“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
On a cold winter morning, “Jeremy” sat on a bench wrapping both his knees tightly to stabilize them. I watched and waited until he was done.
“You seem to be in a lot of pain,” I said.
“It’s getting worse these days especially after I play basketball. I was hoping that you could help me with it.”
“If it hurts you so much why do you keep playing basketball?” I asked.
Over the next twenty minutes, Jeremy shared with me how unhappy he was with his marriage and how basketball helped him relax and stay away from home and his wife.
Each exercise is designed to help reduce, repair and reverse damage to the knee. However, in his case, the knee injury and pain were not the direct results of physical actions and could not be fixed through corrective physical exercises.
Jeremy had carefully constructed a mental image of his marriage.
In his mind, his wife was at the center, and he was more of a bystander. In the model Jeremy had constructed in his mind, he was powerless and trapped with no solutions except temporary relief through basketball regardless of how painful it was.
Marriage counseling would have helped his knee recovery much more than any physical exercise.
Jeremy’s situation was not unique. How often do we prolong the agony of an experience because we believe that we are trapped and powerless?
Unlike Michelangelo, Jeremy had seen not an angel but a demon in the marble. Every day he was carving to set the demon free and feared of what might happen when the demon was finally free.
Part of our experiences come from the self-portrait we continuously hold in our heart and mind that tells us what is possible or impossible.
What we believe to be true makes our circumstances real to us and sometimes to others.
One of the most well-documented research into the definition of imagery, the power of belief over the physical body and wellness is in the use of placebo and placebo effect.
Patients who receive a medication look-alike sometimes respond better to it than those who receive the drug itself.
The placebo effect can be scientifically measured and documented. But what exactly do the patients respond to when they receive a placebo? They respond to their own belief, and their body heals itself accordingly. In research, effective medication should create a higher response than possible with the placebo.
Learning guided imagery techniques that engages our senses allows us to regain control over our ability to see an angel instead of a demon within the countless slabs of marble around us and within us.
Imagery techniques offer a potential for incredible new experiences.
You could carefully select your carving techniques to free the angel you see in your mind so that it can fly. You can share the flight of your angel, watch and plan life from a higher point of view beyond the duality of pain and pleasure.
Imagery techniques could help you gain or regain your control over the mental images that continuously run in your mind. Imagery techniques help you learn to use divine imagination instead of exhausting will power.
Using the imagination makes necessary planning to reach success much easier and your steps more enjoyable. With mastery of these techniques comes the realization that you have always been using your imagination to gain experiences.
Now you could learn to use your imagination and its tremendous power as a reliable goal setting and planning tool in all aspects of life including those related to your wellness and fitness.