Question: How can our imagination be used to help raise our consciousness or improve our meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, we have to know that imagination is not mental hallucination. If we take imagination as something unproductive, as something that has nothing to do with reality, then imagination will never be reality. If we think that imagination is the South Pole and reality is the North Pole, then it is all useless. We have to take imagination as a reality in another world, in an inner world or a higher world. And that world we have to bring into the world of reality that we are now living in. Imagination is a world of reality which is waiting for revelation and manifestation here in this outer world, which we know as reality.

Inside us are many worlds; imagination is one of these worlds. We have a free access to the world that is around us and before us, whereas we do not have a free access to the worlds that are inside us. So what we have to try to do is bring the world that is inside us into the world that is around us. It is like this: somebody is inside the house and somebody is outside the house. You are friendly with the person who is outside the house. You know him well because most of the time you stay outside. But when you come inside, you see that somebody else is there. You can also make friends with that person and ask him to come out with you and make friends with the person who is staying outside.

So, think of imagination as a reality in its own right which is on another plane of consciousness. That plane of consciousness you are trying to bring to the fore and make one with the plane of consciousness which we call reality. You are trying to establish friendship between the two: between the imagination-world, which is a reality-world in another plane of consciousness, and the reality-world which is the outer plane of consciousness. But this you can do only if you take imagination as a reality in another plane, in its own world.

Imagination plays a most significant role in the spiritual life. Suppose you are not having good meditations, but six months ago you had a very good, powerful, high meditation. What you can do is try to imagine that powerful meditation. Then your imagination will become reality. After fifteen minutes or half an hour, you will get a good meditation. Vivekananda was such a great spiritual figure, yet sometimes for six months at a time he did not have a good meditation. What did he do? He used to imagine a time when he did have a good meditation, and inside his imagination was aspiration. So imagination is very good.