by Ada Palles
There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure – Mark Twain
When I was a kid, I was fascinated by treasure maps. Since I lived in Florida, I just knew that there were long-lost pirate maps of hidden treasure to be found all over the place. In my backyard and at the beach, I would dig holes searching for those maps or in the hopes of chancing upon the actual treasure chest itself. I combed the wild growth by the shores for clues and relics. I once found a large rusted bolt by a lighthouse, and was convinced that it must have come from a pirate ship. It was one of my most treasured possessions for many years.
When I was older, Indiana Jones caught my fancy, and I just had to have Indy's map and hat. These relics are reminders of my dreams, my hopes, my goals, and my adventurer's spirit for exploration and discovery.
Now that I'm all grown up, I know that the best way to find treasure is by making my own map and charting my own way. With it, I will discover my own hidden treasure — dreams, goals, talents, skills and abilities I never knew I had ... my own potential, creativity and capacity for success, and the ability to build something of value.
But there's another way to bring all the things you want into your life ... you can let your brain do it for you.
Train Your Brain
The subconscious mind does not recognize the difference between real and non-real. The images and thoughts you hold in your mind are all equally true to your brain. If you believe you can, it is true. And if you believe you can't, that is also true.
You may have heard the platitude, "You'll see it when you believe it." Since the mind can't differentiate between what's real and what isn't, then seeing is receiving, as the mind will seek to make it so. In other words, the more you ingrain a certain image of what you want, the more the mind works to make it true. If you can see what you want to happen in your "mind's eye," then you're more likely to receive it.
The brain also has a built-in radar device that can help you search out and obtain anything you desire. The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a filtering mechanism in the brain which determines what we pay attention to. Our minds simply can't cope with every detail surrounding us at any given moment. Too much information! Therefore, it uses RAS to let in only the information that it thinks is relevant.
The awesome thing about this mechanism is that we can actually train it to seek out what we're looking for. That's right ... we can actually train our brain to go out and do the work for us ... find what we're looking for, alert us to opportunities, and zero in on our goals and dreams.
How does it work?
You can use RAS to put your brain on a "seek and obtain" mission for your goals. Pictures facilitate this by utilizing visual aids to ingrain exactly what that goal looks like.
Writing down your goals is powerful in and of itself. However, the brain often tends to be more visual. Approximately 80 percent of what we learn and how we experience life comes in visually. The brain often thinks in pictures, it dreams in pictures, it imagines in pictures, and it causes you to react emotionally by generating a picture in your head. The best novels I ever read created such fantastic imagery for me that I often thought I had already seen the movie!
Therefore, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then one picture can have a greater impact on your brain than all the words you can string together to describe your goal. That is why visualization techniques are so highly touted, and used by all high performers. Any picture-goal you consistently think about will turn on your Reticular Activitation System, alerting you to the mechanisms for obtaining your goals, and driving your actions to create that exact picture. But wait, there's more ...
... The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. – W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1950
When you commit yourself by visualizing the things you want in your life, when you constantly see yourself in possession of your goal, when you think about your pictures and visualize yourself living your pictures, your subconscious mind will move heaven and earth to align with the mental images you hold.
Maps encourage boldness. They're like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible. – Mark Jenkins
Your treasure map can take on any shape or form that you'd like ... it can be made on a poster, in a journal, a photo album, along the edges of your bedroom mirror, or even throughout your entire house! It can be a collage of images, or it can be neatly organized by topic into photo sleeves. Whatever form feels right for you, the important thing is pictures ... lots of pictures ... and looking at them often!
Many years ago, I decided it was time for a new puppy. I had an image of the kind of dog I wanted. My first dog had been small and black. This time I wanted a light-colored dog that was energetic and would play ball with me.
I started noticing dogs in magazines and cut out pictures of the kind of dog I wanted. Sure enough, shortly afterwards I took a trip to the Humane Society and they had exactly 4 puppies — 3 black and 1 golden Labrador retriever. I scooped up that golden lab and took her home with me right away! She was the love of my life for many, many years.
Years later, I decided it was time for a new car. Having had problems with the trunk space of my previous car, I decided this time I wanted an SUV. But they were so expensive!
Nevertheless, I cut out a picture of exactly the make and model I wanted, and looked at it every so often to remind me of my goal. Before too long, my car gave up the ghost, and I found myself at a dealership. Because the dealership had just undergone a change in ownership and name, an SUV that was the exact make and model I wanted ended up with the wrong price sticker on it. Having priced SUVs for weeks prior, I knew what they were going for, and that the price on the window was a fantastic deal. The salesman assured me he would honor the price, but if I left the dealership to think it over, they would immediately change the sticker. I bought the SUV right there and then, and my picture goal was once again fulfilled.
So, what are your goals? No matter how big or how small, start searching for the pictures that represent your goals right now and put together your dream Treasure Map immediately!
If you want to lose weight, magazines are full of images that can be used to represent that goal to you. Cut them out and put them on your treasure map. In fact, why not put them on your refrigerator, or anywhere else you will see them every day?
If you want to be fit, simply collect pictures of what that represents to you. Whether you just want to exercise more, or are in training for the Olympics, visualization techniques are used by athletes all over the world.
Whatever your goal, even if you just want to be more active and experience more joy in your life, just make sure the pictures you select are positive, meaningful images for you. Select pictures that clearly convey what you want to experience, and that holds an emotional element for you.
Why does it work?
Because pictures create a visceral, emotional reaction in you, and the more you look at them and imagine yourself as the character in the photos, the more your brain accepts these images of you as real. And when you believe it, you'll see it.
Does it mean that you won't have to do any work yourself? Hardly! While there are wild claims by people who say the goals in their pictures just came to them without any effort on their part at all, that is usually the exception rather than the rule.
Just as my personal examples above illustrated, a puppy didn't just follow me home, nor did someone deliver an SUV to my door. I still had to go to the Humane Society and get myself to the dealership (and actually pay for my new wheels). Not that spontaneous manifestation can't happen, but I wouldn't count on it!
Just because you have pictures of someone exercising doesn't mean you're going to magically become fit. What it does do is put the image that you want for yourself firmly before your eyes and in your mind. Then you're more likely to go take that brisk walk, join that club, or take up Tai-Chi. And when you do, your actions and your picture of yourself comes into alignment, and you will feel that this is indeed you — you have become the change you desire — a person who exercises regularly and is fit.
What this technique does is make sure that I get exactly what I want, and that it somehow magically appears before me when I'm ready to make my move. By having a physical image that I can focus on, remember every time I think of my goal, picture in my mind every time I am reminded of my goal, and fall asleep with it still on my mind, I am more likely to manifest it in my life.
Have fun with it! Play with your treasure map ... draw footprints leading from one image to the next, cut out a photo of your face and glue it to each picture-goal to personalize it further for you, draw supporting images around it ... make it yours!
Most importantly of all, make sure you take the time to look at your picture-goals often.
Whether you're wanting to lose weight, get fit, be happier, get more prosperity into your life, travel more, get a new car or a new house, learn to play the piano, or develop more courage in your life, this form of active facilitated visualization can be the key to achieving all your goals in life. It will also make you the conqueror of your own life!
- Decide what you want.
- Collect pictures that accurately depict exactly what you want and put them on a poster, in your journal, in a photo album, or somewhere you will see them every day.
- Look through your picture images often. Memorize every detail. Visualize yourself as the central character of each picture.
- Think about your picture images every time you are reminded of your goals, when you meditate, and before you go to sleep.
- See what happens!