Woman sitting on side of road visualizing healing


Creative visualization is one of the most important tools we have for creating and maintaining good health.

One of the basic principles of holistic health is that we cannot separate our physical health from our emotional, mental, and spiritual states of being. All levels are interconnected and a state of “dis-ease” in the body is always a reflection of conflict; tension, anxiety, or disharmony on other levels of being as well. So when we have a physical disorder, it is inevitably a message for us to look deeply into our emotional and intuitive feelings, our thoughts and attitudes, to see what we can do to restore natural harmony and balance to our beings. We must tune in and “listen” to the inner process.

There is constant communication between mind and body. The body perceives the physical universe, and sends messages to the mind about it; the mind interprets the perceptions according to its own individual past experience and its belief system, and signals the body to react in a way which it feels is appropriate. If the mind’s belief system (on a conscious or unconscious level) says that it is appropriate or inevitable to get sick in a certain situation, it will signal the body accordingly, and the body will obligingly manifest symptoms of illness; it will in fact become ill. So the whole process is closely tied in with our deepest concepts and ideas about ourselves, life, and the nature of disease and health.

Creative visualization refers to the way in which we communicate from our minds to our bodies. It is the process of forming images and thoughts in our minds, consciously or unconsciously, and then transmitting them to our bodies as signals or commands.

Conscious creative visualization is the process of creating positive thoughts and images to communicate with our bodies, in place of negative, constrictive, literally “sickening” ones.

Healing Ourselves

People get sick because they believe on an inner level that illness is an appropriate or inevitable response to some situation or circumstance, because it in some way seems to solve a problem for them, or gets them something that they need, or because it is a desperate solution to some unresolved and unbearable inner conflict.

Some examples of this are: the person who becomes ill because he has been “exposed” to a communicable disease (and thus believes it is inevitable or highly likely); the person who dies of the same disease a parent or other member of her family had (because she has unconsciously programmed herself to follow the same pattern); the person who gets sick or has an accident in order to get out of work (either there’s something he can’t confront at work, or he won’t allow himself the necessary relaxation and quiet time unless he is sick); the person who gets sick in order to get love and attention (this was how she was able to get her parents’ love as a child); the person who represses his feelings all his life and eventually dies of cancer (he cannot resolve the conflict between the pressure of his stored-up emotions and the belief that it’s not okay for him to express those emotions . . . so he eventually kills himself as a solution).

I do not mean to imply by these examples that I believe all illness is a simple problem with a pat explanation. As with all our problems, there are often many complex factors. I do intend to illustrate the fact that illness is a result of emotional, mental, and spiritual factors as well as physical ones, and that illness may be an attempt to find a solution to a problem we are having inside our

selves or in our lives. If we are willing to recognize and look deeply into our feelings and beliefs, we can often find healing on all levels.

The natural outgrowth of this point of view is a more constructive attitude about illness. Rather than thinking of illness as an inevitable disaster or unavoidable misfortune, we think of it as a powerful and useful message. If we are suffering physically in some way, it is a message that there is something to be looked at within our consciousness, something to be recognized, acknowledged, and healed.

Often the message of illness is to be quieter and spend some time just being in contact with our inner selves. Illness often forces us to relax, let go of all our busyness and “efforting,” and drop into a deep, quiet level of consciousness where we can receive the nourishing energy that we need.

The fundamental healing always comes from within, even though we may also require external treatment. When we allow ourselves quietness and inner contact regularly, we may no longer need to get sick in order for our inner selves to get our attention.

Illness and “accidents” are often messages that our concepts need changing or some inner problem needs to be resolved. Get as quiet as you can, listen for your inner voice, and ask what the message is, or what it is that you need to understand in this situation. You may be able to accomplish this alone, or in some cases you may need a counselor, therapist, friend, or healer to assist and support you.

It’s important to understand that you are not “guilty” or “to blame” for any illness or physical problem you may have. Your sickness is not an indication that you are an unconscious person. Instead, think of it as an important part of your evolutionary journey, a gift that can help you learn and grow.

Creative visualization can be an effective tool for healing because it goes straight to one source of the problem – your own mental concepts and images. Begin to picture yourself and affirm to yourself that you are in good health; see your problem as completely healed and cured. There are many different approaches that can be taken on many different levels; you need to find the particular type of affirmations and images that work best for you. I’ve given some suggestions in Part Three of Creative Visualization, and you can find others in the Recommended Resources section.

Of course, “preventative medicine” is always the best…. If you have no health problems, so much the better; simply affirm and visualize that you will always remain healthy and vital; that way you may never have to worry about healing yourself. If you already have health problems, it will be comforting to know that many “miraculous” cures are being accomplished every day, even for very serious illnesses, such as cancer, arthritis, and heart disease, through the use of various forms of creative visualization.

Over the years since Creative Visualization was first published, hundreds of people have told me stories of how the ideas and techniques in the book have helped them heal themselves of serious illnesses and injuries. For example, a woman who came to one of my workshops had been in a serious automobile accident, was in a coma for a period of time, and was told by her doctors that she would require years of recuperation before she could hope to function normally, if ever. Using creative visualization along with physical therapy, she fully recovered and returned to work within three months.

A man wrote to me with this story: He had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The shock of this diagnosis caused him to look deeply at his life and recognize where he was feeling stuck and frustrated. He used the techniques from this book (along with his regular medical care) to help him resolve some of his life issues. The tumor eventually disappeared and several years later had not returned.

Many people have told me that after they were diagnosed with terminal cancer, they began using creative visualization techniques. Years later, they are alive and healthy. My own mother dissolved her gallstones without surgery, using visualization. When the doctor looked at the “before” X-rays (with gallstones) and the X-rays taken after she had been using visualization for a period of time (no gallstones), he simply couldn’t believe it.

Of course, these healings could have been due to many factors. However, the number of stories and my own experience leads me to believe that visualization can be an effective tool.

In some cases, creative visualization may be a completely effective therapy in itself. In other cases, it is necessary to use other forms of treatment as well. As long as you have an inner confidence in some form of therapy, then by all means use it! It is likely to work if you desire and believe it will. Do not postpone appropriate medical treatment when it is called for! But whatever type of treatment is used, from conventional medicine or surgery, to more holistic therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, massage, diet, and so on, creative visualization is always a helpful supplement, one that you can use in conjunction with the treatment of your choice. Conscious use of creative visualization can speed and smooth the normal healing process amazingly.

Keep in mind that not all ailments are meant to be “healed” in the sense of getting well or getting over them. Some may serve an important purpose in our lives, or in our soul’s journey, and may stay with us for a long time, or for life. In this case, we may need to use visualization and affirmation to help us accept our limitations, and live the happiest or most rewarding lives possible.

Remember also that every one of us at some time must make the transition from physical life into another realm. Most people at this time make this transition through the vehicle of an illness. If someone has made the decision on a deep (usually unconscious) level that it is time to leave this life, it may be inappropriate or ineffective for them to try to “heal themselves” or for their loved ones to try to heal them. If attempts to heal seem ineffective, there may come a time to focus on visualizing a peaceful, satisfying completion of life and embracing of death.

Healing Others

The same principles that work in healing ourselves also work in healing others.

This is so because of the oneness nature of the universal mind. There is a part of our consciousness that is directly linked with that part in everyone else’s consciousness. Since that part is also our link with divine omnipotence and omniscience, we all have incredible healing power that we can tap into at will.

It is an amazing thing, but simply changing your own concepts about another person and consciously holding and projecting an image of health and well-being can instantly cure someone in many cases, and speed and smooth their healing in many other cases. It is not even necessary for them to know anything about what you are doing; in fact, in some cases it may be better if the person who is ill doesn’t consciously know.

I was brought up with a very scientific and rational background and education, and the ability to heal other people at a distance has been one of the hardest things for me to understand and accept. Yet I have seen it and experienced it too often to doubt it any longer. And there are interesting scientific studied that confirm the healing power of prayer and visualization.*

In my experience, I’ve found that the best way to work on healing is to picture myself as a clear channel for healing energy, and envision the spiritual energy of the universe flowing through me to the person who needs it. I think of my higher self sending energy to the other person’s higher self t support them in whatever they need to do to heal themselves, keeping in mind that it’s okay if the person chooses not to get well. At the same time, I picture the person as he or she truly is … a divine being, a beautiful and perfect expression of God … naturally healthy and happy.

*See Healing Words – The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine, by Larry Dossey, M. Visualization.

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Written by Shakti Gawain

Explore Wellness in 2021