The Imaginal Zone


Dreams occur in the tidal zone where the unconscious and consciousness meet.  The same is true with active imagination, although one is not submersed in sleep.  In some literature this zone is called the hypnogogic, that half awake half asleep phase we move  through if we don’t literally jump out of bed.  

I prefer to call this tidal zone the Imaginal.   An active imagination practice is able to enter the Imaginal while awake, in a sense, able to dream while awake, but there is a difference.  The current of the experience does not just sweep you along as with a dream.  Consciousness must accent and make choices, yet remain maliable enough not to destroy what is transpiring. 

When people ask me about lucid dreaming, becoming awake in a dream, I often find in the discussion that follows a desire to control the unconscious.  I then invite them to consider the two rules for active imagination that Murray Stein set out:   Let what comes come, and if it moves follow it.

Author: Richard Reeve

I'm the Senior Director of Development at Panthera, a global conservation organization committed to stemming the population decline of cats in the wild. I enjoy rural living with my wife Judith and our two children in the Catskill Mountains of New York.