Neville says, Imagination is the gateway of reality. As one reads this book, which one can finish in a day, this idea of using one's imagination in the basis of reality is constantly honed into the reader. Neville clarifies his concepts with actual stories of people manifesting what they imagined. Neville's concepts are steeped in quotes from the Bible, not over done at all, which further illustrate and help the reader to grasp the concepts. The abundant life that Christ promised us is ours to experience now, but not until we have the sense of Christ as our imagination can we experience it.
Chapter 1 — WHO IS YOUR IMAGINATION?
Chapter 2 — SEALED INSTRUCTIONS
Chapter 3 — HIGHWAYS OF THE INNER WORLD
Chapter 4 — THE PRUNING SHEARS OF REVISION
Chapter 5 — THE COIN OF HEAVEN
Chapter 6 — IT IS WITHIN
Chapter 7 — CREATION IS FINISHED
Chapter 8 — THE APPLE OF GOD'S EYEBonus Chapter – THE SOURCE
WHO IS YOUR IMAGINATION?
Certain words in the course of long use gather so many strange connotations that they almost cease to mean anything at all. Such a word is 'imagination.' This word is made to serve all manner of ideas, some of them directly opposed to one another. 'Fancy, thought, hallucination, suspicion: indeed, so wide is its use and so varied its meanings, the word 'imagination' has no status nor fixed significance. For example, we ask a man to 'use his imagination,' meaning that his present outlook is too restricted and therefore not equal to the task. In the next breath we tell him that his ideas are 'pure imagination,' thereby implying that his ideas are unsound. We speak of a jealous or suspicious person as a 'victim of his own imagination,' meaning that his thoughts are untrue. A minute later we pay a man the highest tribute by describing him as a 'man of imagination.' Thus the word imagination has no definite meaning. Even the dictionary gives us no help. It defines imagination as (1) the picturing power or act of the mind, the constructive or creative principle; (2) a phantasm; (3) an irrational notion or belief; (4) planning, plotting or scheming as involving mental construction.
I identify the central figure of the Gospels with human imagination, the power which makes the forgiveness of sins, the achievement of our goals, inevitable.
"All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." —John 1:3
There is only one thing in the world, Imagination, and all our deformations of it.
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." —Isaiah 53:3
Imagination is the very gateway of reality. "Man," said Blake, "is either the ark of God or a phantom of the earth and of the water." "Naturally he is only a natural organ subject to Sense." "The Eternal Body of Man is The Imagination: that is God himself, The Divine Body: Jesus: we are his Members."
I know of no greater and truer definition of the Imagination than that of Blake. By imagination we have the power to be anything we desire to be. Through imagination we disarm and transform the violence of the world. Our most intimate as well as our most casual relationships become imaginative as we awaken to "the mystery hid from the ages," that Christ in us is our imagination. We then realize that only as we live by imagination can we truly be said to live at all.
I want this book to be the simplest, clearest, frankest work I have the power to make it, that I may encourage you to function imaginatively, that you may open your "Immortal Eyes inwards into the Worlds of Thought," where you behold every desire of your heart as ripe grain "white already to harvest."
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." —John 10:10
The abundant life that Christ promised us is ours to experience now, but not until we have the sense of Christ as our imagination can we experience it.
"The mystery hid from the ages . . . Christ in you, the hope of glory." —Colossians 1:26
is your imagination. This is the mystery which I am ever striving to realize more keenly myself and to urge upon others.
Imagination is our redeemer, "the Lord from Heaven" born of man but not begotten of man.
Every man is Mary and birth to Christ must give. If the story of the immaculate conception and birth of Christ appears irrational to man, it is only because it is misread as biography, history and cosmology, and the modern explorers of the imagination do not help by calling it the unconscious or subconscious mind. Imagination's birth and growth is the gradual transition from a God of tradition to a God of experience. If the birth of Christ in man seems slow, it is only because man is unwilling to let go the comfortable but false anchorage of tradition.
When imagination is discovered as the first principle of religion, the stone of literal understanding will have felt the rod of Moses and, like the rock of Zin, issue forth the water of psychological meaning to quench the thirst of humanity; and all who take the proffered cup and live a life according to this truth, will transform the water of psychological meaning into the wine of forgiveness. Then, like the good Samaritan, they will pour it on the wounds of all.
The Son of God is not to be found in history nor in any external form. He can only be found as the imagination of him in whom His presence becomes manifest.
"O would thy heart but be a manger for His birth! God would once more become a child on earth."
Man is the garden in which this only begotten Son of God sleeps. He awakens this Son by lifting his imagination up to heaven and clothing men in godlike stature. We must go on imagining better than the best we know.
Man in the moment of his awakening to the imaginative life must meet the test of Sonship.
"Father, reveal Thy Son in me" and "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me." —Galatians 1:16
The supreme test of Sonship is the forgiveness of sin. The test that your imagination is Christ Jesus, the Son of God, is your ability to forgive sin. Sin means missing one's mark in life, falling short of one's ideal, failing to achieve one's aim. Forgiveness means identification of man with his ideal or aim in life. This is the work of awakened imagination, the supreme work, for it tests man's ability to enter into and partake of the nature of his opposite.
"Let the weak man say, I am strong." —Joel 3:10
Reasonably this is impossible. Only awakened imagination can enter into and partake of the nature of its opposite.
This conception of Christ Jesus as human imagination raises these fundamental questions. Is imagination a power sufficient, not merely to enable me to assume that I am strong, but is it also of itself capable of executing the idea? Suppose that I desire to be in some other place or situation. Could I, by imagining myself into such a state and place, bring about their physical realization? Suppose I could not afford the journey and suppose my present social and financial status oppose the idea that I want to realize. Would imagination be sufficient of itself to incarnate these desires? Does imagination comprehend reason? By reason I mean deductions from the observations of the senses. Does it recognize the external world of facts? In the practical way of every-day life is imagination a complete guide to behaviour? Suppose I am capable of acting with continuous imagination, that is, suppose I am capable of sustaining the feeling of my wish fulfilled, will my assumption harden into fact? And, if it does harden into fact, shall I on reflection find that my actions through the period of incubation have been reasonable? Is my imagination a power sufficient, not merely to assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled, but is it also of itself capable of incarnating the idea? After assuming that I am already what I want to be, must I continually guide myself by reasonable ideas and actions in order to bring about the fulfillment of my assumption?
Experience has convinced me that an assumption, though false, if persisted in will harden into fact, that continuous imagination is sufficient for all things and all my reasonable plans and actions will never make up for my lack of continuous imagination.
Is it not true that the teachings of the Gospels can only be received in terms of faith and that the Son of God is constantly looking for signs of faith in people, that is, faith in their own imagination? Is not the promise
"Believe that ye receive and ye shall receive." —Mark 11:24
the same as "Imagine that you are and you shall be"? Was it not an imaginary state in which Moses
"Endured, as seeing him who is invisible"? —Hebrews 11:27
Was it not by the power of his own imagination that he endured?
Truth depends upon the intensity of the imagination not upon external facts. Facts are the fruit bearing witness of the use or misuse of the imagination. Man becomes what he imagines. He has a self-determined history. Imagination is the way, the truth, the life revealed. We cannot get hold of truth with the logical mind. Where the natural man of sense sees a bud, imagination sees a rose fullblown. Truth cannot be encompassed by facts. As we awaken to the imaginative life we discover that to imagine a thing is so makes it so, that a true judgment need not conform to the external reality to which it relates.
The imaginative man does not deny the reality of the sensuous outer world of Becoming, but he knows that it is the inner world of continuous Imagination that is the force by which the sensuous outer world of Becoming is brought to pass. He sees the outer world and all its happenings as projections of the inner world of Imagination. To him everything is a manifestation of the mental activity which goes on in man's imagination without the sensuous reasonable man being aware of it. But he realizes that every man must become conscious of this inner activity and see the relationship between the inner causal world of imagination and the sensuous outer world of effects.
It is a marvelous thing to find that you can imagine yourself into the state of your fulfilled desire and escape from the jails which ignorance built.
The Real Man is a Magnificent Imagination.
It is this self that must be awakened.
"Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." —Ephesians 5.14
The moment man discovers that his imagination is Christ he accomplishes acts which on this level can only be called miraculous. But until man has the sense of Christ as his imagination. . .
"You did not choose me, I have chosen you" —John 15:16
he will see everything in pure objectivity without any subjective relationship. Not realizing that all that he encounters is part of himself, he rebels at the thought that he has chosen the conditions of his life, that they are related by affinity to his own mental activity. Man must firmly come to believe that reality lies within him and not without.
Although others have bodies, a life of their own, their reality is rooted in you, ends in you, as yours ends in God.
"The first power that meets us at the threshold of the soul's domain is the power of imagination." —Dr. Franz Hartmann
I was first made conscious of the power, nature and redemptive function of imagination through the teachings of my friend Abdullah; and through subsequent experiences I learned that Jesus was a symbol of the coming of imagination to man, that the test of His birth in man was the individual's ability to forgive sin; that is, his ability to identify himself or another with his aim in life.
Without the identification of man with his aim the forgiveness of sin is an impossibility, and only the Son of God can forgive sin. Therefore man's ability to identify himself with his aim, though reason and his senses deny it, is proof of the birth of Christ in him. To passively surrender to appearances and bow before the evidence of facts is to confess that Christ is not yet born in you.
Although this teaching shocked and repelled me at first, — for I was a convinced and earnest Christian, and did not then know that Christianity could not be inherited by the mere accident of birth but must be consciously adopted as a way of life, — it stole later on, through visions, mystical revelations and practical experiences, into my understanding and found its interpretation in a deeper mood. But I must confess that it is a trying time when those things are shaken which one has always taken for granted.
"Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down." —Mark 13:2
Not one stone of literal understanding will be left after one drinks the water of psychological meaning. All that has been built up by natural religion is cast into the flames of mental fire. Yet, what better way is there to understand Christ Jesus than to identify the central character of the Gospels with human imagination — knowing that every time you exercise your imagination lovingly on behalf of another you are literally mediating God to man and thereby feeding and clothing Christ Jesus, and that whenever you imagine evil against another you are literally beating and crucifying Christ Jesus? Every imagination of man is either the cup of cold water or the sponge of vinegar to the parched lips of Christ.
"Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor"
warned the prophet Zechariah. When man heeds this advice he will awake from the imposed sleep of Adam into the full consciousness of the Son of God. He is in the world and the world is made by him and the world knows him not: Human Imagination.
I asked myself many times "If my imagination is Christ Jesus and all things are possible to Christ Jesus, are all things possible to me?"
Through experience I have come to know that when I identify myself with my aim in life, then Christ is awake in me.
Christ is sufficient for all things.
"I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me but I lay it down of myself." —John 10:18
What a comfort it is to know that all that I experience is the result of my own standard of beliefs; that I am the center of my own web of circumstances and that as I change so must my outer world!
The world presents different appearances according as our states of consciousness differ. What we see when we are identified with a state cannot be seen when we are no longer fused with it. By state is meant all that man believes and consents to as true. No idea presented to the mind can realize itself unless the mind accepts it. It depends on the acceptance, the state with which we are identified, how things present themselves. In the fusion of imagination and states is to be found the shaping of the world as it seems. The world is a revelation of the states with which imagination is fused. It is the state from which we think that determines the objective world in which we live. The rich man, the poor man, the good man, the thief, are what they are by virtue of the states from which they view the world. On the distinction between these states depends the distinction between the worlds of these men. Individually so different is this same world. It is not the actions and behavior of the good man that should be matched but his point of view. Outer reforms are useless if the inner state is not changed. Success is gained not by imitating the outer actions of the successful but by right inner actions and inner talking.
If we detach ourselves from a state, and we may at any moment, the conditions and circumstances to which that union gave being vanish.
It was in the fall of 1933 in New York City that I approached Abdullah with a problem. He asked me one simple question, "What do you want?" I told him that I would like to spend the winter in Barbados, but that I was broke. I literally did not have a nickel.
"If you will imagine yourself to be in Barbados," said he, "thinking and viewing the world from that state of consciousness instead of thinking of Barbados, you will spend the winter there. You must not concern yourself with the ways and means of getting there, for the state of consciousness of already being in Barbados, if occupied by your imagination, will devise the means best suited to realize itself."
Man lives by committing himself to invisible states, by fusing his imagination with what he knows to be other than himself, and in this union he experiences the results of that fusion. No one can lose what he has save by detachment from the state where the things experienced have their natural life.
"You must imagine yourself right into the state of your fulfilled desire," Abdullah told me, "and fall asleep viewing the world from Barbados."
The world which we describe from observation must be as we describe it relative to ourselves. Our imagination connects us with the state desired. But we must use imagination masterfully, not as an onlooker thinking of the end, but as a partaker thinking from the end. We must actually be there in imagination. If we do this, our subjective experience will be realized objectively.
"This is not mere fancy," said he, "but a truth you can prove by experience."
His appeal to enter into the wish fulfilled was the secret of thinking from the end. Every state is already there as "mere possibility" as long as you think of it, but is overpoweringly real when you think from it. Thinking from the end is the way of Christ.
I began right there and then fixing my thoughts beyond the limits of sense, beyond that aspect to which my present state gave being, towards the feeling of already being in Barbados and viewing the world from that standpoint.
He emphasized the importance of the state from which man views the world as he falls asleep. All prophets claim that the voice of God is chiefly heard by man in dreams.
"In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction. —Job 33:15:16
That night and for several nights thereafter I fell asleep in the assumption that I was in my father's house in Barbados. Within a month I received a letter from my brother saying that he had a strong desire to have the family together at Christmas and asking me to use the enclosed steamship ticket for Barbados. I sailed two days after I received my brother's letter and spent a wonderful winter in Barbados.
This experience has convinced me that man can be anything he pleases if he will make the conception habitual and think from the end. It has also shown me that I can no longer excuse myself by placing the blame on the world of external things — that my good and my evil have no dependency except from myself — that it depends on the state from which I view the world how things present themselves.
Man who is free in his choice acts from conceptions which he freely, though not always wisely, chooses. All conceivable states are awaiting our choice and occupancy, but no amount of rationalizing will of itself yield us the state of consciousness which is the only thing worth having.
The imaginative image is the only thing to seek.
The ultimate purpose of imagination is to create in us "the spirit of Jesus," which is continual forgiveness of sin, continual identification of man with his ideal. Only by identifying ourselves with our aim can we forgive ourselves for having missed it. All else is labor in vain. On this path, to whatever place or state we convey our imagination to that place or state we will gravitate physically also.
"In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also." —John 14:2
By sleeping in my father's house in my imagination as though I slept there in the flesh, I fused my imagination with that state and was compelled to experience that state in the flesh also.
So vivid was this state to me I could have been seen in my father's house had any sensitive entered the room where in imagination I was sleeping. A man can be seen where in imagination he is, for a man must be where his imagination is, for his imagination is himself. This I know from experience for I have been seen by a few to whom I desired to be seen, when physically I was hundreds of miles away.
I, by the intensity of my imagination and feeling, imagining and feeling myself to be in Barbados instead of merely thinking of Barbados, had spanned the vast Atlantic to influence my brother into desiring my presence to complete the family circle at Christmas. Thinking from the end, from the feeling of my wish fulfilled, was the source of everything that happened as outer cause, such as my brother's impulse to send me a steamship ticket; and it was also the cause of everything that appeared as results.
In "Ideas of Good and Evil" (Page 35) W. B. Yeats having described a few experiences similar to this experience of mine writes:
"If all who have described events like this have not dreamed, we should rewrite our histories, for all men, certainly all imaginative men, must be forever casting forth enchantments, glamour, illusions; and all men, especially tranquil men who have no powerful egotistic life, must be continually passing under their power."
Determined imagination, thinking from the end, is the beginning of all miracles.
I would like to give you an immense belief in miracles, but a miracle is only the name given by those who have no knowledge of the power and function of imagination to the works of imagination. Imagining oneself into the feeling of the wish fulfilled is the means by which a new state is entered. This gives the state the quality of is-ness. Hermes tells us:
"That which is, is manifested; that which has been or shall be, is unmanifested, but not dead; for Soul, the eternal activity of God, animates all things."
The future must become the present in the imagination of the one who would wisely and consciously create circumstances. We must translate vision into Being, thinking of into thinking from, Imagination must center itself in some state and view the world from that state. Thinking from the end is an intense perception of the world of fulfilled desire. Thinking from the state desired is creative living. Ignorance of this ability to think from the end is bondage. It is the root of all bondage with which man is bound. To passively surrender to the evidence of the senses under-estimates the capacities of the Inner Self. Once man accepts thinking from the end as a creative principle in which he can cooperate, then he is redeemed from the absurdity of ever attempting to achieve his objective by merely thinking of it.
Construct all ends according to the pattern of fulfilled desire.
The whole of life is just the appeasement of hunger, and the infinite states of consciousness from which a man can view the world are purely a means of satisfying that hunger. The principle upon which each state is organized is some form of hunger to lift the passion for self-gratification to ever higher and higher levels of experience. Desire is the mainspring of the mental machinery. It is a blessed thing. It is a right and natural craving which has a state of consciousness as its right and natural satisfaction.
"But one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal." —Philippians, 3:13
It is necessary to have an aim in life. Without an aim we drift. "What wantest thou of me?" is the implied question asked most often by the central figure of the Gospels. In defining your aim you must want it.
"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." —Psalms 42:1
It is lack of this passionate direction life that makes man fail of accomplishment.
The spanning of the bridge between desire — thinking of— and satisfaction — thinking from — is all-important. We must move mentally from thinking of the end to thinking from the end. This, reason could never do. By its nature it is restricted to the evidence of the senses; but imagination, having no such limitation, can. Desire exists to be gratified in the activity of imagination. Through imagination man escapes from the limitation of the senses and the bondage of reason.
There is no stopping the man who can think from the end. Nothing can stop him. He creates the means and grows his way out of limitation into ever greater and greater mansions of the Lord. It does not matter what he has been or what he is. All that matters is 'what does he want'? He knows that the world is a manifestation of the mental activity which goes on within himself, so he strives to determine and control the ends from which he thinks. In his imagination he dwells in the end, confident that he shall dwell there in the flesh also. He puts his whole trust in the feeling of the wish fulfilled and lives by committing himself to that state, for the art of fortune is to tempt him so to do. Like the man at the pool of Bethesda, he is ready for the moving of the waters of imagination. Knowing that every desire is ripe grain to him who knows how to think from the end, he is indifferent to mere reasonable probability and confident that through continuous imagination his assumptions will harden into fact.
But how to persuade men everywhere that thinking from the end is the only living, how to foster it in every activity of man, how to reveal it as the plenitude of life and not the compensation of the disappointed: that is the problem.
Life is a controllable thing. You can experience what you please once you realize that you are His Son, and that you are what you are by virtue of the state of consciousness from which you think and view the world."Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." –Luke 15:31
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