In yesterday’s Journal I mentioned about the imagination, and that as adults we seem to consider it a childish faculty, and that we seem to have lost that ability…or have we?
‘Children see magic because they look for it.’ Christopher Moore.
Here’s some thoughts about the imagination. Yes, we’ll look at:
– how we still use our imagination (even though we may think we don’t), and
– why the imagination is a blessing (but is misunderstood and underused), and
– how we can take the first steps in purposefully using the imagination.
And there’s more…
- there’s a free ‘three boxes’ imaginal exercise for you to try, and possibly benefit from.
The Imaginal Realm 1: An Introduction
There are several areas where our imagination runs riot, even if we’re not aware of that fact. Yes, we still use our imaginations, even as adults (and can use them more so!)
‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.’ Albert Einstein
So, how do we use our imaginations (still)?
Firstly, advertisers know how to temp us. Take holiday adverts. We see a brochure containing photographs of a sun-drenched beach, read wonderful things about it, and then over a cup of coffee we ‘dream’ of ourselves on that beach. That’s exactly what the advertisers want – you imagining yourself in that setting. Yes, you’ve used your imagination, and in a good way, and in a profitable way from the advertisers’ point of view.
The imagination is powerful.
Secondly, when we dream when asleep, our sleeping mind is flooded with strange scenarios, smells, sounds etc. When asleep our imagination continues to function – yes, it actually never sleeps and is functioning even as you read this. But, the imagination, when we’re awake’ is ‘drowned out’ somewhat by the general busyness of the day – though it still functions, and still sways us – remember those holiday brochures?. But, when we’re asleep, and the body is immobile, and the busyness of the day is ‘a million miles away’, oh, yes, then the imaginal playground opens up and the fetters are off. Then, we revel in the imagination.
The imagination, active all the time.
Thirdly, there’s that half asleep-half awake realm, that we all experience, as we drift off to sleep or have ‘forty winks’. We might be conscious of our surroundings, but in our mind’s eye we might ‘see’ something in our peripheral vision, or hear something (so, I guess that should really be the mind’s ear, also). Interestingly, as an aside, it is in this state that one can experience the ‘exploding head’ syndrome’! Don’t worry- your head doesn’t literally explode, its just that, sometimes, you can be jolted out of that blissful half-sleep by a loud bang (which is ‘in’ your head, or mind).
So, in what way is using your imagination (more)
a blessing and bring benefits to you?
Your imagination is a blessing, and using it more (or allowing it to ‘play’ in the background) can bring many benefits, which would hitherto not ‘arrive’. For instance, it is said that August Kekulé, the renowned chemist, and very much into the research of chemical structure, was said to have dreamed the benzine molecule’s composition, which greatly aided his (and others) research.
I feel more and more every day, as my imagination strengthens, that I do not live in this world alone, but in a thousand worlds.’ John Keats
Our imagination as it ‘plays’ allows us to ‘think outside the box’, to ask ourselves ‘what if?’ and to see things differently, and so, increased our perception. According to the American Psychological Association imagination can also enhance memory – good news for everyone, but especially those with exams. It is said to make us more empathetic towards others, and promote self-growth and maturity.
‘The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.’ Henry Ward Beecher
Now, some may view the imagination with some distrust. This paragraph gets a little theological so if you want to skip over it, that’s okay. Some, and they still remain friends, have said to me that there are several Bible verses that speak against the imagination and the use of it, such as: Romans 1.21 and other places, where, in the King James’ Version, the word ‘imagination’ appears. But, a little research into this, shows that a more accurate rendering of the Greek word(s) is, infact, ‘understanding’, which is a different faculty altogether. In addition to this, although sometimes where the heart is mentioned it is in the negative, it is always (some might say usually) that the ‘challenge’ is in the ‘arena’ of the heart, and not necessarily the heart itself. Just a a couple of theological thoughts to show that, imagination, per se need not be frowned upon.
‘The individual imagination is not its own invention: its source is elsewhere’, and ‘We are from God and we carry in our minds and hearts the ripple of the Divine mind’. John O’Donohue
The imagination is a spiritual faculty and resource.
But, the benefits are even wilder than we first thought. Your imagination can affect your physical body. We know this can happen, for when we imagine something to be dangerous or scary (and movie-makers play on this when they make horror or thriller movies) our hearts speed up, our breathing increases, and we may feel shock or pain. There are times I’ve seen operations on tv and felt (albeit greatly reduced) some pain! I’m sure you can testify to that, too.
Wilder still. A university research team did some experiments, and the findings were reported in the newspapers. It seems that (merely) imagining exercise can have a beneficial effect on muscles. This is good news to all those ‘hitting’ the gym for sport etc, as combining physical exercise with an ‘imaginal gym’ can enhance performance and give one ‘the edge’ over others, potentially.
‘It’s an extraordinary result,’ says Dr Mosley. ‘The measurements showed it wasn’t due to muscles growing bigger, so it wasn’t to do with a change in the amount of muscle.’
So, how had it happened?
‘The electrical stimulation test gave the answer,’ he says. ‘These results showed by the end of the month of thinking, our volunteers were using more of the muscle fibres they had always had.
‘Our volunteers had gone from using 50 per cent of their muscle fibres to using 70 per cent. They didn’t grow more muscle, but they were much better at using the muscle they had.’
See this link to the newspaper article [here].
So, imagination can enhance untapped efficiency of muscles – to make them more efficient, and from those results, muscles can be up to 40% more efficient!
The imagination can give physical and practical benefits.
Good news for sportsmen and sportswomen, especially footballers, weight-lifters, wrestlers and those requiring strength and stamina etc, if they use imaginal techniques.
How we can take the first steps in purposefully using the imagination?
We can use our imaginations in many ways, and gradually build up our imaginal-prowess! Wherever you are in the ‘use of imagination’ stakes, there is always more. There are always more benefits we can access, both for ourselves and on behalf of others, as energy-workers will know.
Imagination, as a link to that imaginal realm of power and potential, can feature in our prayers, good-wishes, positive-thinking, energy-working, ritual by fellow Christians and fellow Druids, and when we use the Caim [see here], when we move or unblock energy and/or bless others for healing and other positive outcomes.
The imagination is a powerful tool.
‘In difficult times you should always carry something beautiful in your mind.’ Blaise Pascal
For sometime I’ve worked with clients using creative visualisation, imaginal-awareness, those dream-like states for their benefit in one-to-one sessions, mainly.
Exercise: But, here’s one practical exercise to ‘ease’ you into this, and which may benefit you.
‘Everything you can imagine is real.’ Pablo Picasso
And, during November, I’ve decided that will be a separate ministry called Liminal People. I’ve worked with some people in this area over a number of years, but now it’s time for it to separate, to come of age, with its own internet website and expand.
So, Liminal People will organise one-to-one sessions in person or via the internet eg Skype, and organise workshops. Using liminality – that threshold or bridge between here and the other, and using your imaginal powers – I would (continue to) guide clients into that imaginal realm of power and potential, so they benefit.
‘Believe that you have it, and you have it.’ Latin Proverb
Some of my clients, in the past, have wanted to interview and ‘adopt’ an archetype (those powerful personified-attributes we all posses and which ‘power’ our skills and attributes ), others wanted to encounter angels or their animal guides, still others wanted to explore that inner world of the psyche for the purposes of growth, maturity, healing, or because they are inquisitive etc.
So, how about booking a session to enter that imaginal realm, and encountering your guardian angel?
Or booking in to an imaginal gym? [Remember those university research results] to complement your physical gym work?
Or how about wanting to explore strange new inner places, discovering inner’ treasure’, being guided by inner companions, and more?
Everything is possible in that imaginal and highly symbolic realm, and whether one prefers a poetic and symbolic imaginal realm experience, or a more prosaic one, there is room for all ‘adventurers’; and maybe, however we describe the imaginal realm it is a metaphor (and contains metaphors as symbols), a representation of something that is far too big for us to imagine at the present, and so we’re all given (different) glimpses of it.
And, in entering that imaginal stream of power and potential, we benefit. That is, if we enter it.
‘Imagination is an almost divine faculty which, without recourse to any philosophical method, immediately perceives everything: the secret and intimate connections between things, correspondences and analogies.’ Charles Baudelaire.
That’s where Liminal People will come in. And more details of that will follow every few days over the next two weeks. But, if you want to email me with questions etc, please feel free to do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ‘Three Boxes’ Imaginal Exercise For You Tryxercise
Exercise: But, here’s one practical exercise to ‘ease’ you into this, and which may benefit you. Try it. Even if you only think it’s fun. I do believe at all levels it is useful. It’s called the ‘three boxes’ exercise
Take time to sit comfortably in a place where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes – that’s all this initial exercise will take. Close your eyes, breath deeply and then relax. And just try not to focus on any competing thoughts. Just remain silent for a minute or two. Then imagine that three boxes appear in front of you. If you believe in angels you can imagine that your guardian angel left them here for you. If you believe in elementals, then a friendly elemental left them for you, or your companion, or the universe, or an archetype, whoever you might believe left them here for you, has left here for you.
But, the boxes are in front of you. Let’s say, that you’ve had a tough day, and need encouragement for tomorrow. Then, in your mind, ask the one who left the boxes for you, to put a word or symbol or object in the middle box. A message from them to you. A positive message, a word, symbol or object for encouragement for tomorrow.
So, ‘….please leave an encouraging word, symbol or object in the middle box, a message for tomorrow’
And then wait. Savour the moment. Enjoy it. There is no rush.
Okay, slowly open the middle box. What’s in there? A word? Perhaps typed? Or the actual sound of a word is liberated when you open the box? A picture? A symbol? An object? Slowly consider what it means. By all means lift it out of the box, if possible. There’s no rush. Explore. Take your time.
Don’t forget to show gratitude by thanking the one who left the ‘message’ for you. Then, slowly you can open your eyes. That’s it. You might like to ponder upon the word, symbol or object left for you, and ascertain what it might mean.
Ofcourse, this is only a basic level exercise, and there is more, much more. Other exercises might encourage you to meet to one who left the boxes, to ‘interview’ them, and interact, to visit ‘inner’ locations’, and inform you about residuality, or to meet other characters etc. Finally, as regards this exercise, if the results are confusing to you, do email me.
‘A prison is never narrow when the imagination can range in it as it will.’ Marguerite of Navarre.