And now, go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever. — ISAIAH 30:8
I want to express my sincere appreciation to the hundreds of men and women who have written me, telling me of their use of imagination to create a greater good for others as well as for themselves; that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. A faith which was loyal to the unseen reality of their imaginal acts. The limitation of space does not allow the publication of all the stories in this one volume. In the difficult task of selecting and organizing this material, Ruth Messenger and Juleene Brainard have been of invaluable assistance.
IMAGINING CREATES REALITY
“Man is all Imagination. God is Man and exists in us and we in Him… The Eternal Body of Man is the Imagination, that is, God, Himself” — Blake
The purpose of the first portion of this book is to show, through actual true stories, how imagining creates reality.
Science progresses by way of hypotheses tentatively tested and afterwards accepted or rejected according to the facts of experience. The claim that imagining creates reality needs no more consideration than is allowed by science. It proves itself in performance.
The world in which we live is a world of imagination. In fact, life itself is an activity of imagining; “For Blake”, wrote Professor Morrison of the University of St. Andrews, “the world originates in a divine activity identical with what we know ourselves as the activity of imagination”, his task being “to open the immortal eyes of man inward into the worlds of thought, into eternity, ever expanding in the bosom of God, the Human Imagination.”
Nothing appears or continues in being by a power of its own.
Events happen because comparatively stable imaginal activities created them, and they continue in being only as long as they receive such support.
“The secret of imagining”, writes Douglas Fawcett, “is the greatest of all problems to the solution of which the mystic aspires. Supreme power, supreme wisdom, supreme delight lie in the far-off solution of this mystery.”
When man solves the mystery of imagining, he will have discovered the secret of causation, and that is: Imagining creates reality.
Therefore, the man who is aware of what he is imagining knows what he is creating; realizes more and more that the drama of life is imaginal — not physical.
All activity is at bottom imaginal. An awakened Imagination works with a purpose. It creates and conserves the desirable, and transforms or destroys the undesirable.
Divine imagining and human imagining are not two powers at all, rather one. The valid distinction which exists between the seeming two lies not in the substance with which they operate but in the degree of intensity of the operant power itself. Acting at high tension, an imaginal act is an immediate objective fact. Keyed low, an imaginal act is realized in a time process. But whether imagination is keyed high or low, it is the “ultimate, essentially non-objective Reality from which objects are poured forth like sudden fancies” [Hermann Keyserling, Count, "The Travel Diary of a Philosopher"]. No object is independent of imagining on some level or levels.
Everything in the world owes its character to imagination on one of its various levels. “Objective reality”, writes Fichte, “is solely produced through imagination”. Objects seem so independent of our perception of them that we incline to forget that they owe their origin to imagination.
The world in which we live is a world of imagination, and man — through his imaginal activities — creates the realities and the circumstances of life; this he does either knowingly or unknowingly.
Men pay too little attention to this priceless gift — The Human Imagination — and a gift is practically nonexistent unless there is a conscious possession of it and a readiness to use it.
All men possess the power to create reality, but this power sleeps as though dead, when not consciously exercised. Men live in the very heart of creation — The Human Imagination — yet are no wiser for what takes place therein.
The future will not be fundamentally different from the imaginal activities of man; therefore, the individual who can summon at will whatever imaginal activity he pleases and to whom the visions of his imagination are as real as the forms of nature, is master of his fate. The future is the imaginal activity of man in its creative march. Imagining is the creative power not only of the poet, the artist, the actor and orator, but of the scientist, the inventor, the merchant and the artisan. Its abuse in unrestrained unlovely image-making is obvious; but its abuse in undue repression breeds a sterility which robs man of actual wealth of experience. Imagining novel solutions to ever more complex problems is far more noble than to run from problems. Life is the continual solution of a continuously synthetic problem.
Imagining creates events. The world, created out of men’s imagining, comprises un-numbered warring beliefs; therefore, there can never be a perfectly stable or static state. Today’s events are bound to disturb yesterday’s established order. Imaginative men and women invariably unsettle a pre-existing peace of mind.
Do not bow before the dictate of facts and accept life on the basis of the world without.
Assert the supremacy of your Imaginal acts over facts and put all things in subjection to them. Hold fast to your ideal in your imagination. Nothing can take it from you but your failure to persist in imagining the ideal realized. Imagine only such states that are of value or promise well.
To attempt to change circumstances before you change your imaginal activity, is to struggle against the very nature of things. There can be no outer change until there is first an imaginal change. Everything you do, unaccompanied by an imaginal change, is but futile readjustment of surfaces.
Imagining the wish fulfilled brings about a union with that state, and during that union you behave in keeping with your imaginal change. This shows you that an imaginal change will result in a change of behavior.
However, your ordinary imaginal alterations as you pass from one state to another are not transformations because each of them is so rapidly succeeded by another in the reverse direction. But whenever one state grows so stable as to become your constant mood, your habitual attitude, then that habitual state defines your character and is a true transformation.
How do you do it? Self-abandonment! That is the secret. You must abandon yourself mentally to your wish fulfilled in your love for that state, and in so doing, live in the new state and no more in the old state.
You can’t commit yourself to what you do not love, so the secret of self-commission is faith — plus love.
Faith is believing what is unbelievable. Commit yourself to the feeling of the wish fulfilled, in faith that this act of self-commission will become a reality. And it must become a reality because imagining creates reality.
Imagination is both conservative and transformative. It is conservative when it builds its world from images supplied by memory and the evidence of the senses. It is creatively transformative when it imagines things as they ought to be, building its world out of the generous dreams of fancy.
In the procession of images, the ones that take precedence — naturally — are those of the senses.
Nevertheless, a present sense impression is only an image. It does not differ in nature from a memory image or the image of a wish. What makes a present sense impression so objectively real is the individual’s imagination functioning in it and thinking from it; whereas, in a memory image or a wish, the individual’s imagination is not functioning in it and thinking from it, but is functioning out of it and thinking of it.
If you would enter into the image in your imagination, then would you know what it is to be creatively transformative: then would you realize your wish; and then you would be happy. Every image can be embodied. But unless you, yourself, enter the image and think from it, it is incapable of birth.
Therefore, it is the height of folly to expect the wish to be realized by the mere passage of time.
That which requires imaginative occupancy to produce its effect, obviously cannot be effected without such occupancy. You cannot be in one image and not suffer the consequences of not being in another.
Imagination is spiritual sensation. Enter the image of the wish fulfilled, then give it sensory vividness and tones of reality by mentally acting as you would act were it a physical fact. Now, this is what I mean by spiritual sensation.
Imagine that you are holding a rose in your hand. Smell it. Do you detect the odor of roses? Well, if the rose is not there, why is its fragrance in the air? Through spiritual sensation — that is — through imaginal sight, sound, scent, taste and touch, you can give to the image sensory vividness.
If you do this, all things will conspire to aid your harvesting and upon reflection you will see how subtle were the threads that led to your goal. You could never have devised the means which your imaginal activity employed to fulfill itself.
If you long to escape from your present sense fixation, to transform your present life into a dream of what might well be, you need but imagine that you are already what you want to be and to feel the way you would expect to feel under such circumstances. Like the make-believe of a child who is remaking the world after its own heart, create your world out of pure dreams of fancy.
Mentally enter into your dream; mentally do what you would actually do, were it physically true. You will discover that dreams are realized not by the rich, but by the imaginative.
Nothing stands between you and the fulfillment of your dreams but facts — and facts are the creations of imagining. If you change your imagining, you will change the facts.
Man and his past are one continuous structure. This structure contains all of the facts which have been conserved and still operate below the threshold of his surface mind. For him it is merely history. For him it seems unalterable — a dead and firmly fixed past. But for itself, it is living — it is part of the living age.
He cannot leave behind him the mistakes of the past, for nothing disappears. Everything that has been is still in existence. The past still exists, and it gives — and still gives — its results. Man must go back in memory, seek for and destroy the causes of evil, however far back they lie. This going into the past and replaying a scene of the past in imagination as it ought to have been played the first time, I call revision — and revision results in repeal.
Changing your life means changing the past.
The causes of any present evil are the unrevised scenes of the past.
The past and the present form the whole structure of man; they are carrying all of its contents with it. Any alteration of content will result in an alteration in the present and future.
Live nobly — so that mind can store a past well worthy of recall. Should you fail to do so, remember, the first act of correction or cure is always — “revise.”
If the past is recreated into the present, so will the revised past be recreated into the present, or else the claim… though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow [Isaiah 1:18]… is a lie. And it is no lie.
The purpose of the story-to-story Commentary that follows is to link up as briefly as possible the distinct but never disconnected themes of the fourteen chapters into which I have divided the first part of this book. It will serve, I hope, as a thread of coherent thought that binds the whole into proof of its claim! Imagining Creates Reality.
To make such a claim is easily done. To prove it in the experience of others is far sterner. To stir you to use the “Law” constructively in your own life — that is the aim of this book.