Imagination is the curse of humanity but rarely perceived as such. It’s not a view likely to have been shared by the great Albert Einstein. The difficulty is that as a race we’ve become seduced by imagination to such a degree that most people live in a mind-induced dream world that oscillates between the past and the present. Since imagination is revered in existence as a sort of god, it probably hasn’t occurred to many people to examine exactly what it is, and to what extent it distorts our perception of reality.
As self-reflective beings we’re able to formulate pictures in the mind, which are abstract energetic particles of thought. The primary purpose of this is to enable practical action in the world. When an action is taken it dissolves the thought images, leaving the mind still and receptive to the new. However, when images are allowed to link up with associated impressions from the past, the energised particles of thought are unable to be eliminated and clog up the psychic system. This creates an inner tension and heightens the need for a visual affirmation to substantiate the feeling of being alive.
When someone imagines a beautiful scene from the past, or some pleasurable event, the psyche is compelled to release an opposite negative effect to compensate for the induced positive feelings. This will usually manifest within a few days as a bout of worry or depression, with the person unable to desist from imagining something unpleasant from the past. Visualisation, and other psychic devices that involve picturing images in the mind, are equally harmful and corrosive to the purity of the psyche. Imagination, as an indulgence of the mind and emotions, upsets the psychic balance by taking from it for personal gain and giving nothing back in return
Images that appear in the mind, such as a scene from childhood or an old friend, are random and unavoidable. As an exercise in self-mastery, it’s important to be present and swift enough to catch the image and not allow the next frame to run. A thought is not thinking, and any image will disintegrate when looked upon as a conscious action of perception. It’s because of the absence of any real knowledge that children are encouraged to use their imagination at school, unaware that their future unhappiness is being programmed into them. This is not to blame anyone; it’s just to say it as it is. The use of imagination is unavoidable in the early development, so it’s important not to stifle it but to keep the children grounded in the physical senses particularly in the natural restorative of the blessed earth. It’s only when an individual is sufficiently seasoned by life and prepared to ditch the imagination that it’s possible to live as a being in the present without any emotional props.
It’s often said that an artist, writer or designer who creates something unique and outstanding must have a great imagination. But is this really the case? No imagination is necessary when immersed in the total absorption of the creative act itself. Before any creative work begins there has to be an idea. An idea is complete unto itself with no need for embellishment. To the degree that an artist, or anyone, is able to replicate an idea in its pristine state in the world, the greater the originality in any creative work. An artist preparing to apply his brushes to the canvas is in a state of receptivity to the well of inspiration within the body. The mind goes still and looks at every available resource to give definition and structure to the task at hand. When this focus of perception is applied as a way of life to encompass the whole living experience, an individual begins to tap into a unique pool of creativity that is the idea behind the body sustaining the living life.
Once, long ago, when human beings were at the stage of becoming recognisable as we are today, the human mind was far less supple and intellectually flexible. Then, any type of thought that entered the mind was retained like a frame of film in a slide. It would take thousands of years of thoughtful time and emotion for mentalised images to operate at the seamless level we experience today. The evolution of the species and the human animal was a great success, but with one calamitous oversight: the emotional element, which was an essential for Homo sapiens to branch out from the other species, was supposed to be discarded when, as a race, we had come to our senses. In our modern era the evolution of the physical body is complete – but with partially evolved intelligence.
In my experience, the imaginative element of living can be transformed by a deepening love of the formless power that is God. God is not imaginable but can be realised in the mirror of inner space as intimations of divine wonder and the idea that sustains the mystery of life behind the body. There’s no imagination in nature or in the dear creatures that we love and cherish. That’s why they are so free and innocent. With the majority of the world’s population imagining this and that every moment, there’s little space for the greater good to enter existence so as to make a dent in the imagined good of the masses. It’s not my intention to tell anyone what to do, but only to point out what I’ve discovered to be of value. To imagine anything else would be folly.