The art of photography is the continual practice of observing things with a unique vision. But expanding and refining that vision is a creative challenge as well.
We go about daily life distracted by our phones and internal chatter, and mental filters created by our pre-conceived ideas of reality and what should be in it.
Our eyes function with the help of a sensing device called a reticular activator: it picks out the things that we have chosen (or have allowed ourselves) to see.
We all have had the feeling of suddenly noticing things that have been around us all the time – when we allow ourselves to see it, then we can. Instruct your reticular activator to pick out yellow trucks, and they will seem to be everywhere. Rare or uniquely colored objects might take longer, but then your eyes will ‘pick them out’ in advertisements, signs, and packaging.
It also excels with misplaced objects, giving hot/cold feelings or images that guide you to the location. Instead of saying that you ‘lost’ something, say “I’ll find it’ instead. The confidence within this statement allows your sensing energy to locate the object that much faster.
And in some cases, it can actually set in motion and create what you desire.
My favorite memory of using this creator skill was the decision that I wanted to own a specific type of car – a vintage Volvo 240 DL. It happened so rapidly, that the process of seeing to owning that exact type of Volvo took 48 hours, start to finish: a perfect storm of coincidences and circumstances.
- I walked out of the Brown Line train station at the moment that this very type of car drove past.
- It had a “For Sale” sign visible in the side window.
- The driver stopped to get gas at a station across the street.
- The price was an amount I had available in the bank.
- I got to witness this cascade of coincidences in action, and had a great car by that evening.
Creativity energy creates the space and circumstances for success to happen. And to keep my inner eyes working, I use different types of perceptive techniques regularly so I have a neutral state of mind that can exist for creative focus, letting go, or just enjoying that pause of meditative ‘no mind’ itself.
This exercise I’m sharing, is called “Eleven-Eleven Alice”, because I do it at 11:11, morning or evening.
Like the classic illustration of Alice expanding in a small room, the practice uses imaginating (seeing something in such 3D, 360 degree detail that the senses believe it is real) to briefly step outside everyday life thinking.
Before the start of the exercise, sit quietly, settle down into your body, relax your lower jaw. Relax all the muscles descending down your body.
Feel the top of your head touch the ceiling: brush your hair against the ceiling. feel the texture of the trim, the coolness of the paint, the lighting. (don’t worry about fans or lights, they won’t harm you!)
At the same time, widen your upper torso so that your shoulders touch the walls. Really imagine being this big. Visualize touching the surfaces through your fingertips and skin. Feel both shoulders widening and filling up all four corners of the room. Feel the smoothness and coolness of the painted wall against your skin. If there is furniture, feel its material as you expand. You are as wide as the room and growing.
Move your vision to other rooms, your lower torso going down several floors. I imagine my feet touching the ground three floors down, my head above my building, slowly looking around.
Feel your immensity. Gaze around as though your body is gargantuan: a full buildings’ tall. Take giant breaths. In this state, be grand as you feel this gigantic self. Then come back slowly, gently back down into your body. Stay neutral, eyes soft focused, thought-less.
This enlarged self allows you to step out of your mind and daily worries, and is something you can enter and re-enter in different circumstances. Play with it. Widen yourself when you are sitting on a bus or in a car, expand when you are in a store, be big when you are talking to someone.
There are times I do combine it with an intention to let things go, or to send out an energy of happiness to everyone in this surrounding vicinity. But I practice this to experience an imaginative and more creative state of mind – and 11:11 happens two times every day.
I look forward to hearing if ‘Eleven-Eleven Alice’ becomes your favorite time of day as well.