The first step in achieving your goals is to visualize them. Treasure maps, also known as vision boards, are tools you can employ toward that end.
For the record, I consider myself to be a skeptic. So when I first learned about treasure maps, I was understandably wary. It seemed too good to be true. Want something? A house? A car? A relationship? Put an image of it on a board and you're on your way.
For the uninitiated, a treasure map—also known as a vision board—is a panel on which a person arranges pictures and words depicting their goals.
Unity has long held that visualizing your goals is the first step to achieving them. Decades ago, Unity minister Stretton Smith incorporated treasure maps in his prosperity teachings. More recently, treasure maps were featured in The Secret as a tool of living according to the laws of attraction.
I asked Rev. Paulette Pipe, a Unity minister who leads workshops on treasure maps, about the phenomenon.
“A treasure map is a visual prayer,” she says. “The images turn into manifestations, because your thoughts are prayers.”
When Pipe decided she wanted to graduate from a university with honors, she created a treasure map. When she wanted to pay off debt, she created a treasure map. When she wanted to go on a 40-day silent retreat, she created a treasure map. When she wanted to go on a fully paid vacation to Bermuda—you guessed it—she created a treasure map. And all have come true.
Pipe's treasure maps, which she saves for posterity, could be works of art, beautiful as they are. Currently, she has a treasure map with her latest goal displayed on her office wall: to produce a meditation CD. In the center, she's superimposed a photo of herself on a heart, to symbolize that her meditations come from her heart center. And then she's surrounded that with images, which Pipe explains: “Oprah's on here because she has the Midas touch. Louise Hay is here because she runs a publishing house and I want my CD to be published. Images of fruit symbolize that the time is ripe. Light symbolizes the Spirit that comes from within.”
“It's not just wishful thinking. I'm seeing what my life could look like and feel like.”
I had to ask: “What about relationships? Can I manifest … a man?”
This is a little bit tricky, Pipe says. You cannot compel another person to action according to your treasure map. “What you can do is make it your goal to be a partner in a relationship,” she offered.
This makes sense; you can only set your own goals, after all, and this is what treasure maps are all about.
Rev. Phillip Pierson, vice president of education for Unity Institute, says treasure maps can help a person set their intentions. While Pierson doesn't necessarily keep a treasure map, he and his wife, Dorothy, make it part of their daily ritual to make statements defining their goals, and they thank God in advance for fulfilling them.
“The principle (of treasure maps) is the same as the spoken word. It's a matter of intention, a matter of focus,” he says.
“You see it every day, and it reminds you to give thanks. There's no magic—it's a tool of consciousness. You get what you expect to get.”
Now I'm ready to manifest my goals. You can find me holed up in my office with tools for success—a board, scissors, glue and a few issues of GQ magazine.
MAKING TREASURE MAPS
Treasure maps come in all shapes and sizes. Large ones have the advantage of being easy to see at a distance; small ones can be tucked away somewhere.
These diagrams should be for us alone. We pray in private, and we use our treasure maps when we are alone. Some maps are made using the inside of shallow gift boxes. Maps can be made on small sheets of paper or cardboard and placed in a notebook or magazine. Some people put them on the backs of doors or in drawers that only they use, while others let their maps hang or stand in full view all the time. It's a matter of preference.
Begin your map by deciding on your goal: What is this map for? Some may find they need to pray for help in deciding on their heart's desire.
Approach mapping with pleasure and with humility, for you are using your inner power to think, to decide, to image, to believe, to accept.
Maps should be as simple as possible—with clear, vivid pictures, preferably in color. Color helps focus your attention. You remember color. Use pink when mapping for health, deeper pink or red for love, green or gold for prosperity, orange for energy. Often color pictures are more effective against a neutral or white background.
Maps need words, for there is power in words—whether they are thought, spoken, or written. Strong affirmations give strength to expectancy of the pictured good. Biblical promises remind you that you have a rich heritage from God.
Somewhere on your map you should include a symbol of higher power. Rev. Paulette Pipe often uses fire or water, other people use a picture of Jesus or a symbol for God—a Bible or a church. Use whatever signifies to you that there is one power, which is the one and only source of your good.
After you have made your map, the work is not over. Now you must expect it to work. While you affirm and picture the good you want to experience, give thanks that the good is already created.
For more information about treasure mapping, look for the booklet “What Treasure Mapping Can Do for You,” available for purchase at shop.unityonline.org.