Imagination in Spirituality

By George A. Boyd © 2016

We are taken with the claims of many New Age channelers, coaches, and metaphysical teachers and authors, who assert that one needs only to visualize something and intend that it will manifest magically and effortlessly through the operation of metaphysical laws. Some cite the Law of Attraction as the ground of their assertions, and each of these “helpers” has a slightly different take on how this principle operates, and what goes awry when it doesn’t seem to work.

The method of visualizing and intending is actually one of the ways we activate the faculty of the imagination. Can you visualize yourself levitating three feet off the ground? Can you imagine what it would be like to ride across the galaxy in a flying saucer? Can you see yourself having a paid for two million dollar house, a 46-foot yacht, a Lamborghini in your driveway, and ten million dollars in your bank account? Can you envision yourself having the perfect partner in your life—your Soul Mate?

We point out that simply to imagine that you have something is not the same as actually possessing it; to affirm that you are something is not the same as actually being it; and to picture that you are doing something is not the same as actually doing it. For example:

  • You might visualize there is a million dollars in your bank account, but until your bank statement comes back with those kind of figures in it, you don’t actually have a million dollars.
  • You might affirm that you are an employee who is highly competent, irreplaceable, and whom your employer values so highly that he will pay you over $100,000 a year, but until you actually are in a work environment where those things are possible, and you have the skills to merit that level of pay, you will dream on.
  • You might picture yourself taking your trip around the world and plan all of your stops, but until you pay for that trip, you aren’t going anywhere.

The Tenacity of Belief

In most of the formulations of manifestation, there is an imperative that you must “believe” strongly that “the Law of Attraction,” “your Higher Self,” “the Universe,” or “God” is ready to manifest whatever you desire. Let us look for moment at the permutations of belief in their practical outcomes.

  1. You believe strongly that something will happen. It doesn’t. This is an erroneous belief.
  2. You believe strongly that something will happen…for years. It never does. You continue to hold to the belief. This is delusion.
  3. You believe strongly that something will happen. It does. You attribute it to your Higher Power and feel that your conviction was justified. But was it due to the influence of your Higher Power or the operation of hidden, higher Laws? Was it due to your own sustained effort? Or was it just a coincidence? Just chance? This is an occurrence of unknown causation.
  4. You believe strongly that something will happen. It does. Every time you believe that something will happen, it always does. This suggests that you may have reliably tapped into the power of manifestation.

So the question you need to ask yourself, is what percentage of the time, when I do these “treatments,” “visualizations,” “prayers of faith,” “affirmations,” or “decrees,” do they actually work? Could you track it? Could you note the outcome?

For example:

  • On 2/13/14 at 8am, I did Law of Attraction exercise. Outcome? No change.
  • You would journal each exercise that you did and note the results. You could look at results for different time frames: same day, next day, next week, next month, next year, or next five years.
  • You would monitor the outcome, noting whether it did manifest or not.
  • You would examine the evidence for what may have actually caused the outcome, as opposed to what you might have attributed it. [For example, you did affirmations to get a good paying job. However, you put in many hours sending out résumés, getting job interviews, adding to your employable skills by taking classes, and networking with your former colleagues to get information about potential employers who were hiring. Which strategy was more effective in getting you the job? The affirmation or the job search?]

This testing of the claims of belief based on their actual outcome is a crucial tenant of science, and it forms the basis of rational thinking and reality testing. We abandon this to our peril.

People who are in various coaching, mastermind, self-help, metaphysical, and spiritual groups have powerful convictions that their hopes and wishes will be magically fulfilled. Do these beliefs actually manifest? For many of them, the answer is sadly, “no.”

I am reminded of the wise words of Kahuna Serge King: “results are the measure of your effectiveness.” So treat, affirm, visualize, have faith, and decree—but also take constructive action. Activate the Subconscious and Superconscious mind through these evocative methods, but also plan, schedule, and set goals to ensure you actually achieve what you envision.

A dream is an idea that you have clothed in your desires. You make dreams come true through action, not wishing, hoping, or fantasizing. Imagination can help your formulate exactly what you want, but will and intelligence help you transform that dream into reality.