All made up

 

Sometimes, I hear someone say it’s a made up word. What they mean, of course, is that someone recently made up the word. And really, it’s just a reminder that all words are made up. And that all ideas are made up as well. Anything imagined – including all words and images and all abstractions and ideas – are made up.

All religions, philosophy, science, worldviews, self-images, stories about anything and anyone, are made up. It doesn’t mean they may not be meaningful, or useful, or work well to help us orient and function in the world. Many of them do some or all of those things for us.

But it does mean they are made up. They don’t reflect any absolute or final truth about the world or ourselves or anything else. And they are passed on through generations making up culture, religion, and worldviews that is shared by most or many in a society, and are then made to look final and absolute since so many take them for granted.

Through inquiry, we can begin to undo this sense that these ideas are final or absolute. We get to see how our mind creates and recreates them for itself here and now. We may get to see how imaginations combine with sensations where imagination gives a sense of meaning to sensations, and sensations give charge and a sense of solidity to the imaginations. We get to see how they must have been initially imagined by someone, perhaps a long time ago. We get to see how they are passed on from parents to child, and society to individual. We get to see how they can seem real and absolute just because they are shared by many in a society. We may find that we can relate to them more intentionally and use them more as seems appropriate. The charge in them may even lessen or fall away.

Sensations combined with imagination

 

Imagination gives sensations a meaning. Sensations that are not associated with a story are easily recognized as sensations. And sensations associated with a story seem to mean something.

Similarly, sensations give imagination a sense of substance, solidity, and reality. Imagination that’s not associated with sensations are easily recognized as imagination. When imagination is associated with sensations, it seems real, solid, and substantial. It has a charge.

Any stress, trauma, deficient or inflated self, perceived threat, compulsion, and attraction or repulsion is created in this way. That’s why – in the Living Inquiries – it’s helpful to look at each image and word making up whatever we explore, and notice and take time to feel the associated sensations.

That’s how the mind reprograms itself. That’s how it shifts from (a) taking the collection of imaginations and sensations making up an experience as real, solid and unquestionable, to (b) recognize the separate elements as just that – distinct and separate. That’s how the charge softens or is released. That’s how healing happens. That’s what gives more clarity.

Through this, we also get to see the process from sensations appearing to mean something, to sensations being revealed as sensations inherently without meaning. And we get to see how imagination that seems real and solid is revealed as imagination without an inherent reality to its story.

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The imagination of my senses

 

When I am caught in thought, I am – in a sense – caught in the imagination of my senses. I am caught in the story created by mental images (sight), words (sight, hearing), and mental imaginations of sound (hearing).

– From a previous post.

It’s as if the mind borrows from the sensory input, and makes it into an imagination on order to process, explore, and navigate the world. Each sense is mirrored by imagination, and used to think – not only in words, but also in images and reflections of other senses.

I imagine that, for instance, a bat may imagine using a reflection of sonar senses. It may even dream using imagined sonar input. And possible beings from other places in the Universe may have their own quite different senses, and use an imagination of these to process, navigate, and think.

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Playfulness, wisdom and a toy piglet

 

Towards the end of his life, Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss had a toy piglet. It is perhaps a little odd for a grown and respected man to have a stuffed toy.

What is even more odd is that he and his wife treated it as a child, and wrote a book about him.

It is easy to dismiss it as the folly of an old man. But is that all?

Playfulness was always central in his life, and his playfulness in relating to his piglet is a teaching in itself. It is an invitation for us all to find more playfulness in life, including in how we use our imagination.

And there is also wisdom here.

When we interact with others, we usually assume we interact based on who they are. But we are really interacting with them based on who we imagine they are. When Arne Næss treated his piglet as a living being, it becomes clear that he is really interacting with his imagined piglet. This is an invitation for us to take a closer look at this in our own life.

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Knots and reimagination

 

stringbagdiagrams

There are many ways to work with knots.

I can allow the experience that comes up, as is, with kindness. I can inquire into stories around it and find what is more honest for me. I can act with more integrity in the world.

And if the knot is particularly sore, I can also reimagine my response in situations that triggered the knot. I can imagine myself in the situation, now acting from more clarity, wisdom and kindness.  (This is similar to revisiting a dream through active imagination). When I do that, I notice a further shift into a sense of clarity, honesty, relief, and alignment with what is more true for me.

What is a knot?

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Own world of images

 

The world I see and relate to is my own world of images. It is what happens in the sense fields, with an overlay of images to help this human self orient and function in the world.

This mental field overlay creates a sense of extent (space) and continuity (time) and places whatever happens within that sense of space and time. It creates images of a me as this human self, and images of others and a wider world. And it creates images of a separate I as a doer or observer.

All of this is my own world of images, helping this human self to make sense of and function in the world.

And I can notice it as it happens. I can notice that overlay of time and space. Of a me relating to other people and the wider world in general. Of an I doing as this human self, or observing as awareness itself.

I also notice how all drama happens within this world of images. It comes from images of me/I relating to images of others and the wider world in a certain way. It comes from relationships between images of me and the wider world, when these relationships do not align with images of how it should be.

It is amazing and beautiful.

And I notice how I see myself in three ways here…

I see and relate to my own world of images, whether I recognize them as an imagined overlay or take them as true.

I see qualities and dynamics out there, in the wider world and the past and future, that are also here, in this human self.

And all I see is awakeness itself. What happens in the sense fields and the overlay of images, including the images of me and I, is all the play of awakeness.

There is a great freedom in noticing this, especially as it happens in daily life. I notice that all I relate to is my own world of images. So I can make use of it a practical way. I can use this world of images as a temporary guide for this human self in the world. But I don’t have to take it seriously. I know it is only my own world of images. There is no truth in it.

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A world of images

 

Exploring the sense fields, it is pretty easy to get a sense of how we imagine the world.

The mental field creates an overlay of images of what is here (in the other sense fields) and what is not here.

And that world of images is – in a very real sense – my world, when they are taken as true.

Whatever drama I experience all comes from the characteristics and relationships among these images. It comes from the characteristics of each image, and how it relates to all the other images.

In the beginning, it may be easier to notice this through a sense field exploration session. Sitting or lying down, and notice how the mental field creates image overlays on each of the other sense fields (interpretations), and also how the past and future is imagined in the same way.

After a while, this happens throughout daily life as well. As I go about my daily life, I notice the image overlay on the other sense fields (interpretations of what is happening) – and also the image overlay that is free from the other sense fields. (Images of past, future, what is not present in a physical sense.)

Again, it is pretty simple, but can have a profound effect when recognized throughout daily life. I notice – in an immediate way – how the drama is created and happens within my own image overlay.

It is, quite literally, imagined.

If it is not recognized as imagined, there is a sense of being caught up in drama. The image overlay – including that of a doer and observer – seems very substantial and real.

When it is recognized as imagined, the layer of drama tends to weaken or fall away. And what is left is the image overlay as a very helpful – and essential – tool for my human self to function in the world.

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Imaginary

 

Our world is imaginary. Again, it is simple but there is still a lot to explore there.

My world is imaginary. The world I relate to and function within is imaginary. It is my mental field creation.

There are sense impressions – sound, sight, smell, taste, sensation and even thought itself – and then a mental field overlay of images. Interpretations. Questions. Stories.

It is essential for our human self to function in the world. And it is – quite literally – the world my human self functions within.

If these overlays are taken as real and substantial, there is stress and drama. And when they are recognized as overlays, as they happen, they are revealed as simple tools. The drama falls away.

It is simple. And there is also no end to the complexity I find when I explore it in more detail.  

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