Altering Perception and Experience with Mental Imagery
by Demetra Monocrusso
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What value is there in an error?
What I encounter daily in lessons and sessions is a limiting behavior and habit that is the product of our upbringing and conditioning from the moment we are born. I’m referring to a persistent effort to avoid errors and, since that is impossible, to ignore them.
This is also apparent in the etymology of the verb “to err” from the Old French verb “errer” which means to “go astray”.
This behaviour may have resulted from our experience that an error can result in punishment or from our belief that an error is a sign of weakness, thus tarnishing our image which, in itself, can be a form of punishment.
I hear primary school students stalling their speech to the degree of stuttering, as their inner tyrant tries to exercise absolute control.
Just like a basketball player who shoots one ball after the other, I hear students uttering one answer after the other in the hope that their image will be justified by at least one correct response.
Sometimes I notice students remain silent in the hope of staying under the radar and avoid uttering a response that may be deemed wrong.
During imagery sessions I observe adults word their responses in a way that diverts them away from the heart of the matter and away from the error that has created the challenging situation they are facing.
Since we are all creative beings, we are capable of inventing many ways to ignore our error: by relentlessly pursuing obligations to be met, by becoming workaholics, by substance abuse, excess entertainment, excess consumerism and materialism, excess drinking and eating, excess use of gadgets and internet devices and excessively watching TV.
The main way, however, in which we aim to ignore our error, is by weaving stories that keep us at the surface and away from the heart of the matter. These are the stories we feed ourselves, our loved ones, our doctor, our lawyer and our psychotherapist with.
The most common phenomenon is the belief that “that’s how life is”, “I’m doing the best under the circumstances” and “I think positively” which sometimes makes me wonder whether one is “doing their best” to ignore their error and conceal it behind ”positive thoughts”.
We choose to believe that there is a “logical explanation” for everything that happens to us and that may be true; the point is…. where have we erred?
And once we detect that error, what then?
There are times when we feel, like an explorer – alone in the sea of darkness. However, in this sea of darkness, when we choose to turn our attention to the heart of a matter, we find a glimmer of light in the horizon. This glimmer of light is our error which, when approached, reveals new information. Following this glimmer of light, we realize that we can navigate through the sea of darkness with confidence and safety towards correcting and reversing an adverse situation.
Errors function like the beam of a lighthouse. They light the way in the sea of darkness and inspire hope in us that there is a way out once they are corrected.
Without errors we wouldn’t know what we don’t know.
Errors do not define who we are.
Errors reveal who we are not. They point out where we have “gone astray” and reveal the step we can take towards finding a missing piece of our self towards who we really are.
And this brings me to the issue of pain.
According to Dr. Gerald Epstein, MD, internationally renowned physician, educator, and a pioneer in the use of imagery, pain in its emotional, mental and physical expression, is an indication of a moral error. In brief, a moral error is to want to control your future. It is allowing your will to run wildly, by taking, keeping, holding on to and advancing at the expense of yourself and of others in order to secure the future you wish to control.
Moral errors create certain habits and behaviours which, in turn, lead to consequences and life circumstances that involve pain, misery, difficulties and, in the long term, illnesses.
We have been conditioned and educated to “fight” pain and remove its symptoms; in other words, to remove the indication of the error we have made, but not necessarily to acknowledge and correct the error. When in pain, our first instinct is to seek out a conventional or alternative therapist and healer and have them make the symptoms of pain go away. We enter their office in denial of our error and we leave the office in the same denial, perpetuating the error and holding on to the false hope of “fighting” the cause of pain.
By turning our attention away from your error, you remain a slave to the situation you have created and are under the paradoxical illusion that you are living in the best way you can. You do “the best you can” and “try” to think “positively”. Deep inside though, since you are a living human being, you have the premonition that this is not exactly true.
When you dedicate even just a small amount of time to quieten the noise that you have built up around you with your stories and turn your senses inward, you create the space to invoke a revelation. You reign in your will and are in the position to allow your pain to communicate with you and you allow yourself to hear what it has say.
The question is: are you able to understand the language of this pain?
Our mind has the ability to image our inner and outer situation. This ability aims essentially to a revelation, rather than explain in a linear and rational manner the cause and the effect of a situation. This ability is called “imagery”.
With the intention to move away… just for a few seconds… from our conceptual, linear world and to turn our senses inwards, we gain access to the invisible dimension of our being where all the information and wisdom is stored which can help us express the best version of ourselves.
We connect with our inner wisdom. Wisdom is expressed through our intuition. Our intuition takes the form of an image which manifests through our will into something beneficial. This energizes us and brings about a sense of well being and transforms into conscience. Conscience, which means “with knowledge”, is when wisdom and our intelligence meet. The meeting point can be imagery.
Imagery is a symbolic language. The word “symbol” means to “bring together”. When knowledge and wisdom come together, we are informed about what is happening “here” in our material life and “there” in our invisible life, revealing all the possibilities that are available to us. Imagery is a pictorial language that cannot be invented. It can only be revealed through our inner source of wisdom. It is a gateway leading us from our day consciousness to our sacred consciousness, the night consciousness. It takes us from the sphere of our intelligence to the sphere of our conscience and our conscience involves action which is an action of correction.
Our errors, our pain and our illnesses can open the way, enlighten and reveal a part of our self which we have forgotten. Through imagery, we can heal ourselves of disappointment, anger, bitterness, fear and worry about the future and we can reconnect with the flow of our inner source of wisdom. We re-member our self, bringing the lost pieces of our self together and becoming whole again.
Let us, therefore, encourage the revelation and acknowledgement of errors so as to promote good health, balance and greater freedom both in ourselves and in our community.
Originally published in Enallaktiki Drasi Magazine in November 2018
Professional Coach and Mental Imagery Clinician
All services provided by Demetra Monocrusso are in alignment and in accordance with the wholistic model of health taught by the American Institute for Mental Imagery of New York which is chartered by the New York State Regents to train clinicians in the GEMS integrative healing system.
They have been personally endorsed and approved by the founder and director of the institute Dr. Gerald N. Epstein, MD, an internationally renowned psychiatrist and one of the foremost practitioners of integrative healthcare for healing and transformation.
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