Susan Stanton Rotman writes:
Think about the word “imagination” and compare it to the word “imaging.” I often point out to students and clients that these two concepts are very entwined. In accessing intuitive or inner knowledge we pick up information by non-rational means–we get a feeling sense, or a gut feeling, or a vision in prayer or meditation–but we are not directly accessing this content through our mental process. In order to integrate such information we must somehow translate it into words and feelings and sensory perceptions that we can communicate to ourselves (and then to others) through rational means–necessarily using our minds. So how do we do this? We use images to translate content retrieved non-rationally (not through the mental process) so our minds can understand what we are picking up. An active and developed imagination supports our imaging ability. This is not to say that we imagine what we are seeing, rather that our imaging “muscle” is in good shape because we have developed it through imagination, making it easier for us to put images, and then words, to content intuitively perceived. Practice and discernment help us separate imagination from direct images.
Imagination is one of the great gifts and blessings of being human.