07 Dec 1960 Neville Goddard LP – Transcript of Vinyl Record -The Secret of Imagining & A Mystical Experience
transcript of vinyl record, side one (listen and read)
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.
I accept literally the saying that all the world’s a stage, and I believe that God plays all the parts. The purpose of the play: to transform man, the created, into God, the creator. God loved man, his created, and became man in faith that this act of self-commission would transform man, the created, into God, the creator.
The play begins with the crucifixion of God, on man as man, and ends with the resurrection of man as God. God becomes as we are that we may become as He is. God becomes man that man may become first a living being and secondly a life-giving spirit. I live, yet not I but God lives in me. And the life I know I live in the flesh I live by the faith of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
God took upon himself the form of man and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross of man, and is crucified on Golgotha, the skull of man. God himself enters death’s door—the human skull—and lays down in the grave of man to make man a living being. God’s mercy turned death into sleep, then began the prodigious and unthinkable metamorphosis of man: the transformation of man into God. No man unaided by the crucifixion of God could cross the threshold that admits to conscious life. But now we have union with God in his crucified self. He lives in us as our wonderful human imagination. Therefore, man is all imagination and God is man and exists in us and we in him. The eternal body of man is the imagination. That is God Himself. When he rises in us, we will be like him and he will be like us. Then all impossibilities will dissolve at the touch of exaltation, which his rising in us will impart to our nature.
Here is the secret of the world: God died to give man life and to set man free. For however clearly God is aware of his creation, it does not follow that man, imaginatively created, is aware of God. To work this miracle God had to die then rise again as man. And none has ever expressed it so clearly as Blake. Blake says—or rather has Jesus say—“Unless I die, thou canst not live; but if I die I shall arise again and thou with me. Wouldest thou love one who never died for thee, or ever die for one who had not died for thee? And if God dieth not for man and giveth not himself eternally for man, man could not exist.”
So God died. That is to say, God has freely given himself for man. Deliberately he has become man and has forgotten that he is God in the hope that man, thus created, will eventually rise as God. God has so completely offered his own self for man that he cries out on the cross of man, “My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?” He has completely forgotten that he is God. But after God rises in one man, that man will say to his brothers: “Why stand we here trembling around calling on God for help and not ourselves in whom God dwells?” This first man that has been raised from the dead is known as Jesus, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For man, God died. Now by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. Jesus resurrects his dead father by becoming him. In Adam, the universal man, God sleeps. In Jesus, the individualized God, God wakes. In waking, man the created has become God the Creator and can truly say, “Before the world was, I Am.”
Just as God in his love for man so completely identified himself with man that he forgot that he was God, so man in his love for God must so completely surrender himself to God that he lives the life of God and no longer that of man. God’s play, which transforms man into God, is revealed to us in the Bible. It is completely consistent in imagery and symbolism. The New Testament is hid in the Old Testament, and the Old is manifested in the New. The Bible is a vision. It is not a doctrine or a ritual. The Old Testament tells us of God’s promises, the New Testament tells us not how these promises were fulfilled but how they are fulfilled. The central theme of the Bible is the direct, individual, mystical experience of the birth of the child. That child of whom the prophet spoke: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.”
When the child is revealed to us, we see it, we experience it, and the response to this revelation can be stated in the words of Job: “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee.” The story of the incarnation is not fable, allegory, or some carefully reasoned formula to enslave the minds of men, but mystical fact. It is a personal mystical experience of the birth of oneself out of one’s own skull, symbolized in that of a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying on the floor. There is a distinction between hearing of this birth of a child from one’s own skull—a birth which no scientist or historian could ever possibly explain—and actually experiencing the birth, holding in your own hands and seeing with your own eyes this miraculous child: a child born from above, out of your own skull, a birth contrary to all the laws of nature. The event as it is recorded in the gospels actually takes place in man. But of that day or that hour when the time will come for the individual to be delivered, no one knows but the Father. Do not marvel that I say to you: you must be born from above. The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or wither it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the spirit.
This revelation in the Gospel of John is true. Here is my experience of this birth from above. Like Paul I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the actual mystical experience of being born from above. None can speak truly of this mystical birth from above but the one who has experienced it. I had no idea that this birth from above was literally true. For who before the experience could believe that the child—the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace—was inwoven in his own skull? Who, before the experience, would understand that his Maker is his Husband and the Lord of Hosts is His Name? Who would believe that the creator went in unto his own creation, man, and knew it to be himself and that this entrance into the skull of man—this union of God and man—resulted in the birth of a son out of the skull of man; which birth gave to that man eternal life and union with his creator forever?
If I now tell what I experienced that night I do so not to impose my ideas on others but that I may give hope to those who, like Nicodemus, wonder how can a man be born when he is old? How can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? How can this be? Well, this is how it happened to me.
A heavenly dream in which the arts flourished was suddenly interrupted by the most intense vibration centered at the base of my skull. Then a drama as real as those I experience when I am fully awake began to unfold. I felt myself within my skull trying to force my way out through its base. Something gave way and I felt myself move head downward through the base of my skull. I squeezed myself out, inch by inch. When I was almost out I held what I took to be the foot of the bed and pulled the remaining portion of me out of my skull. There on the floor I laid for a few seconds. Then I rose and looked at my body on the bed. It was lying on its back and tossing from side to side like one in recovery from a great ordeal. As I contemplated it, hoping that it would not fall off the bed, I became aware that the vibration which started the whole drama was not only in my head but now was also coming from the corner of the room. As I looked over to the corner I wondered if that vibration could be caused by a very high wind, a wind strong enough to vibrate the window. I could not believe that the vibration which I still felt within my head was related to that which seemed to be coming from the corner of the room.
Looking back to the bed, I discovered that my body was gone but in its place sat my three oldest brothers. My oldest brother sat where the head was. My second and third brothers sat where the feet were. None seemed to be aware of me, although I was aware of them and could discern their thoughts. I suddenly became aware of the reality of my own invisibility. I noticed that they, too, were disturbed by the vibration coming from the corner of the room. My third brother was the most disturbed and went over to investigate the cause of the disturbance. His attention was attracted by something on the floor and looking down he announced, “It is Neville’s baby.” My other two brothers, in most incredulous voices, asked, “How can Neville have a baby?”
My brother lifted the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid him on the bed. I, then, with my invisible hands lifted the babe and asked him, “How is my sweetheart?” He looked into my eyes and smiled, and I awoke in this world—to ponder this greatest of my many mystical experiences.
One other vision I will tell because it bears out the truth of my assertion that the Bible is mystical fact—that everything written about the Promised Child is in the Law of Moses, and the prophets, and the Psalms, and it must be mystically experienced in the imagination of the individual. The child’s birth is a sign and a portent signaling the resurrection of the patriarchs in the imagination of him in whom the child is born. Six months after the birth of the child a vibration similar to the one which preceded his birth started in my head. This time its intensity was centered at the top of my head. Then came a sudden explosion and I found myself in a modestly furnished room. There, leaning against the side of an open door was my son David of Biblical fame. He was a lad about twelve years old. What struck me forcibly about him was the unusual beauty of his face and figure. He was—as he is described in the first book of Samuel—ruddy, with beautiful eyes and very handsome.
Not for one moment did I feel myself to be anyone other than Neville. Yet, I knew that this lad David was my son, and he knew that I was his father. As I sat there contemplating the beauty of my son, the vision faded and I awoke.
What conclusion can be reached from these mystical experiences? A chamber of man’s image, in man’s imagination, is engraved with every patriarch and character in the Old Testament, and that after the birth of a child out of the skull of man, signifying that man’s rebirth from above—there will begin the resurrection of the patriarchs. Each in his turn will be revealed as the son of the man who resurrects him. When all are resurrected from the dead, that man in whom they are resurrected will know himself to be of the Elohim: the God who became man that man may become God.