How I visualize the future

I notice I use visualizations of the future in a few different ways.

In daily life, I regularly visualize future scenarios to help me orient and function in the world.

I sometimes intentionally visualize a particular future to find what resonates with me, what feels deeply right for me, and what feels alive and juicy for me. This is a kind of communication with myself.

The third is outside of regular psychology. I visualize a particular future to sense if life is moving in that direction, to get a sense of how much traction it has in life. This one is more about sensing and receptivity.

Yet another is a combination of the two previous. I test out something juicy and alive for me to see if life seems to move in that direction. If there is some traction, I may stay with it for a while as a kind of prayer. As a kind of invitation for life (and me) to move in that direction.

A. THE ONE THAT HAPPENS IN DAILY LIFE

I visualize the future as part of functioning in daily life. It helps me orient, plan, and explore options and possibilities. I see myself making lunch. Writing an email. Going for a walk. Taking a trip. If I am drawn to do it, and I don’t see a good reason to not do it, I do it.

If an imagination about the future has a charge and seems stressful, I recognize it as imagination. It’s not the future. It’s created by my mind. If it has a charge, it means it is fueled by my fears and/or hopes and comes from something unresolved in me. Sometimes, I also do a more thorough inquiry into them to find what’s genuinely more true for me.

B. VISUALIZATIONS TO FIND WHAT RESONATES

Since my teens, I have – off and on – also engaged in intentional visualizations about the future.

For instance, I sometimes sit down to visualize an ideal day one or five years into the future, from waking up to going to sleep. This helps me connect with what’s juicy for me and helps me come alive. It opens options for me in my mind. It’s a way for me to explore what’s in me.

C. RECEPTIVITY AND FINDING WHERE LIFE SEEMS TO MOVE

This one goes outside of regular psychology and is more about receptivity and sensing.

I try out different visualizations of the future and sense where life seems to move. It’s a sensing that’s similar to sensing what’s going on with others at a distance, which I regularly use when I do distance healing. Some options don’t seem to have traction and some do.

This is usually quite accurate, although the future is always in movement so things change – as a little green wise guy once said.

D. VISUALIZATIONS AS A KIND OF PRAYER

There is also one that’s a combination of the two previous.

I find what resonates with me and feels juicy and alive for me. I test it out, and if there is a sense of some traction there, I may stay with it for a while. It’s a kind of prayer. An invitation for life – and me – to move in that direction, if it’s in the cards.

AN EXAMPLE

Here is a simple example of using visualizations to sense where life seems to move.

In my mid-twenties, my right-hand thumbnail split. I wasn’t able to fix it through conventional means or healing, and when I visualized it healing the visualization didn’t seem to have traction. Life didn’t seem to move in that direction.

One day in my thirties, I noticed that the visualization suddenly seemed to stick. It had traction for the first time. So I stayed with it for a while to invite it in and give that possibility more intention. (As a kind of prayer.)

A few days later, I went to the cabin and soon experienced strong pain under that thumbnail. I went to a small emergency room nearby, and the doctor dismissed my concern. I went back to the cabin, and the pain grew stronger. It was strong enough so I had trouble sleeping. One or two days later, the thumbnail fell off. Turns out, an infection under the thumbnail had put pressure on it so it eventually detached. When it grew back, it was in one piece as it was before the injury.

The sense of the visualization having traction turned out to be accurate. Life was moving in that direction, although I couldn’t have foreseen how it would happen.

This is a small example, but I like it since it’s clear and concrete and did not do anything to make it happen. I just sensed and stayed with the visualization, and then life unfolded in a certain way.

Image by me and Midjourney


SECOND DRAFT

We can visualize the future in several different ways.

One is the visualization that happens as part of our daily life and helps us orient and function in the world.

The other is a more intentional and deliberate visualization of the future, and there is a mix here of prescription and receptivity.

THE ONE THAT HAPPENS IN DAILY LIFE

We all visualize the future. It’s part of functioning in daily life. It helps us orient, plan, and explore options and possibilities.

I notice these imaginations – especially the ones that have charge and seem stressful – and then recognize them as imaginations. They are not the future. They are created by my mind. If they have a charge, it means they are fueled by my fears and/or hopes and come from something unresolved in me.

Sometimes, I also do a more thorough inquiry into them to find what’s genuinely more true for me.

PRESCRIPTIVE VISUALIZATIONS

Since my teens, I have – off and on – also engaged in intentional visualizations about the future. These can be prescriptive or receptive, and there is usually a spectrum there.

At times, I visualize an ideal day one or five years into the future, from waking up to going to sleep. This helps me connect with what’s juicy for me and helps me come alive. It opens up some options for me in my mind.

Other times, I engage in more informal prescriptive visualizations. I visualize something I would like to see in my life, I see if I can connect with it as if it’s already real and happening.

When I do that, there is also receptivity there and a kind of dialog.

RECEPTIVITY, CONNECTING WITH THE FUTURE & TESTING OUT

I imagine and mentally try out different options for the future.

I notice which ones “stick” and which ones don’t.

I leave the ones that don’t stick. (They tend to feel flat, have only (the wishes of) my personality in it, and don’t seem to go anywhere.)

I spend more time with the ones that stick. (They seem to meet me and I get a sense of them already happening.)

I rest in and as them and the aliveness in them and explore the nuances of them.

This feels more like communicating with the future. I get a sense of where things are moving and what’s possible and then explore that further. If I sense several options, I tend to rest more with the one(s) that seem more wise and kind and more appealing to me. It feels like a gentle inviting it in.

It’s not so much about imposing my will on life. It’s more about a dialog between what’s coming up in me as options and where life is already moving, and then resting more with the ones that seem more appealing. It’s a dialog between me and life. (A dialog between life as me with his preferences and life where it’s moving.)

I tend to explore a wide range of options largely independent of my personality’s preferences. Often, it’s about waiting and noticing what comes up.

AN EXAMPLE

When I do it this way, what I sense often turns out to be accurate.

One small but good example happened some years ago.

In my twenties, I damaged the thumbnail on my right hand and it split. I had visualized it healed off and on and the visualization didn’t seem to “stick” and lacked juice and a sense of it happening.

Several years in, I noticed that the visualization suddenly felt grounded and real as if it was already happening, and I stayed with it for a while.

Some days later, I went to the cabin, got a strong pain under my right thumbnail, went to the emergency room, was rebuked by a (not-Norwegian) doctor who said I wasted his time, went back to the cabin, and the pain grew very intense. The thumbnail eventually fell off and regrew healed.

The thumbnail healed, just as I sensed it would in my visualization, and in a way I couldn’t have predicted. The pain came from an infection under the nail, which pressed up on the nail and eventually dislodged it. I also know that if I had seen a more reasonable and professional doctor, he or she would likely have given me something for the infection, and the thumbnail may not have fallen off.

WHEN IT’S MORE STORMY

In real life, it’s not always so clear cut. Sometimes, it’s more messy.

It can feel more confused. As I write this (the first draft November 24), my personality is in a bit of turmoil since our dream seems threatened. We have a dream for this land, and a pretty awful hotel project next to us is a snake in paradise. We don’t know how it will unfold and how it will impact us in the future. Because of the fear and reactions in my system, it’s difficult for me to sense into the different options of the future right now. Something in me is too activated.

When that’s the case, I use another approach. I notice and allow whatever is here, and connect with that in me that already allows it, as best I can. I ask the divine for guidance. I take some practical steps, if that’s what the situation calls for. I allow the storm to pass.

INITIAL DRAFT

We can visualize the future in several different ways.

One is the visualization that happens as part of our daily life.

The other is a more intentional and deliberate visualization of the future, and there is a mix here of prescription and receptivity.

THE ONE THAT HAPPENS IN DAILY LIFE

We all visualize the future. It’s part of functioning in daily life. It helps us orient, plan, and explore options and possibilities.

I notice these imaginations – especially the ones that have charge and seem stressful – and then recognize them as imaginations. They are not the future. They are created by my mind. If they have a charge, it means they are fueled by my fears and/or hopes and come from something unresolved in me.

Sometimes, I also do a more thorough inquiry into them to find what’s genuinely more true for me.

THE MORE INTENTIONAL AND DELIBERATE VISUALIZATIONS

Since my teens, I have – off and on – also engaged in intentional visualizations about the future. These can be prescriptive or receptive, and there is usually a spectrum there.

IDEAL DAY – PRESCRIPTIVE

At times, I visualize an ideal day one or five years into the future, from waking up to going to sleep. This helps me connect with what’s juicy for me and helps me come alive. It opens up some options for me in my mind.

CONNECTING WITH THE FUTURE – RECEPTIVE

Most of the time, I do it in a slightly different way.

I ask and connect with the divine for guidance.

I imagine and mentally try out different options for the future.

I notice which ones “stick” and which ones don’t.

I leave the ones that don’t stick. (They tend to feel flat, have only (the wishes of) my personality in it, and don’t seem to go anywhere.)

I spend more time with the ones that stick. (They seem to meet me and I get a sense of them already happening.)

I rest in and as them and the aliveness in them and explore the nuances of them.

This feels more like communicating with the future. I get a sense of where things are moving and what’s possible and then explore that further. If I sense several options, I tend to rest more with the one(s) that seem more wise and kind and more appealing to me. It feels like a gentle inviting it in.

It’s not so much about imposing my will on life. It’s more about a dialog between what’s coming up in me as options and where life is already moving, and then resting more with the ones that seem more appealing. It’s a dialog between me and life.

I tend to explore a wide range of options largely independent of my personality’s preferences. Often, it’s about waiting and noticing what comes up.

TESTING IT OUT

When I do it this way, it seems accurate.

One small but clear example happened some years ago. In my twenties, I damaged the thumbnail on my right hand and it split. I had visualized it healed off and on and the visualization didn’t seem to “stick” and lacked juice and a sense of it happening. Several years in, I noticed that the visualization suddenly felt grounded and real as if it was already happening, and I stayed with it for a while. Some days later, I went to the cabin, got a strong pain under my right thumbnail, went to the emergency room, was rebuked by a (not-Norwegian) doctor who said I wasted his time, went back to the cabin, and the pain grew very intense. The thumbnail eventually fell off and regrew healed. The thumbnail healed, just as I sensed it would in my visualization, and in a way I couldn’t have predicted. The pain came from an infection under the nail, which pressed up on the nail and eventually dislodged it. I also know that if I had seen a more reasonable and professional doctor, he or she would likely have given me something for the infection, and the nail may not have fallen off.

IN REAL LIFE

In real life, it’s not always so clear-cut. Real life is often more messy.

Sometimes, it is as simple as outlined above.

Sometimes, it can feel more confused. Right now, my personality is in a bit of turmoil since our dream seems threatened. We have a dream for this land, and a pretty awful hotel project next to us is a snake in paradise. We don’t know how it will unfold and how it will impact us in the future. Because of the fear and reactions in my system, it’s difficult for me to sense into the different options of the future right now. Something in me is too activated.

In my explorations, I often use visualizations. I may visualize parts of me and dialog with them, or dialog as them. I explore my sense fields, often guided by visualizations. I explore the visualizations themselves. I visualize when I do ho’oponopono and tonglen. I visualize Christ (as light, presence) in the six directions and in my heart when I do the Christ meditation. And so on.

In my (psychological/spiritual) practices, I often use visualizations. They are often part of exploring who and what I am.

B. VISUALIZATIONS AS PART OF PRACTICE

In my explorations, I often use visualizations.

I may visualize parts of me and dialog with them, or dialog as them.

I explore my sense fields, often guided by visualizations.

I explore the visualizations themselves to see what’s there.

I visualize when I do ho’oponopono and tonglen.

I visualize Christ (as light, presence) in the six directions and in my heart when I do the Christ meditation.

And so on.

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