Here’s part of a recent conference proposal that is all about valuing inner vision. I hope it inspires you to value your unspoken, unarticulated knowings today…I believe they’re more important than what we can actually “see” in the physical world.
The ancient Sufis believed there are three worlds: the world of the senses, the world of the intellect, and something they called the “imaginal world.” The imaginal world is a real world; it’s not make-believe. But our Western culture is generally dismissive of things that we cannot see or measure. When we look at a tree, for example, we see the branches, trunk, leaves, fruit. Although we know the roots exist, our focus is on the “product”—the tree that we can literally see. When we look at a field that’s empty of crop, we call it “fallow.” The empty field is less interesting than the field that’s full of plants; the empty field is dismissed as unimportant.
It’s not easy to be visionary in today’s world. When individuals have inner visions, they enter a process that requires them to value something that is not tangible; something that they can only vaguely feel or sense. If it’s a revolutionary idea, it’s even more difficult to value it, going against the grain of what’s considered “normal.” And what makes this process yet more arduous, is that the imaginal world of unseen possibility and potential does not articulate its messages in clear words. Until we name it, until we give it a voice, it is voiceless. It is easy to reject what we cannot articulate. Our job as visionaries is to value this unseen world and create a space to protect it, giving it room to grow.
For those of us who care deeply about the health of our planet, presuming that we already “know what to do” or we just need to “figure it out” is a lie. Accepting that we don’t know what to do and allowing ourselves to nurture and protect the unseen is what we are being called to do now. The guidance that we need is in the imaginal realm of vision and insight; it is in the roots that lie below the surface of everyday life.