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Imagination and Will: Mental imagery, Picturing, Visualising

Updated on August 10, 2012
The writer at seventy-three.
The writer at seventy-three.

Welcome to Imagination and Will.

Mental imagery, picturing, visualising, these are the most powerful things in our life. But having a vivid imagination, by itself, can be very self-defeating. If we are to rise to that ‘limitless comprehension’ which is our birthright, we have to be able to control our mental imagery.

Imagine a heavy, broad wooden plank on the floor.

.Visualize the following:

Before you lies a broad, hardwood 18 inch wide (or 50cm wide) bricklayer’s plank upon the floor. Right, it’s down there in front of you. Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Wide, paint-stained, thick and heavy. It’s solid, reassuring hardwood. Now you're asked to walk along its eight-metre length. Start at one end. Stroll along it, and get off at the other end. Do it in your mind’s eye now...

There probably isn’t one person reading this who (unless they’re handicapped in some way) couldn’t do it. After all, the plank is on the floor. Wouldn’t matter if you tripped.


But what if....? Let's change the scenario

But what if I were to get that same plank, and place it between two buildings thirty feet (10 metres) up- how many of you would walk across it then? Remember, if you fall off it...?

Some would brave it. Most of us would not.


We know the answer: -Our imaginations. Fear would arise instantly; cold sweat; a prickly feeling at the nape of the neck. In our mind’s ‘picture’ comes the spectre of falling, of being badly injured, crippled, even killed!

Yet it is the same solid plank which we would willingly, laughingly walk along whilst it was on the ground.

When our willpower and our imaginations are in direct conflict- imagination always wins!

Imagination and Will: Mental Imagery, Picturing, Visualising.

Servant, not master

With right use of our imaginations we can rise to our fullest potential. But that ‘right use’ is very much dependent upon how disciplined our imagination is. It has to be a servant, not a master. With imagination under our strict control we have access to limitless comprehension. We can become anything we want to become. Without that control, we are doomed to imagination’s fickleness, its temperaments. And it can be a very cruel master.

Get your mind and imagination working for you, not against you.

So do the best thing you can for yourself. Learn about yourself. Learn how to bring your thoughts and imaginings under control. It is a long job. It is and endless job. But the rewards for taking it up are as infinite as you are. For we are not our physical bodies. Neither are we our emotions. Nor our thoughts or imaginings. We are more than our learning, no matter how profound. And once we have our minds and imaginations working for us we will find that even the sky is not the limit.


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  • Dee aka Nonna profile image

    Dee aka Nonna 7 years ago

    This is something I struggle with. I do very good when I write it....i.e. when I have a goal I write it and place it where I can see it often. But I would love to get the mental images and visions solid in my mind. So many other things seem to creep in and take over. Thank you. This is one I not only read but printed so I can come back to it.

  • Tusitala Tom profile image

    Tom Ware 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Thanks to all of you for your comments. Carf26, wish I could answer that one honestly. In writing or telling stories the images shift, but to maintain a fixed image is far more difficult. One way is to close your eyes. Eventually something will come up. It might only be a dot of color, or maybe a pattern of some sort. Just watch it without verbal comment or endeavouring to work out what it is or what it means. It will stay there for quite some time before it either fades or changes.

  • profile image

    carf26 7 years ago

    Absolutely agreed. Imagination has a very strong force.

    I am working on it but is very difficult. How can we keep an image in our mind ?

  • profile image

    John Appleton 7 years ago

    I am very pleased to have run across this little article and am beginning to read your others. But I won't be speed-reading. I will savor them. I feel very supported by your thoughts for my work, Posture Release Imagery, is based on controled imagination.

    Secondarily, I have some fear of heights(I have broken bones twice from falls from heights)but an now learning not only to walk the plank at great height but I'm also working on doing hand springs up there.

    Many thanks.

  • lmmartin profile image

    lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

    Good hub, Tom. It's true our fears of what might happen stop us from attempting much. Thanks for reminding us that what goes on in our minds is not real... Lynda

  • Tusitala Tom profile image

    Tom Ware 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Thank you, Terion. Always good to get feedback, especially enthusiastic feedback like yours.

    Thanks again.

  • Terion profile image

    Terion 7 years ago from Springfield, MO

    Awesome, inspiring, love it, believe it! Great Hub! Thanks