There is a Hindu story of a spiritual teacher who was out walking with one of his students. The teacher wanted to demonstrate the power of imagination. Soon, they saw a stranger approaching from the opposite direction. “As this man passes us,” the teacher said, “think some unkind thing about him.” The stranger drew near, then passed the two without eye contact or comment. Just then, the teacher called out to him. “Excuse me, sir. When you passed us just now, what were you thinking?” The stranger said, “To be honest, I have to apologize. I was noticing your friend’s skull, and thinking how I would like to break it.”

If we knew how powerful our imaginings can be, we would take up a very different relation to our inner life. In Field terms, this does not apply to the casual fantasy, the fleeting daydream that holds no emotional charge for us. We are wise, however to consider that those imaginings to which we give attention to the point that we feel an emotional charge are not as private as they may seem. Like messenger birds, they fly into the world and have their effect. The surest way to have an argument with someone is to practice having the argument inwardly with feeling. Fortunately, mere thinking does not go forth in this way. What we imagine may be like the program we watch on the inner screen, but feeling—especially a feeling of reality and presence— is the carrier wave that broadcasts it, whereupon it becomes a force shaping the unfolding of events unless it is rescinded by a contrary intention.

We may not have much control over the thoughts and images that come to us, but we have full authority over whether or not we agree to take them seriously. If a daydream comes that represents an experience you would not like to have, it is a simple matter to witness it the way you might witness birds flying overhead. Witnessing is a quintessential skill of deliberate creating. It not only allows us to disqualify whatever doesn’t suit us, but also establishes in us the stance of allowing, of letting things happen rather than trying to make them happen. And of course, whatever daydreams come that please us, we are free to accept, embrace, and inhabit, enjoying them for what they are and who we are in their company, and leaving all else to the Field.

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