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An Imaginative Exploration of the Psyche

Calm Amidst the Maelstrom: Video Art for Meditation

Video art for meditation.

We live in tumultuous times, and it’s easy to be swept into despair by the tragedy we see unfolding in our world. But we all have a calm centre within, a place of sanctuary where we can be still despite the swirling waves of emotion that rush through and around us. Our centre of awareness watches and allows what is to remain as it is, without our interference, for only then can we be aware of our own awareness and break through the barrier of the conceptual mind to find true wisdom from which we can act with surety, and with love and compassion in alignment with the nature of the universe.

As you watch this video art for meditation, rest your mind on the still figure amid the turmoil, and allow that image to awaken the stillness within you. Simply be, as you are, and allow whatever arises to simply swirl harmlessly around you. The movement, after all, is merely your thoughts and emotions, and if you leave them alone, they will pass in their own time, leaving you in your still centre of awareness. May it be so for you as it is for me. Music by Kris Newland

More video art for meditation here

"The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident." - Charles Lamb

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.

"I have done my best: that is about all the philosophy of living one needs." - Lin Yutang

Look Deeply at the Flowers.

Contemplative thoughts.
The art, inspired by the feeling, provided a focus for contemplation from which the words arose.

Flowers are offerings to the world, as am I and my art. Should anyone appreciate their blooming is of no consequence – they offer regardless – but those who appreciate an offering receive the love that propelled it into being. Look deeply at the flowers.

A joyful spirit and positive mind is a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope and inspiration. This is our natural, unadorned state when we release our fear and grasping. Then our world shines, bathed in our light and nurtured by our creativity.

Self-reflection, introspection, the inner journey, no matter what we call the seeking for Self, at the end we must always return to the beginning, the place from which we set out, the present moment, now. For there is no other place to be.

Whatever we focus on internally affects how we interpret what we see externally. Whatever we focus on externally is what fills our mind internally.

Be careful with what you fill your mind. Those thoughts have power if you dwell on them. Violent books, movies, and games colour your mind with violence. Fill your mind with wise words and thoughtful stories, however, and you will become wise.

Running away from, ignoring, suppressing or indulging in our emotions doesn’t help. Simply feeling is the way – simply feeling what is to be felt without reacting to the feeling, without stirring it up by thinking about its cause; simply feel the feeling until it naturally fades in its own time.

Love comes in many forms, but no matter who the love is between, it is still love, something in which to rejoice in a world filled with too much hate.

"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Thoughts Are Not Our Mind or Our Reality

This week’s best insights inspired by my AI generated imagery.

Thoughts are not our mind. They arise out of our mind. Thoughts are like balls rolling through the open, fluid landscape of our mind. If we don’t stop them, they just roll on by and fade away.

Can you step back and watch your thoughts rolling through your mind?

We construct ideas about things and events, one building on another, creating edifices of belief that we take to be real. But are they? Are our thoughts about a situation the same as the situation itself, or could we be misreading it?

Thoughts and beliefs are not reality; they are merely our interpretation of it. They are a mirage of reality, not reality itself.

Do you regard your mind with bewilderment as you would an alien landscape populated by strange, incomprehensible beings? Do you know your thoughts, or are their contents – beyond a brief glimpse here and there – a mystery even to you?

Feeling down? Invoke your inner hero to come rescue you. Imaginary friends are good for adults too. They’re parts of yourself that can lend a helping hand when you need it. How might your hero self rescue you today? Imagine it happening, complete with how it would feel, and you’ll feel better.

If we reflect on why certain interactions we have trigger illogical and often explosive reactions, we may find areas of brokenness in ourselves – times where we feel as if we’re falling apart.

If our fight, flight, or freeze response kicks in in response to a stimuli that causes no threat to our adult self, then it’s likely a trauma response from an event or series of events in our childhood. Like bullying.

Trauma responses can be destructive in our lives and relationships, and they hold us back from fulfilling our potential. But we can reprogram ourselves, rescript the past event(s), go back in our imagination and rescue our child self.

It’s called schema imagery rescripting. It involves revisiting past experiences and re-imagining them to promote healing and growth.

Do you like this kind of post? Let me know in the comments.

"We are Divine enough to ask and we are important enough to receive." - Wayne Dyer

How Alive are Trees?

In his bestselling book, The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben argues that to save the world’s forests we must first recognize that trees are “wonderful beings” with innate adaptability, intelligence, and the capacity to communicate with — and heal — other trees.

Are Trees Sentient Beings? Certainly, Says German Forester – Yale E360

When I walk into the forest, though I don’t see eyes, I can feel the trees watching. Their consciousness is nothing like ours; their forms resemble no human’s – they certainly do not have breasts – but still in art we often portrait them anthropomorphically as a way to show that they do indeed have some form of spirit to which we can relate.

I sense the trees in the forest are a community, their beings interwoven in a network of roots, branches, leaves and a unique kind of knowing awareness that communicates without words or thoughts.

Take a walk in the forest and allow yourself to feel the trees. Open your heart and fall in love with these gracious beings.

This video is available as an NFT at
It can be seen in context of the Journey into the Psyche on the Imagining page.

What do the trees in the forest around my house say to me? Something like this – only not in words, of course.

‘We watch, us trees, we watch in sad and silent knowing as the humans blunder across the landscape, wreaking havoc in their greed and selfishness. Some see us, feel us, even hear us and take heed; most, unfortunately, do not. Love of the natural world is lacking and yet sorely needed amongst these hairless apes. It matters not to us what humans do to themselves, but if they do not change their mindset – and soon – they will doom us all.

‘A human heart full of love for the forests, and for the shrubs and trees that grace their farms and cling to life in their cities, is a blessing that must be nurtured. Only when the majority have such love. awareness and understanding of the true beauty and value of all the natural world will the necessary global healing truly begin.

‘Do what you can to bring this about and we will bow to you in gratitude.’

How do you feel when you walk among the trees in the forest?

"To change one's life, start immediately, do it flamboyantly, no exceptions." - William James

Remember to Look at the Roses

Contemplative thoughts.
The art, inspired by the feeling, provided a focus for contemplation from which the words arose.

Time passes. Moods change, and invariably, something shifts. Perhaps a feeling, a sense of direction, or a new resolve comes from our self-reflections. Perhaps it was smelling the roses and admiring their form that moved us from our slump. Maybe we talked to someone about our concerns or cleared our heart and mind with meditation. Or perhaps it’s just that things seem brighter after a good night’s sleep.

Whatever the reason, eventually, we will emerge from our low, gather our strength, and be able to face the world again. We just have to ride out the rough patches, knowing they are a natural part of life. Nothing is wrong with us. We are simply a human being human.

But remember to look for the roses! Beauty is all around us.

"True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubteth often, and changeth his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubteth not; he knoweth all things but his own ignorance." - Akhenaten

When our Sense of Purpose Crumbles

Contemplative thoughts.
The art, inspired by the feeling, provided a focus for contemplation from which the words arose.

Sometimes, our lives come crashing down around us. All that we are is stripped away. Perhaps we lose everything in a disaster, or perhaps it is our mental calm, our surety of ourselves and our place in the world that suddenly crumbles. What are we to do? How do we go on with no sense of purpose, ungrounded? 

Some introspection is needed, questions posed. What is important to me? What do I want? What is most important? What will give me the most satisfaction when I look back over my life as I lie on my death bed? 

The process may be prickly, uncomfortable, but asking is necessary. And we may need to rest in unknowing for a while, make friends with uncertainly, while we smell the roses and delight in their colour. The answers will come from our wisdom self if we are still and listen, open even to no answer and able to simply be with the silence. Trust. We need to trust in ourselves, trust that the answers will come from within and not go searching for them elsewhere. Looking outside for answers is a distraction that merely prolongs our uncertainty. That is the knowing that will light up our eyes.

In brief: When our sense of purpose crumbles, we need to trust that answers will come from within. Searching outside of ourselves is a distraction.

"Friendship may, and often does, grow into love, but love never subsides into friendship." - Lord Byron