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The ingredients of imagination are belief, wonder, curiosity, and the time to partake in it.

Many of us spend more time imagining the negative rather than the positive. That is where fears and phobias are created. We can become very imaginative in a dark, unfamiliar place—conjuring visions of boogey men, spiders or other dangers. Our heads can be filled with all manner of possibilities when our loved ones are a couple of hours late coming home, especially at night and in inclement weather. So if you have ever worried about anything, or had a fear strike you, you are certainly adept at imagination and visualization.

Those same talents can just as easily be put into action to bring you your hopes, dreams and wishes. Fundamentally, if you have such aspirations, you have already begun to visualize, to imagine. Most people will find that if they really assess the situation, they are very capable of grand imagination. It is a matter of putting it to the proper purposes.

Mental blocks and frustrations are key examples of where a person has failed to imagine. It may seem as though doors to our progress are closed. It is not that the doors are really closed (that is imaginary, too!). It’s not that there is a lack of choice in most cases. What is missing is the attempt to imagine other possibilities. By giving our imaginations permission to take flight we may find extraordinary solutions.

Did you know that Thomas Edison tried over a thousand different substances before he discovered the filament that would successfully illuminate a light bulb? He used his imagination and his determination to push beyond any previous limitations perceived by himself or his society. He was also known to take short naps, laying his head on the lab table, awakening with answers to his various curiosities.

Do you remember when you were a child and you could spend endless hours fantasizing and pretending to be other people? Our dolls and figurines would come alive, and that blanket tied around our neck gave us the powers of a super-hero. Somewhere along the way we may have become convinced that fantasizing is silly, or we became too busy to indulge in such luxury. Now we realize the immense value of imagination and have to work to regain what was an inherent talent. As you have seen, imagination and inspiration can have important practical applications.

As in the words of George Eliot: “…that delightful labor of the imagination which is not mere arbitrariness, but the exercise of disciplined power—combining and constructing with the clearest eye for probabilities and the fullest obedience to knowledge; and then, in yet more energetic alliance with impartial Nature, standing aloof to invent tests by which to try its own work.”

We can try a simple technique: Find a comfortable location, free from distractions. (With practice you will be able to do this anywhere, anytime.) Imagine what it would be like to be totally relaxed. Take slow deep breaths, visualizing any residual tension releasing with each exhale. Spend a few moments remembering what it was like to be a child when you were unbridled by restrictions in your imagination. Create for yourself a scene that will be relaxing and inspiring. My favorites are to imagine sitting within Stonehenge or I find myself in a clearing in a thick forest. Other good choices may include being near a waterfall or campfire, or in a classroom or conference room. It may be beneficial to choose a place where you would expect to get the type of information you are looking for. You may even find yourself in front of a computer monitor or movie screen.

Next, invite a mentor to join you—it can be someone you know to be an expert in a certain area of knowledge, or it can be an anonymous counselor or guide. Imagine greeting them and getting comfortable together. When you are ready, ask them a question for which you would like to gain insight. Then slowly count from ten to one, allowing your mind to just relax, not thinking of anything but the numbers. When you reach the number 1, start listing as many responses to your question as you can make up. Don’t be limited by answers that are silly or seemingly not useful.

Remember we are practicing imagination, not practicality. List all the possible answers you can think of. Then relax, wait, listen. Is there anything more? Does your counselor have anything to add, or more to tell you? Continue for as long as you wish. When you are finished simply say thank you and goodbye to your counselor, and return to present time/space awareness.

Upon your return you can write down and analyze your answers, determining whether any of them have merit or can be applied in practicality.

If what the physicists tell us is true—that there is a unified field, that, in some way, we are all connected to everything—then we already have access to all the answers. If this world is all a grand illusion, we may as well create the life we desire to experience. And as we all know, creation begins with imagination!