Imagination or knowledge: which is more important?


By Shafiya Eve

Everyone has a great imagination. It is most easily identified by our ability to worry, project negative outcomes about the future and reminiscing about the past. Ever had a conversation in your mind? With every thought you think with images of the past and projections of the future, you’ve been honing and fine tuning your imagination. Now you have the opportunity to turn this gift into a powerful positive tool in creating your life. “Whatever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve” W. Clement Stone.

Try this: Using your imagination, see yourself at the refrigerator opening the door. On the shelf is a glistening lemon. Imagine yourself reaching in and picking up the lemon. Feel its rich texture, the smooth and rough waxy surface, the coolness in your hand. Feel the moisture that begins to collect on it, bring it to your nose and smell it. Now place the lemon on the counter and cut it in half. See the juices squirt out and cut it into quarters. Bring a piece up to your nose and take a good deep smell, now take a big bite. Did your mouth water? Mine did as I was writing this.

What is important to recognize is your imagination profoundly affects your physiology. If you doubt your ability to use your imagination, doubt the doubt. Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. When it comes to your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being, this has potent implications. The mind cannot distinguish the difference between an imagined experience and a real one. Your body responds to what you imagine as if it is really happening.

The imagination used with intent is called many things such as guided imagery, visualization, mental rehearsal, fantasy, even meditation. A great example of this is its use by athletes. In the book Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson, B.J. Armstrong says “I’ll be able to react to it without thinking, because I’ll already have seen it in my mind.”

There are so many ways we can use this innate God-given ability in our personal lives. Recently I was dealing with the prospect of an uncomfortable confrontation with someone on the phone. I used my imagination to see myself comfortable and at peace during the conversation. As it turned out, everything went just fine. Often I work with clients who are experiencing angst about an uncomfortable upcoming event a prime example might be a family gathering with anticipated sibling struggles. We walk through these projected fears, and use the imagination to project a different outcome. The results have been positive and rewarding.

“The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge” Albert Einstein.

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