Personal and spiritual growth is work that takes place in the realm of the imagination. What makes for a "realized" human? Someone who is whole, and free, inwardly and outwardly? Someone who has that presence, who occupies a room fully, who wields their personal power gently yet fully? How does THAT happen in a person, for a person? This happens when someone develops an intimate relationship with themselves. And how does THAT happen? This is something that takes place in the realm of the imagination. I like to warn people that I am a big fan of imaginary friends. The ones you had as a kid that lost touch with and also new ones that you invent as an adult just because this is a presence you want in your life because it FEELS good, it feels healing. This is an example of work that takes place in the imagination. Its the place where I have worked to heal myself.
Is this healing real? Sure, because it feels good. I feel happier and more whole when I am communing with my imaginary friends. Some of you may call them angels or guides. I like to give them my own names that sound a little more grounded. Whatever their names, they lead me to healthier behaviors. For example, my Omnipotent Life Manager imaginary friend "gave" me this personalized time block scheduling system which has been a godsend this year. I am sooo thankful to her; this simple tool has made me so much calmer and more productive for the past month. What prevents us from doing this kind of thing more often? Our lack of "strength" of imaginative capacity. We don't trust our imaginations; we have been taught that they aren't real or safe. We have so many judgemental beliefs about our imagination "muscle". Example: dreamy people are lazy or useless, or never "amount to much". We tell ourselves that we are "just" laying in bed, being "unproductive", and really, we're daydreaming, flexing this all powerful muscle of our minds. How many times as a kid were we told that we needed to stop laying around and DO something? Or we even started telling ourselves we're "bored" and need to be entertained.
When it comes time to imagine something into existence, to create, to visualize, we panic. We think we are being dishonest or... Not "authentic". We tell ourselves that we are inventing things. Or not doing something "right". We are so accustomed to questions with multiple choice boxes and checklists and following orders that in moments where we most need our imagination to "work", it just lays there, like an unwilling child. Of course it's an unwilling child, since for decades it has been told its value by the "adults" in the room, the people who "know".
I am here to tell you, friends, that if you want personal growth, here's a belief that you can play with: "Your imagination is real. Start living there. It's where you create the self you want to become." If the realized You isn't allowed to live in your imagination, where can s/he live?
Recently, a friend and I were working on a visualization meditation that involved going through many layers of light and mist and "gel" and colors in order to "reach" a place of "higher" consciousness. She was concerned that she wasn't seeing or "finding" the right mists or layers or windows to go through. This, I realized, is where this notion of "authenticity" is a trap. Our commitment to "authenticity" can shut us down. When it comes to personal growth, it's all imagination, it's all story, it's all invented. AND it's all real. BOTH are true. As we are visualizing this "higher realm", when are we manufacturing and when are we discovering something that is already there? Who cares? In the realm of the imagination, it doesn't matter WHO created it, all that matters is that it's there. Does that thoughtform help us, does it serve our development as humans? Well, does it bring healing, a sense of wholeness, of presence, of connection to something bigger than ourselves? If so, then yes, it serves. Because, as we started with, we're after personal growth, right?
Our imaginations are the realm where all of this "work" happens. I mean, calling it work is kind of a funny thing. Because what does your imagination want to do most of all? Play. And daydream. THAT is the "work" of imagination. THAT is how our "muscle" gets stronger. When we're at play, we lose track of who created what. At play, we allow ourselves to sense this invisible line that draws us closer to what's fun and feels good. And this place is so truly authentic that "authenticity" itself becomes an irrelevant construct better left to the grownups who care about such things.