Ephesians 3:20-21 - Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
As Children of God, we inherit attributes and aspects that reflect our Creator. We can choose to embrace them or deny them, utilize them, or discard them. These abilities, or powers, are at work within us and include, but are not limited to: the power to believe, have faith, and hope; the power to persevere and remain steadfast; the power to discern, differentiate, and display good judgment; the power to love and demonstrate compassion; the power to influence and re-direct; the power to imagine and create; the power to consciously act and choose; the power to organize and arrange; the power to display energy, joy and enthusiasm; the power to refute and deny; and the power to grow in awareness and to align with our Source.
I have read books about the power of the conscious and subconscious mind, and how we create our physical, mental, and emotional environment through our thoughts, character, attitudes, personalities, and expectations. Visioning, or holding a mental picture of what we want, is a powerful technique for creating our life, and what we want and become. Imagination is akin to God’s creative power. Hold the vision long enough, with enough energy and faith, and that situation must materialize.
When I was in High School, I was enamored with my choir teacher, and the joy I felt in singing and creating and sharing music. I began imagining myself as a choir conductor and teacher, and over the years I became the person that I had imagined.
We’ve all heard the phrase, and many have said it over and over, “Imagine that!” It may have started as a dream or muse about a lifetime of joy from singing, playing the guitar, sharing music … imagine that! I did; and that is what I have today. I imagined teaching, sharing, not only music, but my love for God. I imagined playing the guitar, and today I can. But I didn’t imagine myself as a guitarist, meaning that I was a master of the instrument, and today I am not. I never imagined myself as a pianist, a proficient player, and today I am not. But I did imagine playing the piano and the guitar and enjoying it, and today that is what I can do.
My abilities took me just as far as my imagination carried me. But along the way, God took what I had imagined and the abilities I had envisioned and used them in ways I had never imagined. Our subconscious mind is a powerful tool that God-Consciousness can use to express through us. Although our minds may be able to see it, it is only when we release our own will that Spirit can - see to it - that our abilities are used to the greatest advantage.
Our imaginations are the first step in a process revealing the Kingdom of God: A world of beauty, joy, love, peace, abundance, and justice for all. Imagine that! Really, imagine that. If enough of us hold that vision in our minds, the circumstances begin to congeal and coalesce to bring that vision into reality.
The question is – what are we imagining? Many of us are merely imagining our side winning, a world reflecting values that only empower some, but not all. We imagine our interests being served, our lives better. In some of us, it is the ego that dictates what we imagine, and not our hearts or spiritual natures.
God wants to do great things through us, around us, and among us, and that power is working in us. Billy Graham once said, “Heaven is full of answers to prayers we have never prayed.” Just like our thoughts, our imaginations are limited. They may be a tremendous first step, but without the Light of Christ influencing our hearts and showing us the way, our imaginations will be born of the World, the Earthly plane of existence, and not the Mind of God.
Here is one prayer for when we wake up in the morning: Oh Lord, I thank You that so far today I haven’t been angry, or irritable, or unkind to anyone. But Lord, I’m going to get out of bed soon, and I’m going to need some help.” Perhaps a better prayer would be, “My beloved God, heal me of whatever You see within me that needs healing; teach me whatever You see within me that I need to know, and do something today through me that is beyond whatever I can imagine.”
The Buddhists say that one stumbling block to Enlightenment is comparison. Comparing ourselves to others almost always brings agony of the soul in one form or another. As a religion compares itself to other faiths, conflict arises. If we compare our political beliefs, or hygiene beliefs, or even our dietary beliefs, we can become troubled.
But only if we decide to. If we elect to hold our beliefs as sacred and incontrovertible, if we imagine our values as “right and true” to the exclusion of everyone else’s, then conflict, confusion, doubt, and resentments follow. Where do we learn that there is only one way to do a thing, that only one set of beliefs are correct, only one set of rules, that there is only one form of dress, one way to boil an egg, one way to pronounce a word? Who taught us that our imaginings are of value and everyone else’s are worthless? When did we learn that we are not simply different than someone, but there was a standard involved…we are right, and they are wrong; we are better, and they are inferior? What are the sources for our opinions, and do they need reevaluation?
It is profoundly apparent today that many people need to know that they are right, and without any proof one way or another, the only solution for them seems to be to obliterate anyone who opposes their viewpoint. If not destroy, then hate. If not hate, we at least divide and separate ourselves from one another. This mindset pertains to skin color, sexual orientation, gender, religion, politics, cultural background, diet, height, weight…. As many differences as there are between people, we have developed ways to separate ourselves from them and collude with others.
John Lennon lamented: Imagine there are no countries; no religions, nothing to kill or die for. Over the centuries, many people have lost their lives in the name of God. So sad, and meaningless. Not only do we not embrace the Love of God, we wield God as a weapon against each other.
People will sometimes ask, “What would Jesus think if he were walking the earth today?” We can only imagine. But does it really take that much imagination to wonder how Christ would respond to the hatred, division, bigotry, and injustice we see in the world today? All we need to do is go within, into the stillness and quiet of prayer, and listen to the still small voice of God and sense the nudges and guidance of Spirit. What do we feel, sense, or hear?
When we go into prayer, do we feel Spirit moving us toward hating our neighbor? Do we hear the still small voice of God saying, “Go out and say mean hurtful things about people who don’t look or think like you? Go out into the world and do malicious things to whoever you think deserves it and treat anyone you think is unfit with contempt and as if they have no value. Deny them my love. Thrust evil, danger, and hardship onto anyone you think is unworthy. Ignore anyone you think is inferior, cast your eyes away from them and hold them in disdain.”
As I speak these words, do they ring with the Truth of God? When we move into prayer, is that what we hear? Are these the sentiments that Christ teaches? It is absurd to believe so. So, is it really all that difficult to imagine what Jesus would do or think if he were walking the earth today? His thoughts are with us right now, imploring us to learn what he has always thought and taught: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” And secondly, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” And just to clarify even further, he said: “…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
Imagine that … if all Children of God chose to do what Christ taught and demonstrated, and what God constantly whispers to us in the stillness of our hearts, and what Spirit forever guides us to do … to love each other. No, we don’t have to imagine what Christ would say, because Christ is always with us.
We will leave these bodies behind one day in the future, and while I believe our judgment by God will be deeply love-based, and no one is going to forever burn in Hades and gnash their teeth for an eternity, none-the-less, I believe we are held accountable for our thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions while in these bodies. What will it be like for us to enter the heavenly realm? I believe it will be more glorious and Light-filled than I can even imagine.
But I do have questions. Does any of the darkness we carry with us from this worldly plane require some sort of retribution or remediation or cleansing? Perhaps at the pearly gates St. Peter will hand me a vial and say, "Here Patrick, sprinkle some of this angel dust on you; it will cleanse you of some of your impatience and orneriness."
Does the character of our soul attract to us similar souls who lived and believed as we did? Does the salvation we gain from Christ exonerate us from all of our ignorance and bring to a close the spiritual lessons of the soul, or do we still have more to learn in pure Spirit? Will we continue to grow in awareness? Will we continue to sit at the feet of Christ, or whoever our spiritual leader is, and learn more and more of God’s Love and Light and vast Goodness? I can only imagine.
Until then, it is my prayer that we will realize, at every level of our being, that as we walk this earth the power of our Divine One is working in us and through us in ways that are more awesome and Grace-filled, more beautiful and valuable than we could ever possibly know. Imagine that!