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Daily Wisdom: The Imagination


By Marc Gafni

From my book, The Mystery of Love:

Sex models the erotic, but it does not exhaust the erotic. One of the core qualities of the erotic is imagination. The Zohar, the magnus opus of Hebrew mysticism, says explicitly in many places, “Shechina is imagination.”

In Common usage “imagination” is implicitly considered to mean “unreal.” Indeed unreal and imaginary are virtual synonyms. To undermine the reality of an antagonist’s claim we say it is “a figment of his imagination.” In marked contrast, the Hebrew mystics held imagination to be very real. Indeed it would not be unfair to say that they considered imagination to be “realer than real.”

The power of imagination is its ability to give form to the deep truths and visions of the inner divine realm. Imagination gives expression to the higher visions of reality that derive from our divine selves. Language and rational thinking are generally unable to access this higher truth. But the imagination is our prophet, bringing us the word of the Divine, which speaks both through us and from beyond us. This is what the biblical mystic Hosea meant when he exclaimed their God said, “By the hands of my prophets I am imagined.”

Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney

About Marc Gafni

Marc Gafni, D.Phil. is Editor-in-Chief of Spirit's Next Move, Scholar-in-Residence and Director of the Center for World Spirituality. He is a contemporary philosopher, public intellectual, a lineage holder in Kabbalah, and the author of many books including Soul Prints, a winner of the NAPRA Nautilus Award for Best Spirituality Book. He has several books in publication including Your Unique Self and Radical Kabbalah, which is based on his doctoral dissertation at Oxford University.


  1. ZAKARIYYA says:

    Certainly imagination is real. It is so real because it is very close to our inner solar-center. Particularly the Western man, who actually is closer inwardly to his imagination center on the essence, generally speaking, than the Eastern man. . .that’s why they made up HOLLYWOOD!

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