How to Develop Active Imagination
Developing the active imagination will be useful in any phase of life, career, or project. It is especially helpful in developing new ideas for writers and artists and others who deal in ideas. There are four steps which will help to understand the process more thoroughly.
1. You must first stop the logical mind to give your unconscious a chance to come into play.
2. The unconscious will begin to function in fantasies, images, and emotions. Have pen and paper handy and write these down.
3. The ego will step up. There will be judgment of the material that has been written.
4. Conclusions are drawn and acted on.
Consciousness is forever correcting, helping, interfering, and never leaving the physic to grow in peace. You must come up with a way to set the critical, judging conscious ego aside. The ego must learn to observe uncritically, alert, but not filtering. It begins by observing quietly how the fantasy develops. An example of how the conscious interferes with active imagination is: You plant a row of trees and worry that the roots are not getting enough nutrients, and you dig them up to check. That’s what the ego does to the growth process it intends to nurture.
To begin to develop your active imagination, you can carry a small pad around with you to make note of any fantasy of the imagination. Notice the ego’s reaction. A ritual can help get into an imaginative mode. Maybe sitting alone in a quiet peaceful place will open your unconscious mind to day dreaming and fantasy.
Jung wrote,”The creative activity of imagination frees man from his bondage to the ‘nothing but’ and raises him to the status of one who plays.” This is the status that must be reached before active imagination can begin. When the unconscious is heard, it’s important to give it expression. There is nothing more damaging to the psyche than self deception. you can deceive your neighbor or your spouse but when you deceive yourself you become the victim of your unacknowledged inferiority’s.
Once the voice of the unconscious is heard, the ego can confront it. From this moment on we can speak of an active imagination. Now is the time the ego’s questions, doubts, and judgment will set in. It becomes critical that the ego recognize the inner event as being safe and real as an outer event. The conscious ego is like a watch dog guarding the gate. He has to know and trust the person to let him in. The ego has to confront the unconscious with the limitations and conditions of the human world. The unconscious recognizes the reality of their own world but are unaware of human reality until the ego informs them.
Now a relationship can be formed between the conscious and the active imagination. From the play as a child we have come to the realization of our inner life and how we can appreciate the influence it has on our ego and imagination by helping us make better decisions to lead a more fruitful, inspired life.