Imagination is a Powerful Tool: Five Exercises

Created July 29, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

For every function of mind, it’s there because it can be used a certain way conducive to Flow state and happiness. It’s ours to discover what that way is, and isn’t.

Take the Ego for example. The best way to use it is sparingly, when the time requires it (e.g., if you don’t use it, you will be used by a low-minded other). That’s its survival relevancy and why it’s in us. The best motto of the Ego is Stand Up For Yourself.

However, in this our hisandherstory, we have devolved here into this channel, this instance of the metaverse in which all of the inappropriate uses of the Ego have gone rampant, and caused us to build a culture around misuses of the Ego. A culture built upon bad behavior.

The religionists got that one right. They speak truth on that score. Science with a conscience says the same thing. That is all the alarm clock doing its job. Now science with a conscience and the truly spiritual in each of us can look each other in the eye, shake hands, and tackle the challenge of restoring enlightened self-interest pragmatically.

The need to compete did not come in the DNA. The DNA gave us the power to compete when it was necessary. It did not hardwire us to want to continually provoke and aggravate competition. The trait of a tendency toward aggressive self-defense has been conditioned into us by the present culture of the past 6000 years. It’s been an age of power games and it’s not over.

We have to be able to look at such things. To see why we are the way we “instinctively” are. Why we have what appears to be a natural inclination to be repelled by certain things, and attracted to others. It’s not so much hardwired instinct, it’s also our life experiences, which tend to cause a defensive stance that the person is not aware of taking.

We have to be able to adjust our decisions based on knowing these things about ourselves. Adjust for our own biases. We have no survival interest in having any biases, our thriving depends on making decisions that cause things to work out the way we wanted, or better. Ethical Effectiveness must be the only thing we optimize our decisions and our lives around.

The rational mind is not in itself capable of changing behavior. Unless all parts of oneself are united in making a decision, you will be losing effectiveness.

The culture has tended to push us in the direction of the rational mind, with less attention being paid to perception, feelings, intuitions, and especially the imagination.

Using the imagination during daily alone spaces can be a way of progressing faster in self-mastery. This can be much more important to your future life than physical exercise, and the two can sometimes be combined, given patience and concentration.

There are two ways of using the imagination, and they both work. One is to choose what to focus on, and the other is to let the imagination do what it likes.

The misuse of the imagination is to picture or fear upcoming negative events for more than a moment in which the alarm function is thanked, and the mind focuses on solutions for the feared eventuality. Dwelling on the alarm ringing without turning it off does not make you effective in the real world. Switching from learning that the body has picked up a blip on the radar that looks unfriendly, to thanking that part of yourself and immediately fearlessly focusing on how to unwind the situation.

If fears do not distract you that day, one imagination exercise I call LOVE. In the exercise, you vividly imagine all the people and things you love, and revel in how much you love them, one at a time, taking your time with each one.

When all parts of oneself get into LOVE the rewards are salient. Afterwards you may be in bliss and act lovingly towards the people you love. Maybe even perfect strangers.

Another exercise, which works best if engaged in right after LOVE, I call FORGIVENESS. In your imagination you forgive each person you continue to bear malice towards. Starting with yourself. You want to imagine yourself at very young ages to recall things you hated yourself for, and to finally forgive yourself for them, one at a time, as they come up in memory. Then each other person or thing you specifically don’t love. Forgive them all. Don’t carry the past it’s too heavy. Don’t make the same mistakes again but don’t blame. Blame wastes internal decision making energy and time and doesn’t lead to greater effectiveness.

A third imagination exercise I call SANKALPA, which is Sanskrit for INTENTION or VOW. This is where you dream the movie of your life with a happy Hollywood ending, the way you want it to come out. This is the most important imagination exercise.

A fourth imagination exercise I call PREDREAM. This is best performed after one is comfortable in bed. One imagines the next day the way one wishes it to come out. This leads to some interesting screw-ups being imagined, and contingency plans or prevention plans are laid to take care of such exigencies. This is both preparation and rehearsal, and evokes creativity in deciding against saying one thing and instead saying another, in upcoming conversations being imagined. A further benefit is enjoyed if one falls asleep or nearly does, because this hypnagogic state creates opportunity for the subconscious mind to help write the script of your imaginings. This is a doorway for revelations so always have a pen, pad, and tiny flashlight close by.

The fifth imagination exercise I call WAKEUP. As you wake up you focus on not forgetting your dreams. Then you see if there is any relationship between your dreams and what happened yesterday or recently. Not so much in the events, but are they connected in some way by the way they feel? Take notes before getting out of bed. Anything you can now see a better way of doing, something you did yesterday perhaps, write down notes before getting out of bed.

Obviously, these are not one-and-done exercises. All of them can be used over and over again, picking the one to fit your mood or need.

These exercises are all fun, because the imagination is fun to use, if you don’t misuse it to falling into a black hole which is 100% masochism. Dark moments are valuable clues to the unmade internal decisions that are still waiting to be confronted and decisively made. Write those down. Work on them patiently in terms of strategic development, and let the subconscious help you. Don’t ignore any signal in your mind, be especially open to any hunches or ideas that might come out of nowhere, and be cautious not to become infatuated with any which have negative overtones toward someone or toward anything.

If you’d like to think more about the imagination, here is some recommended reading out of Wikipedia from some of my teachers.

Love,

Bill

As developed by Carl Jung between 1913 and 1916, active imagination is a meditation technique wherein the contents of one’s unconscious are translated into images, narratives, or personified as separate entities. It can serve as a bridge between the conscious “ego” and the unconscious.

Active imagination – Wikipedia

For James, imagination is intentional in the sense that it points towards an object that it poses as real. It has therefore a cognitive content, however minimum.

The Role of Imagination in James’s and Dewey’s …

“The realm of imagination was seen to be a “reservation” made during the painful transition from the pleasure principle to the reality principle in order to provide a substitute for instinctual satisfactions which had to be given up in real life.

Freud on The realm of imagination – freud quotes

 

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