Saturday, June 23, 2012
The Power of the Imagination
The Power of the Imagination
An important tool we ignore to our detriment is the element of human imagination, the voice of Feminine Spirit. We misuse our modern media, and over-stress left-brain thinking in our schools, and so our imaginations stagnate. Our quest for scientific objectivity has taken a wrong turn, because we have rejected the place of imagination in the search for truth. William Irwin Thompson speaks of imagination as the awareness of the unseen (feminine) part of life.
"Imagination is needed to shape a theory or a hypothesis, and Whitehead argued a long time ago that pure induction could never produce a scientific view of the world. A heap of facts was useless, and neither a Homeric epic nor a scientific theory of evolution could ever be produced from mere facts. For people in a pre-scientific culture, people endowed with acute powers of observation and remarkable sensitivity, there was no way to imagine the life at one's feet except through the poetic imagination which made the little creatures half human. And in a way, this poetic imagination of the ancients is more sensitive to humanity's embeddedness in the biosphere, for in seeing "the little people" as half human the ancient Irish "fairy faith" recognized that there is no "us" and "them," that we are in them, and they are in us.
The imagination is, therefore, not a source of deception and delusion, but a capacity to sense what you do not know, to intuit what you cannot understand, to be more than you can know.7"
Most of us don’t take responsibility for our imaginations, and so we engage in 'daydreams' that have little meaning other than childish wish-fulfillment. But Jane Roberts, in her Seth books, shows that imagination is much more than that.
"Imagination also plays an important part in your subjective life, as it gives mobility to your beliefs. It is one of the motivating agencies that helps transform your beliefs into physical experience. It is vital therefore that you understand the interrelationship between ideas and imagination. In order to dislodge unsuitable beliefs and establish new ones, you must learn to use your imagination to move concepts in and out of your mind. The proper use of imagination can then propel ideas in the directions you desire.8"
If we don’t acknowledge and use our creative imaginations, we are ignoring a psychic reality that operates on us according to its own laws and patterns. We become blind to the unknown parts of ourselves. We forget soul.
“For the creative imagination is not so named with some metaphorical intent, nor in a spirit of fiction, but in the full sense of the term: the imagination creates, and is universal creation itself. Every reality is imaginal, because it is able to present itself as a reality. To speak of the imaginal world is nothing less than to contemplate a metaphysics of Being where subject and object are born together in the same creative act of transcendental imagination.
To this, I would also add transfiguration & resurrection.9
Along with a rejection of a deep spiritual nature within ourselves, we have rejected this feminine mode of consciousness which is imaginative, playful and mysterious. It is time for women to re-discover our feminine wisdom. Men have always been fearful of and yet attracted to this aspect of the feminine imagination. Why else would they have such a love-hate relationship with the ‘enchantress’ in women? This is also why most men have always projected their souls onto women, for they just don’t understand how to use imagination like women do. That is another reason to learn it. Women have to teach men its proper use and function, because right now, the masculine mind uses the imagination to dominate and manipulate people.
Our rational, scientific world-view has flattened out our lives into a two-dimensional, spiritless travesty of what we might become. It narrows our options and imprisons our vision. The inner mystery is ignored until it sends us symptoms, like gifts, to enlarge our vision of the meaning of our lives. That is why so many people have started down the spiritual path through the psychologist's office. The word psyche and the word soul are related. The Oxford English Dictionary explains the word psyche thus:
". . .breath or to breathe; hence life; the animating principle in man and other living beings, the source of all vital activities, rational or irrational, the soul or spirit in distinction to the body. It is also considered the animating principle of the universe as a whole, the anima mundi or world soul."10
Psychology itself deals with the logos of psyche - the meaning of soul. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said: "You could not discover the limits of soul (psyche) even if you traveled every road to do so; such is the depth (bathun) of its meaning (logos)."11 To go into the depths, to deepen events into experience, to look for many layers of meaning in our lives, to engage in imaginal work; this is something to be desired if we are to fill our lives with something more than addictions and mindless entertainments.
When we entertain the notion of soul, we once again get back in touch with the 'vital activities' of life, the rational, thinking activities and the irrational, imaginative ones. It is the imaginative function of psyche, or soul, which entices us to dive into the depths of life's mysteries. And it is through psyche that we transcend our human isolation and become a part of the whole, a part of the world soul, the animating principle of the Universe. It is the knowledge that each one of us is a part of this larger whole, that we each contain a spark of Divinity, which gives us the courage to confront the mysteries of life. Like Jacob wrestling with the angel all night, we each must wrestle with this angel of mystery until we claim the gift of our individual lives and names.
'To enter the mysteries' (which is one meaning of the word mysticism), we must go into the place of mystery; we must go into the place of soul or psyche. We must encounter the Unconscious within and discover for ourselves the reality of the human psyche. It is there that we will discover the repressed Feminine Spirit and reclaim our native ability to understand symbolic language. There we can reclaim our ancestral roots and our ties to ancient feminine wisdom. It is through the imagination that we begin to reclaim the gifts of the Spirit, and the first of these gifts is joy.