W o K     :     Ways of Knowing

A Virtual Seminar


The Affective Meditation as thought experiment: Example of a contemplative practice using imagination

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited.
Imagination encircles the world." - Einstein

Imagination is a powerful capacity in both science and art and can be utilized in working with the Working Hypothesis. Imagination can be described as "forming a mental concept of what is not actually present to the senses" and thought experiments are "devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things." Knowledge and imagination are complementary, not in opposition and while knowledge facilitates continuity, imagination facilitates change and expansion.

The Affective Meditation, a basic exercise of Cafh, was described as a 30 minute six step exercise, done silently or vocalized, sitting in a chair with eyes closed. The steps of invocation, imaginative picture, sensations, purposes, consequences and summary were introduced and some explanation of the steps given, along with a brief example. Various archetypal themes that guide the meditation were also introduced and discussed. Two themes, The Two Roads (effect dis-attachment) and The Veil of Ahehia (effect joy) were used with specific examples.

A more general discussion was held about the context within which this daily exercise is practiced, including the sense of the themes as "archetypal probes" into the subjective, the absence of "belief" in the themes but instead the spirit of them as "working hypotheses". Renouncement as a central idea in Cafh was also explored, particularly as it relates to a form of the WH as "freedom from identification".

That this kind of exercise could be part of an "experimental methodology" for working with the WH was introduced.

My experience giving this talk in virtual reality was mixed. I had prepared a PowerPoint and when I couldn't figure out how to advance the slides, I became somewhat flustered and just abandoned the organization I had planned. Eventually, I felt that I was conveying coherent information, particularly when the presentation became interactive. The lack of feedback while speaking was the most difficult part, but the responsiveness of the questioning after the presentation part more than made up for it. Overall, it was a very positive experience.

Bob Magrisso

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