The single most important use of our imagination is getting clearer and clearer on how we want to shift this moment into the next. If we simply BE – we go through life experiencing what IS. But if we imagine what it COULD BE – we begin the co-creation process.
By getting really clear on what could be .. and what you want THE NOW to be, you activate the spirit of the creator within. And you begin to change reality as it is, not just witness it.
Some practices teach that simply being and witnessing is enough. And that to want or crave anything is a form of suffering. True – if we become too obsessed with WHAT COULD BE and don’t spend enough time appreciating WHAT IS, we can feel the stress of not being where we want to be, fast enough. This kind of stress can cause us to simply miss most of what’s happening now.
But if we can stay centered on what is through most of the day and only engage in ‘thinking’ or imagination as a kind of tool that we activate consciously to create in the mind’s eye what COULD BE and think through the STRATEGY of how to get there.. we are using all of our creative and conscious faculties without getting stuck in any one of them.
It can be tempting to constantly imagine a reality better than this one and miss the very gift (and only guarantee) right in front of our eyes. This dreaming into the future or fantasizing about a better moment can captivate the consciousness. And by captivate, it can hold the attention captive, so it loses all sense of what is and only focuses on that could be future.
Part of the reason why the future can be so alluring is because we don’t know what it holds. There’s a tendency to not only want it to be better than it is right now but also a strong desire to ensure it doesn’t become WORSE than it is. So there’s a double motivation — to ambitiously try to create more or better, and at the same time a fear / stress to prevent us from losing or experiencing less than we are. This drives our focus into doing more and more in the now, to ensure we get to a better place in the future.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this race to nowhere, except when we fantasize that we cannot relax in the now even for a moment, because we find ourselves still in the race, telling ourselves that only when we reach a certain POINT , then we can relax.
SOMEDAY WHEN ..
Telling ourselves, ‘Only when I get to THAT point will I allow myself to relax.’ Whatever that point is.
Some never get there, having successfully lived out a fantasy in their mind’s while living in an alternate reality their whole lives. Some DO get there – to the places they imagined. Only to realize that to live in the now they have to let go of whatever got them there – excessive focus on work and productivity, so they can truly drop into the now. Which can be very challenging when they’ve been conditioned to operate a certain way: under time pressure, with schedules, stressed out, busy calendars.
If they don’t acquire the new skill of being more present and enjoying life in the now.. they will simply swap out the fantasy that drives them and keep the process going, focusing on getting somewhere even higher to satisfy their need for certainty or growth or some other need to be realized, in the future. While utilizing their chosen system for productivity.
YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL : JUST BALANCE IT OUT
The key point here is that you can have it all – you can become highly aligned with a future vision that excites and motivates you while at the same time practicing the art of relaxing and giving yourself many breaks and rest to calm and restore the mind. In fact not only will you enjoy the process more but you’ll have more energy along the way to get you to your destination. And if you should depart from this life journey earlier than expected, at least you didn’t sacrifice the gift that NOW is – for some future now you never reached.
And lastly – when it comes to realizing our full potential, it’s a never ending quest on one long time continuum. So rather than get stressed that we aren’t at the level we hoped we would be years ago, or think that we’re missing out on something, or that we’re not good enough – simply let go, look around you and see what you can appreciate now and know that you always have a better and brighter possibility ahead of you as well, should you choose to imagine it and put effort into realizing it.
Just know that the balance of appreciating now WHILE working towards your future vision is the key to experiencing the richness of life happening in the small moments right in front of you, while you work towards optimizing what you see in front of you.
James Sunheart is a student of personal development and spiritual growth. He is passionate about optimizing people, systems and life. He’s written 7 books. Interviewed hundreds of experts. Given a TED Talk in France. Lives in Costa Rica while developing a sustainable eco-village. For opportunities email: James AT FullPotential.com