Interestingly, people often say they don’t have an imagination. True, it may be underdeveloped or stifled. However, everyone has an imagination. Without it, we would be unable to communicate at all.
How would you rate your imagination? Is there room for improvement? Please read on to learn a few strategies for improving your own imagination.
If you watch children playing, it is easy to see free and boundless use of imagination. So what happens to us that we let that slip away?
From my clinical practice I have learned there are many factors in the loss of imagination. A primary one is that it falls into disuse as emphasis is placed on studying, memorizing, and learning about the world from teachers and parents. Other causes that my clients have shared include being punished or ridiculed, being told that imagination isn’t real, being lazy (being highly imaginative does take energy), and that it is a waste of time (and that would be shameful).
While most of us are not frequently engaged in outlandish and creative imaginings, we do use our imaginations all the time. We must, just to navigate our world.
As an example, when your dining companion says, “Pass the ketchup”, you reach out, grab the ketchup, and hand it to the person. Are you curious what that has to do with imagination?
Your mind perceived the request, and then drew up a mental picture of something that would represent ketchup out of your memory banks. You looked around and found a duplicate image that matched closely enough to be identifiable, perhaps sitting right in front of you on the table. Then your mind went on to imagine the act of grabbing the bottle and handing it over to your friend. Finally, your body executed the action.
There are many more steps that the brain instantaneously goes through in order to achieve such a simple act, which are beyond the scope of this article. However, the point is that we are using our imaginations on a daily basis.
We all have an imagination, and that is a good foundation. What is desired, though, is to expand that basic skill into something grander and more adventuresome. Why do we need to do that? Simply put, this is the foundational ingredient for increasing intuition, expanding consciousness, communicating with spirit guides, recalling past lives, planning your future, experiencing deep healing, and manifesting your dreams.
If you want any of those things, you will want to strengthen your imagination.
Three strategies to expand and exercise the imagination
- Practice creative visualization
Listen to guided visualization tapes and CD’s. Rather than being passive in the process, encourage your mind to really embellish the journey, adding details, emotions, curiosity, and surprises.
Visualization tapes and CD’s are widely available from your favorite book and music sources. Some libraries have them available at no charge. At the end of Part Two of this book there is a script that will assist you in making your own visualization tape.
- Make up stories
Practice writing fictional stories with outlandish characters and environments. Allow the story to go beyond all possibility of reason or reality. The wilder it is the better. Remember there are no limitations and no judgments concerning style in this exercise.
Volunteer to tell stories to your children, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren. You may even have to borrow a child from one of your friends! It can be great fun and you may become the children’s hero for delighting them with your flights of fancy. Naturally, you will keep your stories age appropriate.
- Read Fantasy Fiction
Reading science fiction stories requires a fertile imagination. This genre of tales involves descriptions of characters, landscapes, vehicles, machinery, and adventures that have rarely, if ever, been seen or experienced in this world. Some people consider reading science fiction a waste of time. In reality, it can be a valuable exercise in expanding the imagination.
Imagination is one of the most important tools we possess. What can you do each day to exercise that skill?