What is Guided Imagery?

"Imagination is more powerful than knowledge"- Albert Einstein

The quote may illustrate that imagination is the prerequisite of all knowledge. Imagination, or the formation of a mental picture, is one of the unique characteristics of being human.

"The eyes are not responsible when the mind does the seeing, a quote by Publilius Syrus further points out that a mental picture is a thought without  perception of its consciousness. Mental imagery includes seeing things in the mind's eye and hearing a tune that is only running in the head. Autogenic imagery or, guided imagery, is the conscious creation of mental pictures which is used  to induce relaxation, or to promote the healing of someone suffering from disease.

The term mental imagery is used here synonymously with the term visualization. Visualization has been used for centuries by virtually every civilization on earth including the native Americans, the ancient Greeks, and by the Hindu yogis.[1]

One of my favorite self-guided imageries is to imagine that I am a bird and that I can sour effortlessly free in space. You may wish to read the paragraph below several times before closing your eyes and then repeating the scene over and over for the next 15 minutes.[2]

I am a bird and am soaring high in the sky.

The sun has set and there are no clouds.

I am by myself and am soaring effortlessly.

My wings are stretched out completely and I raise them higher and higher.

I feel the gentle air and am supported by the air.

I float higher and higher. I feel calm and peaceful.

I am completely safe and free to float higher and higher.

I float above all clouds.

The sky is clear and dark.

I  am open to experience the vastness of the universe

Keep a daily log of your relaxation practice.

Relaxation Journal

Time of Day________
Biodot color at:
Beginning of Session______
End of Session______


  1.  Brian Luke Seaward, Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Wellbeing, Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers,1997 pp.339,340 
  2. Jonathan Smith,
Creative Stress Management, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall,1993, p.141

E-mail: rbrehm@msn.com  Copyright 1998  [Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.