Imagination Practice is the altered state of consciousness
one moves into to get to the place where Active Imagination
can occur. It is setting the stage for all that follows.
How much practice and what method needs to be employed
to achieve quality Active Imagination various from person
to person. Some people have a natural resistance to
moving into this space. Their fear, largely unfounded,
is the fear of being overwhelmed by inner forces. This
fear usually comes out of a neglectfulness many of us
are guilty of when it comes to exploring the emotions
stirred by everyday living. Some event happens that
stirrs up memories of an earlier time and, although
we promise to ourselves that we will explore these feelings,
we never get around to it. In a sense, these unexplored
experiences stack up, building taller and taller. One
day we become interested in Active Imagination. As we
study it we realize that we need to turn inward. We
start to look inward a bit. Suddenly, we we come face
to face with the broken promises. We push away from
the experience, telling ourselves that we will try Active
Imagination again, "later."
common barrier to Active Imagination is living without
enough poetry, beauty, art, music, and emotionality.
While we may go to movies, art museums, and read novels
from time to time, we aren't really giving enough of
ourselves to them. We may be able to comment extensively
about these experiences and we may be able to say firmly
what we like and dislike about them, but we haven't
felt these encounters enough. To develop a high quality
Active Imagination practice it is important that we
learn how to "go into" these experiences with
the arts (formal and informal). Letting our feelings/imagination/intuition
roam into these creations on a frequent basis builds
the foundation for more focused work later. Impatience
with the process commonly blocks other people from going
deeper. The expectation is that the process should be
swift and highly energetic. Of course, it can be with
a great deal of practice, but people compare their first
experiences with novel experiences in their daily lives.
Early experience with Active Imagination more closely
resembles beginning a friendship than your first encounter
with skydiving. Just as trying to develop a friendship
requires cautious first moves, uncertainty, and receptiveness,
Active Imagination demands slow and patient movement.
Find the means to slow down your inner world towards the
slowness found in daydreaming and dreaming. Use whatever
process is best for grounding yourself, relaxing, focusing
inward, and letting the dreamy state come up. You can
turn to the extensive supply of tapes/CDs of relaxing
music or use inner image as a walk on a beach. If these
don't appeal to you, you can turn to tapes and books created
by Dialogue House specifically created for Pre-Active
Imagination (available in the bookstore).
These materials use simple poetic statements to guide
a user's imagination towards a motif of depth (i.e. a
well, a cathedral, a monk). With each statement one is
led deeper into relaxation and deeper into the image of
inner depth. (If these materials appeal to you some items
can be ordered from the
bookstore, with a wider selection available directly
Note: It is best not to use traditional meditative techniques
commonly found in Buddhism and Hinduism. Not that they
are unsafe, but these techniques tend to over clear the
mind and develop an "emptiness" of consciousness.
Good for what they are aimed to do (a type of Spirit discipline)
such clearing of consciousness is not fruitful for Active
Imagination. Remember in Active Imagination we wish to
have consciousness filled. Filled with images and feelings
and insights from our encounter with the unconscious.
Active Imagination can only work if there is content and
if there is engagement of our feelings, memories, thoughts,
2. Find a process that takes you inward and stick with
it. Work with it consistently and see how your depth and
ease of use deepens over time.
3. Once this process is reasonably mastered go deeper
by turning to the steps outlined in Instructions
For More Advanced Practice.
Resources for a list of books outlining this technique.
are two books, not specifically on Active Imagination,
that convey the general tone of this sort of work.
to the Oracle: The Ancient Art of Finding Guidance
in the Signs and Symbols All Around Us - Dianne
By Sunset: The Right Brain Way To Resolve Whatever's
Bothering You in One Day Or Less - Carol Orsborn
in the bookstore.)