Is it right to see images when one meditates, as for example, a door opening?
Everything is right, if it has a result. Whatever the means it is all right. Why ? The images you speak of are not necessarily ridiculous; they are mental images, and if they produce a result they are quite appropriate, if they give you an experience, they are appropriate.
Everyone has his special procedure. Some may have imageries that help them; some, on the contrary, have a more abstract spirit and see ideas only, others again, they who live more in their sensations and feelings, have rather psychological movements, movements of inner feeling and sensation; that depends on each one. Those who have an active, a “form-making” mind, are particularly those who see images, but everybody does not experience tie same thing. Generally, it is more often a sensation, a feeling than an image.
When, for example, I ask you to descend into yourself, some will concentrate on a sensation, but others will have the impression of going down into a well and these have absolutely the image’of steps descending into a dark and deep well and they descend more and more, more and more, and sometimes they do arrive at a door : they sit down before the door with the will to enter and sometimes the door opens, then they enter and see something like a hall or a room or a grotto, and from there if they continue they can arrive at another door and again stop, and with an effort this door also opens and you can go farther and if you do it with sufficient persistence and can continue the experience, there comes a moment when you find yourself before a door which has a special quality of solidity or solemnity and with a great effort of concentration the door opens and you enter into a chamber of light; then you have the experience of the contact of your soul…I do not see what is there bad in having images.
But it is only an imagination, is it not, Mother ?
Imagination ? What is an imagination ? You can imagine nothing that does not exist in the universe. It is impossible to imagine something that does not exist somewhere. The only thing is that you do not put your imagination in its place, or you give it virtues and qualities that it has not or you explain it otherwise than by a good explanation. But whatever you imagine exists somewhere, the only thing is to know where and to put it in its right place.
Naturally, if having imagined that you were before a door, you thought that it was really a physical door that is within your body, then it would be an error; but if you note that it is a mental form taken by your effort for concentration, that is quite correct.
If you take a walk in the mental world, you will find it full of forms like that, all kinds of forms which have no material reality but which exist perfectly well in the mental world.
You cannot think strongly of anything without your thought taking a form.
Imagination is a power of formation. In fact, those who have no imagination are the people who do not create forms in the mental plane, who cannot give a concrete power to their thought. Imagination is a very powerful means of action. For example, if you have a pain somewhere and if you can imagine that you are making it disappear or removing it or destroying it with the help of some images, well, you succeed perfectly well.
The story is told of a person who was losing her hair in a fantastic way and was threatened with baldness in a few weeks. Then someone told her, “Just imagine, when you do your hair, that they are growing and will grow very quickly. And the person while combing her hair was always saying, “Oh, my hair is growing, oh, it is growing very quickly !” And in fact, that is what happened. But what people generally do is to say, “Ah, all my hairs are falling and I am getting bald. It is sure, that is going to happen”. Evidently that is what does happen.
What is to be done to discipline the imagination ?
What is vaguely called imagination is a very complex, varied thing.
It is perhaps the capacity to see and record, to note the forms that are in one mental domain or another. There are artistic domains, literary domains, poetical domains, domains of action, scientific domains all belonging to the mind, not the higher or very abstract mind, but a mind which is above the physical mind and which, without our knowing it, constantly pours itself out through the individual and collective mind to manifest in action.
Some persons, because of a special capacity, are in relation with these domains and they take up one of these formations that are there, hold to them and give them an expression. This power of expression is different in different people, but those who have the capacity to open themselves to these domains, to see there and draw these forms to themselves and express them whether in literature, in painting, in action or in the sciences are, to the degree of their power of expression, great talents or geniuses.
There are higher geniuses. They are those who can open themselves to a higher region, to a higher force that passes through the mental levels and takes form in some human mind and manifests in the world as a new truth, a new philosophical system, a new spiritual teaching; then you have the works, as well as the actions of great beings who come to take birth on earth. It is an imagination that might be called an imagination of the Truth.
These higher forces, when they descend into earth’s atmosphere, take forms that are living, active, powerful and spread upon the world and prepare new times. These two kinds of imagination are what one might call higher imaginations.
To come down again to a more ordinary level, everyone has in himself, in a greater or lesser measure, the capacity to give a form to his mental activity and to use this form either in ordinary activities or to create and realise something. We are always all the while creating images, creating forms. We send them into the atmosphere without even knowing that we are doing it. They go about, pass from one to another, they meet companions, sometimes associate together and live happily together, sometimes they come into conflict and there are battles, for often, very often, there is in these mental imaginations an element of will that seeks to realise itself and as each one sends out his formation so that it may act and things happen as he desires, that makes a general confusion. If our eyes were open to the vision of all these forms in the atmosphere we would see very astonishing things, battle-fields, waves, onsets, withdrawals of a large number of small mental entities that are constantly thrown into the air and that always try to realise themselves. All these formations have one common urge, the will to materialise, to realise themselves physically, and as they are innumerable, there is not sufficient room upon earth for all of them to be able to manifest themselves; so they push one another, elbow one another; we try to push out those that do not agree with us or even we form armies that march in good order, always to take all available place in space and time; and it is a very small place in comparison with the innumerable quantity of creations.
There are those that make formations without knowing it, — everybody, — and who are constantly hustled from one thing to another, who hope, want, desire, are disappointed, sometimes satisfied, sometimes in despair, because they have no control or mastery over these things. But the beginning of wisdom is to see oneself thinking, to look at this phenomenon and to perceive this constant projection into the atmosphere of small living entities that try to manifest themselves; all that occurs in the mental atmosphere that we carry in us. Once we see and observe, we can then begin to sift, that is to say, drive away what is not in agreement with our will or our highest aspiration, allowing to manifest only those formations which can help us to progress, to grow normally. That is the control of active thought.
How often you sit down and see your thought begin to form into images, narrate a story; and when you are a little expert, not only do you see the story of what you would like to happen in life, in your own life unrolling itself, but you can cut down one thing, add a detail, perfect your work, make a fine story in which everything agrees with your best aspiration, and once you have made a construction harmonious, complete, as perfect as you can, then you open your hands and let the bird fly.
And if it is well done, it ends always by realising itself. And one does not know that.
But the thing realises itself in course of time, sometimes long after; then when you have forgotten your story, when you no more remember to have told it to yourself and you have changed much, you think of other things, you make other stories and the previous one interests you no more, and if you are not very attentive, when the result of the first story comes, you are far away from it, you do not remember at all that it was the result of your own story. That is why it is so important to control oneself, because if there are within you multiple and contradictory wills, — not only wills, but tendencies, trends, planes of life that are opposed to each other, that makes battles in your life. For example, when you are on the highest level, you make a fine story and send it out into the world, but on the next day or perhaps on the very day, perhaps sometimes after, you have come down into a much more material level and the things up there appear a little.. .fairy-tale like, unreal and you begin to make formations very concrete, very useful and they are not always very pretty and those too go abroad.
I knew persons who had in their nature sides so opposite, so contradictory that one day they may make a formation that is magnificent, luminous, powerful, effective and the next day, a formation defeatist, dark, black, a formation of despair, — and then both fly away. And I could follow under the circumstances the beautiful thing that was realising itself and the dark thing that was demolishing what the other had made as it realised itself. Things happen like that in the general lines of life, as well as in the little details. All that, because you do not see yourself thinking, because you believe you are slaves of your contradictory movements, because you say, “Oh, today, I do not feel well. Oh, today things appear sad”, and you say that as if it were an inevitable fatality. But if you go back one step or if you get up one rung, you can look at all these things, put them in their place, retain, destroy or drive away that which you do not want and put all your force of imagination into those that you do want and which agree with your highest aspiration. That is what I call controlling one’s imagination.
It is very interesting. When you learn to do that and when you do it regularly, time no longer hangs heavy on you.
And instead of being like a cork floating on the waves, cast about helplessly here and there by each wave, without defence, you become a bird that opens its wings, flies over the waves, goes wherever it likes.