To most people, visualisation seems like some pie-in-the-sky, new age buzzword that they often dismiss without further investigation. For thousands of years, spiritual communities–– from the Yogis in India to the modern-day “Law Of Attraction” advocates––have understood the fundamental truth that we create our reality with our thoughts. Those who dedicate enough time and energy to this powerful technique will see the proof as they turn their thoughts into reality.
Visualisation is not just a technique for spiritual people. It’s used by many top athletes and high achievers to improve and enhance their performance. The essence of visualisation is to create a reality so vivid and real in your mind that you convince yourself that it has already happened. When you combine this with intense feelings of gratitude, love, and compassion, you put your mind and body into a coherent state, raising your vibration to match that of your new reality.
But for people to take this information seriously and implement it into their lives, they need a rational explanation supported by solid science. In this article, I want to share a small slice of the vast array of studies published that support the mind-body connection and how we can influence the world around us with our energy. My goal is to open you up to new possibilities and perspectives, and a way of living that will help you create an incredible life.
- Mind Over Matter?
- A New Paradigm Of Possibility
- Everything Is Energy
- Is Time Just An Illusion?
- How Does Visualisation Actually Work?
- Can We Really Change By Thought Alone?
- Has Visualisation Worked For Me?
- Meeting The Woman Of My Dreams
Mind Over Matter?
It’s at this point that the skeptics throw their hat in the ring and bring up the outdated theory that the mind exists purely as a phenomena of brain activity and cannot possibly influence the physical matter of our bodies and the world around us.
While mainstream science is slowly starting to accept the new paradigm of an inter-connected reality, many researchers are rigid in their beliefs and refute any evidence as pseudoscience or a hoax. Paradoxically, it’s this kind of narrow-mindedness that led us to believe the earth was flat for thousands of years.
The science is now clear. The existence of a mind-body connection is real. There are now hundreds of legitimate, gold-standard, double-blind studies, published in peer-reviewed journals by credible, leading researchers at some of the most prestigious institutions around the world, that demonstrate how our mind can influence our bodies and the world around us.
A New Paradigm Of Possibility
Before we can dig into the mechanics of how visualisation works to bring about positive, intentional change in our lives, we must first define how reality works. So let’s take a walk down memory lane to that physics class at school when you studied the famous ‘Double-Slit Experiment.’ The demonstration by Thomas Young in 1801 was the first of its kind to show the existence of wave-particle duality with electrons, and was later extended to atoms and molecules.
The findings of this experiment cannot be overstated. The act of conscious observation has the power to influence the behaviour of the electron or atom. If we observe the particle as it passes through the double-slit, it behaves as a particle, displaying a distinct two-line pattern on the screen. If we let the particle pass through the double-slit without any kind of conscious observation, it behaves as an interference pattern from the interaction of two waves, on the screen (see image below).
This is an important discovery because it shows that our consciousness or awareness has the power to influence the behaviour of matter, which exists as waves of probability until consciously observed. This understanding is fundamental to the belief that you can create your physical reality with the power of your mind, because matter does not manifest in its physical form unless consciously observed.
Everything Is Energy
One more piece to the puzzle that we need to slot into place is the realisation that we are energetic beings living in an energetic world.
“Wait a second, Tom, I have a physical body and I live in a physical world!”
This is true, but there is a hidden world of many different types and frequencies of energy that interact with our bodies and physical reality.
Consider radio waves for a moment. They are just one type of electromagnetic wave, ranging from about one foot long to several miles long, used to transmit data for satellites, computer networks, and radio. You can’t see the radio waves, but when you tune your radio to your favourite station, as if by magic, you can hear the broadcast. This means that information can be transferred through waves of energy on any number of frequencies.
You’ve probably heard that atoms are 99.99999% empty space, right? It’s energy that binds the particles and electrons together, and it’s the interaction between these fields of energy that make physical objects feel solid. So we’re actually more energy than matter, more frequency than particle.
Even our brains and hearts have their own measurable electromagnetic field that permeates every cell in our body, and extends out in all directions into the space around us. The Heart Math Institute have studied the effects of heart-brain coherence for the past 40 years, and discovered the following:
“Traditionally, the study of communication pathways between the head and heart has been approached from a rather one-sided perspective, with scientists focusing primarily on the heart’s responses to the brain’s commands.
We have learned, however, that communication between the heart and brain actually is a dynamic, ongoing, two-way dialogue, with each organ continuously influencing the other’s function. Research has shown that the heart communicates to the brain in four major ways: neurologically (through the transmission of nerve impulses), biochemically (via hormones and neurotransmitters), biophysically (through pressure waves) and energetically (through electromagnetic field interactions). Communication along all these conduits significantly affects the brain’s activity. Moreover, our research shows that messages the heart sends to the brain also can affect performance.”
Is Time Just An Illusion?
We often take the concept of time for granted. We plan for the future and reminisce about the past. The marching of time seems inevitable, right? Well, not exactly. What we perceive as the past is simply an illusion formed in our brain, and not a very accurate one at that. Physicists now propose that the concept of time is simply an illusion made up of human memories and that everything that has ever been and ever will be, is happening RIGHT NOW.
“We can portray our reality as either a three-dimensional place where stuff happens over time,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist, Max Tegmark, “or as a four-dimensional place where nothing happens [‘block universe’] — and if it really is the second picture, then change really is an illusion, because there’s nothing that’s changing; it’s all just there — past, present, future.”
“So life is like a movie, and space-time is like the DVD,” he added; “there’s nothing about the DVD itself that is changing in any way, even though there’s all this drama unfolding in the movie. We have the illusion, at any given moment, that the past already happened and the future doesn’t yet exist, and that things are changing. But all I’m ever aware of is my brain state right now. The only reason I feel like I have a past is that my brain contains memories.”
This theory has the profound implication that every possible event or scenario currently exists in what
How Does Visualisation Actually Work?
So now that we’ve laid down some of the ground work, it’s finally time to get into how visualisation works. The purpose of sharing the insights above was to help you shift your belief to one of new possibilities, so that you can change your life using the power of your mind and energy. If you’re already convinced, you’re going to be able to hit the ground running.
Have you ever had that feeling you were going to miss your train and worried yourself to death that you were going to be late for work and, lo-and-behold, you are? This is just a small example of how your thoughts and emotions (energy-in-motion) affect your reality. Visualisation incorporates these critical elements to create more of what you want.
To put it simply, visualisation is the process of submerging yourself in a life-like movie of your ideal future while raising your frequency or vibration––through positive emotions like gratitude––to match a future reality that already exists in the field of infinite possibility. We do this by combining the following things:
1 – Shift your awareness to a place of no-time, no-space, no-thing
This step is super important and helps us move outside the conditioning and limitations of our physical body. The goal here is to move your awareness outside of your body to a place of no-time, no-space, and no-thing. You can accomplish this by simply focusing on the space around your body. It might feel a little strange at first, but eventually you will get better and better at holding your attention in the space so you can connect directly to the field.
2 – Create a simple, clear, and specific intention
This could be something really basic like, “I am financially abundant and making $50,000 every month from my business.” Don’t overcomplicate this. You want something simple and specific that defines your vision in a few words.
3 – Create a detailed vision of your future self living your new life
You must be able to run a movie in your mind and feel as if you are actually there. Pay attention to the colours, the sounds, the smells, the sensations on you skin, the people around you and, most importantly, how you feel. The more vivid the reality you create in your mind, the easier it will be to overwrite the memories of your past and step into your new and exciting future.
4 – Always focus on generating strong, elevated emotions
Love and gratitude are the two emotions with the highest frequency and hold the greatest power to change your energy. When you change your energy, you change your reality. When you feel gratitude for everything you are visualising in your future, you are affirming, on an energetic level, that these things have already happened. This is the exact feeling you must cultivate daily. Remember, everything is energy and all matter manifests from an infinite field of possibility.
5 – Trust, faith, and no expectation
This final element is required because without total faith that your life is going to unfold in an amazing, unique way, it’s just not going to happen. When you let go of expectation, we release the vision we have for our future and let our higher selves decide what experience best matches our intention and vision, and will offer us the most growth. Often your visualisations and intentions manifest in a way that is different
Can We Really Change By Thought Alone?
Science shows that we can change our brain and body by thought alone.
When we focus our attention on the imagery in our mind, the brain and body don’t know the difference between our inner experience and our outer experience, and our biology will change accordingly; it will look as if a physical experience has already happened without actually experiencing it in the ‘real’ world. This means that what you put your attention on and mentally rehearse over and over, not only becomes who you are from a biological perspective, it becomes your future.
There was a famous study conducted at Harvard by Alvaro Pascual-Leone that compared the brain activity of people playing a sequence of notes on a piano with a different set of people who visualised playing the notes. The results showed that both groups exhibited growth in the areas of the brain responsible for audio-motor functions involved with playing the piano, regardless of whether they were rehearsing physically or mentally.
So whenever you mentally rehearse an event in your mind, you are paving the neural pathways so that, over time, this becomes your new normal.
Has Visualisation Worked For Me?
One experience I remember vividly was watching a skydiving video on YouTube with my buddy, Chris. Even though my palms started to get sweaty and my heart wanted to punch out of my chest, I remember telling Chris, “I’m going to be a skydiver.” There was no question about it. That was what I was going to do.
Over the coming months, I watched all the skydiving videos and tutorials I could find. I figured out how much my training was going to cost, how long it was going to take, and where the best locations were for optimal conditions.
Fast-forward two years and I’m crouched in the open door of an small aircraft with a parachute strapped to my back, overlooking the Dubai desert from 15,000 feet. I had two instructors holding onto both arms and legs. It was time to go. I shouted the command that synchronised our movements so we all exited the aircraft at the same time: “Check-in? Check-out!”
I fly out the door and almost immediately reach terminal velocity. The vision I held in my mind for two year was actually happening.
For this example, I incorporated some of the steps I shared above whenever I watched skydiving videos, or journaled about how awesome it was going to be to jump out of a plane, and how grateful I was for the experience––even before it had happened.
Meeting The Woman Of My Dreams
Another example that cemented my belief in this technique was when I met my last girlfriend and fell madly in love. At that moment in my life, I finally decided I was ready for a long-term relationship where I could go deep with someone. But it had been 10 years since I had found true, heart-melting love, and I wasn’t sure if it would happen anytime soon.
So I cast my doubts to one side and started journaling about how grateful I was for meeting this incredible woman, and all the things I loved about her, before we had even met. I was visualising my ideal life with her every day and opening my heart to a love I never thought was possible––simply from moving the energy in my body during my practice.
I was training my body to feel as if the experience had already happened. After about 2-3 months of consistent practice, I got a random friend request on Facebook from a beautiful woman. To cut a long story short, we ended up chatting and met in Bangkok. Within days we were living on a tropical island together and quickly fell in love, which was the start of an incredible relationship.
Again, this is absolute proof that it is possible to sculpt your life just using the power of your mind. When you act and feel as if your future has already happened on some level, you are opening the door to invite magical “coincidences” into your life. I don’t believe in coincidence anymore; I see them as direct manifestations of our own thoughts and emotions.
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t––you’re right.”
This quote sums up everything I’ve shared with you in this article. If you don’t believe that visualisation can work for you, then it won’t. You need to believe that it’s going to work so you can stay motivated, day-in and day-out, to sit and practice every day.
Soon you will start to see changes happen in your life that match what you have visualised. This is proof that your visualisation is working, and it will often give you that extra push to spend more time on your daily practice.
When you start to look at the science, it becomes glaringly obvious that our thoughts, emotions, and energy play a massive role in shaping our lives. When we learn to master these parts of ourselves through visualisation, we become the captain of our ship and choose which direction we want to sail, instead of being pushed and pulled by the currents in the sea.