ON IMAGINATION

Nov 1, 2014Imagination
Whenever Dr Lakshmi my mentor begins to give a talk, she says “I want you to imagine what I’m going to tell you. Put your rational mind away for a few minutes and just stay with your imagination.” And then she will launch herself into images of spiritual realities- I say realities, that do not exist for a rational mind but could, one day, become truth for someone who is willing to imagine.
I have started to learn that Imagination is a gateway to possibilities.
Only when something exists in imagination- someone’s imagination, can it manifest in reality. Yesterday my husband said that every time he gets on a plane, he marvels about the man who once imagined that he could fly!!
Someone imagined that they could fly.
Someone imagined that they could talk to a loved one who lives on the other side of the world.
Someone imagined that man can go to the moon.
Imagination is the gateway to the truth.
It irks many people that in Waldorf schools, the dolls are made with out facial features. The blackboard drawings are made with utmost simplicity. The stories are told not read. It is now clearer to me than ever before why this is so.
Dr Rudolf Steiner was a spiritual scientist. But he was a practical, spiritual scientist. He was clairvoyant and a jnani who had access to spiritual realities. But he wanted to make sure that spiritual knowledge may not merely stored in the head as information. He wanted it to be applied in the most practical ways.
To understand Steiner’s teachings, we need to use our imagination. We can’t learn from him if we are closed minded or too intellectual.
Having said that he often repeated that one has to experience truth for oneself before you apply knowledge in life. If we do it without understanding, it becomes a dogma. That leads to rigidity.
So coming back to unfinished drawings, dolls, stories and toys, they were made in such a way as to foster children’s imagination. What is not complete, the child completes with her imagination.

So Waldorf schools encourage the faculty of imagination right from kindergarten where the children imagine different emotions on the face of a doll depending on the play or on the emotion that the child is experiencing. Imagine your doll grinning when you are sad!
The children imagine the characters of the story- the setting, the weather and the landscape. There is no right or wrong and there is no limit to a child’s imagination. The teacher paints rich pictures with her words and when she gives plain paper and crayons to the child, all the vivid imagination flows through the child’s hands on to the paper. Children in Waldorf schools are never asked to color a readymade drawing. They are encouraged to draw out of the rich treasury of their imagination.
In older classes, imagination gives way to independent thinking.
Whether in Waldorf grade classes or in our training seminars, there are no ready answers. The answers already exist in us. We need to dig deep into ourselves to find them. In today’s generation, this can be tough!

Yesterday I saw a child on the street clutching a doll. A doll cast away by another child. The doll had no clothes on. It was missing a limb or two and perhaps an eye. But for the little girl, the doll was complete. What was absent, she made it present with her imagination. When this little girl grows up, she may be inspired to turn into reality the life that she will imagine for herself.

When we use our imagination, we will understand that people with disability who, may in a way be incomplete in the physical realm are complete in other subtle ways that can be experienced, but not perceived with senses. There’s more to a human being than just his body. When, aided by imagination we are able to perceive a complete soul and an intact spirit, we begin to see only a difference but not a disability.

This is the reason some teachers cannot see beyond the perceptible reality of who the child with a so called special need appears to be. She can’t see who the child really is, or can be if the teacher’s imagination would allow it. When the teacher complains to the mother about what the child cannot or does not do, the mother cannot accept it, because only the mother and often not even the father, can see the child as a complete human being who is capable of thinking, feeling and doing and being. A teacher who can imagine that the child is complete the way he is, will be inspired to do her best for him and then when her intuition takes over, both the child and teacher can together find new ways of doing things.

When we live with imagination,
It leads to inspiration and
that in turn leads to intuition
where we meet with truth- our own, personal truth.
This is in total antithesis with the Google generation. The generation of instant answers. The generation of Barbie dolls and video games.
We are losing our imagination to smart phones and touch screens.
More than any other time in history, especially a hundred years ago when Steiner spoke about imagination, inspiration and intuition, today is when we really need to foster these qualities in children and in adults so that we can remain in touch with ourselves and to be inspired by nature so with intuition we can get closer to truth and to reality.
For this we need to find time to quietly be with ourselves and listen to the inspiring, intuitive voice that exists within each one of us.
Photo courtesy: http://tillytilda.blogspot.in/2013/06/tilly-tilda-pocket-waldorf-dolls.html?m=1

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