This mental imagery technique helps you gain a perspective of your entire journey through life. The subconscious mind processes information not in terms of words and numbers but in terms of images and pictures. Mental imagery tools are effective communication channels to the body’s autonomic nervous system, the part of the neural network that regulates basic bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. In this way, mental imagery techniques help you to manage your passage through life in a competent manner, while at the same time contributing to your body’s harmonious operation; in other words, they help you align the world inside you with the world outside.
The way the subconscious operates is that in the future a certain event that you’ll face will trigger a memory of the visualization technique discussed below, and will bring it to the forefront of your psyche. At that point, you’ll be able to recall the particular sequence of this mental imagery tool and it will help you to handle the situation that you’re facing in a satisfactory manner.
Your life has a beginning point, an end point, and many connecting points in between. In this mental sequence, you stretch an imaginary through-line that links all these dots along your lifespan, and notice the type of energy and approach that have got you from one point to another: this is your essence.
This mental structure combines spiritual, physical, philosophical, and emotional components to help you gain a clear image of yourself and the quality of energy that flowed through you during your passage through life.
When you see a clear through-line stretching between the different stations of your life, you know that you are living an authentic existence, traveling the path that you were meant to take. If, on the other hand, the path that you observe meanders and stalls in some sections, this could be a sign that significant life decisions on your part might be in order.
You will begin by evoking the earliest recollection you have as a child. Then, you will recall a signature memory that you have from every decade of your life. You will end by visualizing yourself at the end point of your life. You will connect these various dots over your lifetime, and observe this path from above to understand the spirit that drove you on your entire voyage.
- Make yourself comfortable, and concentrate on your breath. Make sure that it is steady, even, and free
- Now recall the earliest memory you have of yourself. The more details you are able to recollect the more effective this exercise will be:
- How old are you?
- Where is this happening?
- Are you at home, or at someone else’s place?
- Who is around you?
- How old are they?
- What time of the year is it?
- What is happening in this event you’re recalling?
- Remember how you feel: are you happy, distraught, or hungry?
- Register this past experience in your mind as fully as you can
- Now recall the clearest occasion you have from your teens and follow the same questions that you used to refresh your childhood memory to see this remembrance in the most vivid detail
- Now recollect the brightest memory you have from your twenties, and answer each of the questions above to help you create a strong and clear picture
- Do the same to bring up a memory from your thirties
- And so on, until you arrive at the present moment – the person you are today
- Pause here for a second to take in the path you have traveled to get to this point: your past and present. You are that, but you’re not JUST that. The remainder of your days is yet ahead of you. Your life does not stop today. You still need to live out your entire future. Your complete identity also includes the yet-unrealized potential
- Now, run your imagination forward and visualize the end point of your life. Don’t hesitate: state exactly how you want to depart life. For example, surrounded with your loved ones, having accomplished such and such, or at this or that location. See what you are most proud of among the things you leave behind. Be as specific as you can. These details differ from person to person and all are valid, provided they are life-affirming
- Now, let your spirit exit your body: hover over your body as in “out of body experience.” Connect all the dots you’ve recalled along your lifespan, and see yourself walking this path you have outlined between past, present, and future
- Who is the person walking?
- What is the energy, the feeling that is driving you from one point to the next?
- This is your essence – the spirit guiding you through life
A related image that fits with this vision is the Arabic notion of “makhtub” – it is written. In this view, everything in existence is predetermined. When we look back on our life, everything falls into place, everything makes sense. The wisdom of living a life forward well also consists in periodically stepping back and registering our entire journey as it unfolds in time and space.
- This technique allows you a larger perspective of your being as it lifts your spirit from the mundane daily existence to envision your entire passage through life
- It deepens your understanding of self, and opens your imagination to include everything that you can be and do
- It enables you to choose the type of journey you want to have through life as it shows you that the freedom and the responsibility to decide on the character of this voyage resides in you
Your life is the canvas you are painting every day.
It is good to step back occasionally to gain view of the entire picture.
About the author:
Guy Joseph Ale is President of Lifespan Seminar and Vice President of Asia Pacific Association of Psychology. He teaches and conducts workshops in the U.S., Europe and Asia. This excerpt is from Guy’s upcoming book, Best Version of Yourself at Every Age: Tapping the Wisdom and Wellness of Your Body. Learn more at LinkedIn profile, follow on Twitter @LifespanSeminar, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org