…Imagination is a most important and indispensable instrument. It may be divided into three functions, the forming of mental images, the power of creating thoughts, images and imitations or new combinations of existing thoughts and images, the appreciation of the soul in things, beauty, charm, greatness, hidden suggestiveness, the emotion and spiritual life that pervades the world.
The mind has a capacity of vision of its own and it is not the same vision as with these eyes, but it is a vision, it is a perception in forms. But this is not imagination. It has nothing to do with
Imagination, for instance, is when you begin to picture to yourself an ideal being to whom you apply all your conceptions, and when you tell yourself, “Why, it should be like this, like that,
its form should be like this, its thought like that, its character like that,” when you see all the details and build up the being. Now, writers do this all the time because when they write a novel, they imagine. There are those who take things from life but there are those who are imaginative, creators; they create a character, a personage and then put him in their book later. This is to imagine. To imagine, for example, a whole concurrence of circumstances, a set of events, this is what I call telling a story to oneself. But it can be put down on paper, and then one becomes a
novelist. There are very different kinds of writers. Some imagine everything, some gather all sorts of observations from life and construct their book with them. There are a hundred ways of
writing a book. But indeed some writers imagine everything from beginning to end. It all comes out of their head and they construct even their whole story without any support in things physically observed. This truly is imagination. But as I say, if they are very powerful and have a considerable capacity for creation, it is possible that one day or other there will be a physical human being who realises their creation. This too is true.
Power of Imagination
The imagination is really the power of mental formation. When this power is put at the service of the Divine, it is not only formative but also creative. There is, however, no such thing as an unreal formation, because every image is a reality on the mental plane.… Every time you indulge your imagination in an unhealthy way, giving a form to your fears and anticipating accidents and misfortunes, you are undermining your own future. On the other hand, the more optimistic your imagination, the greater the chance of your realizing your aim. Monsieur Cou´e got hold of this potent truth and cured hundreds of people by simply teaching them to imagine themselves out of misery. He once related the case of a lady whose hair was falling off. She began to suggest to herself that she was improving every day and that her hair was surely growing. By constantly imagining it her hair really began to grow and even reached an enviable length owing to still further autosuggestion. The power of mental formation is most useful in Yoga also; when the mind is put in communication with the Divine Will, the supramental Truth begins to descend through the layers intervening between the mind and the highest Light and if, on reaching the mind, it finds there the power of making forms it easily becomes embodied and stays as a creative force in you. Therefore I say to you never be dejected and disappointed but let your imagination be always hopeful and joyously plastic to the stress of the higher Truth, so that the latter may find you full of the necessary formations to hold its creative light.
Sweet Mother, the other day you told me that it was necessary to learn how to discipline the imagination.
Imagination is something very complex and manifold—what is vaguely called “imagination”.
It can be the capacity for seeing and recording, noting the forms in some mental or other domain. There are artistic, literary, poetic domains, domains of action, scientific domains, all
belonging to the mind—not a very high and abstract mind, a mind above the physical mind which, without our knowing it, pours out constantly through the individual and collective mind to manifest in action.
Some people, through a special faculty, are in contact with these domains, take up one formation or other that is there, draw them to themselves and give them an expression. This power of expression is different in different people, but those who can open themselves to these domains, to see things there, to draw these forms towards themselves and express them—either in literature or in painting or music or in action or science—are, according to the degree of their power of expression either very highly talented beings or else geniuses.
There are higher geniuses still. They are people who can open to a higher region, a higher force which, passing through the mental layers, comes and takes a form in a human mind and reveals itself in the world as new truths, new philosophical systems, new spiritual teachings, which are the works and at the same time the actions of the great beings who come to take birth on earth. That is an imagination which can be called “Truth-imagination”. These higher forces, when they come down into the earth-atmosphere, take living, active, powerful forms, spread throughout the world and prepare a new age.
These two kinds of imagination are what could be called higher imaginations.
What is the function, the use of the imagination?
If one knows how to use it, as I said, one can create for oneself his own inner and outer life; one can build his own existence with his imagination, if one knows how to use it and has a power. In fact it is an elementary way of creating, of forming things in the world. I have always felt that if one didn’t have the capacity of imagination he would not make any progress. Your imagination always goes ahead of your life. When you think of yourself, usually you imagine what you want to be, don’t you, and this goes ahead, then you follow, then it continues to go ahead and you follow. Imagination opens for you the path of realisation. People who are not imaginative—it is very difficult to make them move; they see just what is there before their nose, they feel just what they are moment by moment and they cannot go forward because they are clamped by the immediate thing. It depends a good deal on what one calls imagination. However…
Sweet Mother, can one imagine the Divine and have the contact?
Certainly if you succeed in imagining the Divine you have the contact, and you can have the contact with what you imagine, in any case. In fact it is absolutely impossible to imagine something which doesn’t exist somewhere. You cannot imagine anything at all which doesn’t exist somewhere. It is possible that it doesn’t exist on the earth, it is possible that it’s elsewhere, but it is impossible for you to imagine something which is not already contained in principle in the universe; otherwise it could not occur.