Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:
Use your imagination: You can make your imagination part of the path as well. This is another one of those factors we’re told to avoid at all costs, but that doesn’t work. When things aren’t going well, you have to imagine other ways that they might be able to go.
When the admissions people in some of the more advanced universities throughout the country interview candidates who want to be brain surgeons, they have to assume that everyone who walks in the door is smart; no dumb people are going to apply to be brain surgeons. But not everybody who’s smart is going to be a good surgeon. So the admissions people need the right questions to ferret out the qualities that make a smart person a good surgeon. And they’ve found that one of the best questions is: “Can you tell us about a mistake you made recently?”
And the best follow-up question is: “If you had a second chance to do it all over again, how you correct your mistake?”
The candidates who answer that they can’t think of any mistakes are the ones who are thrown out immediately. The ones who say “Oh, I made a mistake the other day... and this is how I’d do it again the second time around”
: Those are the ones who’d make good surgeons.
Well, the same attitude makes you a good meditator. If you see that things are not going well, you have to use your imagination to figure out what might be another way of approaching things. So imagination here doesn’t mean simply wandering off. You apply your imagination to what’s going on in the present moment, to what you’re doing in the present moment, to get better and better results.http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/eDhammaTalks_2.pdf
From: Exploring by Thanissaro Bhikkhu