More than half my time is spent in my own head. Call it meditation, day-dreaming, or thoughtful introspection if you like. Truth is I just love playing with my brain.
Do your ears perk up whenever you hear the words imagination, creativity, or originality? Mine sure do. These were my buzz words growing up. I yearned for opportunities to show off my creative side. However, it’s hard to showcase your talents when they exclusively take place inside your own head.
Imagination is a misunderstood and underappreciated part of our lives. Some people call it a talent. Some call it a waste of time. I think of it as a necessary component to having a healthy brain.
It all starts with how our minds store information. Images are just one thing the imagination can toy with. Our squishy little brains can pick out any type of sound in our memories from common noises to familiar voices. Our physical senses mentally record the smell, taste, and feel of the objects we come into contact with. Even abstract concepts like hope, betrayal, or freedom have a feel to them. Anything the mind can recall becomes the tools of dreamers.
Individual thoughts alone make up our memories. Combining these thoughts is what comprises imagination. An artist can create a masterpiece by using paint, clay, or ink. Dreamers use light, sound, and emotion.
Don’t tell me you’re not imaginative. Everyone is. Let me prove it to you by painting a scenario in your head. Imagine a house on a hill in front of you. Can you picture it? Take a moment to really flesh out the details. Are you ready? I’m guessing each one of you came up with a different image. I would assume you all pictured the front of the house as opposed to the back. Your imagined hill probably had green grass instead of barren dirt. And I think it’s a safe bet to say the majority of you all imagined a blue sky during the daytime as your background. What about the finer details? How many floors does your house have? What color is it? What did your imagination produce to fill in the blanks of my written description?
All of us have default images for people, places, and objects. Try picturing Paris in your mind without thinking of the Eiffel Tower. Everything we observe is stored in our minds and sealed with a defining image. The defining image is meant to capture everything we think and feel about a subject in one snapshot. Here is another test. Ready? Think about John Wayne and then think about Shirley Temple. Have you sufficiently captured them in your minds? Okay then. If you pictured John Wayne wearing cowboy garb, then you probably consider him to be tough. If you pictured Shirley Temple as a small child instead of as an adult, then you probably regard her for being cute. Now consider yourself. What do you look like in your own imagination?
Using imagination creatively is like being a director for a movie where you have absolute control. Inside your head is a little camera facing forward. Your camera also projects images onto a screen right behind your eyelids. This screen is the canvas for all of your imaginary constructs. You can make the screen blank as you imagine objects or you could paint a pretty background and fill it with people. Whatever helps you to be creative is perfectly fine.
My imagination was very active during my childhood years. I would pace the playground because it helped me to think more clearly. I could project images from my mind onto the surrounding area in front of me. I would picture the school as being futuristic or covered in vines and surrounded by dinosaurs. I remember in the third grade daydreaming about the school being flooded by a few feet of water and everyone needed special suits to swim to their classes.
Imagination is something we use either consciously or while we sleep. It exercises our brain’s ability to make sense of the information we are introduced to. Some people dream modestly while others like to decorate their minds ornately. Not everyone shares the same dream, but we all share a world in which we can dream together.