The Secret of Imagining, Vortrag

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Vortrag: The Secret of Imagining / Das Geheimnis der Vorstellungskraft

Vortrag von Neville Goddard 1960, Studioaufnahme für Schallplatte

Englisch: The Secret of Imagining

It may seem incredible but it is true: the world in which we live is a world of imagination. In fact, life itself is an activity of imagining. All that we behold, though it appears without, it is within, in our imagination, of which this world of mortality is but a shadow.

Nothing appears or continues in being by a power of its own. Events happen because comparatively stable imaginable activities created them. And they continue in being only as long as they receive such support. Therefore the secret of imagining is the greatest of all problems, to the solution of which everyone should aspire. For supreme power, supreme wisdom, and supreme joy lie in the solution of this great mystery. When man solves the mystery of imagining he will have discovered the secret of causation, and that is: imagining creates reality.

Divine imagining and human imagining are not two powers at all but one. The valid distinction which exists between them 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 imaginable act is an immediate objective fact. Keyed low, an imaginable act is realized in a time process.

Human history, with its forms of governments, its revolutions, its wars, and in fact the rise and fall of nations, could be written in terms of the imaginal activities of men and women. All imaginative men and women are forever casting forth enchantments, and all passive men and women, who have no powerful imaginative lives, are continually passing under the spell of their power. If imagination is the only thing that acts or is in existing beings or men, as Blake believed, then we should never be certain that it was not some woman treading in the wine press who began that subtle change in men’s minds. Or that the passion, because of which the earth has been drenched in blood, did not begin in the imagination of some shepherd boy lighting up his eye for a moment before it ran upon its way.

The future is the imaginable 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 a man of actual wealth of experience. Imagining novel solutions to ever more complex problems is far more noble than to restrain or kill out desire. Life is the continuing solution of a continuously synthetic problem. Imagining creates events. Our world, created out of men’s imagining, comprises unnumbered warring beliefs. Therefore there could 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 preexisting peace of mind.

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 we change our 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 we do unaccompanied by an imaginal change is but futile readjustment of services. Imagining the wish fulfilled brings about a union with that state. And during that union we behave in keeping with our imaginal change. This shows us that an imaginal change will result in a change of behavior. However, our ordinary imaginal alterations, as we 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 our constant mood, our habitual attitude, then that habitual state defines our character and is a true transformation.

Now let me call your attention to the design on the cover of this record. You will notice a man sitting on a park bench imagining himself to be in a home. This is the secret of those who lie in bed awake while they dream things true. They know how to live in their own dream house until, in fact, they do. 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’s 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.

How does he do it? Self-abandonment. That is the secret. He has to abandon himself mentally to his wish fulfilled, in his love for that state, and in so doing live in the new state and no more in the old state.

Now we can’t commit ourselves to what we do not love. So the secret of self-commission is faith plus love. Faith is believing what is incredible. We commit ourselves to the feeling of the wish fulfilled in faith that this act of self-commission will become a reality—and it will 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 or thinking from it but is functioning out of it and thinking of it. If the individual would enter into the image in his imagination, as the design on the cover of this record suggests, then would he know what it is to be creatively transformative, then would he realize his wish, and then he would be happy. Every image can be embodied, but unless man himself enters the image and thinks 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 affected without such occupancy. We 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 here why is its fragrance in the air? Through spiritual sensation—that is, through imaginal sight, sound, scent, taste, and touch—man can give to the image sensory vividness. If he does, all things will conspire to aid his harvesting. And on reflection he will see how subtle were the threads that led to his goal. He could never have devised the means which his imaginal activity used to fulfill itself. If man longs to escape from his present sense fixation, to transform his present life into a dream of what might well be, he has but to imagine that he’s already what he wants to be, and then feel the way he would expect to feel under such circumstances. Let him, like the make believe of a child, who is remaking the world after its own heart, create his world out of pure dreams of fancy. Let him mentally enter into his dream. Let him mentally do what he would actually do were it physically true. He will discover that dreams are realized not by the rich but by the imaginative.

Nothing stands between man and the fulfillment of his dream but facts, and facts are the creations of imagining. If man changes his imagining he 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. We cannot leave behind us the mistakes of our 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 our lives means changing the past. The causes of the present evil are the unrevised scenes of the past. The past and the present form the whole structure of man. It is 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 re-created into the present, so will the revised past be re-created into the present. Or else the promise that “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,” is a lie.

The question may arise as to how by representing others to ourselves as better than they really were, or mentally rewriting a letter to make it conform to our wish, or by revising the scene of an accident, the interview with the employer, and so on, could change what seems to be the unalterable facts of the past—but remember my claims for imagining. Imagining creates reality. What it makes it can unmake. It is not only conservative, building a life from images supplied by memory; it is always creatively transformative, altering a theme already in being. The parable of the unjust steward gives the answer to this question. We can alter our world by means of a certain illegal practice, by means of a falsification of the facts; that is, by means of a certain intentional alteration of that which we have experienced. And all this is done in one’s own imagination. This is a form of falsehood, which is not only not condemned, but is actually approved in the gospel teaching. By means of such falsehood, a man destroys the causes of evil and acquires friends. And on the strength of this revision proves, judging by the high praise the unjust steward received from his master, that he is deserving of confidence.

Because imagining creates reality we can carry revision to the extreme, and revise a scene that would be otherwise unforgivable. We learn to distinguish between man, who is all imagination, from those states into which he may enter. An unjust steward, looking at another’s distress, will represent the other to himself as he ought to be seen. Were he himself in need he would, like the man on the cover of this record, enter his dream house in his imagination and imagine what he would see, and how things would seem, and how people would act, after these things should be. Then in this state he would fall asleep feeling the way he would expect to feel under such circumstances.

Would that all the Lord’s people were unjust stewards, mentally falsifying the facts of life to deliver individuals forever more. For the imaginal change goes forward until at length the altered pattern is realized on the heights of attainment. Our future is our imaginal activity in its creative march. Imagine better than the best you know.