‘… whatever you put out into the universe will be reflected back to you. “As you sow, so shall you reap.” What this means from a practical standpoint is that we always attract into our lives whatever we think about the most, believe in most strongly, expect on the deepest levels and/or imagine most vividly.’
In Loving Memory of Shakti Gawain (1948-2018), by the New World Library
Video of Gawain guiding visualisation
Podcast —Gawain's Visualisation Techniques
Podcast — Creative Visualization: Use The Power Of Your Imagination To Create What You Want In Your Life By Shakti Gawain
Creative Visualization (1978)
Shakti Gawain
In Summary

Reality overflows from our thoughts, and so visualising our ‘best life’ in fact helps birth it into being. If you can picture it, you can have it.


Some thinkers are revolutionary enough that it is hard to visualise a time before them. But Shakti Gawain was so influential that the very term ‘visualise’ took on a new (or rather, New Age) meaning after her. Shakti’s seminal text, Creative Visualization, arrived on the scene in 1978, becoming the book that launched a thousand imitators. Shakti claimed to offer a way for our thoughts to become reality – for humans to claim their best life now through the creative power of visualisation. The world is not just your oyster – it’s whatever you want it to be.

Born Carol Louise Gawain, she was apparently so full of energy that she was later christened Shakti – which is Sanskrit for the dynamic, feminine energy that creates and destroys the universe. Bouncing around in her youth between Europe, Turkey, India and the Middle East, Shakti eventually settled down and started a small publishing company in her apartment. This grew into the New World Library, helping to launch her spiritual vocation and resulting in 12 books that have cumulatively sold over 10 million copies worldwide. She is one of, if not the, founding author in the theory of contemporary spiritual visualisation.


Many believe the world is made of material atoms that can only be impacted through contact with other material atoms – through physically moving things around, like a child with their toy bricks or an excavator with dirt. Yet contemporary physics suggests the opposite – that there is a quantum world of imagination far deeper than the atom, that ‘matter’ is convertible with energy (for example, E=MC2), and that the mere act of observation (apart from any physical contact) can alter the results of an experiment. In such a universe, suggests Gawain, the sheer energy of human thoughts can impact our material world. Thought is allegedly a ‘quick, light, mobile form of energy’, which radiates into reality. A doctor’s hands might shrink a tumour but so might the energy from positive thoughts or prayers.

Accordingly, if the energy from our thoughts impacts the external world, then we must be very careful about the content of those thoughts. Gawain advocates visualising things as we want them to be, proactively picturing our best life. This involves a daily regimen of exercises, usually composed of various relaxation techniques that help to lure the mind into a meditative state. Once calmed, you then begin to picture your world as it ought to be (for example, with the perfect job, spouse, income or mental/physical health) until one day you actually achieve what you have been visualising. Non-visual learners need not feel excluded, however, for while many of Gawain’s exercises involve literal picturing, she reminds us that the mind works just as well through feeling and intuition rather than images. The process is also supplemented by other non-pictorial exercises, such as chanting, whereby you verbally claim the reality you desire as if it were already true (for example, chanting ‘I am the master of my life’, or ‘Everything I need is coming to me easily and effortlessly.’)

Just as positive energy can spur the world to greatness, negative thinking can rewire our brains for the worse. We come to accept less than we deserve, embracing a pessimistic or zero-sum universe. However, Gawain advocates a philosophy of abundance, whereby our benevolent universe is willing and ready to give to all who ask. Almost everything you ‘truly need or want is here for the asking; you only need to believe that it is so, truly desire it and be willing to accept it.’ This may seem too good or miraculous to be true, yet so would a ‘gorgeous flower or a spectacular sunset’ if you had never seen one before.


If our minds make the world go round, then we must be careful to watch our thoughts – not only because they become our words, actions or habits, but because they can bypass all these normal channels to shape and spark the world directly. If Gawain is correct, ‘mind over matter’ takes on a whole new meaning, one which might be one of the most relevant insights ever grasped (and simultaneously created) by the human mind.

Gawain provides a number of starting exercises as well as practical advice regarding meditation, visualisation notebooks, group activities, spiritual ‘blocks’, goal setting, creating a sanctuary and accessing your Guides and so on.

Further Reading By This Author

Gawain followed up the enormous success of Creative Visualization with a number of other works, including Living in the Light, Awakening: A Daily Guide to Conscious Living, The Path of Transformation, The Relationship Handbook, Meditations, Developing Intuition, Creating True Prosperity, and The Four levels of Healing.

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