Imagination is the faculty by which we formulate ideas about things that are not present or have not been directly experienced. It is how we innovate: everything ever created first had to be imagined.
A good imagination is not just the preserve of children, storytellers and artists, it is available to everyone.
Imagination involves all five senses. We imagine by means of pictures, sounds, touch, taste and smell, or a combination. The more vivid and lasting these thought-images and sense-impressions, the more powerful they are.
Imagination can be used for good or ill. When we use our imagination wisely, it is a vehicle for positive change. It can begin the process by which better things become reality, or it can lead us in the opposite direction.
Contemplate yourself in the conditions you wish to create in your life. Do it often. There are always better things ahead for those who focus their minds on a bright future.
Two types of imagination
There are two forms of imagination. The first rearranges existing ideas, concepts and memories into new combinations. We can bring the past to mind in any combination of the five senses, but are not creating anything new. We can also imagine how things might have turned out if things had been different.
The second is creative. It envisages things that never existed (past, present or future). Try this: close your eyes. Imagine an elephant. ‘See’ it as clearly as you can. If you are able to do this, the first type of imagination is engaged.
Now imagine a pink elephant wearing a tuxedo. How clearly can you ‘see’ it? If you are able to do this, your creative imagination is at work since there is not and never can be a real pink elephant, let alone one dressed this way.
Awaken your imagination
- Tell stories, the more far-fetched the better. Picture these events in your mind’s eye.
- Take an everyday object and ask yourself how it could be improved. Imagine it made shorter, longer, thicker, lighter, heavier, or was packaged differently or grouped with something else.
- Use cartoons or mind maps rather than lists. Make them colourful and inventive.
- Imagine how you might make your home or workplace more pleasant, your work more fun, useful and productive.
Envision your future – a powerful exercise
Take a few moments to relax and envisage the perfect life for yourself:
- Create a mental screen inside your forehead, just above eye level.
- Project onto it images of your perfect life. Imagine being what you aspire to be, your dreams becoming reality and bringing you happiness.
- Experience it with all your senses. ‘Hear’ the sounds and ‘sense’ the feelings and atmospheres. What are you doing? Who’s with you? How do you feel? What do you smell and taste?
If any limiting thoughts or images creep in, let them go. If they refuse to go away, acknowledge them, terminate the session and return to it five or ten minutes later.
Improving your creative imagination cannot help but have a transformational effect on your life!
©David Lawrence Preston, 11.12.2016
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How to Books, 2007