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No. 66 (March 2003)


The Relevance of Imagery
Guest article by Susan Wenger

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Query:   When you get an image that seems to relate to the problem you're working on, how do you know you're not forcing it — how do you know the image actually relates to the problem and you're not just interpreting it the way you want it to come out?

Answer:   This is precisely the point of Image-Streaming. Well, one of the points, at least. You ARE forcing the outcome you want, and this Image-Streaming process helps you see what outcome you want.

This is a way of figuring out your own desires, outpacing the logical part of your brain which finds fault with every solution you come up with. The image HAS to relate to what is in your mind — the image doesn't come from any external source, it is something from your own brain which is at least partially focused on solving your problem.

So if you see a green giraffe when you're wondering how to get a promotion at work, it's NOT irrelevant — you have to figure out the relevance, and there MUST be relevance, otherwise why would you have seen a green giraffe out of nowhere?

This is crucial to the process of Image-Streaming. The more far-fetched and seemingly irrelevant the image, the more connected and relevant the image is to your problem; and this is an indication of how hard you have been trying NOT to see this particular solution. Your internal censor may have been screening out the best solution, and your less-conscious brain may be SCREAMING at you to consider this solution.

Once you recognize this key element, you will become clearer in your thinking, better able to interpret your images, less confused about the best course for you to take.

When we do Image-Streaming as a group exercise, there is an elated, joyous outpouring as people interpret their own images and make plans to act on their new insights.

There is a time for acting on your thoughts, and there is a time for not acting. The Chinese have an interesting concept that is not one-to-one translatable into English, called "wei-wu-wei." It is the deliberate act of non-acting. It is a recognition that sometimes it is best to be aware of a situation but not take any action, at least for a while, at least until something changes.

On the other hand, it is said that the person who does not act on his knowledge is no better off than the person who has no knowledge. When we are beset with a problem we are trying to solve, there is a tremendous emotional release when we finally understand the exact nature of the problem and the best solution to the problem.

There is a visible, palpable joy in the participants who find a solution through Image-Streaming, when we are struck by the crystal-clear understanding that comes from our own minds, and our new-found certainty in our proposed course of action.

If this was a problem that called for non-action, we wouldn't be bothered by it — we could wait it out. The reason we are troubled by the problem we are working on is that we KNOW there is something we should be doing, we KNOW that there is a solution dangling just out of reach, just PAST the tip of our tongue, and when we allow our very adequate brains to give us a solution without the impediment of our nagging judgment, we experience a tremendous sense of relief.

Once we formulate a plan of action based on our new solution, THIS is the time to apply judgment, and 99% of the time, our judgmental mind will recognize the validity of our proposed action, and THIS is the source of our joy — the melding of our best solution with our own clear-thinking acceptance of this solution.

I think this is why so many young children live with joy, with ecstasy, until they learn to internalize the nagging judgment and to apply it to solutions before they are fully understood; but that's the subject for another paper altogether.

Susan Wenger

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