On any given day, if you open up my Twitter stream, you are likely to find me discussing (artfully crafting a message in 140 characters or less!) the deep importance of imagination. Imagination is the creative force by which we feel the full potency of being human. It happens at the intersection of the mind, the heart, and the will. Cultivating the imagination is more than something that might serve us in creating art. It also gives us the metaphysical muscle to improve the quality of our lives in ways that matter. A strong imagination is as important as a strong body. We feel vitally alive when we know we always have the capacity to bring a new way of being into the physical world.
It’s important to remember that while we are in a great dance with forces larger than us, we are not entirely beholden to those forces. A strong practice cultivating the imagination proves to us that we have the creative power to collaborate with our majestic dance partners. It also instills in us an attitude of responsibility about creating our lives. We have power as creators. I think this is what “made in the image of God” really means.
Here are a few reasons the imagination and the images we conjure using imagination are tremendously important:
**The images we allow into our psychic space shape our perception, and therefore our lives (so, tv, fb, what we habitually read, thoughts we habitually entertain). I’d say they shape our neural pathways, but whats being shaped is something more than what can be termed the physical brain. Images create reality.
**Understanding the importance of imagination, and actively using it, is a foundational tool for life. Everything else of more complex nature is built on this primary principle.
**There is a passive quality to imagination too, one that does not need our direct involvement. Imagination has a life of its own. This is why when you let a project you have been focusing on rest, it breathes itself into fuller existence, and if you love it, if you want it, you will be aware enough to catch it. If it knocks you over with its force, demanding acknowledgement, then it caught you : )
**The images we carry about ourselves live around us in our subtle bodies. We act from these images, and other people can become aware of them. Being aware of the images we carry about ourselves is good practice. We can start there, and then gradually become aware of the images we carry about others, or the images others carry about us.
**We can change the images images we carry about ourselves, and send images to other people.
**Images are boundary-less, meaning they transcend language and cultural barriers. Images are universal units of communication (along with sound ~ as in beautiful or wistful or joyous music, and touch).
So, all this is on the personal and fairly immediate level. But what about issues of great (meaning, broader, not more important) import. Complex global ecological and socio-political issues. How do images come into play there? I think it is a big and important question I will take up in another post. For now I will say that I think the imagination does have a role to play in even those issues.
Until next time,
Yours in imagistic collaboration,