Imagination is a mundane skill. Misplace any object, try not to misspell a word, and imagery manifests in the mind to help with those matters. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about it at all, so it can be perilous to attribute anything more to imagination than that because it’s a skill for us to use. This makes it all too easy to fall into a self-aggrandizing schism between our own world and the real world, without empirical evidence to show for the significance of our daydreams.
Still, that’s what I developed, when far-fetched travels went nowhere and dreams resisted domestication.
The otherreal billows could just have been thoughts. The otherreal characters were another think coming to me.
It began with an attempt at far-fetching. Even after I failed, I began to experience a person in the otherreal who couldn’t have been there. This experience did have a similarity to imagination, like I would imagine a piece of furniture in the room that I hadn’t bought yet, except that I hadn’t deliberately put this person in my mind, hadn’t expected it, and I didn’t want that person there. I thought it was imagination, so I deliberately imagined this person walking away.
This deliberately imagined scenario would dissipate, and the otherreal person would remain with the same clarity, as my own manipulation of my own experience had not interfered one bit. I considered this troubling because this clearly-formed person in the otherreal was unpleasant, and of course nobody else could sense it.
Shifting my attention to the real world all the time was a far more arduous process than it should be, but after a few weeks I found a state to mind to shift into where the presence became more intermittent, and less vivid.
From that, I learned familiarity with the experience of an otherworld aspect out of control. This came uninvited; in future meditations, I would invite some out-of-control aspects because I intuited that they were, in their own way, “true” and worthy of consideration.
As I write of that experience, I can remember the features of this otherreal presence, which is to say that I can bring it to mind. It’s in my mind, but that’s not the same experience that I described above. I could even deliberately imagine it and it wouldn’t take a life of its own and last. The difference might be subtle, but I’m certain that there is one.
One major difference in future explorations of this active imagination, was the waning focus on the real and otherreal. These impose themselves as a default backdrop to my waking life, except for another type of meditation, that which quests through the surreal or at least balances it with the real and otherreal. The first step to questing is sort of wallpapering my mind, covering up the default backdrops with the geography of a location that I explored in a video game, and a pattern of smells and textures printed on my mind from reading a novel, and a bolt of sunshine from the memory of a summer vacation (to cover up where the edges wrinkled.)
Maybe. Going through the steps isn’t something that I usually catch. I just do it.
The wrinkles deepen into warps, still metaphorically speaking. Things appear that I didn’t expect, which would be fine if it all haphazardly worked out achieving what I had planned to do.
This is a drawing of my first deliberate guided meditation:
The sandoricum tree, I recognized from my grade school campus. The land around it was that of my mother’s friend’s summer house: the clay depression of the lake that had the clearest waters I’d ever seen, the grassy meadow…I hadn’t the foggiest clue where the pine trees came from, though.
The meditation had been splendid, with well-paced guidance through physical relaxation, and then having the prospective “past-life regressant” truly feel their age by talking about the oldness of the natural world.
This sandoricum tree represented the “tree of my world”, all the memories of all the lives would be hidden in an opening at the roots of this tree…
…Or a horde of frighteningly creepy beings that the meditation didn’t mention, because that wasn’t supposed to happen.
Technically, this may have been the first of what I now like to call “quests”: set out with imagination and yet liminal enough to invite something psychic.
Because this had been so unpleasant, though, I just thought, “Uhh…never mind…” and didn’t try again for a long while. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with this experience, if it didn’t do what it was supposed to.