There are no boundaries to your imagination

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Every single experience of what has happened to you took place within your own mind as reflections and interpretations of sensory information that have reached you from the external world around you. While this flow of sensory information is partly beyond your control, you still have a choice of what you expose yourself to. Reading books, meeting new people, experiencing nature are all within the range of your possibilities, and are all bringing you new sensory information, and thus novel experiences.

But your opportunities don’t stop there….

You may not be able to always choose what external sensory signals will reach your brain from the outer world, but you are in control of what sensory signals you choose to create for yourself with your imagination. Your brain does largely not make a difference on how the information being processed came about, it is processed by the same parts of your brain and the inner experiences may be as rich and vivid as those reaching you from the outside.

This means that your inner mind is not bound by the same limitations as your experiences of the outer world. Still, we tend to limit our imagination and fantasy to roam within our normal boundaries instead of letting our mind take us out on boundless journeys.

Having a vivid imagination and inner life takes time and practice, as everything else in life, but the opportunities are there for everyone to grab. Your inner mental pictures may not be fully clear and limitless from start, but every time you practice your imaginative skills, you will find you farther and farther away from your ordinary life. Here are a few tips just to get you started.

Visit a new place: Pick a place you have always wanted to visit. Use your memory fragments of pictures, films, stories from this place. Now, go there in your fantasy. Land at the airport, take a cab or a bus, look at the people around you, watch the views passing by, feel the sensations, paint as vivid pictures as you can of everything you experience. Use your old mental pictures merely as anchors and fill in all the gaps yourself. Totally submerge in the experience. This is not a fantasy. This is reality.

Relive or create a new food experience: Enter a restaurant of your liking. It could be a fancy high-class restaurant or a simple taverna by the sea. Look around you and take in the atmosphere, the people around you, the sounds and smells. Sit down and have a look at the menu. Decide what you want to eat. Enjoy how it’s being served. Feel the smell of the food. Start eating, savouring every bite. Sense the aroma, feel the texture of the food in your mouth, and how your taste buds are titillated. Enjoy your favourite drink to your meal. Make the experience as vivid as you could with all your senses.

Be another person: Pick a persona of your choice; maybe a rock star, a race car driver or an astronaut. Submerge yourself in this new role. It’s not another person, it’s you. Feel the thrill of going on stage with thousands of cheering fans in front of you or the pumping adrenaline when you are passing another car in a hairpin curve. Or feel the space gear against your body, the breathing in the tubes on your back and the beauty and total loneliness when you are in space outside your spaceship.

Assume animal abilities: Imagine that you could fly like a bird, or swim like a fish in the ocean, or being able to run like a gazelle. What would you do? How would it feel gliding above the tree tops with full control and no fear? What would the animals be telling you if you could talk to them?

Do something forbidden: Live out a hidden dream and act in a way that you would never do in real life. It may be telling your boss off, throwing the chess board out the window after a loss, or walking nude in the middle of the city. In your fantasy, at this moment, there is no right or wrong, no judgments, and you are the director.

Create a fantasy landscape: Why limit yourself to the physical realities of the world? Do like Tolkien, create your own fantasy landscape, with creatures yet unheard of and your own role as a hero or a villain fully at ease with your surroundings. Fight the dragons or explore new galaxies.

Conceive an idea: Come up with an idea of something new and amazing. Stretch your imagination. There are no limitations and boundaries, just opportunities.

As you can see the opportunities are endless, and the more you actively use your imagination, the easier you will find it to get out of your present physical moment. Not only could you enrichen your life this way, but regularly ridding yourself from your normal limitations will also enhance your creative abilities.

Illustration: Pixabay.com – FunkyFocus

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Author: Karl Ekdahl

International public health leader and creativity blogger.

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