Perhaps the greatest lie told to humankind is that of “mere imagination.” Most of us recognize the power of imagination to create works of art, great inventions, even scientific breakthroughs. But this homage is impersonal and hollow. It has nothing to do with us. The truth is, imagination is a force for creating without peer, and many of us will go our whole lives never realizing the jewel we carry hidden within us. All the world’s leading spiritual paths teach that divinity lies within humankind, the spirit of That which keeps the planets and atoms spinning, which clusters itself effortlessly into an endless parade of forms, and which rises to the stature of self-consciousness in us: the I-AM that declares the mystery of itself as something beyond doubt, and wildly prolific. Think of how terrifying the first daydreams must have been to those beings who were learning about the power of imagination to take them anywhere, to defy the confines of time, space, and natural law that constrain and define our outer life. On the canvas of imagination, we're free to paint whatever version of ourselves we wish; it need meet no other standard than that it please us. This rich inwardness is, however, only the very beginning of the story. Goethe, Thoreau, Shakespeare, and many other great thinkers and writers who became initiated into the mysteries of creative consciousness have testified that, if we will only persevere in “the direction of our dreams,” we will find a response from the world.
“The harvest is rich, but the workers are few.” Practice is not just intellectual understanding. To see results, one has to put one’s understanding to the test. One has to be willing, for example, to consider that, in a world that is fundamentally mysterious and incomprehensible, we can’t say what limits there are, if any, to the creative power of our imagination. What we dwell on, we soon dwell in. What is the mood of our thinking throughout the day? What is our predominant stance? Worry? Fear? Criticism? Conflict? Disappointment? Do we find it easier and more natural to expect favorable outcomes, or the opposite? It takes a reaching honesty to travel to the end of our indulgences, but oddly, these indulgences often are in things we would rather be rid of once and for all. The man who gives himself over to imagining the worst is setting into motion the hardest of lessons. He will not be able to hide from them. But the one who uses the divine gift to enjoy his inner life, regardless of surrounding conditions, perhaps even despite them, will reshape those conditions from the inside out, for the same imagination that lives at the center of us lives at the center of conditions.
Why not explore the power of imagination with a new boldness? What do you imagine would happen if you dared to trust that there is no such thing as “mere imagination” except in that we render our imagining powerless by our reluctance to trust it and our readiness to abandon it the first time the evidence contradicts our dreams? What if we took even a single week off from the evidence and all manner of contrary conclusions, and kept solidarity with the truth of our imagining without a single lapse? What would we find? What impact would it have on our life and our world?