Visualize, Imagine, and Dream – The Important Differences

dictionary-pageThese terms are used interchangeably but they are very different in one very important way: the amount of conscious control we have over the experience

Visualization – is the ability to bring a specific image or goal to our “mind’s eye” for exploration and creativity. An example would be: I need to develop a video script and need to visualize the camera shots including which angles I will use, the anticipated lighting found on location, and other factors important to producing a good video. A second example: I’m having trouble following through on projects. I know the story of the tortoise and the hare is an important allegory for me about persistence. I will visualize the story each day before getting down to work.

Imagination – is broader than visualization because it allows more unguided elements from our unconscious to mingle with what we bring into a imagination session.  For instance: Turning to the videomaking project, I know a lot of what I want to film but there are some aspects that I don’t know how to convey. In an imagination session, I visualize what I know but then I let things “go” and watch what my mind brings up. I let my imagine run free and I observe and learn.

Dreaming – is that state where we are very far from our usual way of being in the world. This is rapid-eye-movement dreaming as we sleep. Dreams can be recalled with practice and dream symbols and stories and can be explored for deeper understanding of what is happening in our unconscious.

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