with Active Imagination
it is dark enough, you can see the stars."-Emerson
on this site, Active Imagination is possible when one
moves his/her everyday consciousness towards the dream
world. "Dream world" is used here to mean
nothing more nor less than that realm that we all experience
when sleeping, falling into sleep, or coming out of
sleep. Since we all know this experience it is used
here as short-hand to describe the major tone of Active
first step towards getting started in Active Imagination
requires spending time observing the "dream world"
- Try to observe yourself
awakening in the morning (or if you prefer, falling
asleep at night). Allow enough time to carefully
see how you emerge out of sleep and how it is possible
to remain half alert and half asleep. Do this several
times over a week. If you have problems with this,
try the same process during a nap.
observations, we learn that our dreaming involves a
state of mind where anything is possible. Dreams are
free to follow all sorts of paths and free to generate
all sorts of images, feelings, and thoughts. Also notable,
is the frequency in which images, feelings, and thoughts
are mingled closely together.Our
daily way of being typically requires us to be quite
focused, goal oriented. Our thoughts and feelings are
prescribed around a relatively few major themes. We
tend to exclude a great deal in this process and freedom
is not a word that can be used to describe this state
the means that allows you to move into profound
relaxation but with mental clarity remaining. Try
body relaxation methods. Try music. Use whatever
method most slows down the everyday mind and opens
it to whatever happens.
your own answers to these important questions:What
do you need to do to move away from being overly
focused on your day's events towards the dream world?
What does it feel like to relax deeply? What does
it feel like when you blend of the dream world with
your quiet, watchful, alertness?
try to increase your
ability to recall your dreams. Record your dreams
and study them not so much to interpret their meaning
but to recover the moods that they convey, the images
they use, the feelings they bring to the surface.
Try to get a fix on the feeling of the dream experience.
after you have mastered capturing the tone of the
dream world, set aside time to move from your everyday
type of consciousness to the dream world. Watch
out, you might fall asleep, losing the awareness
you need to do Active Imagination. Relax into it,
keep alert, pull up your memories of what the dream
world feels like. Watch for the emergence of detailed
images, feelings, and insights. Work at making these
images, feelings, and insights more vivid. This
is where the "Active" of Active Imagination
comes from. You are required to become engaged in
your inner world, bringing yourself to this process
in terms of alertness and willingness to learn.
Remain alert. You must remember what you see/experience
or you will not be doing "Active" Imagination.
By necessity, this will keep your sessions short,
maybe lasting only ten minutes or fifteen minutes.
Make notes afterwards, especially on what you have
learned on what the experience feels like.
These are only the basics to give you some idea of the
type of work involved. Use the resources below to further
your practice. Also, read carefully the views
of Jung, Progoff, Hillman, and von Franz.
A CAUTION: If you
have any psychiatric condition or suspect that you might
have some difficulties handling your dreams, work with
the imagination, or maintaining a comfortable grasp
on the requirements of everyday living, please do not
work with Active Imagination alone. Work with mental
health professionals who can advise you on how best
to approach this sort of work.For
those who have no such problems, Active Imagination
should make for a helpful and exciting way of learning
how to live a meaningful life.