Imagination: Friend or Foe?

The imagination can be of such tremendous beauty, enjoyment, excitement and benefit that it is easy to get lost in it.  On the other hand, it can also create such horrendous pain, agony, ugliness and waste that it also becomes just as easy to get lost in it.  How can it be both positive and negative?  What does it mean to get lost in it?

Imagination is a continuum, and inherent in all continuums, opposites are automatically created.  You cannot have a mountain without a valley.  You cannot have beautiful without ugly.  You cannot have love without anger.  You cannot have up without down.  As long as there is yin, there must also be yang.  The world of continuums cannot exist without opposites.

Your imagination places you into a world of fantasy, which consists of nothing but continuums.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines imagination as, “The formation of a mental image of something that is neither perceived as real nor present to the senses.”  A key is knowing that it is a mental image, and image about something that is not real or present to the senses. This image is nothing more than an innovative projection of the past into the future.  The imagination is not real.  It is a fantasy.

The ability to create a fantasy from various compilations of the past and then projecting them into the future has ultimately lead to the creation of many new and innovative realities.  It has brought us many pleasures, artistic creations, inventions, work saving devices, medical, technological, scientific advances, philosophies and so on.  The technology of today is the result of people using their imaginations, by creating new ways of seeing the old.  Can you imagine yourself having fun imagining all the new things you might think of, have, do and invent?  Of course, it can be extremely exciting and enjoyable.

On the other hand, your imagination can be painful and even destructive.  Have you ever had a nightmare, been jealous or envious, been lost in desiring, wanting, wishing or hoping?  These are just a few of the ways your imagination can create pain, anguish, ugliness and waste.  Just look at all the destructive devices created by man.  Why does man need this destructive power?  Why does man maintain and perpetuate dogma like marriage, religion, contracts, law, etc.?  He does it because of what his imagination tells him.  It tells him how things could be, should be, are and are not.  It is because his imagination creates a desire for power and control that he develops these and many other so called civilized technologies and beliefs.  It is only through such dogma that society and the various organizations within it can maintain control and power over you and your imagination.  They stifle you into a preconceived way of life.  These dogmas limit your vision and tolerance to differences.

Man’s imagination has created many powerful entities such as all the different gods found in all the different religions.  It has created many powerful concepts such as enlightenment, past lives, future lives, what is, what is not, what should be and what should not be.  Your imagination tells you what you must be in order to get into God's heaven, to be enlightened, to dissolve into oneness, to be a good person, to be a true Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, and so on.  It has created many paths, each with its own set of rules, regulations and rituals.  Which is the right path, the truth or the way?  All these paths and rules of conduct are nothing more than a creation of man's own imagination.  His imagination is a fantasy firmly based in fear, power and control.

The only real problem with imagination is that you get lost in it.  You create a perception of the world that you quickly believe is real.  You believe it so much that you soon accept the belief as your truth.  Is your belief real, or is it your projection?  You can create a world of God, enlightenment, peace, love and joy that has nothing to do with what is, but how you believe it should be.  It is your desiring that which you do not have, or desiring to keep what you believe you already have, that has created an image of a world that is less than what you think it should be.  What a bizarre thought, that one image can create another image that is then believed as truth!

I heard of a swami who used the mantra, “God is everything and everything is God.”  He repeated this mantra throughout his life.  He would look at a chair, a tree, an insect, this and that, and repeat the mantra.  He got so proficient that he actually began to believe that God was everything and everything was God.  He looked and sounded blissful, and attracted many followers.

One day, he went to visit my master, Osho, who is an enlightened being.  Immediately, Osho saw something in the swami that no one else had seen.  He saw a man who was hypnotized and who had created his own world.  He asked the swami to stop repeating his mantra for just three days.  The swami thought about it for a moment and then said, “Why not?  For three days I can go without repeating my mantra.”

Only 24 hours was needed.  In that short time, the swami lost his grace, his bliss, his vision that God was everything and everything was God.  Without his mantra to keep him hypnotized, he lost his dream.  Reality quickly set in.  What he thought was real, was not.  His dream had replaced reality.  His imagination had created his world.  Reality had nothing to do with what he saw.

Is there anything wrong with having and using your imagination?  Not at all!  In fact, your imagination is a game to be enjoyed.  However, you quickly forget that you are playing a game.  You begin to take the outcome as significant, important and serious business.  It does not matter if the dream is positive or negative; it is the seriousness, the attachment and the addiction to the dream that becomes destructive.  The dream is to be enjoyed, not taken seriously.  Your addiction to your imagination causes problems.  As long as you know that you are fantasizing, it will be an enjoyable game.  Unfortunately, what happens is that you quickly forget that you are dreaming, and delude yourself into thinking that the dream is reality or truth.  A perfect example is in sports.  Winning the game is all-important.  Participants and spectators become angry, aggressive and confrontational when their fantasy is not fulfilled.  They forget that it is just a game.

When you live your life in the NOW, you have no need for your imagination.  Instead, you can use your imagination when you want to.  Furthermore, you know it is a game to be enjoyed.  It is a game to be played with sincerity, but without any seriousness.  When you are dreaming, enjoy the dream, but always remember that you are dreaming.  Be aware that your mind has moved from this moment into a future or past that does not exist.  Have fun and enjoy your dream, but remember NOW is bliss, joy and happiness.  NOW is a bliss in which all continuums cease to exist by joining into oneness.  Only the mind can maintain the continuum developed by the mind.  Once you are in the moment, there is no such thing as a continuum.  How can this moment have continuums?  There is no past or future.   There is only this moment, and this moment is forever!

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