When I was a young boy I drifted in and out of my imagination. I day dreamed about sports fantasies, the future, space, the nature of God, angels, the lives of movie stars and famous people like JFK, games of my own making, and inventions.
And no surprise, I was routinely punished for day dreaming. In order to escape the browbeating I made efforts to stay focused and pay attention. I also started thinking of that “state” as a bad thing and to be avoided. It got me into trouble with those women wearing the Catholic version of a burka.
I reminisce here because I want to make the point that imagination is a practice. Like yoga, meditation, guitar, or spring board diving, one must practice the skill in order to preserve and expand the capacity. Like other things, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
I post often, but have given short shrift to imagination. Not sure why, maybe because it’s assumed we can all do it. We can, but don’t take it for granted. Fluid access happens when you do it more regularly.
Why work imagination? Imagination is your subconscious way to assist with idea generation. You’re not so much thinking of specific ideas to solve a problem, but while you’re visioning what might be, what could be, how things might look and feel — ideas flow. But not only ideas. Visions tend to be attached to emotions, to what the heart desires, and maybe even what you are meant to do. So, the imagination can help us learn what we want to do, formulate goals, and incite motivation to do things. It also helps us remember things. I think those are some solid reasons to do imagineering.
If you wish to enhance your creativity and innovative output, get started on an imagination practice.
A few thoughts regarding imaginative practice that might help:
1. Do it when you have energy. Before you run out of mental gas in your long day, try to spend at least 10 minutes imaginaing.
2. Focus your imagination on something. Fine to let the mind wander, but have some sort of intention, focus, or topic to start with.
3. Try to stick with your topic, but allow your mind to wander away, then to wander back. Try to remember what you’ve seen.
4. When you are done, jot down a few notes in your notebook so you can remember what you experienced.
5. Spend some time thinking about what your imaginary visions are telling you. Do research if it makes sense. Replay your vision and thoughts about it to a good friend.
Imagination is one of your most powerful thinking tools, use it, practice it, put it in your calendar, do it.