Thursday, April 2, 2009

Imagination Practice

Imagination is key to changing the subconscious mind, which is the part of the mind that's really in charge. The conscious part is mostly an agitated spectator wasting a lot of energy kicking and screaming at the subconscious part to quit bad habits. The reason telling yourself change rarely works for most people is that the subconscious mind essentially speaks in terms of sensation rather than concepts. The perceived or imagined sensations of hot, cold, bright, smooth, fragrant, giddiness, melancholy, etc. are easier for the subconscious to understand than ideas like "I should be hot/cold/happy" because the grammar of such thoughts makes them less immediate. Basically we have a dog in the mind that needs to be trained like a dog using more primal communication. Trying to reason with the subconscious is as useless as trying to reason with a dog.

Instead, we must use sensation imagery. By imagery, I don't necessarily mean visual pictures in the mind; any of the 5+ senses will do, e.g. imagining running your hands over fur. Knowing that imagination is so useful in communicating with the subconscious mind, how do we hone that skill?
  • Read fiction, and get lost in it.
  • Write fiction, and get lost in it.
  • Take mental snapshots of interesting experiences during the day and relive them later that day.
  • When reliving, use as many senses as possible, and try to make it feel as real as possible.
  • TV is generally imagination-cheating. It talks to the subconscious almost directly, training your conscious mind to be lazy in imagining.
Imagination practice is not an excuse to ignore your current perceptions. As bad as things may seem in the present, it is important to experience them deeply. Alternate between the feeling things as they are and things as you want them to be.

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