Active Imagination and the Human Condition

Active imagination takes us deep into a world that seems to defy reality while also affirming reality in a larger universe.

I am again writing, and it feels good, very good. I have slowed down the pace as I re-read what I have written in the second novel so that I can make the changes that are needed. And, in the process, I am adding more, allowing my imagination freer reign. I have this sense that the story will be much better for the deepening of imagination.

I am learning to trust my “active imagination.” A few days ago, I turned to a book in my library, Jung on Active Imagination, and have been re-reading this old friend, a book I got in 1998. This morning, these words caught my attention:

Every good idea and all creative work are the offspring of the imagination, and have their source in what one is pleased to call infantile fantasy. Not the artist alone, but every creative individual whatsoever owes all that is greatest in his life to fantasy … without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. [Jung, 1921]

These were words I needed to hear, words that confirm my present journey with words, the telling of a story that is quintessentially human. That the characters in the story come to embrace naturism, is fitting as humanity is not defined by clothing. Even the stripping off of clothing doesn’t quite get to the foundation of what it is that is our essence as humans, a shared essence that is contained in everyone from saint to the most evil.

And so, I have become more accepting of myself and others, less judgemental. Notice the use of “less” – I am far from perfect and still respond from the complexities of my own history in ways that are far from an all-loving-kindness. But that, too, is part of what makes us all human. And so, I return to the story with hopes that the tale to be told, though a work of fiction and fantasy, will reflect an honesty about the human condition.

Re-Emergence on the Prairies

On the edges of spring on the prairies.

It has been quite some time since I last posted here. I have returned to Canada following three months in Mexico along the Mayan Riviera, where I lived in a private studio with a private garden. For three months I lived mostly without the need to wear clothing. It was only when I left the confines of the studio and garden when I had to wear clothing, at least until I was by a small clothing-optional beach not too far from the small town where I lived beside the Caribbean Sea. I returned to my home on the Canadian prairies, in a small prairie town located less than two hours southwest of the city of Saskatoon. I returned home to snow and cold. For three months I was without clothes for the majority of the hours of each day.

However, that time has come to and end, it has retreated into the past as memories, some of which were captured in photos, some in journal entries, and the rest into a quiet, hidden spot deep within me. Like then, I find myself living in the moment, in the present tense. It is easy to get caught up in the past, rehashing the challenges, and reminiscing through rose-tinted lenses the pleasures. It is as equally easy to project into the future facing challenges that exist only in the realm of “maybe.” Oh, I do think about the future and my time and places for clothing free experiences, among many other hopeful expectations, don’t get me wrong. However, I know that the “future” thoughts are just that, projections of “maybe.”

Living in the moment is not all that easy to do. It is actually exceedingly difficult as our minds are prone to “think” outside the experience of the present. We worry, we wonder, we conjecture, we wander. Just the simple and necessary act of planning for an event [I am planning on attending a Jungian lecture and workshop in just over a week from now], has one begin thinking about people who might be met, things that may be discussed, and the list goes on and on. Once the plans are made, worries about weather that may prevent travel along with a host of other imaginary issues that lay waiting in the shadows to sabotage the event, flood the mind. Of course, none of it is real with the exception that a plan has been made. The rest is all about fleeing from the present into some chaotic no-man’s land.

All of above is why I meditate. It teaches me how to stay grounded in the present. I find myself either nude or clothed in various situations of my choosing. And wherever I find myself, I make myself present to the situation and the people. It’s a good place to start.