Imagine That – Part One

Jun 30, 2023 | Virtues of the Heart

Can I create something new from what I already know?

Is my memory, experiences, and accumulated knowledge enough for real change to happen?

Or do I need to use my imagination and Intuition?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”

–Albert Einstein

My brian/mind has been good to me, it has protected me, developed skills to make a living, built and nurtured relationships, traveled the world, led me to fun and pleasurable activities, and countless other life experiences.

But if I want to expand what is possible in my life experience or change my reality, I will need more than what I already know. I will need something new to enter my field of awareness.

Imagination and intuition are the means to do this.

Imagination can enter the unknown, the new, the unmanifested, and the unborn. Imagination has no limits and can reach outside the boundaries we have come to accept as our normal limitations.

How can I do that?

Here’s one simple personal example:

I love to start a new sculpture from my imagination. It is never fully formed in my mind’s eye, but it is just a vague idea or vision of something I am about to sculpt. It’s like following a gentle scent in the distance that leads me in the direction of an emerging future, in this case, it is in the form of a sculpture. This gives me the freedom to create spontaneously and in the moment.

When working with clay, I start building a structure following this scent, but inevitably it changes many times as I move and shape the clay. Thinking about what I am trying to sculpt is not required, it is in the actual doing, moving the clay to let it reveal itself.

Recently while in my studio, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to create and started forming the clay. As it began to emerge I could see that I was not feeling moved in any way. My mind/brain has experience in the composition, shape appeal, object influences and meaning of certain shapes, but this is automatic, so it plays a part in this creation. But it is my intuitive Impulses and emotional sensing that cause me to move the clay and search for what wants to emerge. When I am completely focused on my hands, letting them move with the impulses I’m sensing and that is the space in which I am allowing something new to emerge. It requires me to not focus on thinking, but trust the process of sensing, listening, and feeling energy that wants to be born through me.

In that process, the sculpture takes form with constant revising, and standing back viewing from all angles. Refining it is still allowing my hands to refine from impulse. I am the witness and the facilitator of this birthing.

Dance of Consciousness

One of a series I call The Dance of Consciousness

There is a point where the sculpture looks and feels finished to me. My imagination combined with intuitive impulse has led me to this new creation, a new artwork that has an effect on the viewer. In that sense, it is imbued with my feelings, energy, and intention that I invested into it. You could say it is alive, it has an impact, something to transmit or say. It becomes an out-picturing of consciousness.

The Art of Life

Such is the case with life, we can go about our day in the relative comfort of our familiar patterns, living from what is already known, or we can activate our imaginations to step in and create something new. Imagination has been marginalized by academia and commonly viewed as only for the naive, children, artists, and dreamers.

I’m suggesting that imagination is the means to reach outside of our comfort zone and change our reality.

Our life is the canvas (or clay in my example), it is where we are the artists of creating something new on the canvas of our life experience. It can start with a small practice using our imagination and intuition.

I used these steps for change many times in my life:

1.Self-observation: an honest and authentic inner inquiry.
Look at my life, what do I see?
How do I feel about myself?
Are there things I would like to change?
Am I living a fulfilled life?

2.Do I want to change my life?
Change requires desire, will, intention, and choice.

3.Do I believe I can change it?
The most important step and this is perhaps for most hidden of the self-observations.

“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t.”

If you are content, or your fear of change is too embedded, then this may not be for you at this time. But if you clearly want change in your life, then you move to Step 2. Change requires that you are willing to face the challenges of change. Step 3, goes right to the heart of our present reality. Beliefs are central to how we experience the world we see and experience. Beliefs can be deceptive in that they are formed from early childhood by our parents, education, social environment, community, government, religion, science, news, and the world as we see it. Our beliefs become normal and acceptable as the way it is. This is the most challenging hurdle because it is ingrained in us. I certainly run into this often and it remains a challenge as there are so many ingrained beliefs we hold onto.

Never-the-less, we can use our imagination to change our reality. In actuality, we are creating our reality at every moment, it is just that we may be creating a life of maintaining the status quo, but it is still creating our reality by following our beliefs.

This is where the six heart virtues come in. Applying the virtues offers us a means to reset our beliefs and emotional attachments to our past. In this process, I can apply appreciation, compassion, forgiveness, humility, understanding, and valor to myself and others, which will help dissolve the self-imposed resistance to change.

Whenever we attempt to change our life situation by applying this technique or that technique, we experience a period of no change. I want to change and “I’m doing what I am supposed to do”, but it is not happening, I’m still suffering, I’m still poor, I have not found my soul mate, I’m not enlightened and I’m still unhappy! This can be frustrating or worst it can sabotage our efforts to change. We fall victim to old familiar beliefs of limitation, over the imagined unfamiliar change we are seeking. The programmed history is very strong and requires effort, trust and proof is helpful!

How do we overcome this? It requires persistence, compassion, and understanding, and another helpful result is to experience “self-evident proof”. Self-evident proof is built incrementally over time by taking small steps using our imagination.

This will be the focus of my next blog Imagine That, Part Two.

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