Inspired by the Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies
Use Your Intuition: Imagine Your Soul!
Henry Reed, Ph.D.
People sometimes ask, "How can I tell the difference between true intuition and when it is just my imagination?" This common question is difficult to answer in the same terms in which it is asked, because often intuition is expressed through the imagination. Perhaps, in fact, there is no more intuitive dimension to humans than their imagination. Sometimes the co-mingling of these two is so tight and exact that it seems there really is no separation between them and the role of imagination in our intuition goes unrecognized. Sometimes the only difference between intuition and the imagination is how they are spelled!
Intuition training exercises provide us with "operational definitions" of intuition. By looking at what the exercise asks of us, we can infer what is meant by intuition. Many intuition exercises ask us to see around corners, to ask for guidance with regard to an objective when the relevant information is not visible to the eye. This type of training exercise has a strong "psychic" component, at least by connotation; it suggests that intuition is a way we can keep our eye on the ball even when we canít see the ball.
In contrast to that image of intuition, imagination is often regarded as a subjective "fantasy land," meaning having no external, or independent objectivity, no reality beyond the whim of the person enjoying playing with the imagination. Yet imagination is getting a new image, one in which it may be regarded as a channel of understanding. The classic example is that of Einsteinís fabled ride on a beam of light. In his attempt to understand the concept of time as it pertained to the observer and the traveling of visual information via light waves, Einstein is said to have imagined himself riding on a beam of light. By the use of his imagination, he gained a profound understanding of the nature of light, time and space, one which had dramatic implications for our experience of the external physical world. In this case, imagination and intuition are joined in a common task, and their relative contributions are blurred beyond recognition.
I have worked to find ways for people to use their own inner resources to explore this situation. In a course entitled, "The Intuitive Imagination," which I teach at the Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies, I present an exercise whose purpose is to help people realize what the imagination and intuition have in common. The exercise also shows people how naturally they use these skills.
I present the following task: Pretend that you are going to put on a mime performance for children. The theme of your performance is to show the kids what it feels like for a raindrop in the sky to evaporate in the warmth of the sun and become part of a cloud. Using no words, just your body, you are going to help children get inside a rain drop and experience what a rain drop FEELS like when it evaporates.
I give the class a couple of minutes to ponder the assignment, and then I ask for some volunteers to come forward and perform their mime routine. People have a variety of dances and movements to suggest the somewhat nervous, but ultimately exhilarating transformation of a small, weighty, self-contained being into an expansive, floating, warm moisturized presence. At the conclusion of each performance, I ask the audience to describe what they learned about the inner feelings of a rain drop from watching that particular studentís mime.
When the exercise is over, I ask the question, "How did you go about developing your mime?" and then the question, "How did you make sense of the mimes you saw performed?" After some discussion, the class develops the insight that they used their imagination to BECOME the raindrop. Using empathy, "feeling into," they drew upon inner responses to form a kinesthetic image of the raindropís metamorphosis. None of the students have ever seen a rain-drop evaporate, but they could imagine it, and that act of imagination is an intuitive--meaning drawing upon an inner way of knowing--act of empathy--meaning feeling into. As many experts on intuition will acclaim, intuition involves becoming one with the object of the intuition. And the students did exactly that--and with no instructions for doing so. It was a natural, spontaneous response to the assignment. The same goes for their appreciation and understanding of the performances they witnessed. As one student mimed, the other students imagined what it felt like to go through such bodily movements. What they witnessed, simply the visual observation of the bodily movements, would not have much meaning without the audienceís imaginative participation in the mime, feeling within themselves the sensations, feelings and meanings that the observed dance evoked in them. Again, an imaginative response of intuitive empathy.
There is a related exercise that I present in the class that produces results that will be easier to present in the medium of the page. It also takes the raindrop exercise another step to show how the "spiritual imagination" may be an example of intuition harnessed for the purpose of gaining insight into the unobservable aspects of human existence. This exercise I call, "Imagine Your Soul." Here are the instructions that I have given:
You are a soul. I didn't say, "You have a soul," like you had some kind of polished stone you carry in your pocket. No, I said you ARE a soul. Just look at yourself and you'll see what I mean.
All you see is your body? That's because you are looking with your eyes. The only part of your soul that you can see with your eyes is your body. How do I know that? A good question. William Blake, the mystic poet and artist said so. The mystic philosopher Edgar Cayce said it. Probably many other people, too discovered it. But that doesn't make it so. But imagine this:
The soul sees through the imagination! If you want to see the rest of you, besides the body, you have to look with your imagination. When you are looking with your imagination, you are looking with your soul! Imagine that! If you don't believe me, then just see for yourself. Let your soul look at itself! All you have to do is to imagine it, imagine what your soul looks like.
What is soul? That's for you to see-- to imagine--for yourself. I don't want to influence you, but... but I can tell you what some people who have seen their souls have said:
A soul is more than a body
A soul doesn't die
A soul never forgets
A soul is aware of all of creation from the inside
A soul talks to God directly
No two souls are alike but all mirror each other
Using words to put us in touch with soul is not too easy. It's better to use the imagination.
So close your eyes now, and simply imagine. It is the soul which imagines. And it looks in a mirror. What does it imagine when it looks in the mirror? What does it see?
I have collected many of the drawings that people have made to record their experience. Before you look at them, you may wish to conduct your own experiment to see what your soul imagines of itself. When you look the drawings, perhaps you will recognize something of the imaginings of your own soul.
To see the drawings, click here