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.