Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy


Changing Your Reality By Visualizing

I am fascinated by a topic that is relatively new to me – visualization. Holding in the mind’s eye exactly what one desires. I have many “quantum physics” ideas about this as well, but I will try to remain focused – for your sake! 🙂

Okay, the “Law of Attraction” is all over the place – “The Secret” is mainstream, and we don’t need another blog that regurgitates the same info.

I’d like to make you aware of 2 guys who were in “The Secret” though – John Assaraf and Jack Canfield. I am currently going through “Having it All” by Assaraf, and did my first quick read through of “The Success Principles” (author of Chicken Soup for The Soul). They are experts, and I will be wearing their books out over the next year.

I recommend these books VERY highly. Go get them – that’s an order!!! In fact, if you think they’re bs I’ll reimburse you and buy them off you & give them away as gifts!

I own Shakti Gawain’s “Creative Visualization” and am re-reading it now. For me is was very feeling and meditation oriented – but I found that when I’d get into edgy-New York-gotta have it now “mode” it seemed like really good California fluff that I needed to be totally receptive to and in the mood for after a hot bath.

Don’t get me wrong, it is great – especially now that I have the John Assaraf book. I recommend the Shakti Gawain book to help get in the feeling place of doing the process that John and Jack describe as critical.


John explains that at any given moment we get something like 4 million bits of information through our senses, but hey – who’s counting! Out of the 4 million bits we only use like 20,000 of those bits. Hmm. Very interesting indeed!

Here’s what happens, he says (and he claims to follow all the latest brain research). Our subconscious mind which constitutes something like 75% of our brain stores our images and beliefs. Our conscious mind only uses 2 to 4% of our brain.

Deep in the back of the brain somewhere we have what is called the Reticular Activation System (RAS). The RAS is this magic little thing that “sifts” out what is important to us. It wants to harmonize what we “see” out there with the image we have in our subconcious.

Out of the 4 million bits it will zone in on what makes the inner picture true or real and discard the rest. We use this all the time.

For example:

– We get interested in getting a Volkswagen Beetle and all of a sudden see them all over the road. They were always there, but now we’re looking even though we don’t realize it. They seem to “appear”.

– We look for a parking spot and all of a sudden notice exhaust coming out of parked cars, people walking to and from cars, and car lights turning on – and block other things out while we do this.

– Ever been in a nice place with a complainer and they see everything that’s “wrong” with the place?

– Someone in a conversation feels like they are not being listened to. Are they on the lookout for not being listened to based on a mental picture they hold, perhaps from previous experiences? Out of all the moments of the other listening, one moment indicating a lack of attention is picked up by the RAS becasue it is on the lookout to make it’s “image” real in the outer world.

– You and a friend (or your mate) go to a social event and notice totally different things about the conversation, the people, the location, food etc. (Guys – have you ever noticed how women tend to notice a lot more about makeup and clothing? Girls – ever feel like guys are idiots because they don’t notice certain things? 🙂 )

Where it gets interesting is when we have thoughts about ourselves (perhaps planted in childhood) that limit us regarding our career, our home, our relationships and so on.

I repeat – it is a brain function to find the inner picture “out there”. In order to change the “out there” we need to change the “inside” picture. At least that is what these very successful fellows are saying. (and I am giving it a try!!)

John and Jack then describe the absolute need for visualization, and all visualization books will tell you – see your goals as achieved now in the present and imagine everything in great detail. Why? Because the more you bombard the subconcious with the images, and sounds and feelings – the more your RAS is on the lookout. It doesn’t like the outer and the inner being out of whack, so you’ll end up re-arranging the outer to reflect the inner.

Something I am grappling with right now is this: while I want to be “successful”, how much of that is “not wanting failure”? You see – the mind thinks images so while a may say “not wanting failure” the brain hears “failure”.

All the Gurus tell us the dialogue and images MUST be 100% positive so

– Having a loving mate DOES NOT EQUATE to “not being alone”.
– Being good at music DOES NOT EQUATE to “not sucking at music”
– Being financially well of DOES NOT EQUATE “not being poor”

and so on. Get it? Positive is POSITIVE. It’s not NOT NEGATIVE.

Anyhow, that’s all for now. I’ll let you know how my progress goes…I surely have some re-programming to do through Visualization and Affirmations (I’ll discuss affirmations in another post).

When I get some great results then I’ll be able to really convey these messages to you with a deeper meaning and first hand experience will make it juicier. For now I remain a bystander looking into the mystery of life by your side as you do the same.


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Get Good Enough Out of the Way; Make Room for Great

A concept that was mentioned in a book I am reading (Jack Canfield’s “The Success Principles”) was getting “good enough out of the way” in our lives.

What? Get rid of good? Yes – make room by getting good out of the way so you can have great! Sometimes good gets in the way of great.

That means if things in our lives are just good enough, that’s no good. They should be great! And it may mean saying “NO” to “just good enough”.

You can have a

good enough home
good enough relationship
good enough career
good enough body
good enough life
good enough car
good enough friends
good enough meal
good enough gift for someone
good enough recording or performance

…OR you can have a

GREAT home
GREAT relationship
GREAT career
GREAT body
GREAT life
GREAT friends
GREAT meal
GREAT gift for someone
GREAT recording or performance

And this may mean getting “good enough” OUT OF THE WAY to make room for “great”. Change is something we all resist – but this idea immediately spoke to me in terms of a career – and how my (dare I say our?) inner vision spills out into my world.

A musical career consists entirely of one’s vision and projection from the “inside” out – and I myself am working on upgrading the inside of myself – my vision!

The subway performer sees himself as worthy of playing the subway platform, the concert performer sees worthiness of the concert hall. All of our lives spills from within our consciousness outward into the allegedly “real” world.

I can’t tell you how many times I have come home from a restaurant or party gig – having made a few hundred bucks maybe, and seen a subway performer PERFORMING THE SAME TUNE BUT BEGGING FOR QUARTERS. I wonder – they see themselves doing that and being okay. I would not do that (I did a few times as a kid). We each took steps to create our reality that night.

On the same note – there may be people who played the same tune ON A FESTIVAL STAGE FOR THOUSANDS of people that night as well. Or on TV, at the top of the performance food chain.

Let’s assume that all the performers (subway – restaurant – festival) are equally talented and playing the same song; where does the difference lie? Clearly the concept of what one deserves, one’s worthiness on the inside emerges. It’s the same concept as dressing for the job you want – not the job you have. When you dress for the job you want, you see yourself in the new position already, and create it from the inside out…

The “vision” that lurks behind the day to day actions such as “what do I wear, who do I call, what do I spend time doing, what do I say yes to, what do I say no to, what do I spend money-time-energy on” all inevitably lead to making the “vision” behind the actions a tangible reality (if there even is such a thing).


Part of my personal quest right now is to see myself and BE a world class, festival playing, touring performer. I am, and am currently in the process of playing the right places with greater frequency. For me – that’s the GREAT.

“Good enough” is the local gig scene, maybe a wedding here and there. I am NOT criticizing anyone who does the local stuff – what I am saying is that I am working on a new vision of GREAT for myself through visualizations and affirmations.

Why am I choosing this? Because the feeling of fulfillment and joy is greater when I can play at 100% full tilt, allowing my talents to shine. Playing background music is an experience that is merely good enough, not great.

Check this out…

This last weekend Jill and I went to a wedding in Hilton Head, SC and the band was rather good. I spoke to them and asked if I could sit in, and they said if I wanted to I could.

Then I sat back and realized – I was about to create the reality of my playing music at weddings all over again. There’s the poop – and I looked for it so I could step in it – like a poop seeking missile. It was the subconscious mind churning out images of what it knows, thereby spilling into my future….making my past alive in the now…and settling for “good enough” once again.

Deep down – my survival buttons, and a belief that I need to do that to survive – lurks.

“NO! I declare otherwise. I commit to a bright happy GREAT life doing what I love” I thought to myself.

When I saw this at play – I zoned into my picture of “GREAT”…touring, playing for open air festivals, creating, recording new tunes, making new friends, letting my talent and core genius shine – and took a stance to think to myself “I choose my reality of touring, festivals, videos and I am going first class all the way”.

I got “good enough” out of the way (by saying NO to playing with that band) to let GREAT in and retain my visualization.

Just think – the conversations with all the guests that would have followed, their perception of me, my relating to them as someone who just played for them, my connection to the band – would all be colored (from my vantage point) by my playing one song with a wedding band. A mental image would have been further imprinted for me.

An interactive reality and experience would have been created – and created more karma, more momentum, more memory and eventually more of a likelihood of it continuing the same way.

I repeat – there is nothing bad, wrong or negative about the band, weddings or playing at one; it is merely an acknowledgment and observation that I (can I say WE?) create our reality constantly through our choices and have to hold fast to creating a great life through having a great picture in our minds.

What’s not cool is this – allowing “good enough” to be, when “great” is there for the taking.

How can you get rid of “good enough” to make room for “GREAT” in your life?

Go for GREAT…you deserve it!

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The Mastermind Group

Hi friends…just wanted to let you know about a neat-o thing that I have started and you may want to think about it for yourselves.

A bass player friend of mine named Paul and I found ourselves driving home after many gigs and shooting ideas back and forth during the ride. Our ideas would gain so much momentum and creativity that we’d sit in the parked car outside my place and just go back and forth.

These ideas basically dealt with what is here on the blog – personal development, meditation, and how it relates to being better in business, in life and essentially having an integrated and happy experience with life, business and music.

The core idea is that what’s on the inside is also on the outside. The outside reflects the inside.

Anyhow, he has recommended a few great books by John Assaraf and Jack Canfield – to name a few. You might recognize their names from the hit movie “The Secret”.

All the success “gurus” recommend having what is called a “mastermind group” so my friend and I decided to make it official and meet once a week – rather than have an occasional shmooze – to have our mastermind session.

Napoleon Hill goes into great detail about a mastermind group – and how it is a channel for “divine knowledge and energy”. Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie, as well as all the names mentioned thus far – had mastermind groups.

Question: Why have a mastermind group?

1) Accountability; I have to go back to my meeting on a weekly basis and tell whether or not I met a goal over the week. Just knowing that I will be held accountable is in my mind all week and I have noticed already that I have taken action on issues where I previously felt stuck.

I haven’t had this type of accountability since I took music lessons!

2) Energy: Two heads are better than one. When ideas get going, it can get very creative. New ideas can come to the individuals during the meeting that might not have occurred individually. This is akin to a creative group having at a business meeting, but it is for the lives and business of the individuals in the group.

3) Knowledge: Each person has a wealth of experience and can enlighten the others. At our first session Paul recommended John Assaraf’s book “Having it All” – which is a powerful book. I have learned more about how the brain works from this incredible book. In turn, I “hipped” Paul to some direct marketing knowledge regarding headlines, structure of an ad (I know a bit, but it’s always advancing) and more.

4) Doing It! I know I’ve gotten books and read about a method and “nodded” in understanding but not applied the true practice. I was aware of this when I wrote my own “Virtuoso Guitar Technique” book – aware that buyiing this book is baby step #1. A few years of consistent practice of the material is the main thing – and a small percentage of my customers would actually do that.

The mastermind group is helping me apply the things I’d normally read about and maybe forget.

5) Beneficial Reminders: Delegate tasks and don’t work hard at something someone else “plays at”. Charge enough for your / my services. Don’t waste time with crap that does not matter – focus on what counts. Eat right, exercise, meditate. Do the most important thing in the day first. Stick to a schedule. Visualize what you / I want daily.


In conclusion – well, it’s only going to be session #3 coming up next week. Paul and I hope to gauge our progress, see if goals have been met and see where we are at in 6 months and then a year.

If we meet and hopefully exceed our goals – we may put a method / seminar together to show other musicians how to truly empower themselves from the inside out.

I think that there is a big difference between teachers who “talk the talk” vs those who TRULY “walk the walk”. I vowed to never be a “talker who was not a walker” – but to guide others through my own real life example – whether it be musical, business,or personal. If we do come up with a study course it will be because we experienced real world results.

Stay tuned!