Our infinite imagination can take us anywhere. I can’t imagine not having an imagination. How could I escape reality and visualize other worlds, both past and future? How could my mind think outside the box, solve problems if I couldn’t configure other options and opportunities? How could I have hope and think positively if all I had to contemplate was my own situation in the present?
In short, our imagination is one of the most important tools we have as humans. Consciously or unconsciously, we use it to plan a party, map out a journey, describe an event. Certainly, as an author, it is an essential component to construct a story. It fires creativity enabling the mind to soar above its bodily boundary and dance freely among the stars.
Infinite Imagination is Our Ticket to where we Want to Go
When I write, I feel the accompanying euphoria as I inhabit a long-ago era or sense a character’s emotions. Imagination is our ticket to wherever we would like to go. John Weir said, ‘the power of the imagination makes us infinite.’ It is liberating, freeing us from earthly boundaries and concerns. Another quote is ‘As a man thinks in his/her heart so he/she is’.
It explains how humans survive the horrors of concentration camps and prisons. Their captors can control their bodies but not their minds. Even blind people can see with its wonderful power. A simple experiment is to stand in a totally dark room, you are familiar with and you will quickly see how your imagination plays a vital role.
Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched-they must be felt with the heart, imagined in the mind.”
Infinite Imagination Fires Hope and Positivity
And as you ponder life, you use your infinite imagination to conjure up images of the possible, and you imagine the best or worst. I guess this defines the difference between optimists and pessimists, between the overanxious and the chilled she’ll-be-right’ type of thinkers. It is imagination that often eats up the small hours, when the brain simply won’t close down. Often these thoughts are worries not lovely peaceful ones, the ones that let us sigh and drift off into Neverland. They are usually thoughts filled with “what if” and “If only”.
Personally, I am glad to be a happy thinker, not a worrier. Worry seems a waste of energy as most things people worry about don’t happen. If you do worry about a possible drama, then it seems best to imagine a way out of it or a precaution against it happening. This requires planning and the imagination. We need that imagination for so many aspects of ourselves and life.
Sadly, a lot of us fail to tap into the amazing power of our infinite imagination. The brain more easily comprehends what we experience than what we imagine. This means that reality and memory overpower and drown our imagination. Just because something was or is, should not be allowed to squeeze out what could be.
Infinite Imagination An Essential Tool for Creativity
I would never write another word if I did not have an active imagination. I’m pretty sure I would never have met any of my book characters if that was not so, especially Henri, the bookstore owner in The Last Hotel, one of my favourite creations. He came to me from somewhere, just out of the blue and started stuttering nervously in my ear.
Much to the horror of the spellcheck in Word, I persisted in typing his stuttering into my growing novel. The publisher editors had fun with it too. But he is the character readers comment on because in his imperfection, he seems so real, yet a product of my imagination. I saw Henri, heard him, before I wrote about him.
Our imagination can even use all five senses of sound, taste, smell, touch and sight. We can imagine a meal before we taste it, imagine our lover’s embrace before the doorbell rings. Such anticipation is due to our imagination. This is good use of it.
And where would movie producers be without their ability to invoke our vivid imagination? Hitchcock would never have become the success he was. Everyone remembers the shower scene in Psycho. You never actually saw anything; it was all in your imagination.
A Tool also for Happiness
But imagining bad things, negative things, fuels fear and despondency. If the imagination is given free rein to wander down the negative pathways of life, it is a sure recipe for cuddling up with the Black Dog of Depression. It takes effort to focus on the positive aspect of life, despite circumstances, but the result is well worth the effort.
Training the most powerful tool you have helps you build your road to success. It is the key factor in your happiness toolkit.
Not understanding the power of the imagination causes a lot of the suffering, failures and unhappiness that people experience. Negative use of the imagination leads us to associate with negative people, which can only end in negative results. If you only expect the negative, that is what will happen. Tell a child often enough they are a failure, that is what they become.
Negative outcomes are conceived in the imagination, long before they ever become a reality. The successful use of the imagination involves checking what we feed our minds. Feed on the negative and it becomes reality. You are what you eat and you are also what you think. Healthy body, healthy mind. So it is vital to our wellbeing that we strengthen and train our imagination, by focusing on the positive and eliminate the negative.
Anything is Possible
Quoting St Francis of Assisi, ‘Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and then suddenly you are doing the impossible.’ Well, maybe that is a bit simplistic but what harm is there in trying, reaching for the stars? That way, you will at least hit the mountain tops.
Walt Whitman, the American poet says “Keep your face always towards the sunshine-and shadows will fall behind you.” Here in Australia, my imagination suggests a little sun block should be applied as well, but you get the idea. Think positive, to be happy and healthy. After all, you have no idea what is over the horizon.
Let’s all give it our best shot. Find a quiet, comfortable place and drift off to wherever you would really like to be. Enjoy the five senses, see, hear, feel, smell, taste the place. Then come back and write down what you felt and saw. If you can draw, express it this way. My Inspired Postcards workshops draw on this imagination exercise. Attendees can keep their completed card for those days when they feel stressed or sad. They can reinhabit their desired destination and escape reality. You will be surprised how empowering this simple exercise is.
Another option is to clip pictures or snippets from magazines and make a collage of things you like. This principle is what we do when we decorate our homes. We surround ourselves with colours and things we like.
Other people might think ‘yuk’ when they see our choices, but who cares, it’s you who lives there. So, make sure you decorate for you, not just follow some fad of white minimalism that leaves you empty. Colours are important in our lives and colour choices are personal and should not be enforced by fashions, or what others think.
Escaping into Books and Films
And what a lovely, imaginative escape is a book or a film. Some films are so right for us that we can watch them over and over again. The same goes for books. But beware of the film made from your favourite book. The actors can be all wrong, not how you imagined and spoil your book experience forever.
As a hopeless romantic, I remember watching a Pride and Prejudice adaptation with a blue-eyed Darcy. Oh no! How could they choose a blue-eyed actor for the tall, dark, and handsome Darcy? Similarly, there was one adaptation with a plain looking blue-eyed Elizabeth. Also, all wrong. How can they exchange smouldering dark glances with pale blue eyes. No, no! The casting manager never read the book, or heard the author’s voice!
However, mostly they get it right. Whenever I re read Room with a View I picture Julian Sands as the young lover. He is so right for the part opposite a gorgeous young Helena Bonham Carter. Thank you, Ivory Films for this treat.
As you can see or imagine, there are so many ways to use our imaginative powers to help ourselves be the best we can be. Dream on, power on with your imagination. There’s no limit to where you can go or what you can do. Keep an eye out for another article on dreams, a huge part of our imagination.
Photo Source Unsplash, Ike Ellyana
Joni Scott is an Australian author with three published novels: Whispers through Time and The Last Hotel and Colour Comes to Tangles. Joni also co-hosts a women’s blog; https://whisperingencouragement.com/ and has her own website; https://joniscottauthor.com.