Albert Einstein once said, “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination and furthermore, imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
You’ll remember last week that I talked about Albert Einstein’s Cosmic Religion, which I think went over very well with this congregation because that’s where I see this group of Spiritual Warriors moving towards. A higher level of religion, or what I like to call, greater Spiritual connection with Source.
As I closed the message last week I said, “We all want to create more Good in our lives. So don’t let what you think you know keep you from receiving what you have yet to imagine as possible.”
He should know. As a result of a 6 week coma, which he went into after a severe heart attack, he awoke with a powerful awareness of what the mind can do. He came to know more about the power of imagination.
It’s the ability to entertain ideas and create possibilities that may never have existed before. It is the greatest power the mind can have.
Do you ever stop and think about how much we use imagination everyday of our lives? In religion we use it explain the unexplainable; the great mystery; the mystical; the unseen. From primitive man to modern man we use our imagination to explain what our rational mind cannot comprehend.
Here’s a story of how an old Paiute Grandmother explained to her grandchild how the Grand Canyon came to be and here’s how a modern day Paiute Indian used his imagination to put it into a lyrics and song so children in Rochester New York could sing it with an orchestra. It’s called “Path Made of Rainbows”.
Showed Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-g_dma93ffQ
Imagination also feeds hope, because wouldn’t you agree, that there is a sort of built in optimism in all works of the imagination. And the goal of imagination is nothing less than freedom which is pretty much the point of the activity of the imagination. It completely liberates us from the forces that binds us in the “here and now.”
Imagination is so vast, so large, and so free that it grows our souls and allows us to experience and contemplate grandeur. The cosmos, our imagination gives birth to, is even larger than the physical cosmos. We transcend outside the immediate world to a world of infinity.
We just have to learn to trust the universe and its creative powers. If we don’t have a living, breathing vibrant imagination and aren’t busy feeding and nourishing imagination, then we simply lack the expression of soul in our daily lives.
Have you wondered where imagination comes from, what makes us creative, why we think scientifically or create art, and invent tools? Philosophers have argued for thousands of years about the essence of imagination. Scientists at Dartmouth College believe their study brings us closer to the answer.
They say the answer lies in the human brain's "mental workspace", a widespread neural network that coordinates activity across several regions in the brain and consciously manipulates symbols, images, ideas and theories.
However, clearly demonstrating that such a "mental workspace" exists has been extremely difficult with available techniques that only managed to examine brain activity in isolation.
I suggestion that what we call imagination is a central ingredient in any religious experience and that the proper uses of the imagination in ceremony is essential to experiencing something meaningful or experiencing nothing by rote.
My definition of imagination is this: It is the act of making images that convey through their shapes, form, and emotional authority a power of reality that seems to lie at the heart of things.
IOWs, ordinary events of life are held accountable to an imagined vision of truth.
Imagination came up during this week’s Animal Totem workshop when it became clear that false childhood beliefs create blocks for us now in using our imagination. In order to do a Shamanic Journey we must imagine our spirit descending into the lower kingdom of plant and animal spirits, which is really the 4th dimension. Some of us were taught that going downward to enter a lower kingdom was taboo because it was associated with Haidys, Hell, Evil spirits. But that’s not true at all. So as we grow in spiritual maturity we have to debunk a lot of childhood fallacies in order to receive new beliefs that support our lives now.
After I left ASU in the early 70’s to move to Champaign/Urbana, IL, to study the violin with Dr. Paul Rolland. He took me apart and put me back together from the fundamentals on up and when he was through, I knew I knew how to play the violin but I didn’t know what music was. That became my goal at that point: to discover where music comes from.
My first attempts were to go to my practice room, like always, and instead of playing the violin, just sit and listen for music to come and then play what I heard. The problem was I didn’t hear any music. All I heard was the traffic outside so out of boredom, I picked up the violin and played just one note.
I explored this one note in all of its overtones and variety of sounds that came from bowing it with different techniques. As I explored this one note a rhythm came into being and an energy and power came into sound and form. Then from this sound and form I settled back into a state of trance-like openness.
As I played this note and this rhythm my mind automatically shifted from an analytical state of mind to an imaginational state of mind and a visual moving image began to form and act out thoughts, feelings, emotions and a story of an alternate reality; an alternate life time.
I didn’t understand what was happening at the time. I just observed and went with the story. But something in the music and story-line evoked a powerful emotional experience of running for my life as it was being ripped apart all around me from loss, trauma, and a deeply embedded sense of sadness. This feeling caused a spontaneous outburst of weeping, but not just once; every time I replayed this piece of music.
The music is now known as my “soul” song and is called the Tribal Music Suite which tells in musical language the story of a young mixed-blood boy named Quaninch born in the spring of 1829 to a Nuwuvi Indian mother and a Scottish frontiersman, a trapper, explorer and fiddler. The story follows his life from birth to adulthood in what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey.
I had never heard of the Hero’s Journey when this music created the story, so it speaks to the common DNA that we carry within us as a human species here on Planet Earth.
In the book The Educated Imagination, Northrup Frye suggests that there are three levels to human understanding and each of the three has its appropriate language. These levels of human understanding are
The level of imagination, and the appropriate speech for this level is what he calls "poetic language." This is the only level of communication in which there is some sort of transcendence implied in the mode of communication. Poetic speech is transcendent speech just as music is a transcendent agent of imagination.
Ordinary speech and techno speech that dominate so much of our lives have as their primary purpose the description of the world in which we live. Poetic speech has as its purpose the description of the world we hope for, a world of our hope in the perceived shape of a humane future.
Let me now suggest three ways in which the role of imagination in religion will open us to a new sense of its uses.
Through imagination, we are able to suspend our own passionately held beliefs and to treat them as possibilities and even options, so that we may understand the possibilities and beliefs of others.
In the public scene, tolerance is an extraordinary achievement. Without tolerance on a crowded planet, the future is problematic. Imagination enables us to step back from our own sense of self-assurance, to entertain another's beliefs and values enough to allow them to become a possibility.
A second use of the imagination in religion has to do with removing us from taking pleasure in cruel things. There is a fine 18th-century phrase, "literature and art refine our sensibilities."
IOWs, imagination may help us to accept the world as it is, in its grandeur and misery, its beauty and its cruelty.
Finally, imagination is a necessary ingredient in perceiving hope for our sense of the future.
Northrup Frye said,I believe that imagination is central to religious experience. Religion does not necessarily "demand belief" (certainly not unquestioning belief). At its best, it operates through the exercise of the imagination. Certainly, Jesus' teaching method was to awaken the imagination.
Songwriter Malcolm Stewart wrote a song where he has Jesus saying, "Let's play a game; let's pretend that love is each man's name; let's see if the world remains the same."
I invite you to live "as if" the imaginative insights of the Holistic World View are true and thus see the world in a new way.
To imagine means to form new images and sensations that are not perceived through the five physical senses.
In the book the Secret of Aladdin’s Lamp, author Paul Boutet, says,
Aladdin’s Lamp symbolizes the intelligent utilization of our thoughts and imagination combined with the creative power of the Supreme Mind. The creative power of the Source of Creation, the genie, can be tapped through proper use of imagination in relation to our needs and desires. Aladdin’s Lamp is symbolic of spiritual power.
Let’s refer to this spiritual power as prayer to designate the conscious union of the heart and mind of the individual with the Universal Spirit of Love. Practice will bring us to know more and more that we are eternally united with God.
Ernest Holmes uses this Principle in prayer for a deep inner perception and conviction of the Spiritual Truth about himself and any condition related to his prayer. IOWs,
If we are to become whole, we must come to the perception of wholeness, imagined wholeness. The mold, we create with the Intellect ... but the realization comes through imagination. It must be as real as dirt, if we want to receive the miracle of Heaven.
I’d like to close now by teaching you a 5 Stage Prayer Treatment that Ernest Holmes taught.
This is what I do in each stage:
I state the condition in my life that I desire to change.
This is where I formulate the purpose for my treatment. Example:
I urgently desire a job. Unemployment benefits are running out and bills are piling up. Then...
I state the changed condition that I expect to experience as a result of this treatment.
A new job is now mine which meets my financial needs with substance to share and to spare, and offers room for growth and contribution.
This statement is the purpose of my treatment. In clarifying the purpose before I begin my treatment, I am creating a course or theme for my treatment upon which the Realization step will eventually be based.
Stage 1: I Recognize that Source Energy is all there is
I describe the Divine. I use words that express the Oneness, the Allness, or the Wholeness of Creator. I express my deep conviction that the Divine is all there is. The I AM is All-inclusive...there is only Infinite Love that rules the Universe through the Law of Mind.
Stage 2: I unify with the I AM, I become One with Creator
I describe my relationship to this everywhere-present Divinity in terms of my oneness with it. I state ideas that express that I am inseparably one with the Source, with the Infinite Presence and Power. I express my deep conviction that God in me, as me, is me...that I am made of the same God-Stuff, a whole, perfect, and complete child of Creation. This is WHO I AM. This is the Truth about me.
Step 3: Through realization: I accept and embody my Good.
Then I express my acceptance of what the purpose of my treatment is for. I declare that I wholly accept and embody the realization of the Spiritual Truth in my life and affairs. I clearly see the good that I desire as already mine, right now. My entire life is open and ready to receive this good that is mine now.
For example as Ernest Holmes says, “I deeply and fully realize that the good I desire is already mine because of WHO I AM, God's perfect child, a Spiritual Being right now, right where I am. I am one with all the abundance and energy of the Universe. I wholly recognize, accept, and embody this Perfect Right Action, and I allow it to unfold in my experience.”
Stage 4: Thanksgiving. I Give thanks.
Then I express my thankfulness for this realization of Good that is taking place in my life and affairs – for the good that is taking form in my experience right now.
Stage 5: Release: I let go and let God
Now I bring this Spiritual Mind Treatment to a close by using words that illustrate I have released it to the action of Spiritual Law. This step is an affirmation of trust and confidence that the Law of Mind is at work. It is important that this release be total. I may treat again tomorrow for the same good; but the present treatment is a spiritual entity and, as such, is being released into the Law.
Let us bow our heads and close our eyes and enter into a powerful prayer of spiritual mind treatment.
Our purpose today is to pray for a shift in human consciousness from one of mindless consumption to that of the Holistic World View, the idea that the whole is more than merely the sum of its parts.
The planet has been compelled to shoulder some of the worst environmental disasters caused by human activities. Whenever these disasters occur, the environmental consequences presented are very high and their impacts are felt for hundreds of years.
Our vision is to see the world population become ecologically aware and humanitarian for all people of Planet Earth. In a holistic worldview we learn to mentally step beyond ourselves, to see our lives as individual strands within the web of life. We become aware that everything we do in life causes a ripple of impacts, big or small, good or bad, to travel throughout the web and ultimately back to us.
From space there are no visible boundaries or cultural divides, just a beautiful blue marble alone in an infinitely large universe. It is readily apparent that all life is interconnected, that the fate of humanity is directly linked to the fate of planet earth.
Therefore, as Minister for the CUL, I assert for this circle of community gathered in positive, loving oneness that…
Step 1: There is but one source of Creation and that Universal Source is Mind not mechanism. The one true Source of All Creation is revealed as the eternal “I AM,” There is but one power in the Universe and that is the power, the energy of Love. The energy of Love is omnipotent and omnipresent in all things.
Step 2: We affirm the belief that all people are perfect just the way they are and that each person is the Divine that dwells within, the same as the Divine Essence, Source of all Creation. Since Source exists in perfection then as people of this Creation we also exist in perfection.
Step 3: We deeply and fully realize that the good we desire for this planet is already ours because of who we are, children of Mother Earth, Spiritual Beings right here and now. We are one with all the abundance and energy of the Universe. We recognize, accept fully, and embody this Perfect Right Action, and we allow it to unfold in our experience.
Step 4: We express our thanks and gratitude for the realization of Good in our lives and affairs – and for what we now realize as the good that is taking form in our world experience.
Step 5: I bring this prayer to a close now by releasing it to the action of the Law of Mind. We affirm with trust and confidence that the Law of Mind is at work and it is with total faith in the process that we let go and let God, Aho!