For the past month, I've been examining the question: ~How detailed do your visualizations need to be in order to be effective?~ My own personal experiences taught me that it doesn't really matter--both detailed and general approaches work! But very detailed visualizations can get sticky if they involve circumstances outside of the Self. I found this sentiment echoed by other people who shared their knowledge about visualization and manifesting. Taking all of it together, it seemed that general might be the way to go. Being general allows more possibilities to complete your end result and keeps you from getting too attached to the details. But the research I found on visualization surprised me--it seems to be more in favor of making visualizations detailed and specific. Strange! Of course, the research I found was limited to visualizations that involve only the Self, such as visualizing a specific healing process, improving physical performance, or changing personal habits (like becoming more extroverted). So taking all of this together, what is the best approach?
Shakti Gawain: Getting Clear The first book I ever read on manifesting and visualization was Shakti Gawain's "Creative Visualization." It's still my favorite book on the topic, and one of the most influential books I've ever read. I've read the book again and again many different times, and the overall feeling that I come away with is that a preference in approach regarding how detailed a visualization or a specific desire should be is not given. There is definitely a warning not to force anything and not to be too attached to the outcome. If anything, my impression is that the more detailed and specific you are, the better. I did find one statement while I was flipping through it again where Shakti says that once she has a very clear, strong intention to create a particular thing, it manifests almost immediately (often within hours or days of getting clear about it) with very little effort involved. She goes on to say this is the case after a great deal of time and energy processing before the clarity needed to be worked through is achieved.
When I first started experimenting with manifesting and visualizations, I wanted very specific things. This is normal--most of us come to this practice because we want specific things rather than general ones. In my case, I wanted a specific relationship I was in to deepen and be full of peace rather than full of drama and uncertainty. While you can never change another person's mind or behavior, it is definitely possible to affect others by changing yourself and engaging God/The Universe to shift the energy you're in and help out.