Will or Imagination?

Posted on Posted in Psychotherapy

So I was posed a question this week… Which do you feel is stronger will or imagination?  

Immediately my mind struggled to pick one and answered that thus are both equally strong and important.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way right?  I thought about this from the perspective of therapy and thought about the amount of effort in equals the amount of result, but that’s really not all there is to it.  What about the times where imagery and positive  thinking create bigger results than digging deep and fighting hard?  In reflection, I see that for myself, meditation, focus, and an objective approach has been far more useful than the grit of struggle.  So where does this automatic response come from, to think that will is stronger than the imagination?

 I believe part of it is the culture in which we are raised.  I was taught that hard work always equals results and that you are lazy if there is no visible effort being poured in, to the point of exhaustion.  So it’s easy for me to understand where believing in the power of creating your experience, from the simple fact of imagining it first, is not an easy concept to give over to.   

Thinking about it draws me back to an exercise I experienced in high school when we had a hypnotist visit our class.  He had us put both arms out to the side and imagine one had a weight tied to it and the other a balloon.  I remember being mesmerized when I could feel my body leaning towards the arm with the imagined weight as it was headed towards touching the floor.  I was amazed… Try it!  It is a very easy experience to recreate and see what happens.  It’s funny… we have these experiences that prove new theories that defy the norm, but we still struggle to jump outside the box.  I even teach my clients imagery and the usefulness of engaging the mind in a way that they release control, but yet, my first intuitive choice to accept this is so ingrained that I continue to fight it.

I think this really is the crux of personal growth.  Overcoming these expectations we learned as we grew up.  Not only from our parents, but from the overall environment and day to day experiences we had.  It is natural that we find the way to fit into our given culture that surrounds us for reasons of safety and survival.  But I think a lot of us begin to realize, at some point, that we may differ in thought and approach than our overall culture.  Then the struggle becomes, how to find yourself within the expectations.  How do we abandon the safety net to forge our own path?

I’ve been testing the waters a bit as I have started my own business venture, but I haven’t given over to is fully yet.  I still find myself needing to fit a mold of “hard work in will eventually lead to results”.  And I believe there is some merit to this, but if I take the time to indulge in imagining my success what will that look like?  Will it look different than the success I am trying to will into existence?  Will it get me to where I want to be?   Or maybe it will lead me to where I need to be.  I’ll keep you posted:)

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