Imagination isn’t just for children. As adults we can use it to renew our mind and expand our sense of wellness. Imagination is defined as the ability to produce images, ideas and sensations in the mind without external input of the senses, such as seeing or hearing.
Exercise for the Mind
Imagination moves us beyond logic and reason. It stretches our mind by building new connections so we can think bigger and brighter. Honing in on what we imagine takes focus and concentration. This strengthens our ability to visualize, articulate, meet goals and remain present in the moment.
Imagination and Memory
Imagination generates new memories. When it comes to experience, memory doesn’t care if they are real or imagined. Whether it’s the dream you had last night or the breakfast you had this morning, to memory its all just data. Albert Einstein said imagination is more important then knowledge because it encompasses all we could ever know. Imagined experiences are exceptional because they are not restricted by physical laws. With time out of the equation, everything we will ever know already exists and is awaiting our recognition. Could imagination be a memory of what’s to come?
You’re in Control
With imagination you are the only authority. This means you have complete control of how things play out. It’s a safe place to take risks and explore options before attempting real world actions. Whether we apply our experiments to real life or not, the results stay with us for future reference.
Inspiration leads to innovation and positive change. When we apply imagination to what we already know, we experience something new. These new conceptions bring novel improvements to our personal and professional lives. Look around your environment; nearly everything you see was first created in someone’s imagination.
Variety, Not Opposition
Imagination lets us see old things in new ways and all things in more ways than one. As our consciousness grows the world and its people become an interesting variety. Conflict fades as we see and feel more of what we appreciate through others. If we lack anything, it’s another’s point of view. Their expression may help us to imagine new possibilities regardless of whether we agree or disagree with their opinions.
Life evokes an emotional response. Catch a movie, read a book or turn on the radio and you’ll feel what I mean. In the same way, we can point our awareness toward any memory and unlock power from its emotional content, even if the memory is not our own. Once, I borrowed Neil Armstrong’s ‘small step’ onto the moon. The power I drew from investing my awareness in this experience unleashed a burst of physical energy so strong that I was able to complete a grueling workout when I had absolutely nothing left. It doesn’t matter if an experience is real or imagined; power flows!
Try It Now
There is no time like the present. It just takes a minute. Pause and get calm by taking a few conscious, controlled breaths. Become quietly aware. Next, close your eyes, search your past, access a positive memory and re-experience it. The key is to move slowly, notice details and feel it like it was actually happening.
- Pick a memory with a strong emotional attachment such as a family member, friend, pet or personal triumph. When I was a cub scout I won first place in the rocket derby. When I re-imagine this experience I’m energized and renewed.
- Start with visual information and view it like a movie. Later, add other sense data like sound, touch or taste. With practice, stories unfold smoother and with more feeling.
- Combine memory and imagination to create a new experience. Feel the energy as it unfolds. For example, right now, as I write this, I’m remembering my dad. I picture him in the chair next to me. He’s wearing a plaid shirt, khaki pants and that blue hat he always liked. Now his hand is on my shoulder and he is standing behind me. He tells me he’s pleased to see me writing! I feel love, camaraderie, warmth, accomplishment and support. This energy gives me a sense of wellness that is not to be missed. These simple scenarios are easy, empowering and accessible; anytime, anywhere.
- Focus on sounds. Feel them vibrate through your body as you hear them. These can be real or imagined. The point is to clue in on the vibrations. What do sounds feel like? As I imagine my high school best friend Jay’s voice it transmits a feeling of confidence and adventure. Whose voice can you imagine hearing?
- Imagine good things for others. See them living abundant lives. Hear them speaking wonderful things. Picture them in scenes where they are healthy, happy and well. This leads to tremendous energy and a new perspective of others. Who could you imagine something good for?
- Imagine positive things happening for yourself. Imagine the details. Feel the feelings they evoke. Be sure to both observe and act as if it were a movie in your mind. Let go of any need to have it be true or real. You may be surprised to find some of it showing up in your future. What good would you like to see happen?
- Superimpose something onto reality. When you reach for a piece of fruit, picture a solid gold apple alongside the edible ones. Tell yourself it means that money and you are friends. Feel it as if it were true. Notice 30 foot sunflowers along the roadside on your morning commute. Tell yourself it’s fascinating. Feel the awe and wonder of such a site. With practice, new ideas will emerge spontaneously. Feelings will flow easily. The day becomes a treasured adventure.
- Apply temporary, helpful meanings to everyday objects. Use them as positive symbolic support. As I sit here at my laptop, finishing this article, my portable hard drive symbolizes the storage of powerful memories. The mouse represents the freedom to interact with meaning and precision. The computer screen is a doorway into the unseen world of the internet. With imagination, it’s child’s play to recharge our battery and renew our mind by seeing everyday things in new ways.
- Imagine Wellness
Again, throughout the day, take a moment to pause and get calm, employ your imagination, witness the details as if they were real and most importantly- feel the energy. Questions or comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Delaware Park Living resident Brian Nesline is a New York State Board Certified Addictions Recovery Coach, Graphic Designer, Artist, Speaker and Author of Identity Repositioning™ – a free course to help teach self-awareness. For more information visit www.teachselfawareness.com