In my decades of practicing meditation and participating in shamanic journeys, learning to trust my imagination has been one of the greatest discoveries I have made.
While taking on the process of learning new methods of inner reflection, there inevitability seems to be a moment where you can’t help but wonder, “Am I just making all this stuff up?”.
“I mean, I experienced this thing in my mind during the guided meditation, but is it true? Is it trustworthy? Or am I just creating a phony baloney story in my head?”.
Herein lies the root of the issue for me. Our relationship with imagination has been cut off. It’s like a sort of spiritual gaslighting we unknowingly do to ourselves. Most of us have unfortunately been brought up to have zero faith in the inner workings of our vast imaginations. Instead, we dismiss, repress, and ultimately disown our imaginations as fantasy, fairy talk and made-up fiction. When in reality, it is a wise and valuable teacher that should be investigated and paid attention to in my opinion.
More often than I’d like to admit, people in my life have said to me “Oh you certainly have an active imagination don’t you…”. And more often than not those words are uttered with a dismissive tone coupled with a sarcastic eyeroll. With comments like these floating around, it’s no wonder why we don’t trust the innate intelligence of our imaginations. Being met with attitudes like this automatically makes us shut down any further exploration into what was a real experience for us in the moment. It may have been a cerebral experience, but none the less it was real.
Like anything worth having, it took me some time and practice to realize that my imagination is actually an incredible personal messenger and not to be treated like an imaginary Disneyland in my head. Just like you might pay attention to a gnawing gut feeling or the raised goose bumps that appear on your arms when something strikes a chord with you, your imagination is communicating with you on a subtle level. And if you take the time to listen to it, you’ll realize that it is communicating with you in a language that is meant just for you.
Your imagination knows how to speak to you in the most unique way possible. It is an extensive catalog of your own acquired imagery fused with meanings that only you understand because only you have lived your own life’s experiences.
A good way to start tapping into this is to become an observer of your meditation or journey experiences. Pretend you are a movie critic- just show up and watch the movie- hold no expectations or judgement just pay attention- you can always it analyze it after. Another helpful way is to meditate or journey in a group and share your experiences with each other. I am always amazed at the variety of ways people experience their own meditations. Sharing your experiences with others can add another layer of validation to understanding your experience. By getting verbal feedback from a group, you can sometimes connect the dots of your story by listening to what others may see that you may have missed. I have found this to be a win-win situation that has greatly helped me build the confidence I have in my imagination today.
Through learning to trust my imagination I have been able to unearth more amazing cathartic ah-ha moments and spontaneous healing understandings than I can count. It is an immeasurable tool I will continue to cultivate, trust and respect as the creative teacher it was meant to be.