Your Future Is Only As Small As Your Imagination
“Imagination is more important than knowledge”
You may have come across this Albert Einstein quote on Facebook. Whether he really said that or not doesn’t matter, I still think it is a valuable and interesting statement. The human race would not have evolved to the level it has without imagination. We would never have travelled to the moon if someone at some point didn’t imagine it.
I make use of my clients’ imaginations all the time. It’s an aspect of my work I really enjoy. Even those who consider themselves unimaginative, surprise themselves with the wonders that their minds are capable of.
Imagination is so much a part of what we do that the founder of Cognitive Hypnotherapy and my trainer, Trevor Silvester came up with a new word to incorporate it into Cognitive Hypnotherapy – Memoragination. This is because our imagination doesn’t just play a role in our fantasies or our future, but also our past. Our memories, perceptions and imagination being intricately weaved together to form our reality, as is our past, present and future. Everything is connected because our present actions and choices are formed by our past experiences, imaginings, understandings and learnings. Our present actions and choices become the building blocks for our future. How we perceive our potential future determines the actions and choices we make now. When you think about it, how amazing is our mind that it can do all that in an instant – in the background of our awareness, making connections that drive us forward, help us survive, help us to thrive. So when someone comes to therapy, it is often the case that the mind has made some sort of mistake in those connections, resulting in feelings, thoughts and behaviours that we are not happy with.
All is not lost because our memories are not a finite truth, they are influenced by the perceptions we imagine at the time, based on the reality we are living in at that moment. They are not set in stone, the meaning we give them can change and therefore our reality now and in the future can change too. We can help our minds to connect the dots in such a way that we can have the reality we want and we can see a future ahead of us that feels good to move towards. We do this by using our imagination to create a different version of reality, make adjustments to how we perceive our past and create the future we want. Using our imagination to guide our minds towards our goals, towards becoming the person we want to be. So your future really is only as small as your imagination.
I’ve talked in the past about the mind body connection. I can’t over emphasize how useful this concept is – if we can imagine it, we can create it. Remember those history lessons about the origins of aviation? Where someone imagined the possibility of flying and suddenly there was a stream of flying machines, some failed but some succeeded and now we can fly all around the world in relative comfort. Our imagination is the source of our potential and our success. Whether you are looking to change something in your mind, your body or your world, imagination is the key. The more you imagine what you want and how you might achieve it, the more likely it is that you will act on it and make that change a reality.
In Cognitive Hypnotherapy I help my clients change their reality or aspects of it to what they want all the time. Each and every technique I use has within it a way to use your imagination to help you in the most positive and powerful way.
Many people feel they cannot imagine because they believe that imagining means seeing, sensing or feeling as clearly as you would if it were real. That really isn’t the case for the vast majority, that is those who don’t have a photographic memory. Imagination is a vague impression of something held in the mind for a short period of time. We can train ourselves in this process just by imagining things we know in a variety of ways. Starting with small simple things and adding to the complexity of it over time. But even without skill or practise your mind is already programmed to be able to imagine. You do it all the time without even realising it. Every daydream, every conversation you predict, every event you see happening in the future. Every time you find yourself playing an annoying song or tune in your mind, that’s your imagination. You may not always experience this imagination consciously or in great detail but it’s there.
You can enhance your imagination by closing your eyes and imagining a cinema screen in front of you. You can imagine the screen changing to different colours. You can imagine a lemon on the screen, perhaps play with other senses, by imagining the smell, the taste, the texture. Start with small things and play with your senses. When you feel you have managed to imagine these things in the vague way that I’ve mentioned, try something bigger. Once you realise your imagination is very much within your control, then you could start to play with the idea of creating something you want. See yourself on the screen perhaps carrying out a task you’ve been putting off or changing some small thing about your body or posture. The more you imagine seeing yourself doing something you want to do or being something you want to be, the more likely it is that, that something will become your reality.