Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Image Switching

I wrote early on about mind movies and a powerful technique for changing memories of traumatic events. The basis of the technique is altering the movie you play in your mind by changing your perspective of it, much like you change your perspective in a real theater by sitting further back as opposed to close to the front. It is a great technique that was super-helpful to me, and I often recommend it for widow/ers who can't get images of the death of their spouse out of their heads.

There are several other "mind movie" exercises in the Zero Resistance Living course, and tonight I'd like to share another one called "The Image Switch." This one is similar to the Theater of the Mind exercise I wrote about earlier, but it deals more with the creative aspect of building our new life.

A short word of warning: this exercise is very helpful for those of you who are down the road a fair way and are maybe just looking for a technique to help get you un-stuck in your grieving. If you are still within that first year, however, be aware that any kind of planning for the future is often a major grief trigger. Still, I share it for everyone so that when the time is right, you have this powerful tool at your fingertips. I hope you find it helpful:

The Image Switch Exercise

This is an excellent exercise for ridding yourself of unwanted habits and reprogramming your brain to do new, positive behavior automatically.

In this exercise, you actually switch mental images so that the image or situation that "triggered" the unwanted action will trigger new, desired behavior automatically.

The Image Switch Exercise is very powerful and useful. You can use it to change attitudes and feelings as well as habits. Take the time to learn it thoroughly.

  1. Make a still picture of yourself just before you do the thing you want to stop doing. Be in the picture. (For example, if you want to stop biting your fingernails, see your hand-coming up to your mouth.) Make it as detailed as you can.

  2. Close your eyes and on your movie screen create a beautiful vibrant color picture of yourself the way you would be if you didn't have the habit. Be out of this picture.

Look at yourself. What kind of person would you be? Make a very attractive, positive picture of yourself. Make it colorful. It is a picture of a wonderful future you, a person free of that unwanted habit. Someone you really want to be.

Set that picture aside for a moment.
  1. Put your bad habit picture on your screen. Make it further away and smaller until it just disappears on the horizon.

  2. Substitute your tiny, distant, positive picture on the horizon. Make it closer and larger. Notice how attractive that wonderful, future you is — your real, best you.
    Feel yourself drawn to the picture.

  3. Open your eyes.

  4. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 ten times, each time switching the pictures faster and faster. By the tenth time you will be able to switch the negative picture to the positive one in about one second.

Remember to open your eyes after each time you do Steps 3 and 4.

You can use this exercise to create new habits also.

In this case, in Step 1, create a picture of yourself not doing what you want to do.

In Step 2, create a very attractive picture of yourself as the kind of person you would be if you had the habit you want.

Then do Steps 3 and 4 as before.

Do this exercise ten times each day this week using the same pictures. (It will only take a couple of minutes to do — remember, the faster you switch the pictures the more effective it will be).


bkastel1 said...


I don't use this exercise for grief but I was wondering about this exercise for some time now and I still don't understand two point here - what does it mean in step one BE IN THE PICTURE? does this means you are looking at yourself (watching a movie where you act) OR does this mean you are acting in this movie? Thanks for any kind of suggestion.

Vic said...

Hi bkastel1,

Being in the picture means to see the movie as an actor. You don't see yourself; rather, you see through your own eyes. This quote from a Neville Goddard lecture may help:

"Blake makes the statement, “If the spectator could enter into the images in his Imagination, approach them on the fiery chariot of his contemplative thought, if he could make a friend and companion of any one of these images in his Imagination” well, he emphasized “enter into the image,” not to contemplate it as something on the outside. I contemplate now New York City. I am seeing it from San Francisco. If my desire this night is to be in New York City, I say I can’t afford the time, or maybe I can’t afford it because of lack of funds, or maybe my commitments will tie me here − I don’t know, yet my desire is to be in New York City. I must, if I would realize it in spite of the limitations that now surround me (money, lack of time, obligations − call it what you will, I still want to be in New York City) I must enter into the image that is now something on the surface of the mind “out there,” 3,000 miles away. Standing here, I must shut out the belief that I am in San Francisco.
Knowing New York City quite well, I would assume I am standing in a most familiar part of New York City and let it surround me. I must be in it, and then think of San Francisco. I must now see it 3,000 miles to the west of me, as I now see New York City 3,000 miles to the east of me. If I go into that state and dwell in it and make it natural, though I remain in it only for a little while, a minute or so, then I open my eyes − I am shocked to find that I am still here. I came back here. I have done it. I have entered into the state of my desire and I will move across a bridge of incidents, a series of events that will lead me and compel me to take a journey to New York City.

Now, this I have used only as a spatial example. You can take it in a financial sense, take it in the social world; take it in any way whatsoever. That is what came to me a few days before I closed. For if I could find something more simple to tell them than I think I have told them, this would be it: to enter into the state and not simply think of the state. Thinking from it differs from thinking of it. I must learn to think from it. A man who this night came into a million dollars, from that moment that man is made aware that he has a million, when prior to that he had nothing. He is thinking from the consciousness of having a million dollars. He is not thinking of it; he is walking in the consciousness of having a million dollars. He’s not hoping for it, wishing for it; he is actually in it. That is what the vision revealed to me."