How to use Meditation to Manifest your Dreams
Numerous studies have proven that imagining an action improves the neural networks in our brains that are responsible for reproducing this action in the real world.
One of my favorite pieces of research, examines brain scans of volunteers who play a piano sequence for 5 days and compare it to volunteers who imagine playing that same sequence along with a control group who do not do either. The brain scans of volunteers who imagine playing the same sequence are almost identical to those who play the piano physically and differ drastically from the control group. The brain chemistry of imagining an experience mimics that of a real world experience.
Studies have shown that phobias and post traumatic stress can be eradicated through re-creating memories by using our imagination. Memories are stories that we tell ourselves. Over the years, the memory of an experience which once evoked fear or another negative emotion in us strengthens and becomes a part of our identity. The earlier the memory resides, the stronger the neural networks become — this is why your therapist often wants to begin therapy by uncovering childhood traumas.
How can these experiences be reversed? By reliving them in your imagination. It is a common practice for therapists to ask their patients to bring themselves back into the memory of their experience and be asked to relive that experience with a different outcome and thus emotion. For example, if the patient has been bit by a dog, she is asked to imagine the same encounter with that dog but having the dog be playful or being able to easily push off the dog when the dog becomes aggressive. This creates either an emotion of joy when being with the dog or a feeling of empowerment that the patient is stronger and more powerful than a dog and hence there should be no fear of encounters with dogs. After the patient recreates this memory several times, it becomes the new reality or memory for her, allowing for future encounters with dogs to be more pleasant.
What does eradicating the fear of dogs have to do with making your dreams come true? It shows the power of our imagination. Many of us start each year with a laundry list of resolutions, few of which actually come to fruition. In 2020, I only had one goal: to become a digital nomad. For the purpose of my dream, I defined a digital nomad as a person who works remotely and travels, ideally amid affordable beach-front destinations. In 2020, even in the midst of a global pandemic and general global political and otherwise chaos, I have been in 3 countries and visited 161 cities, all while working remotely. Not only did I achieve my goal, but by the end of the year my life resembled about 90% of my original Vision Board, which I included below. The other 10% were impassable due to the global pandemic as you will notice some of the images on the board suggested large in-person gatherings.
Here’s how you can make your dreams come true in 3 simple daily steps:
1. Create a Vision Board
Place it somewhere in your daily line of sight so that there is not a day that passes by when you don’t encounter your vision board. Make the visuals as detailed as possible. The visuals don’t have to be perfect as you are building this for yourself rather than for the opinion of others. The main point is to be able to relate to the visuals you’ve selected so that you can imagine yourself living within them.
2. Meditate for at least 5 minutes Every Day
Close your eyes and breathe slowly, first focusing on your breath. Next, imagine living the experiences in your vision board. You can imagine several images sequentially, especially if you are able to meditate for longer than 10 minutes. If meditation has not become a part of your daily practice yet, you can start by focusing on one of the pictures on your vision board and simply jump into the image in your mind and unfold it in front of your closed eyes. You can continue to create this experience for several days in a row or switch between experiencing different images every day.
3. Evoke an Emotion
The most important step, which can feel difficult at first, is to experience an emotion while you are imagining your dream life. It is helpful to create a very detailed experience that you can first get lost in, similar to that of a real memory. Really spend the time to imagine yourself having the experience and the joy it brings you. Imagine your lips smiling and how that feels in your cheeks. Imagine the wind caressing you and the goosebumps you get from the lifting experience you are indulging in. How pleasant each breath is as you observe everything around you, filled with joy!
The more detailed the image of your dream life the quicker the new neural pathways are created. The stronger the emotion you are able to evoke, the more pronounced the new passageways become and the quicker your dreams will become your new reality.
A note on Action
You can also aid the process of mental goal-achievement by acting with purpose in the physical world. The next time you are doubtful about doing an activity or spending time on something, ask yourself: does engaging in this task help me get closer to what I have on my vision board? If the answer is no, it should make your decision to stay clear of the activity easier. If the answer is yes — you now have a good reason to engage in it and get one step closer to your dream life!