The Centre for Healing Blog


Imaginative Overlay

imagination interpretation subjective experience Mar 22, 2022
imaginative overlay

Have you ever had a dream and forgot that you were dreaming?
Have you ever been so immersed in your own imagination, that you believed it to be 100% real?
(read in morpheus voice)

If we close our eyes and imagine biting into a banana, allowing ourselves to go deeply into the experience of it, immersing ourselves in the sensations and images.
Maybe we dislike the taste of bananas, and we feel our body cringe a little.

Maybe we love the taste, and we feel our mouth salivate.
Only for a moment later to open our eyes and look around to clearly see that none of it actually happened.

It was an experience that happened primarily in the theatre of the mind.

The body-mind has a remarkable capability to experience whatever we are imagining as real. Hence why our mouth can physically salivate just from our imaginings.

The objective world disappears and our experience becomes immersed in an imaginative world where we are eating a banana. None of which is actually happening. 


The moment we interpret, analyse, judge or form some kind of thought structure “about” any specific “thing” may it be an object, a person, place, situation, circumstance or experience we have superimposed an imaginative overlay over actuality.

This reaction then becomes our experience rather than the reality of it.
Reality is prior to any kind of label or cognition, in other words the experience itself is happening independently despite our thoughts about it.

Our subjective world is simply a bundle of habitual words, images and sensations held together by our name. The veil of thoughts obscures our oneness with the reality which is all around us. 

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The habitual arising of thoughts and bodily reactions becomes the experience of who I am and also of the world in which I live. The subjective world of thoughts, images and sensations is an imaginative overlay, filtering our reality and dictating the way we relate to the world around us.

I don't say this to dismiss someone’s experience, as our mind's ability to imagine is always and will always remain a certain aspect and dimension of our experience, I say this simply to bring a sense of curiosity and inquiry into one's own seemingly solid sense of a personality.

Our thoughts, opinions and interpretations are not a mistake, they are useful and vital when it comes to navigating the world.

Just as a map of Texas is vital when it comes to walking across Texas, or as a book telling us what plants are safe to eat and what ones are poisonous. The issue arises when we believe our opinion or interpretation of something is what that something is.

We forget that the map is not the territory, even though it is useful. We don’t throw away the map just because we realise it is only a map. This also applies to ourselves, we forget that our interpretation of ourselves is not who we are. Just as we never ate the banana, nothing ever touched who we are in essence. It was a case of an imagined mistaken identity.

This is an invitation to question:
- If I am not who I thought I was, then what I am?

- What is a personality? What is it made of?
- What structures form the sense of me that I have believed I am? Is that what I am?
- What is left when the layer of imagination becomes still?

Peace & Blessing,
Matt Kay (Co-Creator of Embodied Processing)

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