Can you imagine? You can imagine with images, words, or sounds. You can imagine a chair with a thousand legs and a black goldfish floating on your ramen. You may not imagine a polygon with a thousand sides, but we have a word for that “chiliagon”. With knowledge and a handful of experience, you can carry on imagining with no border. If you have imagination, you can write books, give a lecture, and draw a picture. Imagination is history, the present, and the future.
With technology today, we can understand what’s going on in our brain on a basic level. A human brain is electrical. Inside are billions of neurons fire and communicate with each other. Different sets of thoughts and feelings would trigger different types of brainwaves. Fast food, pop music, Netflix likely trigger the Beta wave, the awakening and alert mind that reacts to situations.
Imagination, on the other hand, can trigger another type of brainwave, alpha wave. It can make you feel relaxing. All that requires is breathing. Breathing helps you to focus so that you can create a mental image with your mind. This is the first step: imagine something vast and exotic, whether still or dynamic, a cloud or a perfect circle. Given an example of imagining the cloud, the cloud is carefree, fluffy, white, and cool. As you first imagine the cloud moving dynamically for a few minutes, you will see your mind is elastic and free; you can then imagine the cloud taking shape in any form you like. From the cloud, you will gain infinite creativity.
The purest form of imagination is contemplation, to think about things bigger than yourselves. This form of thinking goes beyond the Beta wave brain when you are alert, or the Alpha wave brain when you are fully relaxed. I call it “creative-sublimity”. It is nothing of frivolity — a pretty face or a cute animal. The feeling of creative-sublimity is more like when you climb a tree and look down as you’ve reached the top, read a complicated philosophical concept for days and finally understand it, or encounter an abstract art that resonates with the deepest side of your inner soul. Creative-sublimity goes beyond the natural alert state of mind most people are forced to experience every day. Creative-sublimity can support you to reach the delta wave of your brain, which is the slowest brainwave that can help you gain deeper insight in your life. When you have a dreamless sleep, your conscious thoughts become so quiet that you can stay fully with your unconscious mind. In Zen Buddhism, a meditative discipline is called “Zazen”. It requires you to empty your mind by observing an object and imagine you are absent like your body is here sitting still but your mind is flowing freely. I think most of you can achieve this if you have good physical health, self-awareness, and discipline. With creativity, you can reach this stage almost effortlessly. The pink elephant will approach you when you quiet your conscious thoughts. You can choose to practice at least one form of creative activity per day: drawing, playing an instrument, writing, or starting a new business.