By George A. Boyd ©2023
Q: Isn’t spiritual work just imagination and none of this is real?
A: Genuine spiritual work is the activity of transformational imagination. To understand what this is, it is important to look at the spectrum of imagination:
Sensory imagination – This is the ability to manipulate three-dimensional objects in space through visualization. Architects visualize a building; scientists imagine what a dinosaur looked like; designers mock up a finished product; game designers picture a virtual reality scenario.
Desire-laden imagination – This experiences the native language of the unconscious mind, which is called fantasy. These are elements of the unconscious that are not allowed expression in human life; they have not been integrated, so they operate in the background of normal awareness. The unconscious includes emotionally charged elements such as fear, anger, shame, guilt, hated, envy, jealousy, grief, lust, greed, addictive craving, attachment, and narcissism—these are called the passions.
Psychotherapy works with people to uncover and integrate intrapsychic elements of this type of imagination through a variety of evocative techniques.
Recovery groups also have people work on elements that arise from this level of the mind that are relevant to their addiction.
Goal-oriented imagination – This is the ability to visualize the outcome of goals. These visions of the future powerfully motivate behavior and substand the drive to succeed at the level of the personality. Goal-oriented imagination is also referred to as a personal dream of what someone wants to achieve.
Metaphysical imagination – This is the ability to imagine what a spiritual state of being may be like. This type of imagines what heaven would be like, how they might be when they reach a certain state of consciousness, and what it would be like to have certain spiritual powers.
This type of imagination is highly speculative, and overvalues and distorts the objects of its speculation. This type is also called glamour. It is commonly associated with the Psychic Realm.
Religious imagination – This type of imagination attempts to interpret scriptures and religious ideas without gaining insight into the actual meaning of what these sources communicate. In Christianity, for example, it generates elaborate fantasies about the Second Coming of the Savior, the Rapture, the Last Judgment, visions of the future (eschatology), and the subjugation of society to its religious dominion and demand for global adoption of its values and beliefs.
Without the development of discernment, this type of imagination can readily degenerate into distorted and paranoid beliefs that give rise to conspiracy theories.
This type is commonly associated with groups that identify with the Moon Soul nucleus of identity in the First Exoteric Planetary Initiation.
Creative imagination – This is the expression of the gifts of the Soul through the personality. This is usually associated with artistic media, literature, and invention, but it can express in other areas like cooking, interior design, gardening, and comedy. The ability to share the gifts of the Soul has been called talent, genius, or giftedness.
Transformational imagination – This type of imagination is based on the ability of the attentional principle to visualize and use intention to engage in inner work to generate transformation of the ensouling entity, to travel in full consciousness on the inner Planes, to make attunements for healing and guiding, and to perform spiritual ministry and initiation.
Because this type of imagination cannot be empirically verified, it is often portrayed as fantasy or self-delusion. In actuality, it is the foundation of genuine spiritual development. Students of Integral meditation are trained to activate and utilize this type of imagination, which enables them to fully actualize their spiritual potentials.
We suggest that developing sensory imagination, goal-oriented imagination, creative imagination, and transformational imagination will help you actualize your personal and spiritual potentials. Moreover, it will be valuable for you to have tools to work with the issues arising from desire-laden imagination, and to develop your wisdom and discernment so you are not entrapped in the illusions and delusions of metaphysical and religious imagination.
Those who wish to learn how to use the methods of transformational imagination that activate your attentional principle can start this process in our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation or the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.