René Magritte – Composition on a Sea Shore [1935-36]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
‘The brain is wider than the sky.’
“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”
Henry David Thoreau
Thinking Ourselves Out Of The Pandemic Box.
During lockdown, quarantine, or when trying to manage the awkward experiences of social distancing, we have been in a kind of box.
This dreadful virus has ‘boxed’ us all in, in many different ways.
In order to manage the restrictions and constraints imposed on us over the last months, and, as Covid levels rise in the UK, to get us through the possibility of further restrictions, our imagination is crucial.
Without imagination, we can only see what is happening now. Whilst there are always aspects of our present day lives that are happy and comforting, some parts of our ‘now’ are inevitably going to be difficult.
This might just be the time to take ourselves out of the present situation for short periods, and let our imagination take over.
Our imagination can take us out of the present, away from the past, and into an imagined future. It can give us wings, to take us into any time and any place we want.
“Live out of your imagination, not your history.”
Stephen R. Covey
“The imagination is the golden pathway to everywhere.”
“Imagination is the true magic carpet.”
Norman Vincent Peale
Here are the main ways in which the power of our imagination can enhance our lives:
- Imagination and Creativity.
Creativity begins with imagination. When we start a painting, a book, an experiment or any creative act, we have some kind of picture of how it will be in our imagination.
“What is now proved was once only imagined.”
In order to be able to fully use our creative imagination, we need to allow ourselves to relax, dream, and trust our unconscious mind to deliver up into our consciousness a rich array of ideas and images.
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
Imagination and Freedom
Sean Scully – Landline Green Sea  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Our imagination enables us to have the freedom to wander outside the usual boundaries and strictures of life, to break the rules of time and place, to defy gravity, to float, to fly, to soar.
“If you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything.”
Castle in the Sky. Based on Neuschwanstein Castle. Jonund. Wikimedia Commons.
“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.”
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Van Gogh. Starry Night. Wikimedia Commons.
“Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.”
Vincent Van Gogh
- Imagination And Escape From Reality
“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.”
Sometimes, and especially during a crisis such as this global pandemic, we might feel the need for some light relief, some escape from the grim reality we see in the media and around us.
Involving ourselves in imaginative activity can help take us out of everyday worries; we can lose ourselves thinking of beautiful places we have been or exciting trips we might take in the future.
Our inner landscape has no limits, and, whilst it should not be seen as an alternative to reality, it can enhance and improve our situation, making it more bearable.
In fact, using our imagination can improve our world and make it a better place.
For example, many people use stories and poetry to help them survive difficult times.
“Words are the wings both intellect and imagination fly on. Music, dance, visual arts, crafts of all kinds, all are central to human development and well-being, and no art or skill is ever useless learning; but to train the mind to take off from immediate reality and return to it with new understanding and new strength, there is nothing like poem and story.”
Ursula Le Guin.
“Everything you can imagine is real.”
La Tour Eiffel, by Marc Chagall. Detail of painting on ceiling of Opéra Garnier, Paris. Wikimedia Commons
“You just think lovely wonderful thoughts,” Peter explained, “and they lift you up in the air.”
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan.
Imagination, Confidence and Self-Sufficiency.
“My imagination will get me a passport to hell one day.”
Our imagination enables us to be more self-contained, to function more independently, and confidently. If we trust our imagination, we will find that we do not care so much what people think of us.
“Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself- and thus make yourself indispensable.”
We will discover that we are unique and that within us is a whole world of possibilities.
“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.”
Our imagination helps us to develop our own ideas and thoughts and to risk departing from socially accepted norms and expectations.
“You may think I’m small, but I have a universe inside my mind.”
Marc Chagall – Cow with a Parasol . Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
- Imagination and Hope
Imagination unlocks doors in our minds; it allows us to hope for our future and make plans that take us beyond the present situation.
“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
Wassily Kandinsky – Swinging  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
It is fitting to end this post with a poem that expresses the need for use to use our imagination…. to think of the good times that could be ahead, to imagine…..and to hope for a better year to come.
By Sheenagh Pugh
Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.
Sisley. The Effect of Snow At Argenteuil.Wikimedia Commons.