Jungian Active Imagination & Hypnagogia

"the royal road to the unconscious"
-C.G. Jung

What Is Active Imagination & Hypnagogia?

Active Imagination is a fairly rare natural process that need not be so rare. It is highly treasured by those who have mastered it and it has been used, in one way or another, in seeking deep inner experience.

"We may worry about death but what hurts the soul most is to live without tasting the water of its own essence." -Rumi

The most direct way of explaining what Active Imagination is is this: Active Imagination places us at the threshold between our everyday sort of awareness and the dream world. If we can bring a degree of alertness and openness to the threshold, the dream world will reach out to meet us. The dream world provides us with its unique view on the world and we bring our questions, our capacity for learning, and our ability to be surprised. This marriage, of inner world and outer world, can provide our lives with much needed insight, energy, passion, and meaning.

Active Imagination is not hypnosis, contemplation, or meditation. Hypnosis asks us to turn off our alert mind to enter into the world of unconsciousness. Contemplation seeks to sharpen the mind's reasoning ability. Meditation asks us to move away from the dream world and our everyday mind through focusing on a single word, our breathing, or our movement.

Elements of all of these practices are touched upon when practicing Active Imagination. But, Active Imagination relies upon an alert mind, the non-rational, and a high level of inner creative fludity. This is the only sort of environment that the inner marriage of everyday consciousness and the dream world can exist.

Sometimes, Active Imagination occurs naturally, without utilizing a technique such as was brought to the psychotherapeutic mainstream by C. G. Jung. Events that bring a person to relax their everyday awareness (e.g. listening to stories, watching the flames in a fireplace, listening to the sea) can move us into Active Imagination.

To increase the frequency of these experiences so that we may follow Rumi's advise, "taste the water of the soul's own essence," we must use Jung's technique.

Additional Information:
Carl Jung on Active Imagination
Barbara Hannah on Active Imagination
Marie-Louise von Franz on Active Imagination
James Hillman on Active Imagination
Robert Johnson on Active Imagination - Coming
Ira Progoff on Active Imagination
Henri Corbin on Active Imagination - Coming
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