30 May Neville Goddard Lectures: “Imagination”
by Neville Goddard – 07/14/1969 –
Tonight’s subject is Imagination.
You read in the 17th chapter of the book of Acts, a story of Paul coming through to the Athenians, and he calls upon these men, for he saw the inscription over and over. He said: “As I passed by…I saw [an altar with] this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ This therefore that you worship as unknown, [this] I proclaim unto you.” “He is not far from each of us, for in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:23, 27, 28)
The great Blake said it differently. This is what Blake said:
“All that you behold; though it appears without, it is within, in your Imagination, of which this World of Mortality is but a Shadow.” (“Jerusalem”)
Then he said: “Babel mocks…” We are all familiar with what Babel represents: the confusion of tongues, no two believing in the same god. Not yet speaking different languages but speaking one tongue, they have different concepts of the creative power of the universe. And so he said:
Babel mocks saying, there is no God, nor Son of God That thou O Human Imagination, O Divine Body art all A delusion, but I know thee O Lord…
He equates God and his son with the human Imagination. To him and to the speaker, Divine Imagination is identical with the word “Jesus.” So, when I think of Jesus, I do not see a being outside of my own wonderful human Imagination. Are we not told in Scripture:
“With God all things are possible”? (Matthew 19:26 and Mark 10:27)
We are also told in Scripture:
“All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
That is Scripture, now the power of believing is God himself. So, God-In-Man is man’s own wonderful human Imagination. It’s difficult for man to make the adjustment, having been trained to turn on the outside to some god that he worships. We go to church and the mind turns outward to some god, and he paints a word picture of someone before whom we must bend our knee and cross ourselves. But that’s not what Scripture really teaches. Scripture teaches that the power that creates the entire universe is not without man, but within man, as man’s own wonderful human Imagination. That is the creative power of the world. All things exist in the human Imagination, so if the word “God” would turn you out, try to make the adjustment within yourself and begin to believe that the God of Christendom, the Lord Jesus of Christendom, is your own Imagination. If all things are possible to God, and God is your Imagination, then it should be possible for you.
Now, I ask the question. I think I have told it simply enough – how you can test it? – how you can enter into a state? I think I have told it to the satisfaction of most people that we are the operant power. To hear it, to recite it, commit it to memory, is not enough. We have to apply it, for we are the operant power.
A few days before I closed in Los Angeles, I retired quite early (maybe 9:30 or 10:00 o’clock) and I communed with myself. (To whom would I turn?)
So, I said to myself, “I have said everything that I have heard from within myself, everything that I have experienced concerning the Law, I have told.
I have told what I have experienced concerning the Promise. Could I tell them something more about the Law that would make it a little bit more simple? What can I say that I haven’t said?” So, I asked the depth of my own being to show me, to show me exactly what I could say that I haven’t said.
Well, in the wee hours of the morning, a little after 4:00 o’clock, as I was coming through from the depths of my own being, here is the experience: I am on a spacecraft headed for the moon. Now, it is all in one’s Imagination, for the dreamer is one’s Imagination. That is the cause of all. Now, first of all, let me say that everything in this world contains within itself the capacity for symbolic significance. So, the moon has within itself the capacity for some symbolic significance. I am headed for the moon.
Now, you have heard the expression time and time again: “Oh, he is reaching for the moon.” It could be an ambition based upon your social desire. You want to transcend the limitation of your world where you were born. Or it could be some financial ambition, and friends who know your limitations will say of you: “He is reaching for the moon.” Or it could be some tyrant trying to conquer the earth. We have had a Hitler, a Stalin, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon. All these were reaching to conquer the earth, reaching for the moon. Now we are actually on the verge of stepping on the moon, and so we will hit this object in space.
But forget that part of it. I am asking for light so that I can throw some light upon the Law, how to realize my objective in this world in a more simple way than I have so far succeeded in telling it, and this is the vision: I am on this craft and I am headed for the moon. There are others on the craft with me. Instead of landing on the moon, I went into the moon through a very, very large tunnel – a tunnel wider than the depth of this room.
The object is dead, dead as dead can be. I say to someone on the craft: “May I get off?” and he said: “Certainly.” I stepped off onto this dead body in space, the moon. There were little objects for sale, objects made on earth and placed on the moon to sell to tourists. They were cheap, cheap beyond measure, made of clay: little cups, little saucers, little plates, little ornaments – but the cheapest of cheap. You can’t conceive anything cheaper in appearance and in quality.
There they were, made on earth to sell on the moon, just like some sideshow at a carnival. I picked them up, examined them, and thought: “Here, a quarter of a million miles away, man made these things, [and] put them on the moon to sell to tourists.” What was the significance of the vision? All of man’s ambitions are like clay. They will all turn to dust.
A man died here the other day in Texas. He started out as a poor boy and left an estate of five hundred million dollars – but he left the estate. He had reached the nice, ripe age of seventy-five, but he left every penny behind him. And those who now have billions, they will leave every penny behind them, just as though it is made of dust.
Nevertheless, I asked the question of myself and the depth of my own being answered: so what is the significance of the dream?
Tell man, not that he shouldn’t have what he wants, certainly he should have it; it is going to be dropped anyway, but he can get it. So, what other point was driven home to me? This is the point: instead of landing on the moon, I went into the moon.
Blake makes the statement:
“If the spectator could enter into the images in his Imagination, approach them on the fiery chariot of his contemplative thought, if he could make a friend and companion of any one of these images in his Imagination”
Well, he emphasized “enter into the image,” not to contemplate it as something on the outside. I contemplate now New York City. I am seeing it from San Francisco. If my desire this night is to be in New York City, I say I can’t afford the time, or maybe I can’t afford it because of lack of funds, or maybe my commitments will tie me here – I don’t know, yet my desire is to be in New York City. I must, if I would realize it in spite of the limitations that now surround me (money, lack of time, obligations – call it what you will, I still want to be in New York City)
I must enter into the image that is now something on the surface of the mind “out there,” 3,000 miles away. Standing here, I must shut out the belief that I am in San Francisco.
Knowing New York City quite well, I would assume I am standing in a most familiar part of New York City and let it surround me. I must be in it, and then think of San Francisco. I must now see it 3,000 miles to the west of me, as I now see New York City 3,000 miles to the east of me. If I go into that state and dwell in it and make it natural, though I remain in it only for a little while, a minute or so, then I open my eyes – I am shocked to find that I am still here. I came back here. I have done it. I have entered into the state of my desire and I will move across a bridge of incidents, a series of events that will lead me and compel me to take a journey to New York City.
Now, this I have used only as a spatial example. You can take it in a financial sense, take it in the social world; take it in any way whatsoever. That is what came to me a few days before I closed. For if I could find something more simple to tell them than I think I have told them, this would be it:
To enter into the state and not simply think of the state. Thinking from it differs from thinking of it. I must learn to think from it. A man who this night came into a million dollars, from that moment that man is made aware that he has a million, when prior to that he had nothing. He is thinking from the consciousness of having a million dollars. He is not thinking of it; he is walking in the consciousness of having a million dollars.
He’s not hoping for it, wishing for it; he is actually in it. That is what the vision revealed to me.
Even though at the end of my journey I will leave my things behind me (and they will all be as though they were made of clay, all cheaply made, at that), every man, not knowing this – in fact, how many know it or care to know it? They still want to realize their earthly dreams, and I am all for it; I teach it.
But I cannot change the Promise. The Promise is fixed. That is something that will come to every being in this world, for it has been predetermined. But when we are here in this world of Caesar, I can cushion the blows – the inevitable blows – by learning the technique of Law and how to apply it, how to use it.
Now, the thing I quoted earlier, Blake said in this quote from “Jerusalem”: “Although I behold Thee not…” Well, here it’s perfectly true; I do not observe imaginings as I do objects. Imagining is the reality that we name this power called God. So I don’t observe imagining; I observe objects, but I don’t observe the power in them. That’s the greatest secret in the world.
The secret of imagining is the secret of God. Anyone who finds it finds supreme power, supreme wisdom, supreme delight. Every one should aspire after this secret and try to unravel it, for whatever you find about your own wonderful human Imagination you are finding about God, for your Imagination and God are one and the same. There is no other God. You imagined yourself into this world, and you’ll imagine yourself out of it.
You came into the world for a purpose, and when the purpose is fulfilled you will detach yourself from it and return to the being that you were prior to your descent into this world.
“Man is all Imagination, and God is Man, and Exists in us, and we in Him. The Eternal Body of Man is the Imagination, and that is God Himself.” (Blake)
Now, I am not saying it is the easiest thing in the world for you to accept this. It will come to those who have never heard it before as blasphemy. It will come as a shock, an awful shock, when man who is trained to believe in an external God to whom he bows, to whom he prays, then to discover that He is not on the outside at all. As we are told in Scripture:
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you,” and God is spirit? (I Corinthians 3:16)
Well, if God is spirit, and his spirit dwells in you, you can’t divide it into different kinds of spirit. God is spirit, and his spirit dwells in me. Now, if his spirit dwells in me, I try to find out what that spirit is in me that I can call by another name that is more intimate. Well, I have found it, and the spirit of God – which is God himself in me – is my Imagination.
And if all things are possible to God and if I can but believe that they are possible to me, well then, it’s entirely up to me to find out how to believe it.
I imagine, as do you. We cannot imagine differently. All difference lies in content. So, [my] response to the eternal question:
Who am I? – will determine the circumstances of my life. Who am I? Am I the little one that was born on a tiny little unknown island, with no social, intellectual, financial background? Must I accept the limitations of birth? Well, most people do. But have I read Scripture?
Did I read the words that I am the temple of the living God, and the spirit of that God dwells in me, and all things are possible to that God? Well, I should not allow anything to interfere with my discovery of that spirit in me that is called the “Spirit of God,” for if all things are possible to him and he dwells in me, I must make every effort to locate him. Well, I have located him, and he is my Imagination. And I do not differ from any person born of woman. The Imagination in everyone is God. But if they have been trained to believe [in] their little beings and my own tiny little Imagination, people will say: “Oh, that’s just his imagination.”
We are going to the moon. A man imagined it a hundred years ago, Jules Verne. He even imagined the nation that would do it. He said the Yankee know-how – their engineers will contrive the means to get there first. He wrote that 100 years ago, and no matter how others try, we will get there first. We are on the verge of it, but he had to imagine it first. What is now true was once only imagined.
We are in a room. It seems so real. Well, this was once only imagined. You are wearing dresses, you are wearing all kinds of things, but they had to be imagined first. You go to a tailor or your dressmaker and you pick out the material that you like. It’s just a plain piece of cloth. Then you tell your dressmaker – or I tell my tailor what kind of a suit I want. So I allow him, with his know-how, to take my vision of the kind of a suit that I want. Having picked out the material, he executes it. Now, what is then proven when I put it on – was first only imagined?
A man imagines a desire – say, for wealth. When he becomes wealthy, he may forget the means by which it came about and think all the external forces that were used to bring it to pass are the causes. They had to play the part that they played because he imagined what he imagined.
So, I don’t differ in the act of imagining from you or any being in the world. The only difference will have to lie in the content of my imagining. What am I imaging? If I imagine something little and feel sorry for myself – all right, life will prove that I had every reason in the world to feel sorry for myself, because the blows will come to me. And I will turn to the one who gave the blows and blame him or blame them, when the blame (if any) is in myself; for had I not imagined what I have imagined, I could not encounter the conditions that I encountered. This is the Law of Scripture.
We are told: Don’t fool yourselves.
“Be not deceived. God is not mocked.”
God is your imagination; he’s not mocked.
“As a man sows, so shall he reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
Well, what am I sowing? I am sowing everything that I am imagining. That is what I am sowing, for the only thing I can “sow” is what I imagine. So, will I now change from an external god to the internal God, and find him in myself as my own wonderful human Imagination?
Let Babel rant and say there is no God. Let Babel say there is no Son of God. Then comes that wonderful statement of the prophet, who sees that:
“You, O Human Imagination, Divine Body called my Human Imagination, the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, buried in me.”
And were he not buried in me I couldn’t even breathe, I couldn’t think. But one day he will rise in me, and as he rises in me, I am (I am he now, but do not know it). When he rises in me, I know it then, because I rise, not “he” rises. He has become me to the point that we aren’t two; we are one.
So, he suffers us. I say: “I am in pain.” Well, his name is “I Am.” That is my Imagination. I don’t say: “My body is weeping,” I say: “I am weeping.” I don’t say: “My body is tired,” I say: “I am tired.” So, is not Blake right when he says:
“Thou sufferest with me”?
Though I do not behold…I can’t quite see you as something external. I could not, in eternity, see myself as something external. I must see it only by reflection, and the world undevoutly reflects what I am doing within myself.
The day will come I will actually see myself, but not as something external to myself. I will know myself only by reason of the son who stands before me and calls me, “Father.” Then I am looking right into the face of the Son of God, and he will call me “Father.” Then, and only then, will I know who I am.
Everyone will have that experience.
One day you will actually see the Son of God, and this relationship is something so deep and so profound there is no uncertainty whatsoever in you when you are confronted. He stands before you, and you see him, and you know he’s your son, and he knows you are his father, and there is no uncertainty whatsoever. Only then do you know who you are, that you are God the Father.
Everyone, one day, will have that experience – everyone. I am speaking from experience; I am not theorizing; I am not speculating. But until that day comes, let us discover God within ourselves as our own wonderful human Imagination, and then test it.
“For all things are possible to God; and all things are possible to him that believes.” (Mark 9:23)
Well, I can believe, but have I made all things come to pass? It can only be my lack of belief if that statement is true.
So how, then, to believe when reason denies it, when my senses deny it?
So reason cannot be the God of whom I speak, for reason will deny it. Doubt cannot be the God of whom I speak, for doubt is called in Scripture the devil, “the demon,” and he finds rest only in the human Imagination, the Imagination that will entertain him – that’s where he went.
If I will have no room in my Imagination for doubt then I am on the road to learning the art of believing. How to believe when reason denies it, when my senses deny it?
Well, entering into the image is the most delightful thing in the world. You can try it tonight when we go into the silence. Try it in the simplest little way: putting yourself elsewhere by making “elsewhere” here – making “there” here and “then” now. And you can do it. It’s not difficult if you’ll try it.
Let me repeat we are the operant power. Knowing it is one thing and doing it is another. And the minute you try it, you can do it. Well then, wait. The minute you do it and open your eyes, in the twinkle of an eye you’re back here, and you will say to yourself, “I didn’t do anything; I just did a simple little thing in my Imagination. How on earth could that produce the result when I’ve just assumed that I’ve done it?”
Well, wait and see if a little bridge of incidents does not quickly appear, compelling you to walk across that bridge of incidents towards the fulfillment of what you have done. It works that way. And after you have proven it, the whole world can rise in opposition and it makes no difference to you – you’ve done it. After you’ve done it, you keep on doing it and become all the more rooted in who God really is, and you’ll walk with your head up, walk as you ought to walk – as one in whom God dwells.
There’s no place in the world more holy than where you are. For wherever you are God is there. There’s no church built with human hands comparable to the temple of God, and “ye are the Living God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you.” (I Corinthians 3:16) What temple in this world made with human hands could compare to this temple, when no hand could make it? It comes into the world, and it’s a temple of the Living God.
But, again, if this is the first time you’ve heard a thought of this nature, if it’s the first time you’ve been exposed to it, I am not telling you it is not a shock and it’s not difficult to accept.
It isn’t difficult to grasp, but difficult to accept, after the training most of us here have had. I know I had it:
I was raised in a very wonderful Christian, orthodox home, where Sunday school was in order – not once a week, but twice a week; grace at table, Mother reading Scripture to us, and interpreting Scripture based upon her concept, which was a secular concept.
To her the Bible was secular history, things that actually happened in her world. She didn’t realize that she, as the whole vast world, was mistaking personification for persons, and the vehicle that conveys the instruction for the instruction itself, and the gross perspective for the ultimate sense intended. But Mother was raised that way, and she made her exit from this world in that belief.
So, when I was exposed to this at the age of twenty or twenty-two, I just confess I couldn’t sleep. It was so completely different that it turned me inside out. I wondered if I’d done the wrong thing to visit this friend. I wondered, what on earth have I done? I felt I was a sinful being even to entertain the thought. I had to wrestle with myself, and finally, when I put it to the test and it proved itself in performance, then I knew that I’d found him.
But you can’t find him and not share it with others, as told in Scripture: So Philip found him, and he goes and he shares it with Nathaniel. Andrew found him, and he goes and shares it with his brother, Peter. Peter didn’t find him; his brother found him and then shared it. (See John 1:40-46) So, here, we find and we share it. I have found him. All I can do is share him, in the hope that you will accept him.
I know this much: if you believe to the point of acceptance, life will be marvelous for you, perfectly wonderful, for this is the one secret in the world that everyone should aspire to solve, for God is that pure imaging in ourselves. He underlies all of our faculties, including our perception, but he streams into our surface mind least disguised in the form of productive fantasy.
I sit here and have a daydream. Well, that’s God-in-action, but then someone breaks it and I forget it. I didn’t occupy it; I simply had a daydream, but without occupancy. That’s one of the greatest fallacies of the world, perpetual construction. It’s a daydream, deferred occupancy. I don’t occupy it; I don’t go in and possess it and make it mine.
If I, in my Imagination, could go right in and possess it and make it mine…If I, in my Imagination, could go right in and possess it and clothe myself with the feeling of the wish fulfilled – actually clothe myself with it by assuming that it’s done now, until I feel natural in that assumption, and that assumption, though at the moment denied by my senses, if persisted in will harden into fact [a statement made by Anthony Eden at the Guild Hall when he was Prime Minister of England].
So, this is our great secret concerning imagining.
If you doubt it tonight, I would only ask you not to deny it to the point of not trying it but hold it in abeyance and try it now. Just try it, even if you want to disprove it. I tell you; you will not disprove it. You will, in the attempt to disprove it, prove it.
And then, slowly you will come to completely accept it, and then you will walk in the company of God. You won’t have to wait for Sunday morning to meet him in a church, or any time of day. No matter where you are – you could be standing in a bar enjoying a drink, having fun at a dance, and you are in the company of God. It makes no difference where you are once you know God, and God is your own wonderful human Imagination. And you’ll become extremely discriminating, because you’ll know you can’t entertain these ideas with complete acceptance of them and not reap them in your world. And who wants to reap the tears forever?
So, you become ever more discriminating. Don’t think for one second that you’ll live a loose life. No. You’ll become a far more wonderful person in the world. You hear a piece of gossip – it doesn’t interest you.
Today, in the morning paper, many people turned right away to the gossip columnist and wondered who is living with whom, and they love it. They don’t know the people, and they will go right out and repeat what this person is paid to print, because it is like almost peeking through the keyhole of someone else’s door. He can’t maintain that job. He’s paid to be a gossip hound, and people read it.
Others read only the obituaries to see who’s dead. You will not read those pages. You will simply suddenly dwell upon the noble things. Not only for yourself will you do it, your circle will widen. You will.
You will think of a friend, and if he is distressed, you represent him to yourself as you would like him to be.
If he’s unemployed, you represent him to yourself as gainfully employed.
If he is earning less than what it really takes to live well in this world with his obligations, you represent him to yourself as living well and earning a decent living and assuming full responsibility of his job, and you push him in your mind’s eye.
So you widen your circle. It’s sort of self-perpetuating; you take in all, because, eventually, “all that you behold, tho it appears Without it is Within, In your Imagination of which this World of Mortality is but a Shadow.” (Blake, “Jerusalem”)
So, you can’t exclude anyone. If you exclude one, it’s your own failure. But you don’t sit down and work with that one to make it so. You simply assume that it is so. You plant it as lightly as you would if you sowed a field. You don’t go out and trample it, you sow the field and it comes up.
Well, this is what I mean by “Imagination.” I identify my own wonderful human Imagination (when I say “I,” I am speaking of all, for everyone imagines) so I identify our Imagination with God. That to me is the Lord Jesus. He is buried in us, and one day he will rise in us – not as something external to ourselves, but he will rise in us as us, after we’ve gone through the furnaces of experience in this world of Caesar.
Now there’s no room for a final death with Christ-in-man, for Christ resurrects you say good-bye to a friend who has gone through the gate we call “death,” but he cannot die. Nothing dies in this world, for God is the God of the living. But nothing dies, because the immortal you cannot die, and the immortal you is far more real than the garment of flesh and blood that it wears in the world of Caesar. This is the limit of contraction for a purpose, but when this is burned in the furnace (cremated) you – the occupant – are not burned in the furnace.
You are restored, clothed as you are now, only the body is young – not a baby – a young body, about twenty. I encounter them all the time, and they are young, though when I said good-bye through the gate of “death,” they were seventy or eighty, (my father, eighty-five when he said good-bye, my mother, sixty-one). I met them in their twenties. I am much, much older. I am. I meet them, and they grow. They grow there, too; they don’t remain twenty. You grow there, and you are just as afraid as you are here; and you marry there, too, and strive there, too, and die there, too, to find yourself restored once more. And the journey continues until you resurrect.
Resurrection is a departure from this age into that age, called “the kingdom of heaven,” but only when he-in-you resurrects as you, will you leave this world of Caesar.
But while you are in it, why not learn his law, because the blows are inevitable. Learn the law, that you may cushion the blows.
So, when I know what I want [in order] to cushion the problems of the moment, then I will apply it, and apply this principle towards anything in my world. And the principle is this:
First, you start with desire. Who is desiring? Well, I am. Well, who is “I am”? That’s God. “That is my name forever and forever,” as we are told in the book of Exodus. “Go tell them I Am has sent you. This is my name for all generations, forever and forever.” (Exodus 3:15) Therefore, who is feeling? I am. Well, that’s God. Who is desiring? I am. Well, that’s God, and “all things are possible to him.” (Mark 9:23). All right start right there.
Could I continue desiring if I had it? No, I couldn’t. If I wanted this room to lecture in when I came here, and then I got confirmation from the management that I am allowed to speak in the Marines’ Memorial for ten days, and the dates are set, could I write him a second letter pleading with him? Could I in any way hope after I had realized it? No, I simply walk in the assumption that I have it.
So, when I requested that I have this room for 10 talks, it was granted, and from then on, I had no more desire for it. The desire was realized.
I had to wait the normal time – the interval of a month (well, it was a month ago that I accepted it). Then I came a month later to fulfill it. Well, the same thing is true in all that you do in this world.
You simply dare to assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled until it seems natural, until it takes on the tones of reality, and when it does, it’s done. And now, trust God. Well, who is God? Your own wonderful human Imagination. Did you imagine it? Well, that’s God. Now trust him. Don’t turn to any outside power.
The church has just demoted something like a hundred saints, after making fortunes selling little pictures of them. I wonder how many still wear St. Nicholas? They treated him as a saint. It’s like treating Santa Claus as a saint. And all these saints – the saint of the road, to protect you against an accident – now they say he never lived. If he never lived why did they ever start it? And, yet, hundreds of years ago they started this nonsense, so unnumbered millions of these little icons, little medals…down south our Cardinal admitted that tens of thousands of these little medals, he had put his seal of approval, the Seal of the Cardinal, on the reverse side of that little medal.
When they asked him: “Well, now do you regret it?” he said: “No, it was acceptable then and I did it in good faith.” But whoever started that nonsense started it for a commercial reason, and they made unnumbered millions, hundreds of millions in selling them to the many. And what number of millions of people wore them and are still wearing them – and he never existed. They mount them on the front of their car, on their little trucks, on their bikes, and now to discover at this late date…
I’ve gone out with these friends of mine to greet three fellows who came back from the war. One was a marine; he lost one foot and the arm was completely smashed, one arm. His brother was going into the priesthood, and he came back deaf; he was in the army. Another was in the army; he came back with TB. And their mother told me in all innocence (and they went along with the mother), “Were it not for St. Christopher they would not have returned.” She really believed it. And they believe it, and one was three years going for the priesthood when the war broke [out], and he thought it better to serve his country than to become a priest. Then when he came out, he gave up completely and got married and has a nice little family. But he believed it, and they believed it, and the father and the mother believed it.
They entertained me very well, but they knew that I was not safe because I was a Protestant. “Christian” meant nothing to them, because you either are a Roman Catholic or you are not a Christian. So, I said to my wife, “What will they think when they find out that I am not a Roman Catholic?” She said, “It doesn’t really matter. They love me dearly, and I am not one. They know you can’t be saved anyway, so what?” So, we all go and have fun. My wife was very, very honest about it, for the simple reason her father was that family’s closest friend.
And these came back – one with a foot missing, a crushed shoulder.
Well, I was in the army, too – not as long as these fellows were, but I didn’t come back fragmented. I used this principle to get out of the army, and I got out honorably discharged. I didn’t run away. The very one who said “No” to my request was the very colonel who called me nine days after I began to apply this principle. I did it quite simply.
I made up my mind that I wanted to get out of the army; and then I thought, if I were out, where would I be? Well, I wouldn’t be here picking up pots and doing all these things in the army and being trained. I would be a civilian in New York City in my own apartment with my little girl and my wife.
My son was a marine, and he was already in Guadalcanal. He volunteered with my consent, for he wasn’t more than seventeen when I gave my permission for him to join the Marines. But having tasted the army life, I wanted no part of it. I was thirty-eight.
So, I simply assumed I was a civilian living in New York City with my wife and my little girl (who was only a few months old), and the same colonel who had disapproved my application called me in and said: “Goddard, you still want to get out of the army?” I said: “Yes, sir.” And he asked a thousand questions, and to each I said: “Yes, sir.” Then he said, “All right, bring me in a new application,” and that day I was honorably discharged and, on a train, headed for the fulfillment of my dream.
I simply knew what I wanted; I didn’t ask any one’s permission. I went to sleep in the barracks with all the boys all around. I didn’t tell them what I was doing. As far as they were concerned, I was sleeping on that cot. As far as I was concerned, I was sleeping in New York City. I went to bed physically on a cot, but in my Imagination in my own bed in New York City. When I thought of Camp Polk, Louisiana it was way down south, and I am up here in New York City. And, then the same man who disapproved was the one who actually granted me [an] honorable discharge.
I am speaking from experience; I am not theorizing. I didn’t hurt anyone – no one was hurt by my application of God’s Law. Are we not told:
“Whatever you desire, believe that you have received it, and you will?”
You will read that in the 11th chapter of the book of Mark: “Whatever you desire….”
He didn’t say, if it’s good for you. He leaves us entirely to make our decision. He actually acquaints us with the law and leaves us to our decision.
So, I was left to my decision. I wanted to get out. The colonel could tell me nothing to persuade me to change my opinion. If he had said, “No,” that was final, I couldn’t appeal to some higher echelon. I could take it only to my commanding officer. Well, he was my commanding officer, and he disapproved it. Well, I came back, I had the paper in my hand, “Disapproved.”
I went to bed, without his permission, and slept in New York City. I went to bed without any one in the barracks knowing what I was doing. They saw a man called Neville Goddard sleeping in that bunk, but they didn’t know I wasn’t there – for where could I be, save in Imagination? If I am not sleeping here in Imagination, I am not here. You see the garment that I am wearing, but you would have to find out where I am in Imagination to actually know where I am. You can see the garment, but is the garment the man? I was sleeping in Imagination, which is God, and “all things are possible to him.” Well, then, “he” changed the colonel’s decision. He changed his mind. Who is “he”? My Imagination.
God is one. There aren’t a million little gods running around. There is only one God. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” [Deuteronomy 6:4] Don’t look for a second god; there aren’t any second gods.
And that one God became humanity, and in man that one God is man’s own wonderful human Imagination – that one God. So it’s the one made up of others, and that is exactly what the word Elohim means. The word translated “God” in Scripture is Elohim, and Elohim is a compound unity. It’s a plural word, one made up of others.
We are the “others” and all collectively make the one Lord, which is called “I Am.” Well, don’t you know that you are, and don’t you say: “I am”? That’s God. And can’t you imagine?
Well, imaging is God-in-action.
So, what are you imaging? You determine that. For, as I said earlier, I imagine, as do you. We cannot imagine differently. All differences lie in content. What is my response to the eternal question, “Who am I?” That response determines the conditions of my life.
Am I a little unknown being, struggling for a dollar to pay rent, to buy food? Well, all right, that’s what will happen to me. And there’s no being on the outside to change it. I’ve got to bring about the change within myself. I can borrow money and beg for money, and if I remain in that little concept of myself, I will be unable to pay back and will always have to keep looking for someone else to borrow from while I remain in the consciousness of being a little unwanted non-entity.
Let me remain at that moment just what I am and change it now, begin to change my response to the question, “Who am I?” And if God dwells in me I ought to be important, not against someone else in the world. That doesn’t make any difference to me what they are. Grant them exactly what they want. If they want riches, let them. What does it matter? If they want to be in the social world at the very top, let them be. No envy whatsoever. If they want to be important in the eyes of the world, let them be important. You have different values. You are in union with God, and God is within you, and what better companion could you have in this world than to walk in the company of God, and walk with him not only on Sunday morning, but every day of the week, knowing who he is?
So, we have to make the decision. “Choose this day whom you will serve.” [Joshua 24:15] Will I serve a false god or will I serve the one and only living God? And that one and only living God is your Imagination – my Imagination – and that is the immortal man that cannot die.
Now let us go into the silence.
Good. When you completely accept this, you will discover you need no intermediary between yourself and God – none. He became you, that you may become God.
Question – [Inaudible]
Neville: I would not say that every dream needs an interpretation. Most of them do, for the universal language, regardless of what tongue you use to express yourself…there is a universal language, and that is the language of symbolism.
Unfortunately, we are all past masters at misinterpretation, but there is a language that is a universal language of symbolism. So, I say, everything in this world contains within itself the capacity for symbolic significance. So, in my vision of the moon I asked for light concerning the law – [how] I could tell those that I am trying to teach, a more simple way to realize their objective in this world. And then that night came the vision. It was a very simple presentation, for here the moon is something that man aspires to reach. Long before we entertained the thought seriously of reaching the moon, we used it as an expression, “He is reaching for the moon.” And you would say about someone who has no background to even aspire: Why he is crazy. Here is this man without any educational background, and he hopes one day to leave his imprint in the world concerning that which only an educated man can do. Well, they say, “He is reaching for the moon.” So, the moon is only a symbol of anyone’s desire.
Question – [Inaudible]
Neville: I find myself intuitive enough to interpret the dream of another. I asked down south (I haven’t the time here – it would take more time than I am allotted here for two weeks) but down south they write me letters asking me to explain a dream, which they find difficult to interpret for themselves. And as they grow (and we outgrow in this world) they turn to me for the interpretation of a dream that seems to have no meaning. But every dream has meaning. As we are told in the 12th chapter of the book of Numbers: “God makes himself known unto man in a vision and speaks to him in a dream.” (v. 6) Well, if God is my Imagination, and all dreams proceed from my Imagination (that is, my dreams and your dreams) therefore, I must learn the language that it is using to convey to my surface mind this message. So, I cannot discount the simplest dream. It may be produced by some undigested piece of beef, but I don’t look upon a dream as the result of any undigested piece of beef. I look upon the dream as my own being – the depth of my being – attempting to reveal something to me in the language of dreams. When it comes to vision, that is something entirely different. This is vision. A vision is just like this, real beyond measure.
Question: As regards symbolism, I came across a book that contradicted the whole idea. In other words, this mysticism – they say to deny yourself and all images, and leave yourself open and empty to God, and that this is the only way you can have a mystical union.
Neville: First of all, I would not accept that, and I would not say that any person’s individual approach is the only way. So, any man who writes a book (and may I tell you, ninety-nine per cent of the books written are a waste of paper) but because a thing is printed, the other person, because he sees it in print, thinks he must be a wise person. “Look, he has a book,” but it is sheer nonsense from beginning to end.
Questioner continues: It was not just one person; it was several who called themselves, “The Friends of God.” I don’t know whether you have heard of them or not, but it was not just one person’s idea.
Neville: Well, for instance, today we have enormous groups of people calling themselves by other names. We just had a huge, big one in New York City where the Yankee Stadium couldn’t hold the crowd, and Yankee Stadium can take care of 75,000-odd people in the stands alone. But they were allowed to come down on the grass. Well, if the stands can take care of 70-odd thousand and the field certainly – many, many more – they estimated they had about 300,000. They called themselves by a very wonderful name in Scripture and ask any one of the 300,000 who were there to get up and testify from experience about their name. They called themselves “Witnesses.” Well, if you are a witness, witness to what? Have you witnessed the birth of God in you? Have you witnessed any of these great mysteries of Scripture?
One of these “Witnesses” came to my door about a year ago (in fact, four of them, but only one came up the stairs). I was busy at the time reading my Bible. I spend hours every day with the Bible. Well, this was about 4:30 or 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. She came to the door with her Bible all marked up with little pieces of paper, and then, on the street (looking to see what reception she was going to get) there were about three or four down on the sidewalk. She came up and asked me if I would open the door to let her in to explain God’s Word to me. I said:
“I am sorry, but you came without an appointment, and I am busy. In fact, I am reading his Word right now.” And then something led to something else, and I said: “I am sorry, I am busy, and I have no time to entertain you or to discuss anything with you.” Then she started quoting; she wouldn’t allow me to brush her off this way, so she started quoting some Scripture. She said, “Do you know what it means?” So, I told her my interpretation of the passage she quoted, and she said to me, “What are you? A Mormon, or something?” So, she was going to have her way, and that’s all you can do. So, I said: “I am awfully sorry, my lady, but I cannot give you any more of my time unless it is by appointment. You can’t come and ring my doorbell and expect admittance. You can’t do it. I have a family, and we live a very quiet and nice life, and we don’t have interruptions this way.” So, she went on down and they gabbed and pointed their finger up: “Mark that one off; he’s going to hell.” So, what can you do with people? I mean, leave them alone. You cannot take a man by his nose and put him into a state of consciousness if he resists it.
We are told in Scripture, “I will send a famine upon the world; it will not be a hunger for bread or a thirst for water, but for the hearing of the word of God.” [Amos 8:11] Well, until that famine is sent upon you by the God-within-you, the word is not within you. You are more interested in making an extra dollar.
Question – [Inaudible]
Neville: Ultimately, we turn to the One, but we are brothers, as spoken of in Scripture, these words, “He has set bounds to the people, according to the numbers of the sons of God.” So, we are brothers; it takes all to make the one. I will never in eternity lose my identity, neither will you, and yet we are one. You are the same God. Of the same son you are the father, as I am the father. That shows the unity of our being. If you are the father of my son and that one son, I know to be my son, and everyone is going to be the father of that son, there is only one Father. So, Scripture teaches, “There is only one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:4-6) – only one, yet no one is going to lose their identity. I am expanding my identity but there is no loss. When I am embraced by the risen Lord as he wore the “human form divine,” which is Love, I answered the question. He asked me to name the greatest thing in the world. When I said, “Love,” he embraced me and we fused and became one spirit, one body – but I didn’t lose my identity. When we separated from that union, I came out as Neville, only within myself I was conscious of a greater self – fully aware of the greater self, without loss of identity. So, everyone here is destined to discover the fatherhood of God as himself through the Son calling him, “Father.” Everyone.
Question – [Inaudible]
Neville: My dear, we have eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We have enormous pressures in the world to make the world good. We will never bring about an unbalance of good and evil. It is always borne on this tree. This is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and it bears [an] equal number of fruit. So, they have all the efforts in the world to make it a better world. They are up the wrong tree. We’ll get off this tree of good and evil one day and eat of the tree of life [when] that day comes which comes with the resurrection. And the resurrection is not a collective thing; it is an individual experience. We are called out of this state, one by one by one, to unite into a single body, who is the risen Lord. So, everyone is favored.
Ten million dollars for this, a hundred million dollars for that, and then just wait a little while, and then at the end of a year a little investigation: a committee is formed to find that those who got the hundred million to dispense it for good, they pocketed it themselves. All of a sudden: “Where is the twenty-seven million dollars in oil gone?” Why, twenty-seven million dollars in oil can’t be accounted for.
Somebody had it. They didn’t spill it in Santa Barbara. [Ed. note: reference to oil blowout in 1969.] That came out of the sea. So, where are the twenty-seven million? Only that week twenty-seven million dollars worth of oil for our boys in Vietnam and they can’t account for it. You see, you find this in every walk of life: good and evil. So don’t try to burn it out; you’ll not stop the tree from bearing good and evil. You go along your own way in all the lovely things in the world and grant the others to do what they want to do. They are going to do it anyway. When I speak, I want to help everyone in this world, individually. I am not for the crowd, to make them all this so-called “good.” “No one can come unto me, unless my Father call him.” (John 14:6) and “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30) Not one could be here tonight if my Father didn’t call him. Even those who may never come again were called. This is your first little blow, little explosion.
Question – [Inaudible]
Neville: Why, certainly, you can help anyone in this world, and you will get to the point where you will help everyone. But you are not going to change the nature of the tree. This tree bears good and evil. This is the nature of this world. And all of a sudden you will come out of it and you will eat of the tree of life, and you will see this world so differently, you will be shocked beyond measure.
Question – [Inaudible]
Neville: My dear, the world is dead, and people don’t know it – dead, dead as dead can be, even though they are walking it. The day will come that you will have this experience. You will know that what you are feeling within you, you could arrest; and as you look at the people round about you, you arrest their activity within you, and everyone stands still. I don’t mean they are standing still like soldiers at attention when they can still blink their eyes and move the body; I mean they are dead. They can’t move an eye. They are not aware that they are standing still. And if you arrested that motion for 1,000 years, when you released it, they would continue on their intention and not know for one moment that they were still for 1,000 years. This is all part of the structure of the universe. All that is taking place in the world belongs to the eternal structure of the universe. You didn’t get created; you are part of the eternal structure. All marriages, all divorces, all love, wayward love, lovely friendships, hates – it is all part of the eternal structure of the universe. So, when we speak of creation, I don’t mean erecting a little man of clay. Man was always a part of the structure of the universe. I am not speaking of the creation of life. We are only animated bodies now.
The day is coming that we will become life-giving spirits. Then you will see the whole vast world is a dead body – as dead as the moon – and all the relationships are worked out in detail. If one could but see with the awakened eye as the child comes through the womb, the whole pattern of its life is there.
Question – [Inaudible]
Neville: Because it’s a dead body. It is now animated by the spirit of God, which is called breath, for the word “breath,” the word “wind,” [and] the word “spirit,” are one and the same, both in Greek and in Hebrew. So, it breathes the breath of life into man’s body. It is the spirit that possesses the body, that then becomes an animated body – a living being, but not a life- giving spirit. (That [one’s] the act of creation.)
[Question – concerning assuming the wish fulfilled] …you cannot allow any conscious fears.
Neville: The question is: having assumed the feeling of the wish fulfilled, you cannot deny that in spite of that assumption there are a few conscious doubts and fears. Well, I do not deny that, but practice will make it less and less so, and you will trust God so implicitly, not as an external being who may be quite watching you when you are praying. That is what people say, “I wonder if he saw me?” because your Imagination will always…
As we started off the lecture tonight quoting from the 17th chapter of the book of Acts: “You have an unknown god…I will tell you of that unknown God and he is not far off. In him we live and move and have our being.” Where could I go, departing from my Imagination? I am all Imagination and that is God. So whatever I am imagining, my Imagination is seeing.
Eventually you have such complete confidence in Him. Imagination and faith are the stuff out of which man fashions his world. Now, faith is the subjective appropriation of the objective, hope, and faith and Imagination are the stuff out of which we fashion our world.