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Journey into the Psyche

Are Angels Real? And Does it Matter?

Are angels real? Does it matter when they’re helpful for your mental health regardless?

After my musings on the topic, I share an art video full of animated angels to inspire and delight you (don’t miss it), followed by the psychological view of how imagination plays a crucial role in mental health, impacting various aspects of our well-being. And finally, in light of the information on the role imagination plays in mental health, I look again at the question Are angels real?

So … are angels real?
The answer depends entirely on what you mean by ‘real’.
Clearly, they don’t walk among us as flesh and blood, but they are real in our imagination as clearly depicted in our art and stories. The imagination is a powerful tool, not only for the creative arts but also for mental health and spiritual inspiration.

Some believe angels are literally messengers from a very real God. Others see them as personal spiritual guides. For others they represent their higher consciousness and visualising them provides a method for communicating with that wisdom aspect of self. Others think they are mere fantasies with no ability to bring anything to the human psyche, but filling our mind with joyful imaginings, though we know they aren’t real, still have the ability to raise joy within us.

In folk law and various spiritual traditions Angels play the role of divine warriors fighting against evil forces, or they may be guides or guardians associated with love, healing, transformation and spiritual awakening.

You do not have to believe that angels are real in order to gain a positive effect from their presence in your imagination. If you need a guide, imagine a guiding angel to guide you. If you need a warrior to help you fight your inner demons or give you strength to handle adverse situations in your life, imagine a personal champion with all the attributes you wish them to have and set them loose in your imagination to fight your battles and emerge victorious. If you need love and solace, imagine an angel of love and compassion wrapping their wings around you and rocking you to sleep. As children know, imaginary friends can offer very real comfort and bring us inner strength when we need it most.

The video below, entitled simply ‘Angels’, aims to fill your mind with some inspiring imagery and music. It lasts just over 6 minutes with music by Kris Newland, and I hope it will inspire you to dream of your own angels. If you have nightmares, for instance, you could call up an angel in your imagination to help you chase them away.

Imagination plays a crucial role in mental health

Imagination’s role in mental health may not appear to have much relationship to the question of Are angels real? but the information that follows shows why that question doesn’t really matter. What matters, as in what I say in the video, is that we can use angels – and any other imagined spirit, friend, god, goddess or anything else in the same way, as a tool to assist us with our mental health.

  1. Emotional Intelligence and Resilience:
    • Imagination is not merely a whimsical escape; it serves as the cornerstone of mental health development. For instance, in children, imaginative play fosters emotional intelligence. Through pretend scenarios, kids learn to recognize and express emotions, understand others’ feelings, and develop empathy1.
    • Moreover, imaginative play encourages resilience. Children face challenges and conflicts in their imaginary worlds, allowing them to practice coping strategies and adaptability. This resilience carries over to real-life situations, helping them navigate adversity more effectively.
    • There is no reason to believe that what is true for children in this respect isn’t also true for adults.
  2. Problem-Solving and Creativity:
    • Imagination fuels problem-solving skills. When we imagine alternative scenarios or solutions, we engage our cognitive abilities. Creative thinking often emerges from this process, leading to innovative problem-solving approaches. So if we imagine an angel (or any other imagined entity) as a problem-solving helper, isn’t it logical that we will be more likely to come up with creative solutions to our problems?
    • In therapy, mental health professionals use guided therapeutic imagery to address various concerns. For example, patients dealing with grief, depression, stress, anxiety, substance use issues, relationship problems, family dynamics, and PTSD can benefit from harnessing their imagination2. Guided imagery helps individuals explore their emotions, visualize positive outcomes, and manage difficult feelings. In this kind of instance, the therapist doesn’t need to suggest that whatever is in the client’s imagination is ‘real’, because the point of the exercise is the therapeutic benefit of the imaginings, not the reality of them. So one might use angels in such a situation if it appealed to the client, but the question of ‘are angels real?’ would be irrelevant.
  3. Daydreaming and Intelligence:

Imagination contributes significantly to mental health by enhancing emotional intelligence, promoting resilience, aiding problem-solving, and facilitating creative expression. Mental health professionals recognize its power and utilize guided imagery techniques to support patients on their healing journey4.3142

A prayer of Angels

I send these angels to wake up those who commit atrocities: torture, murder, terrorist attacks, crimes against humanity. The blinding light of the power of their compassion and purity of soul, unfettered by delusion, is too bright for the perpetrators of such crimes. It brings them to their knees, and they cower before the angels in fear.

But these angels will not take life with their swords of wisdom. They battle ignorance, greed, jealousy, hatred, and prejudice until those who cause suffering understand the gravity of their crimes, are consumed by regret, change their ways, and make restitution for their crimes. May it be so.

So … Are angels real?

Given the second point in number3 above, it’s undoubtably safer to believe that angels don’t have any reality apart from one’s imagination, so we’ll always take responsibility for whatever we imagine the angels might say to us. I don’t want to encourage people with a tendency towards delusion (and don’t we all have that capacity?) to believe that some external entity is telling them to go shoot up a shopping centre. On the other hand, don’t let questions of their reality stop you from calling an angel into your imagination.

What do you think? Are angels real?’

Tell me in the comments.

"Smile, breathe and go slowly." - Thích Nhất Hạnh
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2005..and I am fighting an aggressive breast cancer with everything I can throw at it. A friend paid for me to attend a 3 day workshop with an amazing woman who channels an an angel. The sessions were intense, emotional and cathartic. The last one was a peak experience for all 30 or so of us in the room. We felt the presence of the angel before we saw him/her. A translucent figure etched into the condensation on one of the big windows.

I’m so sorry to hear that you’re fighting cancer, and I hope you pull through it okay. But what a wonderful experience with the angel. That experience of seeing them externally will really help give you the confidence to call on them to help with healing. There’s so much we don’t know about the metaphysical aspect of our existence, but research has shown that visualisation really does helps with healing, and I know from my Vajrayana practice just how powerful a deity’s presence can be.

Thank you but my fight with the Big C happened in 2005-6. So far no recurrance so I guess the angel and my Dzogchen visualisation practice toegether with orthodox and complementary medicine was effective. It has given me a 17 year life extension so far, which is not to be sniffed at! But what a slog. One thing I learned is that I will not do chemo again. It kills too many cells. You never fully recover from it.

Ah. Well that’s great news. And yes, Vajrayana practictioners know the power of such deities, whether they consider them ‘real’ or not. No matter how you understand them, if you do the visualisations, then they have a very real effect on our psyche, and that’s the point for me.

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