Most people think of “spiritual” as if it were something imaginary. And in many ways it IS imaginary.
Yet, just because something is “imaginary” does not mean it has no value or does not exist. On the contrary, imagination is the source of creativity and the primary characteristic of an awakened human being.
Unfortunately, we are often taught to “stop imagining things”. Or we are taught that if something is “all in our imagination” it should be ignored as it has no value. As we get older we learn to ignore or mistrust our imagination.
So it is worth reminding ourselves how valuable our imagination truly is. The Eiffel tower first began in someone’s imagination. Everything ever built began in someone’s imagination. And, on some level, every experience we have begins with and is governed by our imagination.
Using our imagination is not a flaw in the design of who and what we are, it is the central feature. We are not physical beings having a physical experience, we are imaginary beings having a physical experience. An awakened being is a person who is in deep connection with his or her imaginary capacity, which can include any number of spiritual concepts or spiritual realizations. Our ability to imagine is what separates humans from animals.
Imagination: Worthless or Pure Gold?
Society, as it currently exists, does not often reward imagination. For example, some managers might believe that employees who use their imagination do not make good employees, good employees do as they are told.
And yet we are all fascinated by what arises from the human imagination. Hollywood movies earn billions of dollars. Pieces of art fetch hundreds of millions of dollars each. Historical buildings and monuments that were hand-carved using imagination are the most coveted of any city. Fictional books are among the most widely read. Imagination, while typically dismissed as “imaginary”, is also the most highly valued capacity in all of commerce.
Life without imagination would be indeed be dull. And so it is with “spirituality”, as imaginary as it may be. Let each of us imagine what spirituality means to us, but do not discount it simply because it is “imaginary”.
The next time you have that imaginary spark, do not ignore it, honor it. Your imagination is the most interesting and powerful part of who you really are.