The Law and the Promise
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
"A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heav'n espy."
— George Herbert ["The Elixir"]
Objects, to be perceived, must first penetrate in some manner our brain; but we are not — because of this — interlocked with our environment.
Although normal consciousness is focused on the senses and is usually restricted to them, it is possible for man to pass through his sense fixation into any imaginal structure which he conceives and so fully occupies it that it is more alive and more responsive than that on which his senses "stay his eye".
If this were not true, man would be an automaton reflecting life, never affecting it. Man, who is all Imagination, is not tenant to the brain, but landlord; he need not rest content with the appearance of things; he can go beyond perceptual to conceptual awareness.
This ability, to pass through the mechanical reflective structure of the senses, is the most important discovery man can make.
It reveals man as a center of imagining with powers of intervention which enable him to alter the course of observed events moving from success to success through a series of mental transformations in himself.
Attention, the spearhead of imagining, may be either attracted from without as his senses "stay his eye" or directed from within "if he pleases" and through the senses pass into the wish fulfilled.
To move from perceptual awareness, or things as they seem, to conceptual awareness, or things as they ought to be, we imagine as vivid and as life-like a representation as possible of what we would see, hear, and do, were we physically present, and physically experiencing things as they ought to be and imaginatively participate in that scene.
The following story tells of one who went "through the glass" and broke the chains that bound her.
"Two years ago I was taken to the hospital with a serious blood clot condition which apparently had affected the entire vascular system causing hardening of arteries and arthritis. A nerve in my head was damaged and my thyroid enlarged. Doctors could not agree on the cause of this condition, and all their treatments were completely ineffective. I was forced to give up my every enjoyable activity and remain in bed most of the time. My body, from hips to toes, felt as though it was encased and bound by tight wires, and I couldn't put my feet on the floor without wearing heavy hip-length elastic stockings.
"I knew something of your teaching and tried very hard to apply what I had heard, but as my condition grew worse and I could no longer attend any of your lectures, my despondency grew deeper. One day a friend sent me a postcard picturing the scene of a lovely beach by the ocean. The picture was so beautiful, I looked and looked at it and began to remember past summer days at the seashore with my parents. For a moment, the postcard picture seemed to become animated and flooding memories of myself running free on the beach filled my mind. I felt the impact of my bare feet against the hard wet sand; I felt the icy water running over my toes and heard the crash of waves breaking on shore. This imaginal activity was so satisfying to me as I lay in bed that I continued to imagine this wonderful scene, day after day, for about one week.
"One morning, I moved from my bed to a couch and had started to sit up when I was seized with such an excruciating pain my entire body became paralyzed. I could neither sit up nor lie down. This terrible pain lasted for more than a full minute, but when it stopped — I was free! It seemed as if all the wires binding my legs had been cut. One moment I was bound; the next moment I was free. Not by degrees, but instantly." ...V.H.
"We walk by faith, not by sight." — 2Cor. 5:7
When we walk by sight, we know our way by objects which our eyes see. When we walk by faith, we order our life by scenes and actions which only imagination sees.
Man perceives by the Eye of Imagination or by Sense.
But two mental attitudes to perception are possible, the creative imaginative effort which meets with an imaginative response, or the unimaginative "staying of the eye" which merely reflects.
Man has within him the principle of life and the principle of death.
One is the imagination building its imaginal structures out of the generous dreams of fancy. The other is the imagination building its imaginal structures from images reflected by the chill wind of fact.
One creates. The other perpetuates.
Man must adopt either the way of faith or the way of sight.
To the extent that man builds from dreams of fancy, he is alive; and, therefore, the development of the faculty to pass through the reflective glass of the senses is an increase of life.
It follows that restricting the imagination by "staying the eye" on the reflective glass of the senses is a reduction of life.
The specious surface of fact reflects rather than discloses, deflecting the "Eye of Imagination" from the truth that sets man free [John 8:32].
"The Eye of Imagination”, if not deflected, looks on what ought to be there, not what is. However familiar the scene on which sight rests, the "Eye of Imagination" could gaze on one never before witnessed.
It is this "Eye of Imagination" and only this that can free us from the sense fixation of outer things which completely dominates our ordinary existence and keeps us looking on the reflective glass of facts.
It is possible to pass from thinking of to thinking from; but the crucial matter is thinking from, i.e., experiencing the state, for that experience means unification; whereas in thinking of there is always subject and object — the thinking individual and the thing thought of.
Self-abandonment. That is the secret.
We have to abandon ourselves to the state, in our love for the state, and in so doing live the life of the state and no more our present state. Imagination seizes upon the life of the state and gives itself to the expression of the life of that state.
Faith plus Love is self-commission. We can't commit ourselves to what we do not love. "Never would you have made anything if you had not loved it." ["For you love all the things that are, and despise nothing which you have made: For never would you have made anything, if you hated it.", "Book of Wisdom" 11:24].
And to make the state alive, one must become it.
"I live, yet not I, God lives in me: and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." ["I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.", Galatians 2:20]
God loved man, His created, and became man in faith that this act of self-commission would transform the created into the creative.
We must be "imitators of God as dear children" [Ephesians 5:1] and commit ourselves to what we love, as God Who loved us committed Himself to us.
We must BE the state to experience the state.
The center of conscious imagining can be shifted and what are now mere wishes —imaginal activities keyed low — brought into penetrative focus and entered. Entrance commits us to the state. The possibilities of such shifting of the center of imagining are startling. The activities concerned are psychical throughout.
The shifting of the center of imagining is not brought about by spatial travel but by a change in what we are aware of.
The boundary of the world of sense is a subjective barrier. So long as the senses take notice, the Eye of Imagination is deflected from the truth.
We do not get far unless we let go.
This lady "let go" with immediate and miraculous results.
"Thank you for the 'golden key'. It has released my brother from the hospital, from pain and probable death, for he was facing a fourth major operation with little hope of recovery, I was very concerned and attempting to use what I had learned about my Imagination, I first asked myself what my brother truly desired: 'Does he want to continue in this body or does he desire to be free of it?' The question revolved itself over and over in my mind and suddenly I felt that he would like to continue remodeling his kitchen which he had been contemplating before his confinement in the hospital. I knew my question had been answered, so I began to imagine from that point.
"Attempting to 'see' my brother in the busy activity of remodeling, I suddenly found myself gripping the back of a kitchen chair I had used many times when 'something' happened, then suddenly I found myself standing beside my brother's bed in the hospital. This was the last place I would have wanted to be, physically or mentally, but there I was and my brother's hand reached up and clasped my hand tightly as I heard him say, 'I knew you would come, Jo'. It was a well hand I clasped, strong and sure, and the joy that filled and spilled over in my voice as I heard myself say, 'It's all better now. You know it'. My brother didn't answer, but I distinctly heard a voice say to me, 'Remember this moment'. I seemed to awake then, back in my own home.
"This took place the night after he had entered the hospital. The following day his wife telephoned me saying, 'It is unbelievable! The doctor can't account for it, Jo, but no operation is necessary. He's so improved that they have agreed to release him tomorrow.' The following Monday, my brother went back to his work and has been perfectly well since that day." ...J.S.
Not facts — but dreams of fancy shape our lives.
She needed no compass to find her brother, nor tools to operate, only the "Eye of Imagination".
In the world of sense we see what we have to see; in the world of Imagination we see what we want to see; And seeing it, we create it for the world of sense to see.
We see the outer world automatically. Seeing what we want to see demands voluntary and conscious imaginative effort. Our future is our own imaginal activity in its creative march.
Common sense assures us that we are living in a solid and sensible world but this so seemingly solid world is — in reality — imaginal through and through.
The following story proves that it is possible for an individual to transfer the center of imagining to some greater or lesser degree to a distant area, and not only do so without moving physically, but to be visible to others who are present at that point in space-time. And, if this be a dream, then,
"Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?" [— Edgar Allan Poe]
"Seated in my living room in San Francisco, I imagined I was in my daughter's living room in London, England. I surrounded myself so completely with that room which I knew intimately, that I suddenly found myself actually standing in it. My daughter was standing by her fireplace, her face turned away from me. A moment later she turned and our eyes met. I saw such a startled, frightened expression on her face that I, too, became emotionally upset and immediately found myself back in my own living room in San Francisco.
"Five days later, I received an airmail letter from my daughter which had been written on the day of my experiment with imaginal travel. In her letter she told me she had 'seen' me in her living room that day just as real as though I were actually standing there in the flesh. She confessed she had been very frightened and that before she could speak, I had vanished. The time of this 'visitation', as she gave it in her letter, was exactly the time I had begun the imaginative action allowing, of course, for the difference in time between the two points. She explained that she told her husband of this amazing experience and he insisted that she write to me immediately as he stated, 'Your mother must have died or is dying'. But I wasn't 'dead' or 'dying', but very much alive and very excited by this marvelous experience." ...M.L.J.
"Nothing can act but where it is: with all my heart; only where is it?"
— Thomas Carlyle
Man is All Imagination. Therefore, a man must be where he is in imagination, for his Imagination is himself. Imagination is active at and through any state that it is aware of. If we take shifting of awareness seriously, there are possibilities beyond belief.
The senses join man in forced and unholy wedlock to what, were he imaginatively awake, he would put asunder. We need not feed on sense-data. Shift the focus of awareness and see what happens. However little we move mentally, we should perceive the world under a slightly changed aspect. Awareness is usually moved about in space by movement of the physical organism but it need not be so restricted.
It can be moved by a change in what we are aware of.
Man is manifesting the power of Imagination whose limits he cannot define.
To realize that the Real Self — Imagination — is not something enclosed within the spatial boundary of the body is most important.
The foregoing story proves that when we meet a person in the flesh, that his Real Self need not be present in space where his body is. It also shows that sense-perception can be thrown into operation outside of the normal physical means, and that the sense-data produced is of the same kind as those which occur in normal perception.
The idea in the mother's mind which started the whole process going was the very definite idea of being in the place where her daughter lived. And if the mother really were in that place, and if the daughter were present, then she would have to be perceptible to her daughter.
We can only hope to understand this experience in imaginal, and not in mechanical or materialistic terms. The mother imagined 'elsewhere' as being 'here'. London was just as 'here' to her daughter living 'there' as San Francisco was 'here' to the mother living 'there'.
It hardly ever crosses our minds that this world might be different in essence from what common sense tells us it so obviously is.
Blake writes: "I question not my Corporeal or Vegatative Eye any more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight. I look thro' it and not with it."
This looking through the eye not only shifts consciousness to other parts of "this world" but to "other worlds" as well.
Astronomers must wish they knew more of this "looking through the eye", this mental traveling that mystics practice so easily.
I travel'd thro' a Land of Men,
A Land of Men & Women too,
And heard & saw such dreadful things
As cold Earth wanderers never knew.
[— William Blake, 'The Mental Traveller']
Mental traveling has been practiced by awakened men and women since the earliest days.
Paul states: "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows." 2Cor.12
Paul is telling us that he is that man and that he traveled by the power of imagination or Christ.
In his next letter to the Corinthians, he writes: "Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?" [2Corinthians 13:5]. We need not be 'dead' in order to enjoy spiritual privileges. "Man is All Imagination and God is Man." [William Blake, from "Annotations to Berkeley"]. Test yourselves as this mother did.
Sir Arthur Eddington said that all we have a right to say of the external world is that it is a "shared experience". Things are more or less 'real' according to the extent to which they are capable of being shared with others or with ourselves at another time.
But there is no hard and fast line.
Accepting Eddington's definition of reality as "shared experience", the above story is as 'real' as the earth or a color for it was shared by both mother and daughter. The range of imagining is such that I must confess that I do not know what limits, if any, there are to its ability to create reality.
All these stories show us one thing — that an imaginal activity implying the wish fulfilled must start in the imagination apart from the evidence of the senses in that Journey that leads to the realization of desire.