The Power of Imagination

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“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world”.

(Albert Einstein)

The word ‘imagine’ means to form mental images of things not present to the senses and it requires a picture or image. It also means to conceive of or to form a purpose. The definition of imagination is parallel to how faith is described in Scripture: “Faith is the assurance the confirmation of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality; faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses” (Hebrews 11:1, The Amplified Bible).

God designed our imagination as a way to access the unseen realm.

We often think of imagination as unrealistic, unimportant, childish, impractical and not sensible to real-life matters. However, imagination is a function of the right brain and includes characteristics such as flexibility, artistry, fantasy, visualization, intuition, empathy, and sensitivity among others.

What is the role of right brain functions in our personal experience? The key word is imagination. Imagination becomes a plan which when followed becomes reality. Imagination is the template for what is to come. An architect creates and designs a picture of what is to come and the vision of what a building or landscape will look like. Often times you will see a “coming soon” sign in front of a vacant space with the picture on the sign of what the finished product will look like. Our brain works the same way. We are the architects of our life.

Imagination is the pathway to envisioning our future, which contains within it the ability to see farther than the physical eye can look.

What do you imagine doing?

Imagination allows a person to not remain stuck in the analytical, rational, logical mind which is part of the left hemisphere. The left brain can only use the information it already has from the senses and perceptions of our circumstances to foresee the future. When left to itself, the brain automatically uses left hemisphere functions to form reality. Therefore, without the functions of the right hemisphere engaged, it is not possible to see beyond situations and circumstances that are fear-based and/or appear to be impossible or unattainable. The integration of the left and right brain is necessary to achieve happiness, fulfillment, and the ability to live effectively. This means it is necessary to engage imagination, fantasy, and visualization to go beyond what your left brain knows into what your heart truly desires.

It is exciting to realize that we can change our brains simply by imagining. From a neuroscientific point of view, imaging an act and doing it are not so different. “Brain scans show that in action and imagination many of the same parts of the brain are activated. For example, when people close their eyes to visualize the letter a, the primary visual cortex lights up just as it would if they were actually looking at the letter a. Imagining an act engages the same motor and sensory programs that are involved in doing it” (Dr. Norman Doidge—The Brain that Changes Itself).

The more you take the time to imagine what you desire, the closer you are to allowing it to become your reality!

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I’ll Be Happy Now

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I witness so many of my patients make the statement, “I’ll be happy when…” This tells me they are not happy now and must learn the art of enjoying life in the present.

Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for vacation, for a promotion, to be famous, for someone to fall in love with you, for a perfect marriage, for children, or for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now. If you keep living for tomorrow you will eventually become jealous, resentful, discontent, anxious, depressed, and disappointed to name a few. Or, impatience and insecurity will drive you to make a decision that will only end up hurting you down the road or worse, you will miss out on God’s best because you didn’t trust His timing.

No person and no thing can bring you fulfillment and nor do you want it to! Certain people, jobs, and opportunities come into our life, but they are not designed to complete us, fill us up, or make our world. That is a dangerous thing to ask of a relationship or career.

Joy comes from being content and satisfied with yourself and through marveling at the precious gifts of every day life. Therefore, when a thing your heart desires comes to pass it is simply an added blessing and not the source of your identity or happiness.

For me, it’s this moment sitting here on my patio and watching the storm roll in while enjoying this cup of tea and listening to the symphony of birds in my backyard.

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