Visualisation- using the power of imagery.
By Jimmy Henderson

Visualisation is a very powerful means of self-exploration. With the skillful use of imagery you can pass beyond the veil of your normal consciousness and become aware of deeper levels of reality, meaning and experience as well as your own hidden symbols, emotions and thoughts. This skill will also assist in your psychic development by creating windows of opportunity for receiving guidance and instruction from higher spiritual beings such as angels and guides.

How does the process actually work?

Research suggests that our subconscious mind cannot always differentiate between an inner (imagined) experience and an identical real-life situation. An example of this is the cold sweats and accelerated breathing and heart-rate we experience during a bad dream.
Second, we all have the power to create a mental picture of any scene or situation within our consciousness. And this has a similar effect on our subconscious mind to what would occur had we experienced this event in real-life. For this reason we can use visualisation to achieve certain desired outcomes in personal growth and spiritual or psychic development.

Developing visualization skills

This skill is acquired through practice, as the different centres in the brain involved in visualisation need to be developed gradually, over a period of time. The first step is to exercise your visual memory and recall. Find a picture of a room containing a number of objects or items of furniture. Focus on the picture for about ten seconds and then put it down, close your eyes and try to recall as many of the objects in the picture as you can. Persist with this exercise for a few days or even weeks until you are able to see the whole picture clearly in your mind, including furniture, objects, curtains and ornaments in full colour and in three dimensions. You can improve your recall even further by using more complex pictures.
The next step requires that you learn to relax and to recall scenes from memory with your eyes closed. These scenes can be from your garden or some other favourite place. Try to recall a simple scene at first, and as you think about it, gradually fill in more detail and colour, adding objects and even sound and scents. At this point your visualised scene may still be flat and two-dimensional and positioned right in front of you. This is fine, as you can add other dimensions later.
Next, you need to learn to mentally ‘create’ an imaginary scene in your own mind. This stage could also take a few days or weeks to master. Relax once again, close your eyes and imagine a beautiful garden or place in your mind. See the trees, bushes and flowers clearly in front of you. Now add movement to the scene by making the branches sway and leaves flutter in the wind. Finally, see yourself walking in this garden or nature scene.
Seeing yourself in this way is called a ‘third-person’ perspective. However, the ideal is to be able to shift your perception to a ‘first-person’ view of the scene. In other words, you no longer see yourself in the distance, but actually look through your ‘eyes’ in the scene and see the grass beneath your feet or your hand touching a bush or tree. Once you have perfected this technique, practice moving your gaze about until you are able to turn to see all around you.

Advanced visualisation

Once you are able to generate and ‘hold’ a complete scene for a minute or two, and move around in it freely using a first-person perspective, you have mastered simple visualisation. You can now apply this skill to inner (self) exploration. This is an exciting phase of the process which involves the use of intention and co-operation with your subconscious mind.

Setting intention

Your first step on this new level is to learn to set an intention. This is when you make a sincere and definite decision, without fear or reserve, as to exactly what you wish to explore or achieve with the visualisation. For example, ‘I wish to explore my subconscious memories’. Following your intention you would create a specific scene in your mind which symbolically embodies what you are trying to achieve. In other words, if you wished to enter your own subconscious mind and explore your past memories (or a past life), you would visualise a door or a doorway leading down to an inner room, representing (symbolically) the deepest recesses of your mind.
Try to use a first-person perspective if at all possible, and see yourself opening the door, (which to you, represents the door to your subconscious), and moving down a passageway into the room. If you are successful, your subconscious will co-operate and slowly begin to open (mental) doors corresponding to your changing scene, resulting in altered states of consciousness and some new and powerful impressions. At this point you will still be actively generating each new image and holding the whole scene together.

Interactive visualisation

Once you have mastered this level of visualisation, you enter an altogether new phase in which you can begin to let go of your rigid control of the scene, allowing it to drift very lightly in your imagination. Your subconscious should take over at this point and you will find that the scene seems to be taking on a life of its own. This enables you to peer around with a little more freedom. What you are looking for, are any forms, images or objects which you, yourself, did not introduce into the scene. You may now be amazed to find that the scene has become more fluid and images, emotions or impressions are spontaneously presenting themselves to you. These spontaneous feelings or images have only two possible sources. Either they are symbolic messages from your own subconscious mind or inner self, or are originating outside of your mind and may be a message from an angel or guide.
Once you begin to see strange impressions or images ‘popping up’ in your scene, note what is happening and slowly withdraw from your visualisation to reflect on their meaning. Later on you may even find that whole scenes begin to unfold spontaneously and everything becomes almost like a continuous dream, although you are still fully awake.
Never just end a visualisation by suddenly stopping and opening your eyes. You have to gain the trust of your subconscious mind and this means being responsible enough not to shut down while it is communicating with you. When you decide to end your visualisation, first see yourself at least partially completing your original intention and task. For example, give thanks, leave the room and close the door, walk back into the garden and return to the place you started. At this point you can open your eyes and return to full awareness.
You now need to recall the objects or images you saw spontaneously appearing in your visualisation in terms of your own past experience and current paradigm of thinking. If you are able to discover that they apply directly to your present situation, you have most likely received guidance from your own subconscious. However, if your interpretation suggests new information, it could very well be from an angel or spiritual guide.

Visualisation and spiritual development

You can now use this technique of spontaneous imagery in your spiritual development. One way to do this is to create true-to-life ongoing dramas or scenarios in your imagination in which you see yourself performing certain tasks which will normally help in your growth and development. For example, you could see yourself as the student of a wise old guru or teacher who answers your questions on God and Spirit. If you apply the technique correctly, you will actually see and hear the teacher giving you inspired answers. Of course, these answers are actually coming from your subconscious or higher self. You could also create a scene in which you visualise angels working on you to release blocks or problems from your past. Your subconscious mind will respond to this and actually bring about the improvements in your consciousness and thinking that you desire.
You can also use visualisation to improve your psychic perception or sight. The reason for this is that your imaging faculty can actually be superimposed on your normal sight. During visualisation you create the ‘psychic screen’ for this to happen. Close your eyes and recreate a picture of the actual room in which you are sitting, including the furniture as well as other people who may be present. Once again, hold the scene lightly and wait for spontaneous changes to take place. For instance, when looking at your visualised images of the people present, you may see figures standing behind them which you did not place there. These are their angels or guides who are using the opportunity to enter your consciousness using the scene you have created. Note any impressions or gestures from these guides, as this will give you important information. As your ability to see guides or angels in this way improves, you can try opening your eyes from time to time and see if you can still detect their images. In this way you will eventually superimpose your visualised ‘seeing’ onto your normal sight.
Always remember to end your visualisation properly, by giving thanks, returning to your starting point and exiting slowly. I hope that these guidelines will assist those of you who are concerned with self- and spiritual development and seeking the greater truths in life.

Author's Bio: 


Jimmy Henderson is a South African based metaphysical teacher and the author of a number of books and articles on self-development. His books Multi-dimensional Thinking (Kima Global, 2007) and Multi-dimensional Perception (2010) are available on He has postgraduate qualifications in both philosophy and psychology.