In my A to Z of Becoming, one of the verbs beginning with “I” is “imagine”.
As it happens, I’ve chose “imagination” as my keyword for this year. Do you do that? Do you choose a “word for the year”?
I think I have a very active, very well developed imagination. My feeling is that I used my ability to imagine every day at work as a doctor to help me understand my patients. For me, good medical practice is dependant on the ability to empathise. Without empathy there is a diminished level of understanding. In fact, the complete lack of empathy, resulting from a failure of imagination, as a cause of cruelty, was highlighted by the author Ian McEwan, and others, after 9/11.
Since retiring and moving to France, I’ve begun to experiment with writing fiction as another way to use my imagination. What startles me, and repeatedly surprises me, when I write fiction is how my imagination comes up with things I hadn’t expected.
Maybe that shouldn’t surprise me because every night when we dream our imaginations are producing the unexpected, aren’t they?
That got me thinking…..is there an off switch for imagination?
Are we ever not using our imagination?
When we fear something, we are imagining whatever it is we fear. When we worry about something, we imagine whatever it is we are worrying about. When we experience something we bring our imaginations into the experience as we create the subjective experience for ourselves. When we remember something we re-create the memories using our imaginations. When we plan to make something happen, we use our imaginations to create the plan.
Actually, I think, there is no off switch for the imagination.
However, when we are on auto-pilot, when we are in zombie mode rather than in hero mode, we are not aware of the activity of our imagination, and we are not making conscious choices.
Those are the two key elements to moving from zombie to hero mode, I reckon –
First, become aware.
Second, choose what to do.
So, here’s two things about imagining to explore this week.
What are you currently using your imagination for? And, what are you going to choose to use your imagination for?