The development of imagination
The development of imagination is for many students a big challenge but at the same time most important in many aspects.
Bardon suggests that the student should do concentration exercises first and then to go on with imagination exercises. For this imagination exercise he suggests to look at an object, to memorize it and then to imagine it. We can call this the hard way respectively Bardon´s teachings are always very compact and the student can and should study them deeply over and over again to understand them better, – to discover their deeper meaning.
Looking at an object and then imagining it is for many students impossible. And so they fail and quit.
So what is now the key to success, to a successful training?
The focus has to lie first on concentration exercises with all senses and then you can work on the development of your imagination skills with all senses.
In fact the ability to focus, to concentrate yourself on something is a general key for all kinds of spiritual work.
In Bardon´s training you work on your concentration – first by concentrating of thoughts, or the train of thoughts – a first step. And then you should train your concentration with each sense to be able later to develop your imagination.
There are two kinds of concentration. The first one is used for example for Trataka in the Yogi tradition. It is the permanent flow of concentration on one point. The second one is the wandering concentration. Here you have an object and you let the focus of your concentration wander along all points of the object, so that you become completely aware of all details and aspects of the object. We can call this second form the “observing concentration”.
The first form of concentration can be used to activate chakras or certain energy points in the body, to support the flow of energy or to open energy gates but also to move with your consciousness.
The second form is very useful for meditation, for a deep understanding of the nature of an object and for the development of imagination.
For all senses the technique is the same: Choose an object which is interesting, fascinating for, which you like, which you love, which you adore or worship – analogue to the sense you work with.
For example you are fascinated by Lakshmi, the Indian goddess. So you can take a wonderful picture or statue of her and put it in front of you. Now you take your asana, calm down and then you start to wander with your eyes along all details of her picture – visual concentration. Do nothing else then letting the focus of your eyes, your concentration observing all details of Maha Lakshmi – all details but also the whole picture. Become completely aware of everything. Do this maybe for ten minutes and then increase the time up to 30 minutes. You can keep the object but you can also change it. In every case you should keep feeling comfortable with the object and the training. Otherwise it gets boring and this is not good for the success of the exercise. So keep you fascination and the good feelings.
What happens? You train your visual sense in a very good way, together with your awareness and your visual concentration. Very good! With every exercise your visual skills increase. So with passing time you will be able to perceive pictures with a lot of details very quickly and in a comprehensive way AND your visual imagination skills will awake naturally. As soon as this happens you should go on with your exercise by doing first the “observing concentration” on the object and then try to imagine the object in all details – by the same process of wandering from one detail to the next one. First with closed eyes and later with open eyes. If it feels easier for you then you can do it directly with open eyes. That´s it!
The same thing you should do with all other senses. Let you focus wander along all details of a melody or sounds, of a feeling, of a fragrance, of a taste… Become completely aware of it, of all aspects. And so you will develop naturally the corresponding skills of concentration and imagination.
I recommend to pay respect to the law of balance and to work on your senses in an alternating way. This means if possible work on all senses each day or work on 1-2 senses per day, so that no sense is missed in its development or overemphasized. Indeed these exercises are very healthy, very vitalizing for your spirit, your mind, your creative powers. The senses and the imagination with the senses are in fact the tools of the creator, our tools to create reality on the mental and astral plane with effects down to the physical realms. With developed imagination skills you become a real creator like your father.
A last point – please do not use the single-point-concentration to develop your visual concentration skills – the idea to produce afterimages by this technique for imagination is quite unhealthy.