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Visualization Exercises for Those Who Are Emotionally and Mentally Stuck
am 15. Juni 2012
"Jesus said to him, '"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.'" -- Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)
Therapists are famous for providing more questions than answers . . . and doing much more listening than talking. Some patients would like more. In The Tools, Phil Stutz, M.D., and Barry Michaels, MSW share some visualization exercises that they regularly use in their practices to help patients break out of stalled thinking and emotions. These visualizations include:
1. Reversal of desire to overcome discomfort at doing what needs to be done (See pain as a cloud. Silently scream, "Bring it on!" Silently scream "I love pain!" while joining with pain. Then say to yourself, "Pain sets me free.")
2. Active love to overcome anger trapping you in the past (Feel surrounded by light filled with love. Let your heart expand into the light and then return to your chest. Send love from your chest to those who make you angry, one at a time. Feel the love enter the other person.)
3. Inner authority to overcome feeling intimidated (You have to identify your "shadow" . . . what you don't want to be but fear that you are. Stand in front of an audience, real or imagined, with your shadow facing you. Feel completely bonded with your shadow while ignoring the audience, feeling fearless. Silently command the audience to listen.)
4. Grateful flow is to get rid of worry, self-hatred, and negative thinking. (Strain to find five things to be grateful for. Let gratefulness leave your heart, going upward. Approach and feel a connection with an overwhelming presence called the "Source.")
5. Jeopardy is used to help you keep applying the first four tools. (See yourself lying on your deathbed. Let that self scream to your present self to make good use of the present by applying a tool.)
As you can see, this approach is a sort of secular self-help for those who don't have a strong connection to God through His Son, Jesus, that already provides confidence that everything will turn out well (God's promise that all things work together for good to those who follow Him), that God loves you with an everlasting love and wants you to forgive your enemies, that the Holy Spirit is always in you so that you can overcome anything, that by praising and obeying God He will provide more of what is good for you, and that the Holy Spirit will always nudge you to do what's best.
Along with many self-empowerment techniques, everything is kept vague so that those of various beliefs and persuasions won't feel too turned off.
Personally, I find the Bible to be much more helpful for dealing with these situations than The Tools is, but many people don't read the Bible and many others don't want to follow it.
As a believer, I did find that the idea of the "shadow" helped me to appreciate some of my sensitivities in certain situations. I was glad to gain that understanding. I think I would have gotten more benefit from the book if one edition of it had been written for Christians.
I tried all of the exercises, but I found that changing the visualizations worked better for me. For instance, I found that just mentally diving into pain while thinking "Pain sets me free" worked just great. I also liked sending love to people who annoy me in a simpler process. The authors approve of your doing such experimentation, and I suspect you'll make changes, too, in what they suggest. Which tool will help you the most depends on what you are stuck in.
Move on to accomplish more and fulfill more of your Godly purpose!