(1923), p. 440.
21 Shone, op. cit. p. 28.
22 Ibid., pp. 147, 148.
23 OPHIEL, The Art and Practice of Getting Material Things through Creative Visualization,
Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, Maine, (1967) p. 12.
24 Govinda, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, Samuel Weiser, NY, (1969), p. 159.
25 Gerber, Richard, Vibrational Medicine, The #1 Handbook of Subtle—Energy Therapies, Bear and Company, Rochester, VT, (2001), p. 37.
26 Ibid., p. 397.
28 Ibid., pp. 397, 398.
29 Vitz, Paul Clayton, Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-worship, Erdmans, (1997), p. 10: Reported in Hunt and McMahon, op. cit., p. 29
30 Hunt and McMahon, op. cit., p. 30.
31 Galyean, Beverly-Colleene, Guided Imagery in Education, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Fall (1981), Vol. 21, No. 4; Reported in Hunt and McMahon, op. cit., p. 30.
32 White, E.G., Counsels on Health, Pacific Press Publishing Association (now in Nampa Idaho), Mountain View, California, (1951), p. 95.2.
33 White, E.G., Testimonies for the Church Vol. 3, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, (1948), p. 76.
34 White, E.G., Gospel Workers, (1915), p. 253.
35 White, E.G., Vol. 1. Mind, Character, and Personality, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tennessee, (1977), p. 92, 93.
36 White, E.G., Christ’s Object Lessons, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Nampa, ID, (1900), pp. 131,132.
The author is a Seventh Day Adventist. The above is chapter 9 reproduced from his book Exposing Spiritualistic Practices in Healing with his permission.
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