Imagination: Anyone Can Do It, And Everyone Should Access the Miraculous
Imagination is a life-transforming process pioneered by famed psychoanalyst, Dr.
Carl Jung. It is a powerful tool to gain access into one’s own interior life.
With practice, it offers intuitives an added doorway to experience areas of
synchronicity, intuitive flashes and insights are all possible outgrowths of
this work. In fact, this technique can also function as a method of dream
that we regularly access the unconscious mind while we’re sleeping or in some
form of hypnotic or artistic state. Dr. Jung asserted that it was the greatest
desire of the unconscious to become known, that is, to be heard, seen and
You can liken
this to how we feel when we’re ignored. Few people prefer to feel invisible, and
will often “act out” to gain attention. If it is the unconscious (the unseen)
that drives our behavior, then certainly it’s in our best interests to create a
dialogue between our conscious goals and our unconscious directives.
Imagination provides this possibility. Though it requires some work on our part,
this technique offers the seeker unlimited opportunity to experience the
brilliance that lives within.
One of its
highlights is that anyone can do this process. However, Jungian analyst Robert
Johnson believes that most people won’t participate, because he contends, most
of us don’t really want to change. Moreover, he believes that while we can
detail what we don’t like about ourselves, we stubbornly resist the gold within.
our inner gold, life is mundane. And no amount of shopping, drinking, T.V., or
outside stimulus will ever be enough to compensate for its loss.
consistently reminds us that life generally appears in opposing pairs and the
process of Active Imagination works wonders with this paradox.
With that in
mind, I recently applied Active Imagination to an issue I was facing. While I
was away for a long weekend in Northern California, inner voices pulled me
sharply in two directions.
One, to go home
to Los Angeles and work on my business (that is, constantly produce results and
earn money), and the second voice pushed me to stay in the Bay Area, rest,
relax, play, and trust that more work would be available to me when I got home.
agitated, I took out my notebook before going to sleep and let each voice have
its full say. I also encouraged the two sides to dialogue together.
One voice told
me that it didn’t want to be constantly moving and doing things. “Your inner
life is bubbling up from the core,” it said. “We need to speak to you and you
“How can I
listen?” I asked. “What do you want me to know?”
around so much and stay focused on the psychic and on spiritual well-being,
starting with yours.” Thus, it urged me to slow down and enjoy what mattered to
me: art, music, spirituality.
It even reminded
me of the Buddhist art exhibit, Circle of Bliss, I’d seen years earlier.
As I’m writing today, I recall that this exhibit culminated in the dismantling
of the intricate and beautiful mandala the monks had just painstakingly created.
After I set my
writing aside that night, I dreamt about a plant that needed water and had
outgrown, in fact, grown beneath its pot. This image stayed with me throughout
the weekend as I pictured myself as that unwatered plant growing a new plant
beneath its container.
I asked myself
and the universe, why have I neglected this plant? It’s sitting beside the sink
but not watered and it’s clearly confined.
I could have
(and should have) gone on to dialogue with the plant to see how it was
feeling, what it wanted, and why it chose to come into my dream. The great thing
about Active Imagination is that I can always do this no matter how much time
However, as I
focused on this dream symbol, I found myself able to relax and participate fully
in the weekend. While one voice insisted on the value of non-stop work, the
plant showed me that it needed a level of care that the intellect was ignoring.
I could also
question whose voice spoke with such vehemence and fear regarding the need to
work without ceasing. In another more recent exercise, I was able to clearly
hear my father saying: “You don’t do what you want in life; you do what you
have to do.”
I asked myself
how his philosophy had worked for him. Had it paid off on any level? Was it the
philosophy I wanted to guide my life?
parental voices and they can drive us to live lives incongruent with our true
selves. If we don’t take the time to consciously listen then it’s possible to be
endlessly and blindly driven, at least in some areas of existence.
Here we have the
opportunity to write, to listen and to allow our images and inner work to
authentically guide us. Poet Joy Harjo wrote that she had no peace until she
learned to live with paradox. Active Imagination can provide that powerful
bridge to this peace.
lives are filled with paradox. One example that Robert Johnson cites is the
issue of impossible love, stating: I love this person who is married to someone
else. How can I symbolically experience that love and yet remain ethical to
model: Give each voice a venue to speak, to fully express itself without fear
of being judged. (Most people use writing but some prefer to speak the different
voices, or even dance or paint them out.)
through,” Johnson advises, informing us that suffering originally meant
“to allow.” “Be aware of [the problem]” he says, “but otherwise, leave it
In this context
of trust, more is ultimately revealed, even healed in the divine right time.
Symbolic dreams, synchronicities, and unexpected insights are likely results
from this immersion.
Though you may
love someone, you’re not necessarily meant to take outer actions on that love.
What happens when you address the discomfort by working with your own psyche?
Do efforts on the unseen level end up influencing the material world?
I believe they
do. They will certainly influence one’s psychic integration and ability to
choose. I notice this process is affecting me as I write this article.
normally send the first and all the successive drafts off to my friend and
editor, this time I’m letting the article sit and then I come back to it. The
process is teaching me to wait rather than rush, to allow myself to be with not
knowing and imperfection.
that most of us will not take the time to investigate our lives this way. He
asserts that active imagination is a primary key for living a deeply fulfilling
Certainly it is
a safe, easy way to start strengthening ourselves, to become aware of what wants
to express from inside, and to gain consistent access to the voices that
determine our lives.
teaches us how to be with our fears and discomforts without racing to alter or
“fix” them. This allows us greater mind space and a wider range of actions that
we might ultimately take.
psychologists advise us not to take this into practices of telepathy, for
instance, but to remain with the psychological, I believe that once you are
strong enough in yourself, you can extend this process into areas that provide
greater psychic and intuitive understanding.
For this article
I asked my fantasy version of Carl Jung what he would like you to know. His
response: Everyone can do it and everyone should.
Perhaps you can
ask your inner Dr. Jung whether he agrees and if this practice would be helpful
*Lorrie Kazan is
an award-winning psychic and writer. Check out her free newsletters and articles