rudolf steiner, in his meditation manual, 'start now', places great emphasis on 'imagination', but not in the way currently used. he means it as an act of will, not the 'will o' the wisp' opposite we usually mean, as in, whatever-comes-into-your-head. rather, steiner's version is to conjure a stable image in your inner visual field and to do so long enough so that the object can be manipulated in that space, as if it were a physical thing in your hand. another route he suggests is to picture something symbolically meaningful to the spiritual quest, like a seed, which can then 'grow' or 'blossom' along with the soul that is doing the picturing!
in meditation, i've tried the latter with some success. my gut feeling about this exercise is that being able to conjure [pun intended] images within can directly lead to clarity of vision about one's life---that this is the initial step of 'reality creation' in the outside world. creative visualization works in this way. never before have i equated my inability to picture things with my inability to direct my life! i can now look back at the ancient belief that images and art were magic....because they ARE! or can be...if one keeps at it...right now i'm working with my inner acorn...hopefully, one day to sprout and to grow into my inner oak ;-)
another suggested exercise from steiner is the 'backward review'; simply to picture the significant events of your day, from the most recent, back in time---to rewind the day in order to reinforce the lessons learned and to notice where improvements can be made in the future. we do it in all learning situations: classes. we do it in prose, and call it a 'conclusion'. why not in everyday life, the ultimate school?
lastly, in his 'essential exercises', steiner tells us of the importance of initiating some type of action each day, no matter how trivial. the small act of will builds the capacity for greater ones. my miniscule will muscles are getting sore...
speaking of arresting images...i was browsing the new york times and found that there's an exhibition in nyc of jung's famous 'red book', his personal illuminated manuscript. a review is here. i snipped some images from the article: