To build a deep appreciation for the imagination’s power, we need not travel to a far out land nor bask in the sun of a remote beach. No need to invest time in the mountains facing a wall for contemplation as Bodhidharma did for several years. We only need take a step outside the familiarity of our home and look around.
The porch that our feet step on—carved, melted and crafted by someone’s hands—were conceived in an architect’s mind.
The car we step into to travel to our next destination—brought to life by a team of people— was designed in someone’s mind.
The walk to the train station reveals to us many more inventions: sidewalks, streets, parks, fashion, Starbucks, stores, restaurants, 20-story offices, comic book characters in costume, cameras in tow, signs hurling sales deals at us from every direction, smartphones. These are all tangible manifestations of the imagination.
If we take this evidence to heart, just about everything we experience externally is a product of the imagination.
The Law of Correspondence describes the framework with which our universe is built upon; something cannot be created from nothing, so from the immaterial, matter is formed. Another way to describe it: from the spiritual, the physical is formed.
Within the word “imagination,” we have “I,” “image” and “magi,” speaking to a focus within oneself to produce an image by way of a magical process. When we speak of magic, we delve into processes that change energy from one form to another. This faculty enables us to create mental pictures.
Scientists today reveal physical confirmation that our brains activate before we make a physical movement, demonstrating the correlation between conceiving an idea before carrying it out in the world. According to New Scientist, brain imaging shows that it “is possible to detect brain activity associated with movement before someone is aware of making a decision to move” (2013). In tests, electrical activity is shown in key motor areas up to five seconds before volunteers became aware of the choice to push a button. It is important to give attention to the in-between space of awareness and choice; this tells us that imagining is but one part of the process, and the decision to act on that mental picture requires commitment. The Ancient Egyptian name for the imagination is Het-Heru, meaning “House of Heru” or “House of the Will,” speaking to its power of forming the first conception before we can take action.
Perhaps we should evolve Napoleon Hill’s notion of “If you can conceive it, you can achieve it” to say if you can conceive it and commit, you can achieve it. In a visceral, experiential way, we can inhibit or expand our potential just by the parameters placed on our capacity to imagine.
Becoming more inventive, I remember cutting up bedsheets to make capes for Batman stories. We created the scripts, chose other friends to be the villains and fought invisible bad guys. The make-believe made it real. From board games to character portrayals to imaginary friends, as children we naturally created magical lies.
If not nurtured, this dedication to play dissolves, and becomes replaced with responsibilities we’ve designed in adult life.
Evidence Through Experience
Imagination is also the prime power involved in guided meditations. There are various technologies, such as the Kemetic Men Ab, which specifically works with imagination to re-calibrate mental-emotional states. It can help people reprogram behavior and overcome a negative experience in the physical body, like stress.
We can experience this imaginative power directly by going into visualizations of our own. We can set up a scenario and feel how our bodies and emotions respond. If unaware, we can send our hearts racing by the mere thought of missing an important flight or imagining the possibility of failing an exam. We can also put this power to work for us, designing imagery that helps to elevate.
To become skilled at this process of bringing imagination into the physical world, we can acknowledge a few points based on research, science and personal experience:
- Imagination isn’t unreal; it is a spiritual faculty that enables us to conceive of what to make physical.
- Imagination is always in operation because it is the power which enables us to act out what we think is possible.
- Imagination operates through the right-spatial brain hemisphere, strongly associated with symbolism, while the left-logical brain hemisphere is strongly associated with the material process. The left is what grounds the right.
- Imagination can affect our physiology, mind and emotions.
- The main difference between imagination and physicality is density level. The substance in imagination vibrates at a higher density level than physical matter.