During a Monroe Institute workshop that I attended earlier this year, the facilitator suggested that if we felt as if we weren’t getting anything during the meditations (visual images, messages, communication, whatever), that we prime the pump by imagining something, then following it.

She paused for a moment, looking around the room with a small smile. “I love doing this workshop in Australia,” she told us. “In Australia I can say use your imagination, and no one stares at me like I’ve just suggested you all cheat on a test. Americans assume that imagination is not real. The Australians don’t have that hang up.” I looked around the room. People’s faces were polite blanks, like they were waiting for a punch line, explanation or assurance. The perplexed energy was palpable. You could feel their question: “But is it real? How do you tell?”

I’ve had similar questions from friends and clients, people curious about how I do my psychic readings, or how I trust information that I receive through non-physical means: How do you tell what’s imagination and what’s real?

It’s a valid question, but only because we’ve been taught and believe that there’s a difference between imagination (not real) and reality, whether that reality is the physical world or visions, messages, or other “spiritual” or non-physical communication.

About ten years ago my father had a severe heart attack. In Florida at the time, I immediately jumped on a plane to get to South Dakota where my father was supposedly dying. During a layover in Houston, I sat down and calmed myself. Closing my eyes, I imagined being with my father. I immediately found him wafting around over the Southwest, looking a little confused or lacking purpose. Getting his attention, I told him that he needed to get back to his body and make a decision; he needed to decide whether to stay with the body and heal it, or move on. I told him that either one was fine, but the decision was his so it would be good to get back to South Dakota. He nodded and moved back to his body, and I had the sense that he wanted to stay and heal this body.

When I opened my eyes, I knew that I had really found my father. My conversation with him had been vivid and real. Over the next couple of days, however, immersed in the family worry and the reserved pessimism of the medical doctors, part of me began to wonder if my conversation with him had just been my imagination.

As my father stabilized and before his six-bypass surgery, I found myself alone in the hospital room with him when he was fairly lucid. I decided to ask whether he remembered anything about where he’d gone after the heart attack. He thought for a moment, then said, “Yeah, I was flying around the Southwest.”


When we set our imaginations free, we can imagine anything. Think of the infinity of possibilities available for our imaginations to choose from. Why do we choose this thing to imagine?


I’ve learned that what pops into my imagination pops into my imagination for a reason. Even what I choose to imagine, what I deliberately pick out of the infinity of options then deliberately direct and rearrange and edit and re-imagine, comes for a reason.

Communication may not always be so direct and clear as the communication with my father happened to be, but what we imagine is not random. You don’t have to believe that. I wouldn’t recommend trying to convince yourself to believe it, arguing with yourself or brainwashing yourself into believing it because I say so it must be true (I am not your authority – you are!). It’s not a matter of faith. Try it. Test it. Play with it. When you begin to do that, you’ll eventually discover that it’s true, and know it through experience. Try priming the pump with your imagination.

About thirty years ago while I was in Spain, I sat at a café with a young man who was very outgoing and therefore intimidating to me because I was shy. I was half paralyzed with nerves when he said to me, “Don’t think, just tell me a word.” I did. He said it again, and I gave him another word. I think we ended up with ten words or so. The words all rather inexplicably had to do with the Pope, blood, guns, and Rome.

About one week later, Pope John Paul II was shot.

Twenty years ago I wrote a novel about a woman recovering from loss and injuries. Friends and family reading it now are blown away (haha) by the many parallels and details that match up with my having been blown up in Iraq. Was the story “just” my imagination?

It may be that “imagined” scenes highlight one issue, idea or theme; they may be revealing of a belief; it may be one symbol that has to be unpacked. Some details may be accurate and others may not be. The imagination may be a dense and rich scene that has to be pondered a bit to find the core. Or the imagined may have pieces of “true” or “real” tarted up within scenes to make them acceptable to our conscious minds.

I’ve played with the reality of imagination for many years, so usually I can tell that this is important and that is junk. I can deliberately create, or I can deliberately read someone else’s creations. I can get one flash and unpack it. I can deliberately set my intention that this is imagination and that is fantasy (i.e. I don’t want this to actually happen to me – I’m just exploring it in a fantasy). Not always, but often enough.

I’ve developed my own language of imagination. I’ve developed little tests of perception that work for me (turning the white robed beings into monsters, for instance, as described in Application of Impossible Things). I’m not unique – you can do this yourself.

As you continue to pay attention to your own imagination, I suspect that you’ll begin to understand the language that you use to communicate with yourself. You’ll learn where to look: through “seeing” or hearing, feeling or sensing. You’ll probably begin to understand symbols, not unlike analyzing dreams. You’ll probably begin to discern what is “true” within imagined scenes and what is overlaid on them by your conscious mind, or what is window dressing to make the information entertaining to your mind. You’ll likely begin to notice little flashes of “imagination” that come to you out of the blue and learn to unpack them.

You don’t have to believe that imagination is real. Test it for yourself if you’re interested. Prove it. Try priming the pump with imagination. Explore.


17 thoughts on “Imagination

  1. Imagination has been a favorote toy of mine since I was a toddler, talking with the “imaginary friend” (they are real) endlessly around the house. This is one reason people like me are never lonely; we have an intimate connection with the unseen and are never without a companion with which to converse. On my regular bike rides along the river I usually take my ipod to listen to music. But on some days I intentionally leave it at home so I can better talk with the intimate friend who follows me around. I knew years ago what this female spirit looked like to my physical mind, and later had a psychic (who I’ve never met personally) desribe her exactly and nearly got her name right (its not english). Its always nice having validation like that, even though I have few doubts about things.

  2. Love it, CW. I do the same thing making art, sometimes turning off the podcasts to just have a little chat, and when I go for walks I like to talk to the plants and sky and whoever I run into 🙂

    1. and when I go for walks I like to talk to the plants and sky <<<

      That reminds me of a time several years ago when I was becoming more and more disgusted with my human experience. I still am but not to the point of gagging every time I brush my teeth. LOL But I did decide to do just what you described; instead of looking at the people, who I saw as vile, I would look at the trees and the plants, or just feel the air and talk to whomever wanted to listen. It was an effective way of coping and still is when I need it. Which is often. 🙂

  3. Interesting, I am reading a book called “Neurospeak” which is about healing yourself by imagination and reading the book itself, should be interesting. I’ve got a 5k run this weekend and my right foot is acting up again (plantar fasciitis). I’m kind of running into this stuff a
    lot lately, no such thing as coincidence

    1. Lt me know what you think of the book , Dave. Sometimes I can heal myself using imagination and some things I’m still imagining… Maybe they’re still useful to me somehow.
      Good luck on the run!

      1. I’ve never been able to heal myself, but I’ve often been able to conjure up an illness when a convenient excuse is needed. Seriously. This actually goes back to elementary school. I knew I would never have to give a particularly loathesome public speaking assignment in 6th grade since I decided I would be sick that day. Sure enough, I had a severe cold when I awoke that morning and I hadn’t even bothered with the assignment. Illness for me, though extremely rare, is often a wonderful break from routine, not a curse requiring the laying on of hands. lol

        1. Not a surprise to me – I discovered the same skill in elementary school. Making myself sick is still often easier than healing myself (so far), or anyway quicker, perhaps because I’ve had so much practice 😉 I’m getting better and better at the healing, which is often merely a case of getting out of our own way, it seems.

          1. which is often merely a case of getting out of our own way, it seems. <<<

            This is very true. I have taught many people to deal with panic attacks and depression (which I am intimately aquainted with) by simply stop TRYING so hard to cope. In these types of illnesses, and throughout so much of life really, utter acceptance and an abiltiy to 'float' are the best things to do. Masterly inactivity, it can be called. Simple. But simple does not mean easy. Again (like reading your book) persistence is the key :). The other day I was replying to a question on this on a forum for Bipolar Disorder. Some important points for all of us can be; It's not acceptance unless its approached willingly; Acceptance will not heal us in one day; Acceptance is not a magic pill; Acceptance means knowing there will still be plenty of bad days ahead.

            It took me years to master this stuff. And I still take Paxil everyday. However, it surprises many people (expecially my Christian friends) to be told, "I don't want to get perfectly better". Without having had to cope with this avenue of mental illness I would not be the person I am today, which is a better person than I was prior to 1987 when I had my first severe panic attacks. So I'm quite content to continue feeling the odd surge of irrational anxiety. It keeps me on the straight and narrow. 🙂

            I'm rambling. lol

  4. Oh, and by the way. A vivid imagination is one of the most common denominators among people with nervous disorders like depression and anxiety. It only makes sense because we tend to escalate our circumstances into unmanagable scenarios before they even happen. It takes a good imagination to accomplish that. lol

    1. A friend and I call it “perfectly fucked up.” Maybe you can’t go anywhere else until you can sit there … And once you’re there it doesn’t matter lol.

      Yes, I recognize ‘take it to its worst possible conclusion before it happens’ – another exercise in getting out of our own way. When I began to put my imagination to use (recognize it as a paintbrush rather than as a hammer) and explore its characteristics, that stopped. Hallelujah 🙂

  5. I loved this post. I love how you have such an open mind about
    “reality” :-). In your book and in your writing here, there is a common theme of “the old rules don’t apply!”
    And not only that but you are a co-creator in your reality and “the rules.” I hope I’m getting that right.
    Although, I guess I probably am, since you basically say for us to listen to ourselves.
    I wish I were as eloquent as you are Natalie. What I’m trying to say is – your are an amazing writer (I like your logical scientific and precise style) and your content is so engaging and inspiring. Thank you for sharing all that you do! I’m part way through your book and loving it!

    I’ve had a few psi experiences in my life. My grandfather who had just passed came to me in a very real “dream” to tell me to let everyone know that he was fine and that he was able to fly to anywhere in the world.
    I had a couple other random dreams actually happen the next day. Very low impact on life, but they were too strange to be coincidence.

    I guess meditation would foster more of these?
    Did you read “infinite Quest” by John Edward. It was very interesting. He talks about psychic self-defense – which is protecting yourself (merely by having the intention to do so) when exploring in the spirit world.
    Just curious what your thoughts would be on that.

  6. Thanks Agentsully, I’m so glad that you’re liking the book (and my writing style 🙂 ). Also thanks for sharing the story of your grandfather … I like hearing people’s stories.

    Maybe meditation would foster more experiences like this … the word meditation carries so many meanings, I think. Does it mean empty your mind? Does it mean guided meditations – i.e. a form of encoding or hypnosis? Does it just mean taking a deep breath and relaxing for a few seconds? I think it can be any of these and more. I think meditation is only one way of becoming more aware or opening up to more experiences like this … just paying attention might be enough. I don’t think that we necessarily have to go into altered states in order to set a new intention, or invite new experiences, or even to have “ah-ha” moments.

    Years ago I was very angry with a friend about something that he’d done. I was so furious that I had to pace, so I went for a long walk instead of wearing out the carpet. After about half an hour of walking and fuming, I thought, “well, what do I DO about this?” And I was suddenly filled with the most amazing clarity and love and forgiveness – I don’t know another way to say that. Within that clarity I saw that I was angry at this friend’s ACTIONS while still loving HIM. Duh. That cleared up my mind and gave me a basis for talking things out with this friend. Happy ending 🙂

    I didn’t do anything other than ask a question sincerely, and I didn’t even know who I was asking. And I wasn’t in a meditative state or a trance, or even walking with a quiet mind.

    So I guess what I’m saying is follow your own intuition, your own desires – maybe meditation, maybe paying attention, maybe just asking questions – if you set the intention that you want X, I bet you’ll start to find a path of exploration that suits you best.

    I can’t remember if I’ve read ‘Infinite Quest’ – I have read a couple of John Edwards books and remember liking them. I’m an avid reader, but generally retain little – just broad themes or rare individual snippets.

    Psychic self-defense … hm … maybe i should write a post on that 🙂 The short answer is that long ago I scoffed at that notion of needing it, then for years I felt a very strong need for it, and now I use my own version of it. Maybe I will try to write a post on this with more detail … thanks for the question!

  7. Just found your blog and loving it. I love what Penny said about the Australians. I co-trained with her (when I was an intern) at a couple of GVs and what she says is true. Some of the stuff that participants come back with – using their imagination – is so very powerful. And once we “give them permission” to use their imagination, all sorts of wonderful things pop up. We also found that giving people permission to use their imagination then takes it to another level of – FUN!! And once you start to have fun, again the “universe” opens up to you!

  8. So true!
    Have always wanted to visit Australia, and Penny is a Special Person … The two together: what a hoot. I’m envious … Tell Penny hi – hope you guys have a great program!

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