Have you noticed how sometimes spirituality can be rather disillusioning?
Like when spiritual teachers say everything is an illusion and the whole point is to transcend it. I find that extremely disillusioning.
If this is all an illusion and we’re all just going in to get back out, what’s the point? Was it all some big cosmic mistake? That whole belief structure is kind of a big, “Thanks for nothing God.”
I like to think of things a little differently. Not as illusions but imaginings, a spectacular creative gift that’s always becoming more and more interesting. Imaginings are something we participate in with our own mind. The Latin root of image means “to copy,” the Latin root of illusion means “to mock.” Which would you rather be, God’s reflection or God’s joke?
But if you go even deeper into the Greek of imagining, it simultaneously means to give and to take. That’s what a reflection really is, a simultaneous giving and receiving. A paradox.
This paradox became extremely obvious to me when I left my job. I should have been thankful, but I WAS NOT THANKFUL.
I was anxious, insecure and probably very annoying.
This is funny, because in my book The Meaning Method I first wrote about this concept of “imaginings” and the paradox of giving and receiving in reference to radical gratitude. Radical gratitude is becoming increasingly popular these days. It means being grateful for the joy and pain in life.
So, what I was experiencing must have been radical ingratitude. I had worked for years to be able to liberate myself from the 9-5, and then once I did it, I was baffled. I projected all of the negative feelings I harbored in my job, onto this new state of liberation. I was just continuing old habits.
Then I realized how hilarious it was.
Was anything really even wrong? No. The business was running smoothly. All of my anxiety was based on illusions. I got lost in the illusions again!
Thus far, my life has given me more opportunities to experience radical gratitude, rather than radical ingratitude, so I just want to take this moment to reflect and laugh.
In the book I talk about how every time you hit a problem, you’re asking a question, consciously or unconsciously. This time, I had imagined this new life for myself, and then it was hard to believe it was real.
That was my question: Is this real?
The answer: Yes, it is. It’s safe, it’s real, and there’s no need for that anxiety.
I think this is important to mention, because so many of us are going through transitions, and when we get to the other side, it can be scary and disillusioning.
For me the answer has been to go back to the imagination. Your imagination is meant to empower you. It’s where you process information and figure everything out. In Vedic mysticism, the imagination, or the Third Eye, has two wings: one is to perceive and the other is to command.
In Western culture, we’ve lost track of the idea that the imagination should be a commanding force in our lives. We disempower our imaginings calling them day dreams.
Well, let me tell you, leaving my day job was a day dream for a while, but that’s the only way I brought it to life! I hope to talk more and more about the imagination, because it was never meant to be just a day dream. I say this a lot:
It’s not just your imagination. Trust your imagination!
The things you’re dreaming up inside are not illusions, they’re not God’s joke. There is a reason you’re imagining them, and you should take the time to listen. After a short fit of anxiety, I’m so happy I did.
Therefore, the action item for this week is pretty simple: whatever you’ve been imagining lately, write it down. This makes all the difference in the “real world.”