Imagination is one of our greatest creative powers. Creation starts with a vision. In the philosophy of the Law of Attraction, this concept is sometimes called a mental equivalent, a picture of some good that we want. Everything you see or feel on the material plane is the concrete expression of a mental equivalent that you hold. This belief is the core of mental science: Our thoughts out-picture as our reality.
The Law of attraction concept is that what we tend to think about attracts things of like nature, or “where attention goes, energy flows.” Believing it as true on the mental plane is a step to its appearance on the physical plane. Along with the image, we add strong feelings to affirm that this is our experience NOW.
To imagine is the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before perceived in reality. Sometimes imagination is seen as fanciful or empty assumption, as “it’s all in your imagination.”
However, according to Einstein – a pretty smart guy – “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”Creative thought is literally using creative power to direct/manifest something in our lives or move our perceptions beyond a present experience. Change your thinking, change your life.
Feeling is very important in creating. You might speak a rote and bland affirmation: “I am whole perfect and complete.” But we speak of troubles with great emotion: I HURT ALL OVER! I’M SO TIRED TODAY! Which has more power? You build a mental equivalent by being truly interested in what you want to create.
What about things we don’t want? Same principle: focusing on them, produces more of them. Instead, think more strongly about what you DO want. Turn away from the negative, replace them with positive images and thoughts and emotions.
Thomas Troward was a British judge who wrote several books on Mental Science. Troward talks of creating a prototype, or model. Within a seed is the prototype of the tree (miniature). Within DNA is the prototype or blueprint for the body and personality. To build a house, we create a blueprint – a representation to build the finished product. He said, “Having seen and felt the end, you have willed the means to the realization of the end.”
As Steven Covey says in 7 Habits of Highly Successful People: “Begin with the end in mind.” We begin by imagining the outcome we want, a vision of the achievement or manifestation. We might add more details, more feelings, and inspiration for action. This vision is the propellent, the driving force. A model rocket needs a propellent or fuel to push it into the air, or into reality. We need vision to drive us to fulfillment.
Eric Butterworth, in The Creative Life, says that everything is energy moving at a different frequency or rate of vibration. To create something, tune your mind to the frequency of faith, tapping into the creative power that flows from within you.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is a mental attitude which is so convinced of its own idea, which so completely accepts it that any contradiction is unthinkable and impossible. And in our faith and imagining, know that it is true now, not some state in the future which can never become present.
Einstein said, Problems cannot be solved with the same energy with which they were created. We need to think on a different vibration. Take an opposite stance, go upside down or backwards, anything to get a different energy and perception.
Butterworth cites a study using 45 mental patients at a VA Hospital. They were given some questions and told to answer them as they imagined a well-adjusted person would answer. The result was that 75% of the patients showed improvements, some dramatically. We too can imagine ourselves as sane!
Neville Goddard spoke to packed auditoriums on metaphysical themes from the 1930’s to his death in 1972. In his book, Awakened Imagination, he emphasized that feeling is the strongest element and that we must really feel the truth of what we’re imagining. The crucial matter is not thinking OF the end but thinking FROM the end, by centering your imagination in the feeling of the wish fulfilled. He urges to move beyond repeating affirmations to using creative power, fully sensing – seeing, touching, tasting, hearing, smelling.
He also has exercises to change your past! Looking over the day, if there is something that didn’t go right, or you didn’t like, you can rewrite and visualize it as exactly as you wished it to be. We can also do that with difficult memories or situations. You can change the past! By changing your perception of the past, you can change it.
One note: This mental equivalent, this imagining and feeling, is to be done with ease. Stress and effort shows a lack of faith and belief, which blocks the flow of manifestation.
Everything we see or feel on the material plane is the concrete expression of a mental equivalent - a picture that we hold. Life mirrors our thoughts and beliefs.
We don’t have to spend our days watching old re-runs of the past. Our life is our choice, and we can use our imagination to create a new reality. We can always create a new script, a new program, and act in a new life. Set aside some time every day to imagine and feel what you want to experience. Imagine that.
You might remember MAD magazine and this motto of the mascot, Alfred E. Neuman. Maybe that’s why he has such a big smile – he has released the habit of worry.
We talked in the last post about fear and the Hero’s Journey. A hero is not someone who has no fear but who acts despite the fear. So, you might say that fear is really a gateway, a portal to living a heroic life.
Fear has many faces, and one of its devious forms is worry. Definitions of worry are to give way to anxiety or allow one's mind to dwell on difficulty over actual or potential problems. In these definitions, it’s easy to see that one has allowed one’s mind to be enslaved by certain thoughts.
Another definition of worry is to choke or strangle, to harass by tearing, biting, gnawing or snapping, as a dog or other carnivorous animal. We could say that when you worry, you are really strangling, choking, or gnawing yourself!
Worry seems inconsequential, not as big as fear or facing demons or dragons. However, the real danger of worry is that it becomes a state of mind, blocking our good from reaching us. Worry is expecting the worst-case scenario. Worry is always apologizing, being sorry, doing or saying the wrong thing. Worry is negative prayer. Worry is bringing up thoughts, words, and emotions about the past or future.
Changing the mind set of worry is necessary for living a happy and productive life.
Books abound on how to stop worry – Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie is a well-known one.
But’s it’s difficult to do a “don’t.” The mind responds to a don’t as though it was something you told yourself to do
More helpful is to think - what’s the opposite of worry?
We think of qualities like calmness, certainty, confidence, joy, trust, peace.
So, in the midst of worry, we affirm things like:
I am calm in all circumstances.
I am confident I can handle whatever comes to me.
I feel joy at the ease and beauty of my life.
I trust in a higher power always directing me perfectly.
I feel peace in all areas of my life.
Worry is living in the past or future. As the saying goes, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery.” All we can do is live in this day, or even more so, to live in this present moment. All we have is this present moment, so we have a day filled with moments of “now.” Tomorrow will be a whole new set of “now’s.”
Many books address this. I would like to recommend Be Here Now by Ram Das, and The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle. The Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hahn has many books to soften your mind and heart into the present.
I would also like to recommend 10-minute mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport. This book gives many practical tips and triggers for living a life in the present.
As well, you might engage in relaxing exercises and meditation. On the meditation page, I give a short meditation you could try. I will have some relaxing exercises coming soon.
All of these are excellent to awaken to the pleasure of living in the now. Once you start doing this, you won’t want to go back. Living in the present moment is the key for a life of calm, peace, and joy.
Be Here Now, Ram Das https://amzn.to/2F1sgL3
The Power of Now, Ekhart Tolle https://amzn.to/2HFt6m6
Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Thich Nhat Hahn.
10-minute mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment, S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport ttps://amzn.to/2vwkzx5
We’ve been talking about the Hero’s Journey as a main structure in most stories, and then Your Heroic Life, applying the hero journey to your own life.
An inspiring film that sheds some light on this topic is Defending Your Life. The story focuses on how we are often run by our fears and the importance of overcoming them, not only for this lifetime, but for our whole soul journey. It was written, directed and starring Albert Brooks in 1991, but it has retained its popularity since then.
Daniel Miller, a successful ad executive, is celebrating his 39th birthday and the purchase of a $39,000 BMW. Out on a celebratory drive, he becomes distracted by his birthday CD’s falling on the floor, and he runs into a bus. That’s the prologue.
The real movie starts when he wakes up in a bland kind of purgatory called Judgment City and ushered onto a tram. We see billboards and placards heralding the resort’s various events and attraction. He is numb as the staff checks him into a bare Motel 6 type of room and gives him a white gown (toga-like with a cummerbund). He is told he can eat all he wants and not gain weight, and he later finds the food wonderfully superb.
Judgement City is designed to be like earth (in a conference center kind of way) to make the visitors feel comfortable. He sees the TV channels available in the hotel rooms (including a soap-opera, a game-show, a talk-show, and a “perfect weather” channel); he can visit restaurants, two hotel lobbies, a nightclub, and a miniature golf course; and are told about the recently built mini-malls on the outskirts of town.
He meets his affable attorney Bob Diamond (a terrific Rip Torn) who explains that between lifetimes there is an examining period in a trial like setting. This will determine whether one will be sent back to earth or go onward and keep getting smarter. For example, Bob uses 45% of his brain. Most humans use 3-5%, as they use most of their brain dealing with fears, because that’s what “little brains” do.
In the courtroom, he meets the tough prosecuting attorney Lena Foster (Lee Grant) and finds that each side will show scenes from nine days of his life over the next four days that illustrate their case. She shows him being bullied and not standing up for himself; Bob shows him as a toddler in a crib watching his parents argue, and his loud cries of anguish stop them. And back and forth the attorneys go.
Later, Daniel goes to the comedy club The Bomb Shelter, where he meets Julia (Meryl Streep). They really have an attraction. He finds that Julia is on very good terms with her attorney, and that she has a much better hotel room. He goes to a sushi bar where the cooks ask him how many days he is looking at and they yell out: 9 days! 9 days!
Back in the courtroom, Lena shows him missing out on a chance to invest in Casio. Bob shows him with his wife, who is acting the part of a boss as Daniel refuses to take anything less than $65,00 a year. Lena shows the actual encounter, where the boss offers $49,000 and he says, “Done!”
That night, he and Julia go to the Past Lives Pavilion, introduced by Shirley MacLaine, where Julia sees a past life as Prince Valiant and Daniel is in a jungle running from a lion. He finds that Julia died when she tripped on a chaise lounge, hit her head, and drowned in a swimming pool.
The next day at the courtroom, Lena shows him having an anxiety attack before a big presentation. He tries to get out of it, but he’s pushed onstage frozen with fear. At the last second, the room is emptied for a big gas leak. He joins Julia in her courtroom to see footage of her saving her children from a fire, then going back in to save a kitten.
According to the movie’s metaphysics, fear and stupidity are virtually the same thing. And nearly all of us in the world today are plagued by the resulting inhibitions.
Now spoiler alert! After the trial, he is disappointed when finds that he is being sent back to earth, while Julia is will be sent onward. Bob walks him to the tram and advises him: “Don’t let others get to you. Follow what’s in here” (pointing to his heart).
The ending is immensely satisfying. Daniel is strapped into the tram, when across the way at the next tram, Julia is calling out to him. In a moment of bravery, he manages to get out of his seat belt and open the door. He starts across to Julia, despite being shocked along the way by the electrified pavement. He gets to her door and struggles to open it.
We cut back to see the attorneys watching this happening. Bob says, “how’s that for bravery?” They give the signal to open the doors. Daniel is reunited with Julia and they leave to start their next life together.
There’s so much more to the film than a synopsis can give, with the subtle humor and ease of the story unfolding. I’ve seen this film many times, and as I watched it again a few days, I was touched by Daniel’s vulnerability and could relate to his fear. And the ending brought a near tear in its satisfaction and happiness.
Indeed, fear is one of the biggest blocks to living a satisfying and heroic life. I think most of us would find this trial process excruciating, to view all the examples of when we let our fears take over. I know I would.
There are so many books and seminars on how to overcome your fears. The acronym for FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real – is sometimes used to affirm the idea that fears are simply a mental choice, and we could instead choose to step out beyond our comfort zones and dare to do what we long to do.
The book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers advises just that: acknowledge the fear but don’t let it stop you. For we cannot wait until we have no fear, but act in the face of fear. In doing so, we find that we are opened to many more opportunities and a greater life.
It’s interesting that Bob Diamond tapped his chest and said to “follow what’s in here.” The word courage is from the French word coeur, which means heart. These words are like Joseph Campbell’s advice: “Follow your bliss.” The hero’s journey is a journey of courage. As we connect to our heart, we are guided forward along our journey to reap the benefits and rewards.
The significance of his final act of courage– which is the beginning of a new life – means that it’s never too late to move past your fears into braver actions. I know I’m taking the lesson of this film to make it a goal to do one braver thing every day, no matter how large or small, which also means being more conscious. How can I move past complacency and mindlessness into greater awareness today? I commit to courage.
The last blog post focused on the Hero’s Journey, the deep inner structure of most stories. The great mythologist Joseph Campbell studied the world’s myths and stories and found they followed this Hero’s Journey pattern, as referenced in his book Hero with a Thousand Faces. He felt that this pattern expressed the deep inner connections and symbolism of the human experience.
The Journey has a spiritual element: the quest to connect with the true self and find meaning purpose. This quest is the essence of your heroic life story.
The Hero’s Journey in a book or film has a definite starting point. The hero makes a Departure, leaving ordinary surroundings to risk moving into unfamiliar territory. In the Initiation phase, the traveler opens into a new world, meets a mentor, finds both allies and enemies, and moves through thresholds with dangers and challenges. In the Return, the traveler goes back home to enrich the community with the wisdom of the journey.
In living your heroic life, there might not be specific demarcations, so you can decide. Where are you in the journey? Are you departing, going through initiation, or returning? Sometimes there are clear divisions – leaving a job or relationship means departing from the unfamiliar into a new world. Moving from one town to another also begins a new journey.
Your journey can start at any time with a decision to embark on a heroic path, to live with more courage, to make a change. This is answering a deeper inner call. Where in your life do you want a change? How can you live with more courage? The difficulty is that change requires…changing. To transform, to be something different, more courageous, we must give up the old self, the old beliefs. What can you release about yourself, that no longer serves you?
We are not following a storyline; we are making a story with our lives. We are the hero, the main character. Through our intentions, choices, and actions, we move through obstacles and struggles to become the Hero. This transformed self is who you were meant to be, the fulfillment of your potential.
Once the decision is made to change, to be more, to do more, to serve the world, the journey moves you along. Rather than being a struggle, Joseph Campbell recommends that you “follow your bliss.” What do you really love to do? Follow that. He also said that in following your bliss, doors open where there were no doors. You surrender to allow the path to move you.
Living heroically means not being passive but fully embracing the challenges and obstacles. As well, it requires you to embrace both allies and enemies. The dragons and enemies you fight are fear, resentment, greed, hate, sadness, depression, anger or other limiting emotions. The journey operates on both inner and outer levels, in that the inner issues you are dealing with show up externally by way of people or events. As you face these inner and outer obstacles with courage and perseverance, they become healing.
Are you facing threshold guardians that are seemingly blocking your way? Perhaps that guardian is you, holding your own self back. Have you ever felt crucified by someone, going through the supreme ordeal? Something is being healed and transformed at a deep psychic level.
But you might ask, “What if I don’t have courage but am filled with fear?” The famous words are “Act as if.” Take a leap of faith into the life you want to live. For you are playing the greatest role of your life, so play it to the hilt. The act of moving through your fear is the smelter for your heroic life. Is your life fate or destiny? It’s said that fate is the cards you are given; destiny is how you play those cards.
See your life in bigger mythic terms as playing archetypes on the stage of life. We are living great archetypes: mother, sister, brother, father, sage, healer, teacher, survivor, as well as victim, villain, outcast and hundreds more. We look at the parts of ourselves or roles we play that we don’t like and come to accept them with compassion. We give all parts of ourselves a seat at the table. In this way we become whole and integrated and strong. We grow our courage as we do what is difficult, face dragons, and move past obstacles. The Journey is one of continual choices.
Each day is a fresh journey. You enter a new world, that has never been lived before. Each day you connect with mentors and allies, and face obstacles and challenges. Our misfortunes teach us; wounds transform us. We come to not just fight our demons but come to embrace them as teachers and channels for healing.
Each day is an opportunity to grow more heroic, to activate our courage, move past our fears, and to live big. We call someone a hero who has shown bravery and made sacrifices for others. As we move into our hero light and life, we are a greater service to the world.
The goal is to not only to win a great thing, but to become great, the greatness we were meant to be. The journey itself is the treasure.
Many books can help you deepen your heroic life journey. Do an Amazon search for what appeals to you. Some are listed below.
Joseph Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces. https://amzn.to/2uskVUX
Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. https://amzn.to/2J3evy
The Power of Myth, PBS special. The six episodes include The Hero’s Adventure, The Message of the Myth, The First Storytellers, Sacrifice and Bliss, Love and the Goddess, and Masks of Eternity.
Craig, Will. Living the Hero's Journey: Exploring Your Role in the Action-Adventure of a Lifetime. Highly recommended. https://amzn.to/2uReyuz
I have a passion for stories and inspirational literature.