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A Tantric Imagination

Almost everyone can remember a time when they were a child and played vivid games of make believe, maybe shared with friends or maybe entirely self-created. I used to disappear into adventurous Barbie worlds where everything in the house became the setting and props for a theater that helped me to escape from the often painful reality of my mentally unstable and alcoholic family life. My best friend and myself would practice creating story lines, intricately designed based on an inner urge to escape somewhere more interesting than our street in Cleveland Heights. For those hours that we played, I was happy, unafraid, and optimistic about life's possibilities.

There would always come the point when the world outside our minds had to take priority. Moms would call us for dinner, homework had to be done, and the “real world” would eclipse the dreams of our jet setter dolls. Like most others, when we reached the right age it became essential to leave to such games behind and give our attention to tangible, material aspects of life.

Responsibilities to school, work, and family gradually take over our attention and we grow farther away from the mystical, imaginative reality within. The imagination becomes reserved for movies, music, and books- further weakening our ability to craft our own stories and images. As our frame of reference is constantly pushed outside the self, we feel separate from our bodies and any attempt to “go inside and see” feels forced and childish. We don't believe in silly, childish games anymore.

In Tantric practice, and indeed any mindfulness work, we have to dust off the old mind's eye and remember how to free style with our imagination. The hesitation to believe in our own stories is one of the biggest obstacles to receiving the tangible benefits of meditation. Finding that ability to receive inner visions can only deepen our wisdom.

When you can throw yourself as fully into your inner awareness as you were able to as a child, the world beyond the five senses becomes just as real as the social, economic, and intellectual world that people have constructed on the “outside”.

For those who doubt how real our feelings and thoughts can be, there is an expanding body of evidence to suggest that our physiology reacts and responds to our thoughts. If we can imagine something, then we can make it a part of our actual experiences. The more fully we can engage in the image in our head, the more our body can feel as though the created experience is truly happening.

How do you engage your imagination to its fullest? Use your senses! If you want to be at peace, imagine the most peaceful moment of your life. Consider the whole experience, not just what you saw or heard, but also what you smelled, tasted, and felt. Be grateful for that memory and bring the warmth into your present moment.

What do you imagine? Do you have a story where you helped yourself heal through a deep meditation? Send me a message and tell me your story of grown up imagination!

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