The Power of Imagination in Shaping Life

While many people discount the value of imagination, pigeon-holing it into the realm of the creative arts, without much impact on their lives, an ever-expanding number of people are realizing the tremendous power that imagination holds in shaping one’s life and future. Pre-eminent geniuses such as Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein touted the power of imagination as essential to the insights and developments they fostered in their work.

Modern-day elite athletes actually utilize the power of imagination to tune their bodies and minds and enhance their actual performance. They report that they go over their race or other activity in their minds, step by step, imagining how things will happen, and thereby, when they actually engage in the action, they find that they achieve better results.

Some body-builders, or even individuals with specific goals for their bodily form and functioning, use the power of imagination to ‘see’ the future result and this helps them to achieve that result. In some cases, a vision acts as a motivating force for persistent activity on their part to achieve the result. As Sri Aurobindo notes in his epic Savitri: a Legend and a Symbol: “A moment sees, the ages toil to express.” That moment of ‘seeing’ is the power of imagination that sets the action in motion. The foresight acting through the mental faculty is called ‘imagination’, even though it may represent a higher order of reality.

Imagination can also play a role in the healing of the body. The power of visualisation of a tumor, for instance, shrinking and disappearing, has been reported in a number of circumstances. Of course, this requires active and dedicated action on the part of the individual hoping to harness this power for healing of any extremely virulent or difficult health problem.

The Mother notes: “Imagination is a power of formation. In fact, people who have no imagination are not formative from the mental point of view, they cannot give a concrete power to their thought. Imagination is a very powerful means of action. For instance, if you have a pain somewhere and if you imagine that you are making the pain disappear or are removing it or destroying it — all kinds of images like that — well, you succeed perfectly.”

“There’s a story of a person who was losing her hair at a fantastic rate, enough to become bald within a few weeks, and then someone told her, ‘When you brush your hair, imagine that it is growing and will grow very fast.’ And always, while brushing her hair, she said, ‘Oh! my hair is growing, oh! it will grow very fast….’ — And it happened! But what people usually do is to tell themselves, ‘Ah! all my hair is falling again and I shall become bald, that’s certain, it’s going to happen!’ … And of course it happens!”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Body and Physical Consciousness, Faith and Suggestion, pp. 94-98

3 thoughts on “The Power of Imagination in Shaping Life

  1. Thank you.

    I’m between two schools of thought on the topic of imagination. I don’t dispute anything being said, herein. At the same time, from another point of participation, I don’t see a need for all the effort. The Zen expression, “When action is needed, action will be taken,” suggesting we are living perfection if only we come to see it that way. This, of course, is a spiritualist or mystic way… to not attempt to control or otherwise manipulate life. If we’re primarily of a worldly way (endeavors and goals), the mind is a key instrument for that level of engagement.

    Mentation, as a centering practice to facilitate healing, is more a way of “getting mind out of the way” of healing energies that are always present, but often blocked. It’s not really ‘imagining” at all. It’s more like ‘accessing’. Granted, visualization can be a useful tool in “centering”.


    • my own personal view is that there are times in life when each direction has its use and value. navigating the spiritual path involves period of active effort, as well as periods of passivity. depending on the specific stage one is working out, one may lean one way or the other without having to deny the potential use, value or need for the other, at the right time, under the right circumstances and in the right manner of use.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Power of Imagination in Shaping Life — Sri Aurobindo Studies | IMAGINA QUE ESCRIBES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.