“Perception as an Interpretation is a Product of the Imagination”
The imagination is the faculty of the mind that we use for creating reality as an internal experience. We first form our experiences by how we imagine them internally to give them meaning, which restructures them by the story we tell ourselves about them that turns them into a reality, which forms how we remember them, and is also used to recollect memories and think about them by replaying them over and over in our mind. So we’re always in the process of creating memory by how we imagine our reality creating our personal experience of it by the story we tell about it, and then by associating our present reality to the memory of the past using it to shape the present to be about the same thing, forming it into the same “type” of story. The story we tell about things, which forms a kind of theme, is what gives our life consistency. Our life’s theme as the primary story we tell about things comes from how we’ve created all our experiences by telling a consistent story about them as a kind of theme. This memory making ability as a form of multiplying and reproducing thematic experiences shaped by meaning and significance, are all done by how we (re)imagine the outer world by shaping it into a consistent storyline.
As we go through our day, we are constantly forming associations to memories and using those associations to form similar interpretations of the present. The themes of the past become the program that utilizes our creative imagination with its primary pattern for creating a thematic reality while simultaneously creating ourselves by identifying with our own story about things. As we tell a story about things, we get a sense of ourselves by way of that story, and form our identity out of it. Our identity and the story we act naturally to tell by how we interpret the events of our outer reality is a primary function of the imagination. Our imagination forms our perceptual lens and determines how we see things, and what we see “in” things. We can only see and make sense out of what matches our mental model, and can easily be turned into our story about things. Even when they actually have nothing to do with us or our story, we translate them to mean the same thing. In this way, we’re always shaping other people and events to be “like us”, through the story we tell about them which describes them using the same qualities that we ourselves possess.
Just as creative ideas are also received by and formed in the imagination, all memory is replayed and constantly being modified in the imagination. Each time we recall a memory as an association to the present, and use it to shape the present with the same meaning, we also modify the memory by adapting it to a new set of circumstances, and permanently alter it by doing so. While many of us believe memory is accurate and fixed and that we remember them exactly as we created them, and that we recall them in the same way we formed them, in reality memory is constantly being evolved through how we adapt them to the present situations, our maturity level, and our state of mind when applying it. Though we apply memories to an infinite number of new situations as a means of shaping them into congruent experiences, the theme of the memory remains intact and holds true no matter how we change the telling. So if the meaning as a theme of our memory is “I’m not loved”, and the memory becomes a sort of template as a storyline that provides consistent evidence of this based on how we interpret things, then even when we use the same memory in the present to tell the same type of story about it, and we change “how” we tell it, it’ll still “mean” we’re not loved.
Our imagination is the primary creative faculty of the mind that’s used to create our personal experience of an outer, objective reality, making it into a subjective “inner reality” as a personalization of a universal theme. While we all share and have in common the outer reality as a neutral set of events that we experience, each individual sharing the same outer event is creating a unique experience of it by how they filter the event through their paradigm as their perceptual lens that forms it into an interpretation as a variation reshaped to tell a somewhat different story using it. Each person notices different things within the situation, places a different emphasis on them, and organizes them into a new pattern that uses only some of the elements available that lend themselves to telling a certain kind of story. Any element that doesn’t match their storyline, isn’t “seen” (noticed), or is completely ignored, abstracting instead only what can be readily used as the elements of their life’s theme. Through our life’s theme, we form our life’s story, and we not only shape ourselves by way of that story, but shape everyone else by way of it also. Because of this “perceptual lens” that we look through to interpret the world, we shape everyone else to be “like us” and have the same qualities and character that we have, which is necessary to keep telling our story about things, and is the story our mind is designed to tell by how it’s structured. Our mind doesn’t have the ability to perceive things in a different way which is necessary in order to tell a different kind of story.
Because of this natural tendency of the human mind to create out of accumulated memories of it’s own making, the imagination, which also has the potential to be able to shape brand new perceptions of reality never experienced before, or as a unique interpretation of the present that’s not based on the past, it’s used instead to repeat the past and maintain redundant patterns that keep it locked into it’s own illusions. The imagination is usually used instead to simply relive whatever we’ve formed a memory of, whether through a living experience, or something we fantasized about, or imagined as thoughts being given to or taught to us by others, and while it still “creates” to a certain extent, it doesn’t create in the sense of being able to determine our own feelings, thoughts, and imaginings to perceive the present as dissociated from the past, and be able to create ourselves in new ways by learning how to tell new stories and evolve ourselves according to those stories.
Karma, which is living out of the same thematic forms of memories that recreate the same type of dynamics and behaviors over and over, prevents us from evolving in any measurable form. Instinct, as memory that produces automatic behaviors, is the product of the “lower mind” that we share with the animal kingdom, which lacks use of the higher mind and the ability to create in new and unique ways. Evolution within the animal / physical plane takes eons to produce the smallest of changes which usually come through a form of mutation, or freak accident. We as humans are born with a higher capacity to create ourselves and our reality by how we use the creative capacity of our imagination to break the patterns of memories and form whole new perceptions instead that serve to reshape and evolve our mental paradigm as accumulated memories to new and higher forms of experience. We are not bound to simply living out of our conditioning, but can “choose” to develop ourselves in an intentional and deliberate manner by simply choosing to begin telling a new kind of story that will require us to use latent qualities that will transform and evolve our character to new forms of expression.
This creative ability of the mind is the masterful use of our own imagination to let go of our attachment to our “story about things”, and our identity that formed as a result of our story, and make a conscious decision about the type of person we want to be instead, what qualities we’d have to embrace and bring into expression in order to do that, and what kind of story we would tell by how we acted and lived our life as a result. We can then practice forming experiences of ourselves “as” these qualities and employing these characteristics by imagining them and “acting them out”. Practicing “being that way” through a form of pretending and rehearsing where we get good at forming our new behaviors and practicing them repeatedly to the point where they start coming naturally. We can also set rules for ourselves through a form of moral code that we hold ourselves to that prevent us from repeating and continuing to live out of undesirable perceptions that form us according to them. One of the most standard practices for doing this is to recognize our negative traits and vices, and what positive trait and virtue we’d like to employ instead, and make a conscious effort to transform them using our will. Our will is our ability to first imagine something inwardly then act it out outwardly. In this way, we become self-aware and take the necessary steps to begin creating ourselves with full awareness of what we’re doing and how we’re being.
To employ any new idea, first decide you’re going to give up the old behavior and your attachments to it, then simply formulate in your imagination creating a reality out of it, apply it to your everyday situation as an action or behavior of some sort, then imagine the situations that normally stimulated the “old behaviors and attitude”, and systematically employ the “new behavior and attitude” in it’s place. Practice this over and over until it starts becoming natural and easy to do, while simultaneously practicing it in your daily life. By associating a new behavior or perception to the same stimulus or trigger, you don’t change anything or anyone else; you simply change your response to everyone and everything else. All change can only require you to do it. When we require someone else to change in order for us to be able to, we sabotage ourselves, and remain stuck in the same reactive patterns. All change begins inwardly, by changing your self and your perception of things, which then become the template or pathway for outer expression as actual self-directed and intentional behaviors.
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About the author:
Dr. Linda is an expert in Spiritual Sciences and scholar of Hermetic Sciences and Ancient Wisdom traditions. She’s a professional educator and trainer for all areas of personal transformation, self-creation, mind development, and soul/spiritual evolution. She practices Integrative Medicine with a special emphasis on Psychology and Creative therapies. She conducts ongoing classes, Playshops, and Adventure Seminars, and is available for private or group training, mentoring, and speaking engagements.
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