The Law and the Promise
"Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words. So, I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do." — Jeremiah 18:2-4
The word translated 'Potter' means imagination. Out of material others would have thrown away as useless, an awakened imagination refashions it as it ought to be. "O Lord, Thou art our father, we are the clay, and Thou art our potter; we are all the work of Thy hand." Isaiah 64:8
This conception of creation as a work of imagination, and the Lord our Father as our imagination, will take us further into the mystery of creation than any other guide.
The only reason people do not believe in this identity of God and human imagination is that they are unwilling to assume the responsibility for their frightful misuse of imagination. Divine Imagination has descended to the level of human imagination, that human imagination may ascend to Divine Imagination.
The 8th Psalm says that man was made a little lower than God — not a little lower than the angels — as the King James Version mistakenly translates it. Angels are the emotional dispositions of man and are therefore his servant — and not his superior — as the author of Hebrews tells us. (Heb. 1:14.)
Imagination is the Real Man and is one with God.
Imagination creates, conserves and transforms. Imagination is radically creative when all imaginative activity based on memory disappears.
Imagination is conservative when its imaginal activity is fed with images supplied mainly by memory. Imagination is transformative when it varies a theme already in being; when it mentally alters a fact of life; when it leaves the fact out of the remembered experience or puts something in its place if it upsets the harmony it desires.
Through the use of her imagination, this talented young artist has made her dream a reality.
"Ever since I entered into the art field, I have enjoyed doing sketches and paintings for children's rooms. However, I have been discouraged by advisers and friends who were far more experienced in the 'field' than I. They liked my work, admired my talent, but said I would not get recognition nor pay for this type of work.
"Somehow, I always felt I would — but how? Then, last fall I heard your lectures and read your books and I decided to let my imagination create the reality I desired. This is what I did daily: I imagined I was in a gallery — there was a great deal of excitement about me — on the walls hung my 'art' — only mine (a one-woman show) — and I saw red stars on many of the pictures. This would indicate that they had been sold.
"This is what happened: Just before Christmas, I did a mobile for a friend who showed it in turn to a friend of hers who owns an art-import shop in Pasadena. He expressed a desire to meet me — so I took a few samples of my work along. When he looked at the very first painting he said he would like to give me 'a one-woman show' in the spring.
"The night of the opening, April 17, an interior decorator came and liked and commissioned me to do a collage for a little boy's room, which will appear in the September issue of Good Housekeeping for the 1961 House of the Year.
"Later, during the showing another decorator came and admired my work so much, he asked if he might arrange for me to meet the 'right' interior decorators and the 'right' owners of galleries who would buy and display my work properly. Incidentally, the show was a financial success for the owner of the gallery, as well as for me.
"The interesting thing about this is that seemingly these three men came to me 'out of the blue'. Certainly, I made no effort during the time of my 'imagining' to contact anyone; but, now, I am getting recognition and have a market for my work. And, now, I know without a shadow of doubt that there is no 'no' when you seriously apply this principle that 'imagining creates reality.'" ...G.L.
She tested the Potter and proved His creativity in performance.
Only the indolent mind would fail to rise to this challenge.
Paul states, "the spirit of God dwells in you” [1Cor. 3:16, Romans 8:9, 8:11, James 4:5], now, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed." 2Cor. 13:5,6
If "all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” [John 1:3], it should not be difficult for man to test himself to find out who this creator in himself is. The test will prove to man that his imagination is the One, "who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist." Rom. 4:17
The Potter's presence in us is inferred from what He does there. We cannot see Him there as One, not ourselves. The nature of the Potter — Jesus Christ — is to create and there is no creation without Him.
Every recorded story in this book is just such a test as Paul asked the Corinthians to make.
God really and truly exists in man — in every human being. God wholly becomes us.
He is not our virtue but our Real Selves — Our Imagination.
The following illustrations from the mineral world may help us to see how Supreme Imagining and Human Imagining could be one and the same power and yet be vastly different in their creativity. Diamond is the world's hardest mineral. Graphite, used in 'lead' pencils, is one of the softest. Yet both minerals are pure carbon. The vast difference in the properties of the two forms of carbon is believed to be caused by a different arrangement of the carbon atoms. But whether the difference is produced by a different arrangement of the carbon atoms or not — all agree that Diamond and Graphite are one substance, pure carbon.
The purpose of life is the creative realization of desire.
Man, lacking desire, could not exist efficiently in a world of continuous problems requiring continuing solutions.
A desire is an awareness of something we lack or need to make life more enjoyable. Desires always have some personal gain in view. The greater the anticipated gain, the more intense the desire. There is no really unselfish desire. Even when our desire is for another, we are still seeking to gratify desire. To attain our desire we should imagine scenes implying their fulfillment, and enact the scene in our imagination, if only momentarily, with a joy sufficiently felt within its limits to make it natural. It is like a child dressing up and playing "Queen".
We must imagine we are what we would like to be. We must play it in imagination first — not as a spectator — as an actor.
This lady imaginatively played "Queen" by being where she wanted to be in her imagination. She was the true actor in this theatre.
"My desire was to attend a matinee performance of a famous pantomimist currently playing in one of the largest theatres of our city. Because of the intimate nature of this art, I wanted to sit in the orchestra; but I didn't have even the price of a balcony ticket. The night I determined to have this pleasure for myself, in my imagination, I fell asleep watching the wondrous performer. In my imaginal act I sat in an orchestra-center seat, heard the applause as the curtain rose and the artist came on stage, and I actually felt the intense excitement of this experience.
"The next day — the day of the matinee performance — my financial condition had not changed. I had exactly one dollar and thirty-seven cents in my purse. I knew I must use the dollar to buy gas for my car which would leave me with thirty-seven cents, but I also knew I had faithfully slept in the feeling of being at that performance, so I dressed myself for the theatre. While changing articles from one purse to another, I found a dollar bill and forty-five cents in change hidden in the pocket of my seldom-used opera purse. I grinned to myself, realizing that gasoline money had been given to me; so would the balance of my theatre ticket be given to me. Gaily I finished dressing and left for the theatre.
"Standing before the ticket window, my confidence dwindled as I gazed at the prices and saw three-seventy-five for orchestra seats.
With a feeling of dismay I turned away quickly and walked across the street to a cafe for a cup of tea. I had spent sixteen cents on my tea before I remembered seeing the price of balcony seats on the ticket window list. Hurriedly, I counted my change and found I had one dollar and sixty-six cents left. Running back to the theatre, I bought the cheapest seat available which cost a dollar and fifty-five cents. With one dime left in my purse, I went through the entrance and the usher tore my ticket in half saying, "Upstairs, left, please". The performance was about to begin, but ignoring the usher's instructions, I walked into the main floor lady's restroom. Still determined to sit in the orchestra section, I sat down, closed my eyes and kept my inward 'sight' riveted on the stage from the direction of the orchestra. At that moment, a group of women walked into the restroom, all talking at once, but I heard only one conversation as a woman speaking to her companion, said, 'But I waited and waited until the last moment. Then she called and said she couldn't make it. I would have given her ticket away but it's too late now. Not realizing it, I handed the usher both tickets and he tore them in half before I could stop him'.
I almost laughed aloud. Getting up, I walked over to this lady and asked if I might use the extra ticket she had, instead of the balcony seat I had bought. She was charming and kindly invited me to join her party. The ticket she handed me was for the orchestra section, center seat, six rows from the stage. I sat in that seat only moments before the curtain rose on a performance I had witnessed the night before from that seat — in my Imagination." ...J.R.
We must actually BE, in Imagination. It is one thing to think of the end, and another thing to think from the end. To think from the end; to enact the end, is to create reality. The inner actions must correspond to the actions we would physically perform "after these things should be" [Edward Thomas, "The New House"].
To live wisely, we must be aware of our imaginal activity, and see to it that it is faithfully shaping the end we desire. The world is clay; our Imagination is the Potter.
We should always imagine ends that are of value or promise well. "He who desires but acts not breeds pestilence." [— William Blake]
What's done flows from what's imagined. Outward forms reveal the imaginings of Man.
"Man is the shuttle, to whose winding quest and passage through these looms God ordered motion, but ordained no rest." [— Henry Vaughan]
"I run a small business, solely owned, and a few years ago it seemed that my venture would end in failure. For some months, sales had fallen steadily and I found myself in a financial 'jam' — along with thousands of other small businessmen, as this period spanned one of our country's minor recessions. I was badly in debt and needed at least three thousand dollars almost immediately. My auditors advised me to close my doors and try to salvage what I could. Instead, I turned to my Imagination.
I knew your teaching but had never actually attempted to solve any problem in this manner. I was frankly skeptical of the entire idea that imagination can create reality but I was also desperate; and desperation forced me to test your teaching.
"I imagined my office receiving four thousand dollars unexpectedly in remittances due. This money would have to come from new orders as my accounts receivable were practically nonexistent, but this seemed far-fetched as I hadn't received this much in sales during the last four months or more. Nevertheless, I kept my imaginal picture of receiving this amount of money steadily before me for three days. Early the fourth morning a customer I had not heard from in months called me on the telephone asking me to come and see him personally. I was to bring a quotation previously given him for machinery needed by his factory. The quotation was months old, but I dug it out of my files and lost no time in arriving at his office that day. I wrote out the order which he signed, but I saw no immediate help for me in the transaction as the equipment he wanted would take from four to six months for factory delivery, and of course, my customer did not have to pay for it until delivered.
"I thanked him for the order and rose to leave. He stopped me at the door and handed me a check for a little over four thousand dollars, saying, 'I want to pay for the merchandise now, in advance — for tax purposes, you know. You don't mind?' No, I didn't mind. I realized what had happened the moment I took that check into my hands. Within three days, my imaginal act had done for me what I hadn't been able to do in months of desperate financial shuffling.
I know, now, that imagination could have brought forty thousand dollars into my business just as easily as four thousands." ...L.N.C
"O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou art our Potter; we are all the work of Thy hand."
[— Isaiah 64:8]