|I MAG I NAT I ON|
Imagination can make a person think he is in love, and love thus becomes the second strongest force. We should call it controlled imagination. Whatever we call it we must always remember: in any battle between the will and the imagination, the imagination ALWAYS WINS. In the east we do not bother about will power, because will power is a snare, a trap, which chains men to earth. We rely on controlled imagination, and we get results.
If you go to the dentist for an extraction, you imagine the horrors that await you there, the absolute agony, you imagine every step of the extraction. Perhaps the insertion of the needle, and the jerking as the anesthetic is pumped in, and then the probing about of the dentist. you imagine yourself fainting, or screaming, or bleeding to death, or something. All nonsense, of course, but very, very real to you, and when you get into the chair you suffer a lot of pain which is quite unnecessary. This is an example of imagination wrongly used. That is not controlled imagination, it is imagination run wild, and no one should permit that.
Do you know the process of feeling a pain? Let us stick a pin into a finger. Well, we put the point of the pin against the flesh, and we wait with acute apprehension the moment when the point of the pin will penetrate the skin, and a spurt of blood will follow. We concentrate all our energies on examining the spot. If we had a pain in our foot, we would forget all about it in the process of sticking a pin in a finger. We concentrate the whole of our imagination upon that finger, upon the point of that pin. We imagine the pain it will cause to the exclusion of all else. Not so the Easterner, who has been trained. He does not dwell upon the finger, or the perforation to follow, he dissipates his imagination - controlled imagination - all over the body, so that the pain, which is actually caused to the finger is spread out over the whole of the body, and so in such a small thing as a pin-prick it is not felt at all.
Just one more homely example, because this matter of controlled imagination is the most important thing that you can ever understand. Controlled imagination can mean the difference between success and failure, health and illness. But here it is; have you ever been riding a cycle on an absolutely straight, open road and then ahead of you seen a big stone, perhaps a few feet from your front wheel? You might have thought, "Oh, I can't avoid that!" And sure enough you could not. Your front wheel would wobble, and no matter how you tried you would quite definitely run into that stone just like a piece of iron being drawn to a magnet. No amount of will power at all would enable you to avoid the stone. Yet if you imagined that you could avoid it, then avoid it you would. No amount of will power enables you to avoid that stone. Remember that most important rule.
If you go on willing yourself to do a thing when the imagination opposes it, you will cause a nervous breakdown. That actually is the cause of many of these mental illnesses. Present day conditions are quite difficult, and a per- son tries to subdue his imagination (instead of controlling it) by the exercise of will power. There is an inner con- flict, inside the mind, and eventually a nervous breakdown occurs. The person can become neurotic, or even insane. The mental homes are absolutely filled with patients who have willed themselves to do a thing when their imagination thought otherwise.
And yet, it is a very simple matter indeed
to control the imagination, and to make it work for one. It
is imagination - controlled imagination
- which enables a man to climb a high mountain, or to fly a very fast
plane and break a record, or do any of those feats which we read about.
Controlled imagination. The person imagines that he can do this,
or can do that, and so he can. He has the imagination telling him
that he can, and he has the will "willing" him to do it. That means
complete success. So, if you want to make your path an easy one,
and your life pleasant in the same way as the Easterner does, forget about
will power, it is just a snare, and a delusion. Remember only controlled
imagination. What you imagine, that you can do.
Imagination, faith, are they not one?
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