The human psyche is a vast range of mental processes that are connected through the conscious and subconscious activity of the brain. This includes your thoughts, memories, emotions, dreams, desires, as well as your unique ability to harness creative thought — also known as imagination. Using mental imagery, you can learn to balance these interactions and create positive change in the mind and body.
Guided imagery is a therapeutic relaxation experience with a built-in capacity to evoke symbolic ideas and positive sensations. This activates a vibrational pattern below the surface of the psyche and can be used to restore mental balance.
Four Mental Imbalances
According to Principles of Contemplative Science by Dr. Allan B. Wallace, an expert on Tibetan Buddhism, there are four mental imbalances that humans are prone to.
Conative – A conative imbalance is when our desires and intentions are no longer stemming from positive feelings and ideas, but from psychological distress. This is when we become apathetic and discontent. It is usually derivative of a high focus on materialism and less about actual wellbeing and psychological health.
Attentional – When our quality of attention is compromised, the mind can become withdrawn and disengaged even from its own internal processes. Attentional imbalances result in fragmented, disjointed, forgetful and a distracted mind. This can lead to an inability to follow thorugh on productive behavior, self-esteem problems, and high levels of stress that can be translated into physical discomfort.
Cognitive – Cognitive imbalances are equated with a person who displays an inability to be in touch with reality. In severe cases, this would be in the form of some kind of psychosis. The failure to perceive what is present in sensory fields and in the mind leads to severe cognitive deficits – a result of severe mental distress.
Affective – Affective Imbalances are a result of all three imbalances and can be viewed as pieces of a whole puzzle. A person with an affective imbalance may come off as cold, indifferent and very aloof. They often alternate between opposing feelings along a spectrum. This is when emotional responses can become inappropriate to the circumstances at hand.
Mind Body Connection and the Power of Imagery
Ancient healing practices have always emphasized a definite link between the mind and body. In Western science, however, the body has long been treated as a material object in a physical world.
This approach has proven very beneficial in addressing various diseases. Certain drugs can kill germs and complex procedures can be carried out in order to repair broken bones and damaged organs.
But this approach has failed to address the underlying link between the mind and body. In modern philosophy, however, a growing body of fascinating research has made the last 40 years of medicine a mind-body breakthrough.
It has become clear that the brain's most minute activity is translated into chemicals that carry specific patterns of information to every cell in the body. This information is sent to the body via messenger molecules that originate in the brain.
When a thought activates an impulse in the brain, a molecule such as dopamine or serotonin emerges from nothing except pure consciousness. A combination of these molecules become the physical manifestation of thoughts and intentions.
This connection implies that imbalances such as minor states of depression can be induced by simple thoughts provoked by words. This would also make the opposite true as well. With the right thoughts, a healthy balance can be developed by triggering a positive release of healing chemicals such a serotonin — also responsible for mood and behaviour.
Among many other benefits, regular sessions of guided imagery can also help:
- lower cholesterol
- enhance immune cell activity
- reduce blood pressure
- change glucose levels in the blood
- reduce anxiety and symptoms of depression
- raise natural levels of energy
Science would explain why those who practice regular sessions of meditation and guided imagery often feel higher sensitivities to intuition, music, laughter, empathy, information processing, and level of creative thinking much higher than usual.
It is believed that meditation through guided imagery also promotes a healthy amount of ‘feel good’ hormones such as endorphins — effectively decreasing levels of tension and stress. This thereputic relaxation technique has also been proven to be an effective post-operative therapy when dealing with stress and periods of minor pain .
- The Benefits of Meditation for Energy Enhancement
- Emotional Chemistry of Meditation
- Physical Benefits of Meditation