“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein
I regularly ask people to visualize while they are deeply resting their closed eyes. There are many good reasons for visualizing – one important one being that the brain doesn’t differentiate between actually seeing something and imagining that something is being seen.
The brain will configure the eyes just as though it is actually seeing something far into the distance, or up very close … and so as we imagine something as being seen very clearly, the brain takes that all in. For most of us, positive emotions go with the idea of seeing with perfect clarity, since that’s where we want to be.
This type of imagining is part of the reason why some people love to use affirmations … saying to myself, “I’m having a wonderful day,” as it begins, does tend to make me feel happier, and in feeling happier, I’m much more likely to be having a wonderful day as it goes along (this is not really rocket science – more like logic!)
Since vision is dynamic, if we regularly imagine seeing better, then we are very likely to notice those times when we are, and our brain/eyes/body begin to learn from these experiences, and soon we know how to replicate them.
A few years ago, the study done by Alan Richardson on visualization and basketball scoring success became common knowledge.
In case you are not familiar with Richardson’s work, here is a summary of what occurred:
Australian Psychologist Alan Richardson chose three groups of student basketball players at random. None had ever practiced visualization before.
The first group practiced free throws every day for twenty days.
The second made free throws on the first day and the twentieth day, as did the third group. But members of the third group spent 20 minutes every day visualizing free throws. If they “missed,” they “practiced” getting the next shot right.
On the twentieth day Richardson measured the percentage of improvement in each group.
The group that practiced daily improved 24 percent.
The second group, unsurprisingly, improved not at all.
The third group, which had physically practiced no more than the second, did 23 percent better, showing basically the same improvement through visualizing the practice as actually doing the practice.
In his paper on the experiment, published in Research Quarterly, Richardson wrote that the most effective visualization occurs when the visualizer feels and sees what he is doing. In other words, the visualizers in the basketball experiment “felt” the ball in their hands and “heard” it bounce, in addition to “seeing” it go through the hoop.
These results (and there are other, similar studies) display to us pretty clearly that what we feel as we are imagining is quite important. So if we can imagine seeing things very clearly, things that make us feel happy and give us pleasure – besides the fact that imagining seeing clearly is a very pleasurable thing in itself – helps a great deal along the way.
When people I am working with make this a habit, and are looking for positive results on a regular basis, I know that we will be going along much quicker towards our goals than when I’m hearing the opposite type of comments.
As I said above, positive emotions usually go with the idea of being able to see with improved clarity, but surprisingly, that is not true for everyone. Sometimes people want to tell me how the thought of them seeing better is pure hogwash; something that could never happen, and then they tell me why. So some people are actually holding in their imaginations, the visualization of them always being dependent on glasses, and always having eyes that are growing weaker!
And of course, if we believe in the power of visualization combined with emotion, they will very likely prove themselves to be correct. Which would you prefer to be right about?
… And speaking of making the more positive change … my shorter course,“Four Steps to Better Close Vision” is now complete and available to anyone who would like to improve their close vision while working independently.
The lessons are usually sent out at two week intervals, so it takes approximately two months to complete the process. If you are interested, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can answer any questions you might have about the course.