The imagination is one of those words that, when we say it, not everybody means the same thing. It is a vast place, like Mexico, the experience of falling in love, or music. The key is knowing how to find your way to this place.
When you are a child, the imagination colors the world around you. The semi-permeable membrane between this world and imagination is very porous for children. As we grow up, we are generally taught to put imagination aside and focus on more adult matters.
(A quick way to experience this semi-porousness again is to take a few psychedelic mushrooms.)
We think of childhood as magical while adulthood seems plain in comparison because imagination is what makes the world alive and radiant.
The imagination is not “real” in the materialistic sense of the word. They say severely depressed people see this world as it really is.
But materialism is not our reality. The imagination is just as true as the material world.
The path to the imagination is a private hiking trail. If you walk it often, the trail will always be easy to find. This is what artists and writers must do. Anyone can do this.
The path to imagination is much harder to find now because we have lost the time to let ourselves get bored. To go into a revery watching rain on the windowpane or staring into a fire. This is because everybody has the internet in their pocket.
If you go far enough into the imagination you come to the place shaman and madmen visit, and realize the imagination is an actual place, vast and unfathomed . . . but of this it is best to say the path is there and must be journeyed to be believed.
Anthony Alvarado is the author of the book, DIY Magic: A Strange and Whimsical Guide to Creativity.