“Imagination is more powerful than knowledge,” is one of Albert Einstein’s most famous quotations. Coming from one of the most brilliant scientists of modern history, the statement lends major credibility to the roles imagination plays in our world. Einstein was inspired by a dream to develop his theory of relativity. The father of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr, often spoke of the inspirational dream that led to his discovery of the structure of the atom. Aware physicians, like Deepak Chopra and Richard Kradin, tell us that the mind and body are connected, and that our imaginative capacities have power in affecting the health of the body.
Robert Bosnak, a Jungian psychoanalyst, relays his journey to healing his body through creative imagination in his book, Embodiment: Creative Imagination in Medicine, Art and Travel. International healer Denise Linn tells on Hay House Radio of her process of healing her breast cancer through creative visualization. Stephen Aizenstat, a clinical depth psychologist and educator, shares case studies during trainings that demonstrate the healing effects of dream tending on body, mind, and soul. We are whole beings, so the “body bone” is connected to the “mind bone”, and the “mind bone” is connected to the “soul bone”. We are in the frontier of explorations on the potent ways imagination can benefit our overall well-being.
Because body, mind and soul are connected, we can be active participants in influencing our state of being on every level. Imagination is a powerful tool for influencing our state. “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate,” said another depth psychologist, C. G. Jung. Depth psychology focuses on making “the unconscious conscious.” The majority of our consciousness is unconscious, so we certainly are not lacking material to discover.
We can and often do simply ignore what lies beneath the surface of our ego’s conscious awareness. Why bother with the hidden parts of our identity? What do dreams and repressed memories have to do with our waking realities? The answer is everything. We can certainly live our lives directed by the unconscious as most do; but there is also the option to take a more intentional role in our lives. We can choose to discover the images of our unconscious and invoke the potent tool of imagination to guide our paths toward wholeness and well-being.
Active imagination is a process created by Jung for engaging with the images of the unconscious while conscious. The process can be effective in supporting us in transforming unconscious materials that have directed our lives in an undesirable manner, such as with anxiety, depression or ill health. For instance, a dream-work process called dream tending, originated by Stephen Aizenstat, includes active imagination and may be used by anyone who desires to become more fully conscious and to engender a favorable impact on overall well-being. Most of us have room for widening our consciousness and using the potent tool of imagination to steer our way to wholeness.
The more aware and whole we become, the easier it is to maintain peace and joy amidst the many waves on the ocean of life. We are triggered less and more able to direct our lives with intention and the power of imagination. We are discovering more about the mind-body connection; we know that a balanced, aware mind can enhance our physical state of being.
“A basic emotion such as fear can be described as an abstract feeling or a tangible molecule of the hormone adrenaline,” writes Deepak Chopra in Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. “Without feeling, there is no hormone; without the hormone, there is no feeling…The revolution we call mind-body medicine was based on this simple discovery: wherever thought goes, a chemical goes with it.”
This truth applies equally to emotions of love, joy and a host of positive emotions. Our entire system is flooded with health-promoting hormones directed by our positive thoughts. The trick is to feel contentment truly, and down to the core of our being. Repressing unprocessed wounds and glossing over with a veneer of happiness may fool some people and feed our egos, but developing true awareness is an ongoing challenge and opportunity.
Playing in the field of dreams, imagination, consciousness and well-being makes life interesting and keeps us evolving.