Forgiveness, Healing and the Deep Imagination – by Mary Diggin
Published in Imaginews, the Imagery International journal, Dec 2014.
In Latin, īgnōscō, the word we translate as forgiven, means to not know. It implies that once something is forgiven, it is no longer known. The Personal Totem Pole Process® (PTPP®), the method of deep imagination I work with, recognizes imagery, along with thinking, sensing and feeling, as ways of knowing. In situations where Forgiveness is an issue, what is known is usually an experience that has been traumatic for us.
We know this trauma through feeling when remembering it still raises emotion: anger, resentments, sadness, etc.  We know it in our senses when we still undergo a physical response: clenching stomach and pounding heart. We know it in our thinking when we are given to obsessive thoughts or hurt-filled remembrances. Indeed, our thinking function may be the home of forgiveness if forgiveness is understood as prescriptive: a concept of what we should do rather than the place we are in. Imagery, especially deep imagery, plunges us back into the immediate experience. It allows us reframe the issue not as a need to forgive, but as an injury that needs healing. It allows us ask how one can best heal and reconnect with one’s wholeness rather than be caught in the past event.
The PTPP® understands deep Imagery as inherently integrative as it allows us to reestablish balance and wholeness through the experiences we have in imagery journeys. Experience is a key concept here, and deepening our imagery interactions is what creates the opportunity for the most growth and healing.
The activity of imagining is an in-the-moment, immediate happening. One way of intensifying our Imagery session then, is to enter with an open mind, without preconceived ideas about either the path followed or its outcome. By keeping Imagery open-ended, the deep imagination has the space it needs to bring us to where we most need to go. By not constricting the outcome, we allow the immediacy of the deep Imagination reach its full potential.
In a PTPP® journey, we begin with what is being felt right now. Whatever is there emotionally (anger, sadness, fear, etc.) or physically (clenched stomach, headache etc.) is given its space and becomes the doorway through which imagery can be entered. Our first action is to call for an inner guide. Usually an animal appears. We meet it in a place of openness and curiosity, of willingness to truly interact and get to know the guide. Imagery journeys are deepened by active participation rather than by simply observing the animal, thinking about it or interpreting it symbolically.
The primary tasks the journeyer has are to genuinely communicate with the animal, listen to its response, and allow space for further interaction. Greet it. Thank it for coming. This communication opens the doorway to a more engaged participation that is not confined to the verbal level. Inform the animal of any reactions you have. What feelings are present? What thoughts? Asking the animal some open-ended questions, such as “What do you need from me?” “Can you show me when you first come into my life?” “What needs to happen now?” “Is something ready to heal?” all allow a deepening of the Imagery experience.
When working with forgiveness, it is possible to directly call an animal for the energy of Forgiveness. Ask if there is something that is ready to heal. Then follow the animal’s direction. This usually leads the journeyer into an experience in which the incident responsible for the focus on forgiveness may appear in a new light.
In Imagery, time and space and the general rules of our sensate world need not apply and so there are many possibilities open to us. We may have the opportunity to ask for or offer forgiveness. We may meet another person and gain their perspective, and so open our compassion. If we are caught in a polarity of feeling… love/hate; forgiveness/anger for example, we can meet the guides for both parts of the polarity and invite them to meet/merge and so allow the energies to resolve. The possibilities for healing are boundless.
Life will always create situations that need forgiveness. What is important is that we take the opportunity to heal. It is in offering this opportunity that working with the deep Imagination excels. For there, in the world of deep Imagery, healing is always possible and with it, forgiveness in all its forms.
Gallegos, E.S. The Personal Totem Pole Process. ISBN 0964164099
Animals of the Four Windows: Integrating Thinking, Feeling Sensing and Imagery ISBN
Diggin, Mary. Does the PTPP® work with Shadow?