Some nondual folks speak out against visualizing what you want. I get why.
If there is identification with the visualization, it just means reinforcing those identifications. It means (perhaps) reinforcing ideas of the future, that I need whatever I am visualizing, that what’s here is lacking and not good enough, that what I am trying to compensate for (deficient selves, lack) is real, and so on.
For me, it’s not either/or. The two can co-exist, or even support each other.
When I make a list of what I wish for in my life and also visualize it (which happens as soon as I think about it), several things happen. If there are identifications there, I may have fears come up around not having it, or having it. A sense of lack, or of missing something, or a deficient self, may be stirred up.
Whatever is left for me to see or meet or love or question is stirred up.
So I get to see it. Meet it. Rest with it. Find love for it. Question my beliefs around it. I can also see if any of it is findable. Can I find an actual threat? What I am seeking? What I feel I am lacking? The compulsion for it to be different, or to get something specific? (Living Inquiries.)
This can all lead to a deeper sense of freedom. And here, my preferences are held more lightly. Some of them may have initially seemed like a need, or even a matter of life and death. And now they are more a wouldn’t it be nice if.…
It can still be helpful to make lists of what I would like in my life. It helps me clarify my preferences. It helps me mentally try out different options, and see how it resonates with me. It helps me reorient. It guides me to work towards what I would like in my life. It helps me recognize and take opportunities that bring me in that direction I wish for my life, when they come up. In short, it may help me become a better steward of my life.
It also helps me see what’s left for me. What’s left to look at. Welcome. Rest with. Inquire into.
It’s all about how it’s done. I see how these types of lists and visualizations can reinforce wishful thinking, a sense of lack, deficient selves, and more.
I also see how it can be done in a more wise way, and be very supportive.
Also, research – for instance outlined in The How of Happiness – shows that certain forms of this practice can be very helpful.
So I agree with the nondual folks. I also agree with the “ideal life” list making and visualization proponents. And I see the two approaches as mutually supportive, if done with that intention.
– visualize, notice where am drawn, what calls me, what would be fun….
– rest with it, notice fears of having and not having, threats, deficient selves, commands
– inquire into it, find freedom from, see if can find any of it (threats, the things, commands etc.)
Some nondual folks speak out against visualizing what we want.
To me, the two are not mutually exclusive. They can even go hand in hand.
When I visualize what I want, I reorient my mind. I am more clear on what I want in my life.
In a conventional sense, I am more clear on my priorities and what’s most important to me. I am more likely to take action to move in that direction. I am more likely to act on opportunities that takes me in that direction. (That doesn’t mean I am locked into it or unavailable to other possibilities. I can hold the visualizations and lists very lightly. More as a wouldn’t it be nice if.….)
These visualizations and lists also helps me see what’s stopping me from moving in that direction. It helps me see my fears and identities that are not compatible with it. So I can rest with them, meet them with some kindness, inquire into them.
I can inquire into any stressful belief triggered by these visualizations and lists, including what I fear would happen if I get it or don’t get it.
I can see if I can find any of things on the list, the threats that seem to be there, or the compulsions that appears to be there.
In all of these ways, these lists and visualizations can be very helpful.
What do I wish for in my life?
- Live from love, find love for what’s here
- Question my beliefs, examine identifications
- Help suffering parts of me find liberation
- Be of service – to life, others, future generations
- Be useful – to life, others, future generations
- Abundance – of love, generosity, gratitude
- Abundance – of friends
- Abundance – of energy, health, money, resources
- Feeling that what I do, where I live, who I am with, is deeply right
- Feeling deeply that I am on the right path
- Living from love, generosity, gratitude, an open heart
- Beautiful and nurturing home, open to family and friends
- Beautiful, nurturing and lush garden
- Beautiful neighborhood and community
- A community I feel deeply at home in
- A place I feel deeply at home in
- Deeply meaningful work
- Work I would do anyway because it feels right and rewarding
- Nurturing work
- Work that feels like play
- Work that brings in a generous amount of money
- Work that brings in enough money so I don’t need to worry about it
- Abundance or resources and money
- Abundance of resources and money so I can make good use of it, and share with those who need it
- Abundance of resources and money, so I don’t have any worries about it
- Deepening in my own process
- Deepening in clarity, love, healing, maturity
- Being loved and appreciated, by me and those around me