Many, many moons ago, when my life seemed to be set on a spiral downwards,  a work colleague introduced me to the idea of visioning. It seemed so much more effective than the traditional goal-setting techniques I had used. Not only was I to notice what wasn’t working out, but now I could create a mental movie of how I would like my life to be instead — to go there in my mind’s eye and live and breathe what I most wanted. It was both exciting and freeing. I have since read so many examples of successful people using visioning as one of their core techniques for getting outstanding results — sprinters visualising themselves crossing the finish line first is just one such example. Clearly this tactic worked.. and worked well! Add into the mix my later understanding of the Law of Attraction and I knew I was on to a winner. I’d found the secret to success. It was clearly going to be plain sailing from here on.

Except that it wasn’t. Now don’t get me wrong — I do believe that we create our own reality through our focus and feelings. I have enough evidence to convince me that we draw into our lives those events and experiences that we are a match to energetically.  I’ve even learnt to sidestep the blame through realising that it is my unconscious thoughts rather than my conscious intentions that manifest the results in my life. I have found strength in the personal responsibility this gives me. I am not a victim of circumstances and situations that occur, rather a powerful creator with the ability to shape my destiny. It doesn’t get any more exhilarating than that!

But despite the trimmings of success, all of that understanding and knowledge has failed to bring me what I really wanted. In my desires for more, I have made bigger and bolder visions of my imagined future but truthfully, can I say that I have found more joy, contentment or inner peace? Fleeting moments — yes, but not for the long haul.

Then I read a sentence in Guy Finley’s Book: The Secret of Letting Go:

Trying to live up to the picture you have of yourself as a being a better person doesn’t make you better – it makes you bitter toward every person and event that threatens this picture“.

A took a sharp intake of breath at these words. Could these pictures I was making of me and my life being in some way ‘better’ actually be causing me suffering? I’ve allowed these thoughts to permeate my being and infiltrate my core beliefs, and I think Mr Finley may make a very good point!

If we allow our vision to be the impetus in our life, we are playing a risky game. When reality doesn’t match the pictures, we suffer. At best, we work a little harder to make it happen. At worst, we my concede defeat and get bitter. Either way, inner peace eludes us.

I tested this theory in my own life. My business plan doesn’t unfold as I imagined — I suffered. My body doesn’t look the way I imagine it should look — I suffered. My family isn’t as harmonious as I imagine it should be (I blame “The Waltons” for that false imagery!) — and, well you guessed it, I suffered.

I checked it out with a special friend of mine. Mel is a beautiful goddess currently finding a way to heal from cancer. Talking it through, we both came to see that what caused her to suffer most were the thoughts that she “shouldn’t” have cancer. Her current reality of living with cancer was just not matching up to those pesky pictures of not having the disease.

You can’t be at peace when you are arguing that your reality should be different to how it is! That conflict is the biggest cause of suffering in our lives.

Of course, I am not suggesting that we ditch the vision. Even if we could stop picturing our future, sometimes it can be fun to let our imagination run wild. But if finding inner peace is high on our priorities, what is happening in our lives right now has to be good enough. Accepting the cards we have been dealt and even finding aspects to appreciate, no matter how small they seem, is the fastest way to end our suffering.