By the time he published The Law and the Promise in 1961, Neville was well-established as a leading metaphysical teacher and lecturer, and had a substantial following of students who recognised his gift for revealing fundamental metaphysical principles.
appreciative audience provides the material for much of this book: its
first fourteen chapters present case studies that illustrate how
Neville's students applied his teachings. These case studies present
inspiring examples of how people used Neville's principles to heal
illness, manifest abundance, and render a wealth of seeming "miracles"
in their lives.
The final chapter of the book, The Promise: Four Mystical Experiences, describes Neville's visions relating to the fulfillment of Scripture within his own person. "Scripture," Neville wrote, "must be fulfilled 'in' us." By describing his own revelations surrounding this concept, Neville helps enrich our understanding of consciousness, while suggesting a new relationship to the divinity that mystics, through the ages, have promised lies just beyond the reach of our physical eyes.
IMAGINING CREATES REALITY
"Man is all Imagination. God is Man and exists in us and we in Him . . . The Eternal Body of Man is the Imagination, that is, God, Himself" —Blake
The purpose of the first portion of this book is to show, through actual true stories, how imagining creates reality. Science progresses by way of hypotheses tentatively tested and afterwards accepted or rejected according to the facts of experience. The claim that imagining creates reality needs no more consideration than is allowed by science. It proves itself in performance.
The world in which we live is a world of imagination. In fact, life itself is an activity of imagining, "For Blake," wrote Professor Morrison of the University of St. Andrews, "the world originates in a divine activity identical with what we know ourselves as the activity of imagination;" his task being "to open the immortal eyes of man inward into the worlds of thought, into eternity, ever expanding in the bosom of God, the Human Imagination."
Nothing appears or continues in being by a power of its own. Events happen because comparatively stable imaginal activities created them, and they continue in being only as long as they receive such support. "The secret of imagining," writes Douglas Fawcett, "is the greatest of all problems to the solution of which the mystic aspires. Supreme power, supreme wisdom, supreme delight lie in the far-off solution of this mystery."
When man solves the mystery of imagining, he will have discovered the secret of causation, and that is: Imagining creates reality. Therefore, the man who is aware of what he is imagining knows what he is creating; realizes more and more that the drama of life is imaginal — not physical. All activity is at bottom imaginal. An awakened Imagination works with a purpose. It creates and conserves the desirable, and transforms or destroys the undesirable.
Divine imagining and human imagining are not two powers at all, rather one. The valid distinction which exists between the seeming two 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 imaginal act is an immediate objective fact. Keyed low, an imaginal act is realized in a time process. But whether imagination is keyed high or low, it is the "ultimate, essentially non-objective Reality from which objects are poured forth like sudden fancies." No object is independent of imagining on some level or levels. Everything in the world owes its character to imagination on one of its various levels. "Objective reality," writes Fichte, "is solely produced through imagination." Objects seem so independent of our perception of them that we incline to forget that they owe their origin to imagination. The world in which we live is a world of imagination, and man—through his imaginal activities—creates the realities and the circumstances of life; this he does either knowingly or unknowingly.
Men pay too little attention to this priceless gift—The Human Imagination—and a gift is practically nonexistent unless there is a conscious possession of it and a readiness to use it. All men possess the power to create reality, but this power sleeps as though dead, when not consciously exercised. Men live in the very heart of creation—The Human Imagination—yet are no wiser for what takes place therein. The future will not be fundamentally different from the imaginal activities of man; therefore, the individual who can summon at will whatever imaginal activity he pleases and to whom the visions of his imagination are as real as the forms of nature, is master of his fate.
The future is the imaginal 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 man of actual wealth of experience. Imagining novel solutions to ever more complex problems is far more noble than to run from problems. Life is the continual solution of a continuously synthetic problem. Imagining creates events. The world, created out of men's imagining, comprises un-numbered warring beliefs; therefore, there can 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 pre-existing peace of mind.
Do not bow before the dictate of facts and accept life on the basis of the world without. Assert the supremacy of your Imaginal acts over facts and put all things in subjection to them. 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 you change your 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 you do, unaccompanied by an imaginal change, is but futile readjustment of surfaces. Imagining the wish fulfilled brings about a union with that state, and during that union you behave in keeping with your imaginal change. This shows you that an imaginal change will result in a change of behavior. However, your ordinary imaginal alterations as you 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 your constant mood, your habitual attitude, then that habitual state defines your character and is a true transformation.
How do you do it? Self-abandonment! That is the secret. You must abandon yourself mentally to your wish fulfilled in your love for that state, and in so doing, live in the new state and no more in the old state. You can't commit yourself to what you do not love, so the secret of self-commission is faith—plus love. Faith is believing what is unbelievable. Commit yourself to the feeling of the wish fulfilled, in faith that this act of self-commission will become a reality. And it must become a reality 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 and thinking from it, but is functioning out of it and thinking of it.
If you would enter into the image in your imagination, then would you know what it is to be creatively transformative: then would you realize your wish; and then you would be happy. Every image can be embodied. But unless you, yourself, enter the image and think 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 effected without such occupancy. You 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 there, why is its fragrance in the air? Through spiritual sensation—that is—through imaginal sight, sound, scent, taste and touch, you can give to the image sensory vividness. If you do this, all things will conspire to aid your harvesting and upon reflection you will see how subtle were the threads that led to your goal. You could never have devised the means which your imaginal activity employed to fulfill itself.
If you long to escape from your present sense fixation, to transform your present life into a dream of what might well be, you need but imagine that you are already what you want to be and to feel the way you would expect to feel under such circumstances. Like the make-believe of a child who is remaking the world after its own heart, create your world out of pure dreams of fancy. Mentally enter into your dream; mentally do what you would actually do, were it physically true. You will discover that dreams are realized not by the rich, but by the imaginative. Nothing stands between you and the fulfillment of your dreams but facts—and facts are the creations of imagining. If you change your imagining, you 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. He cannot leave behind him the mistakes of the 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 your life means changing the past. The causes of any present evil are the unrevised scenes of the past. The past and the present form the whole structure of man; they are 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 recreated into the present, so will the revised past be recreated into the present, or else the claim . . . though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow . . . is a lie. And it is no lie.
The purpose of the story-to-story Commentary that follows is to link up as briefly as possible the distinct but never disconnected themes of the fourteen chapters into which I have divided the first part of this book. It will serve, I hope, as a thread of coherent thought that binds the whole into proof of its claim! Imagining Creates Reality.
To make such a claim is easily done. To prove it in the experience of others is far sterner. To stir you to use the "Law" constructively in your own life—that is the aim of this book.
"My God, I heard this day, that none doth build a stately habitation, but he that means to dwell therein. What house more stately hath there been, or can be, than is Man? to whose creation all things are in decay." —George Herbert
I wish it were true of man's noble dreams, but unfortunately—perpetual construction, deferred occupancy—is the common fault of man. Why "build a stately habitation," unless you intend to "dwell therein?" Why build a dream house and not "dwell therein?"
This is the secret of those who lie in bed awake while they dream things true. They know how to live in their dream until, in fact, they do just that. 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 is 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.
For many years a doctor and his wife "dreamed" about their "stately habitation," but not until they imaginatively lived in it, did they manifest it. Here is their story:
"Some fifteen years ago, Mrs. M. and I purchased a lot on which we built a two-story building housing our office and living area. We left ample space on the lot for an apartment building—if and when our finances would permit. All those years we were busy paying off our mortgage, and at the end of that time had no money for the additional building we still desired so much. It was true that we had an ample savings account which meant security for our business, but to use any part of it for a new building would be to jeopardize that security.
"But now your teaching awakened a new concept, boldly telling us we could have what we most desired through the controlled use of our imagination and that realizing a desire was made more convincing 'without money.' We decided to put it to a test to forget about 'money' and concentrate our attention on the thing we desired most in this world—the new apartment building.
"With this principle in mind, we mentally constructed the new building as we wanted it, actually drawing physical plans so we could better formulate our mental picture of the completed structure. Never forgetting to think from the end (in our case, the completed, occupied building,) we took many imaginative trips through our apartment house, renting the units to imaginary tenants, examining in detail every room and enjoying the feeling of pride as friends offered congratulations on the unique planning. We brought into our imaginal scene one friend in particular (I shall call her Mrs. X) a lady we had not seen for some time as she had 'given us up' socially, believing us a bit peculiar in our new way of thinking. In our imaginal scene we took her through the building and asked how she liked it. Hearing her voice distinctly, we had her reply, 'Doctor, I think it is beautiful.'
"One day while talking together of our building, my wife mentioned a contractor who had constructed several apartment houses in our neighborhood. We knew of him only by the name that appeared on signs adjacent to buildings under construction. But realizing that if we were living in the end, we would not be looking for a contractor, we promptly forgot this angle. Continuing these periods of daily imagining for several weeks, we both felt we were now 'fused' with our desire and had successfully been living in the end.
"One day a stranger entered our office and identified himself as the contractor whose name my wife had mentioned weeks before. In an apologetic manner, he said, 'I don't know why I stopped here. I normally don't go to see people, but rather, people come to see me.' He explained that he passed our office often and had wondered why there wasn't an apartment building on the corner lot. We assured him we would like very much to have such a building there but that we had no money to put into the project, not even the few hundred dollars it would take for plans.
"Our negative response did not faze him and seemingly compelled, he began to figure and devise ways and means to carry out the job, unasked and unencouraged by us. Forgetting the incident, we were quite startled when a few days later this man called, informing us that plans were completed and that the proposed building would cost us thirty thousand dollars! We thanked him politely and did absolutely nothing. We knew we had been 'living imaginatively in the end' of a completed building and that Imagination would assemble that building perfectly without any 'outside' assistance from us. So, we were not surprised when the contractor called again the next day to say he had found a set of blueprints in his files that fitted our needs perfectly with few alterations. This, we were informed, would save us the architect's fee for new plans. We thanked him again and still did nothing.
"Logical thinkers would insist that such negative response from prospective customers would completely end the matter. Instead, two days later the contractor again called with the news that he had located a finance company willing to cover the necessary loan with the exception of a few thousand dollars. It sounds incredible, but we still did nothing. For—remember—to us this building was completed and rented, and in our imagination we had not put one penny into its construction.
"The balance of this tale reads like a sequel to 'Alice In Wonderland,' for the contractor came to our office the next day and said, as though presenting us with a gift, 'You people are going to have that new building anyway. I've decided to finance the balance of the loan myself. If this is agreeable, I'll have my lawyer draw up the papers, and you can pay me back out of net profits from rentals.'
"This time we did do something! We signed the papers, and construction began immediately. Most of the apartment units were rented before final completion, and all but one occupied the day of completion. We were so thrilled by the seemingly miraculous events of the past few months that for a while we didn't understand this seeming 'flaw' in our imaginal picture. But knowing what we had already accomplished through the power of imagining, we immediately conceived another imaginal scene and in it, this time, instead of showing the party through the unit and hearing the words 'we'll take it,' we ourselves in imagination visited tenants who had already moved in that apartment. We allowed them to show us through the rooms and heard their pleased and satisfied comments. Three days later that apartment was rented.
"Our original imaginary drama had objectified itself in every detail save one, and that one became a reality when one month later our friend, Mrs. X, surprised us with a long overdue visit, expressing her desire to see our new building. Gladly we took her through, and at the end of the tour heard her speak the line we had heard in our imagination so many weeks before, as with emphasis on each word, she said, 'Doctor, I think it is beautiful.'
"Our dream of fifteen years was realized. And we know, now, that it could have been realized any time within those fifteen years if we had known the secret of imagining and how to 'live in the end' of desire. But now it was realized—our one big desire was objectified. And we did not put one penny of our own money into it." — Dr. M.
Through the medium of a dream—a controlled, waking dream—the Doctor and his wife created reality. They learned how to live in their dream house as, in fact, now they do. Although help seemingly came from without, the course of events was ultimately determined by the imaginal activity of the Doctor and his wife. The participants were drawn into their imaginal drama because it was dramatically necessary that they should be. Their imaginal structure demanded it.
In one another's being mingle."
"A few months ago my husband decided to place our home on the market. The main object for the move which we had discussed many times was to find a home large enough for the two of us, my mother and my aunt, in addition to ten cats, three dogs and one parakeet. Believe it or not, the contemplated move was my husband's idea as he loved my mother and aunt and said I was at their house most of the time anyway, so 'why not live together and pay one tax bill?' I liked the idea tremendously, but I knew that this new home would have to be something very special in size, location and arrangement as I insisted on privacy for all concerned.
"So at the moment I was undecided whether to sell our present home or not, but I didn't argue as I knew quite well from past experience with imagining that our house would never sell until I stopped 'sleeping' in it. Two months and four or five real estate brokers later, my husband had 'given up' on the sale of our house and so had the brokers. At this point I had convinced myself I now wanted the change, so for four nights in my imagination I went to sleep in the kind of home I would like to own. On the fifth day, my husband had an appointment at a friend's home and while there, met a stranger who 'just happened' to be looking for a house in the hills. He was, of course, brought swiftly back to see our house which he walked through once and said, 'I'll buy it.' This didn't make us very popular with the brokers, but that was all right with me as I was happy to keep the broker's commission in the family! We moved within ten days and stayed with my mother while looking for our new home.
"We listed our requirements with every agent on the Sunset Strip only (because I wouldn't move out of the area) and each one of them without exception informed us we were both mad. It was entirely impossible, they said, to find an older home of English style with two separate living rooms, separate apartments, a library, and built on a flat knoll with enough ground space to fence for large dogs—and located in one particular area. When we told them the price we would pay for this house they just looked sad.
"I said that wasn't all we wanted. We wanted wood paneling all through the house, a huge fireplace, a magnificent view and seclusion—no close neighbors, please. At this point the lady agent would giggle and remind me that there was no such house, but if there were they would realize five times what we were willing to pay. But I knew there was such a house—because my imagination had been sleeping in it, and if I am my imagination, then I had been sleeping in it.
"By the second week we had exhausted five real estate offices, and the gentleman in the sixth office was looking a little wild when one of his partners who had not spoken until then said, 'Why don't you show them the place up Kings Road?' A third partner in the office laughed sourly and said, 'That property isn't even listed. And besides—the old lady would throw you off the property. She's got two acres up there and you know she wouldn't split.'
"Well, I didn't know what she wouldn't split, but my interest had been aroused by the street name for I liked that particular area best of all. So I asked why not just take a look anyway, for laughs. As we drove up the street and turned off onto a private road, we approached a large two-story house built of redwood and brick, English in appearance, surrounded by tall trees and sitting alone and aloof on its own knoll, viewing the city below from all of its many windows. I felt a peculiar excitement as we walked to the front door and were greeted by a lovely woman who graciously asked us in.
"I do not think I breathed for the next minute or two, for I had walked into the most exquisite room I had ever seen. The solid redwood walls and the brick of a great fireplace rose to a height of twenty-eight feet terminating in an arched ceiling joined together by huge redwood beams. The room was straight out of Dickens, and I could almost hear Christmas carolers singing on the balcony of the upstairs dining room which looked out over the living room. A great cathedral window gave a view of sky, mountains and city far below, and the beautiful old redwood walls glowed in the sunlight. We were shown through a spacious apartment on the lower floor with connecting library, separate entrance and separate patio. Two staircases led upward to a long hall opening into two separated bedrooms and baths, and at the end of the hall was—yes—a second living room, opening out onto a second patio screened by trees and redwood fencing.
"Built on two acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, I began to understand what the agent had meant by saying, 'she wouldn't split' for on one acre stood a large swimming pool and pool house completely separated from the main house but undoubtedly belonging to it. It did, indeed, seem to be an impossible situation as we did not want two acres of highly taxable property plus a swimming pool a block away from the house.
"Before we left, I walked through that magnificent living room, once more going up the stairs to the dining room balcony. I turned, and looking down saw my husband standing by the fireplace, pipe in hand, with an expression of perfect satisfaction on his face. I placed my hands on the balcony railing and watched him for a moment.
"When we were back in the real estate office, the three agents were ready to close for the day, but my husband detained them saying, 'Let's make her an offer anyway. Maybe she will split the property. What can we lose?' One agent left the office without a word. Another said, 'The idea is ridiculous.' The agent we had originally talked to said, 'Forget it. It's a pipe dream.' My husband is not easily annoyed but when he is, there is no more stubborn creature on earth. He was now annoyed. He sat down, slammed his hand on a desk and roared, 'It's your business to submit offers, isn't it?' They agreed that this was so and finally promised to submit our offer on the property.
"We left, and that night—in my imagination—I stood on that dining room balcony and looked down at my husband standing by the fireplace. He looked up at me and said, 'Well, honey, how do you like our new home?' I said, 'I love it.' I continued to see that beautiful room and my husband in it and 'felt' the balcony railing gripped in my hands until I fell asleep.
"The next day as we were having dinner in my mother's house, the telephone rang and the agent, in an unbelieving voice, informed me that we had just purchased a house. The owner had split the property right down the middle, giving us the house and the acre it stood on for the price we offered." . . . J.R.B.
One must adopt either the way of imagination or the way of sense. No compromise or neutrality is possible. "He who is not for me is against me." When man finally identifies himself with his Imagination rather than his senses, he has at long last discovered the core of reality.
I have often been warned by self-styled "realists" that man will never realize his dream by simply imagining that it is already here. Yet, man can realize his dream by simply imagining that it is already here. That is exactly what this collection of stories proves; if only men were prepared to live imaginatively in the feeling of the wish fulfilled, advancing confidently in their controlled waking-dream, then the power of imagining would answer their adventurous fancy and the wish fulfilled would break in upon them and take them unawares.
Nothing is more continuously wonderful than the things that happen every day to the man with imagination sufficiently awake to realize their wonder. Observe your imaginal activities. Imagine better than the best you know, and create a better world for yourself and others. Live as though the wish had come, even though it is yet to come, and you will shorten the period of waiting. The world is imaginal, not mechanistic. Imaginal acts—not blind fate—determine the course of history.
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