The Law and the Promise
"My God, I heard this day, that none doth build a stately habitation, but he that means to dwell therein. What house more stately hath there been, or can be, than is Man, to whose creation all things are in decay?" — George Herbert
I wish it were true of man's noble dreams, but unfortunately — perpetual construction, deferred occupancy — is the common fault of man. Why "build a stately habitation", unless you intend to "dwell therein"? Why build a dream house and not "dwell therein"?
This is the secret of those who lie in bed awake while they dream things true. They know how to live in their dream until, in fact, they do just that.
Man, through the medium of a controlled, waking dream, can predetermine his future. That imaginal activity, of living in the feeling of the wish fulfilled, leads man across a bridge of incident to the fulfillment of the dream.
If we live in the dream — thinking from it, and not of it — then the creative power of imagining will answer our adventurous fancy, and the wish fulfilled will break in upon us and take us unawares.
Man is all imagination; therefore, man must be where he is in imagination, for his imagination is himself.
To realize that imagination is not something tied to the senses or enclosed within the spatial boundary of the body is most important.
Although man moves about in space by movement of his physical body, he need not be so restricted. He can move by a change in what he is aware of. However real the scene on which sight rests, man can gaze on one never before witnessed.
He can always remove the mountain if it upsets his concept of what life ought to be. This ability to mentally move from things as they are to things as they ought to be, is one of the most important discoveries that 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 of nature, of others, and himself.
For many years a doctor and his wife "dreamed" about their "stately habitation”, but not until they imaginatively lived in it, did they manifest it. Here is their story:
"Some fifteen years ago, Mrs. M. and I purchased a lot on which we built a two-story building housing our office and living area. We left ample space on the lot for an apartment building — if and when our finances would permit. All those years we were busy paying off our mortgage, and at the end of that time had no money for the additional building we still desired so much. It was true that we had an ample savings account which meant security for our business, but to use any part of it for a new building would be to jeopardize that security.
"But now your teaching awakened a new concept, boldly telling us we could have what we most desired through the controlled use of our imagination and that realizing a desire was made more convincing 'without money'. We decided to put it to a test to forget about 'money' and concentrate our attention on the thing we desired most in this world — the new apartment building.
"With this principle in mind, we mentally constructed the new building as we wanted it, actually drawing physical plans so we could better formulate our mental picture of the completed structure. Never forgetting to think from the end (in our case, the completed, occupied building), we took many imaginative trips through our apartment house, renting the units to imaginary tenants, examining in detail every room and enjoying the feeling of pride as friends offered congratulations on the unique planning. We brought into our imaginal scene one friend in particular (I shall call her Mrs. X), a lady we had not seen for some time as she had 'given us up' socially, believing us a bit peculiar in our new way of thinking. In our imaginal scene, we took her through the building and asked how she liked it. Hearing her voice distinctly, we had her reply, 'Doctor, I think it is beautiful'.
"One day, while talking together of our building, my wife mentioned a contractor who had constructed several apartment houses in our neighborhood. We knew of him only by the name that appeared on signs adjacent to buildings under construction. But realizing that if we were living in the end, we would not be looking for a contractor, we promptly forgot this angle. Continuing these periods of daily imagining for several weeks, we both felt we were now 'fused' with our desire and had successfully been living in the end.
"One day a stranger entered our office and identified himself as the contractor whose name my wife had mentioned weeks before. In an apologetic manner, he said, 'I don't know why I stopped here. I normally don't go to see people, but rather, people come to see me'. He explained that he passed our office often and had wondered why there wasn't an apartment building on the corner lot. We assured him we would like very much to have such a building there but that we had no money to put into the project, not even the few hundred dollars it would take for plans.
"Our negative response did not faze him and seemingly compelled, he began to figure and devise ways and means to carry out the job, unasked and unencouraged by us. Forgetting the incident, we were quite startled when a few days later this man called, informing us that plans were completed and that the proposed building would cost us thirty thousand dollars! We thanked him politely and did absolutely nothing. We knew we had been 'living imaginatively in the end' of a completed building and that Imagination would assemble that building perfectly without any 'outside' assistance from us. So, we were not surprised when the contractor called again the next day to say he had found a set of blueprints in his files that fitted our needs perfectly with few alterations. This, we were informed, would save us the architect's fee for new plans. We thanked him again and still did nothing.
"Logical thinkers would insist that such negative response from prospective customers would completely end the matter. Instead, two days later, the contractor again called with the news that he had located a finance company willing to cover the necessary loan with the exception of a few thousand dollars. It sounds incredible, but we still did nothing.
For — remember — to us this building was completed and rented, and in our imagination we had not put one penny into its construction.
"The balance of this tale reads like a sequel to 'Alice In Wonderland', for the contractor came to our office the next day and said, as though presenting us with a gift, 'You people are going to have that new building anyway. I've decided to finance the balance of the loan myself. If this is agreeable, I'll have my lawyer draw up the papers, and you can pay me back out of net profits from rentals'.
"This time we did do something! We signed the papers, and construction began immediately. Most of the apartment units were rented before final completion, and all but one occupied the day of completion. We were so thrilled by the seemingly miraculous events of the past few months that for a while we didn't understand this seeming 'flaw' in our imaginal picture. But knowing what we had already accomplished through the power of imagining, we immediately conceived another imaginal scene and in it, this time, instead of showing the party through the unit and hearing the words 'we'll take it', we ourselves in imagination visited tenants who had already moved in that apartment. We allowed them to show us through the rooms and heard their pleased and satisfied comments. Three days later that apartment was rented.
"Our original imaginary drama had objectified itself in every detail save one, and that one became a reality when, one month later, our friend, Mrs. X, surprised us with a long overdue visit, expressing her desire to see our new building. Gladly we took her through, and at the end of the tour heard her speak the line we had heard in our imagination so many weeks before, as with emphasis on each word, she said, 'Doctor, I think it is beautiful'.
"Our dream of fifteen years was realized. And we know, now, that it could have been realized any time within those fifteen years if we had known the secret of imagining and how to 'live in the end' of desire.
But now it was realized — our one big desire was objectified. And we did not put one penny of our own money into it." — Dr. M.
Through the medium of a dream — a controlled, waking dream — the Doctor and his wife created reality. They learned how to live in their dream house as, in fact, now they do. Although help seemingly came from without, the course of events was ultimately determined by the imaginal activity of the Doctor and his wife. The participants were drawn into their imaginal drama because it was dramatically necessary that they should be. Their imaginal structure demanded it.
"All things by a law divine In one another's being mingle." [— Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Love's Philosophy"]
The following story illustrates the way in which a lady prepared her "stately habitation" by imaginatively sleeping in it — or "dwelling therein".
"A few months ago, my husband decided to place our home on the market. The main object for the move which we had discussed many times was to find a home large enough for the two of us, my mother and my aunt, in addition to ten cats, three dogs and one parakeet. Believe it or not, the contemplated move was my husband's idea as he loved my mother and aunt and said I was at their house most of the time anyway, so 'why not live together and pay one tax bill?' I liked the idea tremendously, but I knew that this new home would have to be something very special in size, location and arrangement, as I insisted on privacy for all concerned.
"So at the moment I was undecided whether to sell our present home or not, but I didn't argue, as I knew quite well from past experience with imagining that our house would never sell until I stopped 'sleeping' in it. Two months and four or five real-estate brokers later, my husband had 'given up' on the sale of our house and so had the brokers. At this point, I had convinced myself I now wanted the change, so for four nights, in my imagination, I went to sleep in the kind of home I would like to own. On the fifth day, my husband had an appointment at a friend's home and while there, met a stranger who 'just happened' to be looking for a house in the hills. He was, of course, brought swiftly back to see our house which he walked through once and said, 'I'll buy it'. This didn't make us very popular with the brokers, but that was all right with me, as I was happy to keep the broker's commission in the family! We moved within ten days and stayed with my mother while looking for our new home.
"We listed our requirements with every agent on the Sunset Strip only (because I wouldn't move out of the area) and each one of them without exception informed us we were both mad. It was entirely impossible, they said, to find an older home of English style with two separate living rooms, separate apartments, a library, and built on a flat knoll with enough ground space to fence for large dogs — and located in one particular area. When we told them the price we would pay for this house they just looked sad.
"I said that wasn't all we wanted. We wanted wood paneling all through the house, a huge fireplace, a magnificent view and seclusion — no close neighbors, please. At this point the lady agent would giggle and remind me that there was no such house, but if there were, they would realize five times what we were willing to pay. But I knew there was such a house — because my imagination had been sleeping in it, and if I am my imagination, then I had been sleeping in it.
"By the second week we had exhausted five real estate offices, and the gentleman in the sixth office was looking a little wild when one of his partners who had not spoken until then said, 'Why don't you show them the place up King’s Road?' A third partner in the office laughed sourly and said, 'That property isn't even listed. And besides — the old lady would throw you off the property. She's got two acres up there and you know she wouldn't split.'
"Well, I didn't know what she wouldn't split, but my interest had been aroused by the street name for I liked that particular area best of all. So I asked why not just take a look anyway, for laughs. As we drove up the street and turned off onto a private road, we approached a large two-story house built of redwood and brick, English in appearance, surrounded by tall trees and sitting alone and aloof on its own knoll, viewing the city below from all of its many windows. I felt a peculiar excitement as we walked to the front door and were greeted by a lovely woman who graciously asked us in.
"I do not think I breathed for the next minute or two, for I had walked into the most exquisite room I had ever seen. The solid redwood walls and the brick of a great fireplace rose to a height of twenty-eight feet terminating in an arched ceiling joined together by huge redwood beams. The room was straight out of Dickens, and I could almost hear Christmas carolers singing on the balcony of the upstairs dining room which looked out over the living room. A great cathedral window gave a view of sky, mountains and city far below, and the beautiful old redwood walls glowed in the sunlight. We were shown through a spacious apartment on the lower floor with connecting library, separate entrance and separate patio. Two staircases led upward to a long hall opening into two separated bedrooms and baths, and at the end of the hall was — yes — a second living room, opening out onto a second patio screened by trees and redwood fencing.
"Built on two acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, I began to understand what the agent had meant by saying, 'she wouldn't split' for on one acre stood a large swimming pool and pool house completely separated from the main house but undoubtedly belonging to it. It did, indeed, seem to be an impossible situation as we did not want two acres of highly taxable property plus a swimming pool a block away from the house.
"Before we left, I walked through that magnificent living room, once more going up the stairs to the dining room balcony. I turned, and looking down saw my husband standing by the fireplace, pipe in hand, with an expression of perfect satisfaction on his face. I placed my hands on the balcony railing and watched him for a moment.
"When we were back in the real estate office, the three agents were ready to close for the day, but my husband detained them saying, 'Let's make her an offer anyway. Maybe she will split the property. What can we lose?' One agent left the office without a word. Another said, 'The idea is ridiculous'. The agent we had originally talked to said, 'Forget it. It's a pipe dream'. My husband is not easily annoyed but when he is, there is no more stubborn creature on earth. He was now annoyed. He sat down, slammed his hand on a desk and roared, 'It's your business to submit offers, isn't it?' They agreed that this was so and finally promised to submit our offer on the property.
"We left, and that night — in my imagination — I stood on that dining room balcony and looked down at my husband standing by the fireplace. He looked up at me and said, 'Well, honey, how do you like our new home?' I said, 'I love it'. I continued to see that beautiful room and my husband in it and 'felt' the balcony railing gripped in my hands until I fell asleep.
"The next day, as we were having dinner in my mother's house, the telephone rang and the agent, in an unbelieving voice, informed me that we had just purchased a house. The owner had split the property right down the middle, giving us the house and the acre it stood on for the price we offered." ...J.R.B. "
... dreamers often lie in bed awake, while they do dream things true." [approx., William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet"]
One must adopt either the way of imagination or the way of sense.
No compromise or neutrality is possible.
"He who is not for me is against me" [Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23].
When man finally identifies himself with his Imagination rather than his senses, he has at long last discovered the core of reality.
I have often been warned by self-styled "realists" that man will never realize his dream by simply imagining that it is already here.
Yet, man can realize his dream by simply imagining that it is already here.
That is exactly what this collection of stories proves; if only men were prepared to live imaginatively in the feeling of the wish fulfilled, advancing confidently in their controlled waking-dream, then the power of imagining would answer their adventurous fancy and the wish fulfilled would break in upon them and take them unawares.
Nothing is more continuously wonderful than the things that happen every day to the man with imagination sufficiently awake to realize their wonder.
Observe your imaginal activities. Imagine better than the best you know, and create a better world for yourself and others.
Live as though the wish had come, even though it is yet to come, and you will shorten the period of waiting.
The world is imaginal, not mechanistic.
Imaginal acts — not blind fate — determine the course of history.