Arachnae's Metaphysics

Review: Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain

Shakti Gawain literally wrote the book on Creative Visualization. She wrote and self-published Creative Visualization in 1979, with an initial run of two thousand copies. Her tiny publishing firm had no distributor, no advertising budget, and one title to sell. And yet, bookstores that carried her book couldn't keep them in stock, as purchasers returned to buy multiple copies to give as gifts.

Today, Creative Visualization has sold more than three million copies in English and an equal number in all the other languages it is now available in, and gone through numerous editions. Word of mouth sells this book, and hope.

What is Creative Visualization?

The subtitle says it all - "Use the power of your imagination to create what you want in your life."

A close relative to affirmations, creative visualization is a method of improving your life by imagining that it is already improved. Beyond just having a positive outlook and a hopeful frame of mind, visualization is a deep mental exercise in a creative and productive kind of 'daydreaming'. In short, you open yourself to positive changes in your life by imagining what your life would be like in your desired goal state.

It sounds simple and it is, but there are pitfalls and sabotage possibilities, which Gawain's book describes and teaches you how to avoid.

Replete with exercises to develop your visualization skills, Creative Visualization is an excellent introduction for someone who wants to try this technique but lacks the understanding of what they truly want, what could be holding them back and even how to visualize.

How Does it Work?

Well, no one knows, really. But it all comes down to mental programming. If you feel that you're trapped in a deadend job, then you are. If you feel like you can't get an A on a test, chances are you won't. When you visualize a better outcome for yourself, you are changing, however subtly, your own relationship with the universe. That change can be manifest as actual change in your circumstances. People who feel they are beautiful can actually appear more beautiful to other people than perhaps they objectively are.

It's well known that expectations can influence outcome. Athletes often try to 'psyche' out their opponents, to cause them to defeat themselves. Kids from whom no one expects very much often fulfill the world's lack of expectations. It's called a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it's a very potent force. Creative visualization simply allows you to take charge of your own expectations and achieve your goals by expecting to.

Creative Visualization

This book is a slim volume, but isn't meant to be read straight through. Exercises in relaxtion, in self-examination are meant to be practiced and explored. Gawain offers plenty of examples, drawn from a variety of different goals. You may want to achieve wealth and fame, or simply improve your study habits or lose weight. In all these cases, Creative Visualization can help you reach your goal.

Sections on clearing blocks, setting goals and journaling your progress are particularly helpful. If you are looking for one volume that concisely explains creative visualization and how to use it, this is that book.

There is a companion volume, the Creative Visualization Workbook, with more pen-and-paper exercises for formulating your goals and reaching them. If you are the sort of person who finds paper exercises helpful - and I freely admit I'm not - you may also want this workbook as well.