noun: the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
When the word imagination is used, typically we think it's synonymous with fantasy, or "not real". But as you can see from the definition, it really just means it's something that is not present in the "outer world"....meaning....it only exists in the inner world of the mind. Interestingly, doesn't everything that exists in our world today first start there? It starts in the mind of the creator, whether that be we as individual creators or the universal Creator. We start with an imaginal thought and then at some point that imaginal thought can become an external thing. That's why it can be so powerful.
If you stop to think about it, we are imagining all day long. We imagine conversations with other people. We imagine different scenarios. We imagine how things could go wrong. The majority of our thoughts are just imaginal scenes, many times revolving around what we don't like, don't want, or are worried about. How many conversations have you had in the past week that involved you telling someone what you really think of them or what they should or shouldn't do? This is imagining. Unfortunately, we don't really realize how truly powerful our imaginations are. In our imaginations, the seeds of creation are planted.
There have been many studies done showing us that the brain changes (neuroplasticity) and rewires, not just through "real" actions and behaviors, but also through imagined actions. Research has found that the same areas of the brain light up when something is imagined as when it is actually experienced. Most pro-athletes at this point understand that visualization is a powerful tool when it comes to performance and winning. We know from research that performing an action in the mind over and over affects the outcome. This post is not to provide evidence. You can find that easily with some google searches. This post is to get you to realize that you may be defeating yourself if you're not using your imagination wisely.
Start using this powerful tool to your advantage. Why not? You're using it all day long anyway. As you continue to repeat the same negative mental conversations, the same worrisome thoughts, the same arguments, you continue to experience the same negative outcomes. These imaginary scenarios are seeds you are planting in the field of your mind and then reaping the harvest. Let's change what we plant so we can get a new and better crop. Let's get more of what we want rather than what we don't want! Your imagination is a creative, powerful force. Consciously use it to create a better result.
How To Use An Imaginal Scene To Your Benefit
1. Decide what you want regarding a particular situation.
2. Create a scene as if it were a movie, with your desired outcome.
3. Close your eyes and relax for a minute, then using all your imaginal senses feel as if you're the actor in the scene, just like you do when you're daydreaming. Hear yourself speaking. See the other person, place, or thing in front of you as it applies to the situation. Visualize and EXPERIENCE in your MIND the outcome you would prefer to have. Feel all the feelings you would feel AS IF IT WERE REALLY HAPPENING right now. Do this from a first-person point of view rather than "watching yourself" on the screen.
4. Replay this over and over.
5. Enjoy the experience.
The process I described above is like when we daydream. We are doing it frequently without noticing it. However, we tend to do it by creating and acting out scenes with unwanted outcomes based on fear. We sleep-walk through our lives imagining all the things that have gone wrong in the past or might go wrong in the future. This is how we not only create suffering and worry for ourselves, but also create more of it in our future because visualizing and imagining are creative in nature and will affect our outcomes. Want better outcomes? Create better imaginal scenes. The next time you notice yourself replaying a bad conversation in your head, create a better conversation for the future with this person. The next time you're worried about how something is going to turn out, imagine it turns out the way you would like it to. If you do that, then it's more likely that it will turn out better. If nothing else, you will at least have had a much more enjoyable experience in your mind, rather than creating an overwhelming, painful experience.
Notice how many things you imagine tend to be based on fear, worry, or anger.
Instead of imagining all the unwanted things, purposely create a new, better scene and replay this one over and over rather than the negative one.
Have fun with it! Enjoy a better imaginary experience.
Watch how your outer "real" world experiences start to get better because you are creating and rehearsing what you want, rather than what you don't want. Your brain will naturally look for more of these in your life.
When you find yourself imagining conversations or scenarios that are based on fear and worry, change them around to focus on what you would rather have instead.
*REMEMBER: YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE!