We use the term guided imagery all the time, but who’s really guiding it? Obviously, if you are listening to one of my guided imagery meditation CDs or mp3s you’d assume it’s me, but in reality, I’m only offering suggestions. It’s your mind that is doing the real work and creating the images. And where do these mysterious images come from? What do they mean?
Imagery or visualization is really just a kind of language or messaging system that your inner being uses to communicate. Whether they are visual pictures, or other sensory perceptions like kinesthetic feelings, sounds, smells, tastes or just a sense of knowing, is just a matter of how your personal system works. Some of us are visual, some auditory, some kinesthetic, etc. – one is not better than another, just a part of who you are.
And the actual images don’t really objectively mean anything, they only have meaning to your psyche. They come from our life, our experiences and the mysteries of how we interprete them. I have difficulty with books that tell you that this image means this, that image means that. Really, how could we possibly know?
I once worked with a woman who was preparing to have cancer surgery (a mastectomy) for breast cancer and we were working with imagery to be sure that any cancer cells, anywhere else in her body would move into her breast, so they could be removed by the surgery. She came up with the image of a golden mesh bag, that she swept through her whole body, scooping up any stray cancer cells. What does a golden mesh bag mean? I have no idea! Well, it turns out her beloved grandmother had a purse made of gold mesh and she had loved to play with it as a child. For her, it symbolized the loving, protective energy of her grandmother.
So back to my question, who’s guiding it? Is it your mind, your heart, or some deeper place of wisdom within you? I’d love to hear what you think…