top of page
Search

Meditation and Imagination, what’s the connection?

By Elinor Svoboda | April 30, 2024 | 2

As someone who is always fostering both my creative and meditation practice, I often find myself asking big questions about the connection between meditation and creativity. Are spiritual people more creative? Does meditation access your imagination? Or are these two different states? 

I reached out to award winning author and senior faculty member of the Training in Power Academy, Lisa Voisin, to share her experience and insight on the spiritual-creative practice:

What role does imagination play in your life?

I’d say it plays an important role in my life, one that has had its ups and downs.

As a child, my mother proudly displayed my drawings and poems on the refrigerator door. At the same time, I remember being scolded for daydreaming in class. So there were some mixed messages.

As I got older, that creativity got channeled into art class or writing reports, which seemed more limiting to me, so I wrote stories. Sometimes instead of doing my homework! 

By my final years of high school, my parents wanted me to do something more realistic, that I could make a career of. So my imagination seemed to need to take a back burner. I didn’t read for pleasure the same way. I didn’t write. But my imagination was still there. Sometimes it would twist into worry and scenarios of what could go wrong. Other times, it was being used for fantasizing. I started to only give myself permission to imagine things if it was for a practical purpose, like learning and problem solving, or building something useful.

Years passed, and I finally found my way back to writing fiction. It’s not the only place my imagination thrives, but it’s something I’m passionate about enough to nurture it for its own sake. 

Imagination is often attributed to child’s play, do you think we lose it as adults?

We don’t lose our imagination as adults. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A study at the University of Kent just last year showed that our imagination continues to grow and evolve in all stages of life, and that people over 60 showed the most originality. 

What I think happens is our imaginations are redirected. Instead of childhood daydreaming, we make new inventions, business practices, cooking, or arts and crafts. The study at Kent found that in adults, our knowledge of the world may restrict our imagination in some cases, but enhances it in others.

However, I do think people’s imaginations could be influenced by other factors, such as negative experiences that bring up fear. If someone is fearful, their imagination can get hijacked by worry or catastrophizing. If someone is avoidant, their imagination might be used to fantasize, or using creativity to escape.

I’ve done all of the above at some point in my life and have learned that if I don’t consciously use my imagination, my unconscious mind will spin off all kinds of stories in my head. So life just goes more smoothly if I foster my imagination in ways that are more meaningful to me, so it stays healthy and works in my favor.

Are imagination and meditation connected? If so, how?

I believe imagination is connected to meditation in several ways. For instance, in the example above, of imagination getting hijacked by fear, I feel meditation can focus the mind and release negativity and fear to hone all areas of life, especially the imagination!

I also feel that meditation accesses the imagination when we visualize. For instance, I lead gratitude meditations that have people imagine and remember people who have helped them along the way. In loving kindness meditations, people visualize the other person thriving or filling with light. 

Where attention goes, intention flows! Our imagination is a necessary part of visualization, which is often used in meditation to relax us, or to focus our will and intention. 

Meditation clears out the unconscious and makes things conscious. Memories and ideas can come forward and it seems like imagination, because both memories and imagination use an area of the brain called the hippocampus. Meditation is one of the ways to improve the functioning of the hippocampus.

Lastly, I’ve noticed, when I teach meditation, that people sometimes feel or remember things and then confuse what they sense with their imagination. I think that’s because memories and imagination also present the same, using the mind’s eye, just like talking and singing both use your voice. Meditation and the imagination each have a language to them. It’s about learning that language, just like you had to learn to speak or sing.  And meditation is what teaches us to use our mind’s eye and discern between what is true and what is imaginary.

What do you think it means to have a “healthy imagination?”

For me, a healthy imagination is about being conscious of using the gift of imagination, fostering a healthy environment for optimal creativity and knowing where imagination ends and reality begins. 

It’s fostering the awareness that I am not my thoughts: I am the Being experiencing them. 

As a creative person, what advice would you give those looking to nurture their imagination?

My advice is to create a nurturing space and make time for your imagination. There’s lots of great books out there on how to do this. But it’s truly a commitment to having a relationship with imagination and embracing it as an essential part of yourself. 

For me that includes a meditation practice and making time every day to imagine and create. 

Interested in learning more about language, storytelling and the power of archetypes? Join Lisa for the Archetype Class  starting May 15, 2024.

FacebookTwitterShare



0 views0 comments

Commenti


bottom of page