One of our twelve powers is at work when we humans ask, “What if…?” That’s our IMAGINATION, of course, as described by Charles Fillmore in his book The Twelve Powers. So I was thinking about all the inventions that have come from us asking that question: what if we could fly? what if we could ride in a motorized vehicle of some kind so we wouldn’t have to ride horses? what if we could hear each other talk even if we were on the other side of the world from each other?

Of course, we also have asked questions like, “How can I defeat the enemy?” So one of the most powerful inventions was thought up by the Chinese over three thousand years ago – the rocket. Without the rocket, we could never have gone into space and enabled a human to walk on the moon, or even send a little drone onto another planet, Mars, and paved the way for us to go even further into the unknown spaces of the universe.

And as Hamlet said, “there’s the rub.” In our times, the rocket has become much more powerful as a weapon of war than it was back then. Not only can we use our inventions to do some awe-inspiring feats in the service of humanity, we can also turn those invention into weapons of destruction.

In Taoism, both yin and yang are good. Neither represents evil. However, an excess of either causes an imbalance. And that’s what we are still trying to figure out as we continue to ask the question “What if…?” So we need to ask about the various possible effects of different inventions we come up with.

In our personal lives, that is very relevant as we try to figure out the answers to some difficult questions. And that leads us into the next month’s focus on the Power of Understanding. So stay tuned (on another one of the products of human imagination: your computer or phone.)

Michelangelo once said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo, of course, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance. He has been described as the greatest artist of his age and even as the greatest artist of all time. His idea of seeing something in his mind is the essence of Imagination, one of the Twelve Powers Charles Fillmore wrote about.

We in New Thought believe that the human mind has a connection to the creative power of the universe that can be used in any way we want it to. So the question is, “What do you want to see in your life?”

Few of us think about sculpting things out of marble, but we often dream about things we’d like to have in our lives. We dream about love and prosperity and beauty and freedom. Sometimes, though, we think about what we lack to achieve these things. So we stop up the flow of blessings and create something less than what we dream of because we don’t understand how powerful we are.

I saw a program about this blind boy who is a track athlete whose specialty is pole vaulting. His dad is a track coach, so he and his son figured out some ways that he can run track and pole vault.

The idea is that they haven’t let his blindness stop them from doing something amazing. Imagine – being blind and being able to pole vault!

There’s a trick to all this: don’t let any thought convince you something can’t be done. You have within YOU the ability to connect to the Creative Energy of the Universe! We humans haven’t begun to really grasp the power we carry around in our heads all the time. If you can think it up, you can make it happen.

Remember that old song Frank SinatraI sang called “Imagination”?

“Imagination is funny, it makes a cloudy day sunny
Makes a bee think of honey just as I think of you…
Imagination is crazy, your whole perspective gets hazy
Starts you asking a daisy, “What to do, what to do?”

Imagination is like magic, not because it makes things happen but ecause it makes us think up things that WE can eventually make happen. It makes us wonder, “What if…?” And one of the most powerful questions we can ask is, “What if I’m a lot more than I think I am? What if who I really am is the only one who will ever be in the whole history of time?”

In 1st Kings 3:12, we read that Solomon asked God for a wise and discerning heart instead of riches and power, so in a dream God told him, “I give you a wise and discerning mind; no-one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.”

If there is no one like you and never has been and never will be, the most important question one can ask is, “Who am I really? Discarding all the negative stuff people have told you and the negative stuff you’ve told yourself, who are you really?

The answer is in your imagination, that power within you to think up possibilities and figure out how to make them realities. What if you are actually a powerful, creative, fantastic being unlike anyone who has ever been or anyone who ever will be? What would you like to do or be to help
make the world a better place because you were in it?

Go for it!

You never know how inspiration will come to you. The other day, I was reading the comics in the paper, and one of the characters in ”Pearls Before Swine” by Stephan Postis said, “If I’d known this was a party, I’d have danced a whole lot more.” And then in June 1 Daily Word, I read, “I live my life as a continuous adventure.”

Wow! The universe speaks to us all the time if we just pay attention! So we can look at life in this dimension as a trial or as an adventure. I like the image of a party we’ve been invited to, and all we are asked to do is enjoy it and take care of it. We need to be good guests and not gobble up all the refreshments for ourselves or snub other guests we don’t know.

And as far as enjoying the party, there are so many beautiful and wonderful things and events in our lives that we couldn’t experience them all in one lifetime. However, we can start right where are and step out into something we’ve never done, or even step out with new eyes into something we see all the time and just overlook.

One of the things that have come out of the isolation and caution we’ve experienced during the past year or so is that we’ve had to turn to other sources to feed out curiosity and interest. We’ve had to learn how to do things we never knew could be done – like attend a Zoom meeting on our phone! Imagine that! I remember when to call somebody you had to turn a crank and speak into a handheld speaker to visit with someone, and you had to be careful what you said because other folks could be listening on the party line!

There are also beautiful things that have not disappeared that we often take for granted. For example, have you simply sat and watched a sunset lately? Or listened to a bird singing his heart out in the trees? Or looked deeply into your pet’s eyes and really seen the love there?

The world seems to have gone crazy, but I believe an even greater world will emerge out of this time and that we will have learned a good lesson about how to more fully appreciate the simple things in life.

Who are you? How you answer this question determines how much power you have over your life and the world around you. Do you believe that your power comes from something or someone outside yourself? If you get a college degree does that mean you have power? If you make a ton of money, will that make you powerful? If you win the Lottery, will that assure a happy life?

One of the most important ideas in metaphysics is that power lies in our ability to think. And what we think determines how our lives are experienced. The paradigm shift is one of the most interesting concepts developed in modern thought. It is a change from one way of thinking to another, and can apply to anything on earth – your job, your married life, your relationships, your home, your surroundings, and more importantly, your health.

The old saying, “Hold your horses” is a good one. It implies that you hold the reins and you control the horse. When your internal dialogue is screaming out pessimistic negativity, then it’s time to mediate the situation. Rather than jumping on the bandwagon and going along with everything your inner voice tells you, take hold of the reigns and “hold your horses.” A lot of times emotions can run wild, and when they do, you can end up behaving recklessly and making impulsive decisions. You wind up getting thrown off and landing in the dirt. It’s best to slow down and think about what you’re thinking about.

So holding your horses is a good symbol for making a paradigm shift in our thinking and thus in our lives. My little quarter horse Baby Doll used to run like crazy toward the highway on our way back to the barn after a ride. I’d be pulling on the reins to get her to stop, and she’d finally screech to a halt just before we dashed into the highway where cars were passing back and forth. Looking back, I think she was just playing with me and that she fully intended to stop in time. But our thoughts won’t stop until we take control of them ourselves. So to avoid crashing headlong into an accident, watch your thoughts. Be aware of where they are trying to take you and get control of them in time.

A recent entry in Daily Word was something that caught my attention in terms of power: “I celebrate my freedom to be exactly who I am. In all the world, there is no one exactly like me.” You are the only you who will ever exist. To compare yourself to others is pointless because no one can ever be you nor can you ever be anyone but you. In all of eternity, there will never ever be another you. That reminds me of that great song from 1942:

“There will be many other nights like this
And I’ll be standing here with someone new
There’ll be other songs to sing, another fall another spring
And there will never ever be another you.”

Your personal power lies in your self-image. A friend of mine from high school used to say that he was just a country boy trying to make it through life. But he was a lot more than that. He became a very talented musician and teacher and has continued to be a good friend. So no one is “just a” anything.

Anyone can change their life if they change the stories they tell themselves. The question is what things do you really tell yourself about yourself? Make a list of them and take a good look at them. If you don’t like some of them, then make a new list. In this one, write down some of the things you feel are good about yourself.

We are all here learning the truth of who we are. The Bible tells us that we are sons and daughters of the Most High and that we will inherit the Kingdom. And we could get into a lengthy discussion of what that means. However, it is my sincere belief that no one really knows. I know, I’m probably committing blasphemy! Many prophets and teachers throughout the ages have tried to tell us. But in the final analysis, no one knows for sure.

I guess we”ll have to wait until are on the “other side” to get the full answer. But in the meantime, I firmly believe that what I tell myself about myself determines how I experience my life here on earth. And since there will never be another me, I’m going to believe that I am special, important in the scheme of things and that I matter. I hope everyone will be able to see the unique treasures they really are. As soon as we can believe that for ourselves and everyone else, the sooner we will have peace on earth.

The beloved comedian Robin Williams said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” He was so right! Words have power. They can destroy and they can create. Words have the energy and the power to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. They can inspire a person to great achievements.

In his great song “You Raise Me Up,” Josh Groban wrote,

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me

You raise me up, so I constant on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up …to more than I can be

Those are some of the most inspiring words of a song I have ever heard. And the image of someone sitting beside us, giving us words of encouragement is enough to inspire us to kindle the flame of hope inside us again. Albert Schweitzer once wrote, “In
everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

The times we are living in are challenging in astounding and sometimes shocking ways. They can tempt us to give in to despair. But now is when we can use one of greatest powers: our words. We can rekindle the fire for each other, often with a silent hug, but even more powerfully with word of love, and faith and hope.

In his book The Twelve Powers of Man, Charles Fillmore offers the affirmation, “I am a radiating center of love, peace, and harmony.” What stands out to me is that love is not a single feeling. It has many facets – like a diamond – and more valuable than any precious gems. It consists of things like empathy, patience, compassion, understanding. In short, to me it includes the most positive of all human feelings.

I’m reminded of Janie, a friend of mine, a woman who had traveled on all the continents of the planet. Once another friend of mine and I took Janie and went to a nature area were we could see the migrating cranes awaken in the morning. We were walking along a dirt path and could hear the quiet rustling of birds in the undergrowth. Suddenly, as if one of them had hollered, “On the count of three!” from all sides of us there arose a huge wash of white cranes rising to meet the sun.

Janie’s reaction was as wonderful as the cranes. After having traveled the world over, she was still able to see and appreciate this spectacle of nature with unbridled joy and enthusiasm. She clapped and twirled and shouted as the birds flew over us and out into the day.

“What does this have to do with love?” you might ask. To me it’s the recognition and appreciation, the admiration of all the wonders of our earth. It is the in-built response we can feel for this fantastic place we call home. It is an acknowledgment of the treasures we can see in the everyday world around us all the time if we just stop and look.

Even something very tiny can remind us. For example:

Dew be-sparkled grass
glistens in the mornings
lifting hopes of Spring.

As we continue to think about the power of Love, we realize it’s not that easy to definite, much less practice it! In the Bible in Matthew 5:44-48, we are commanded to “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.”

Our first reaction might be, “Yeah, right! And what am I supposed to do when they kill my loved ones, or destroy my home, or attack my country?” We are going through a time of unparalleled challenges in the world and in our country. How do we summon up the grace (and “guts”, if you will) to love the people who’re wreaking such havoc?

My thinking is that we will only have peace on earth when all of us have peace in our hearts. And my understanding at this point is that I need to be at peace in my own heart so that I can contribute to the healing of humanity and to peace everywhere.

That’s where loving myself comes in. In Lori Deschene’s book Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself, she writes, “Many of us know intellectually that we need to be good to ourselves if we want to be happy. But it feels so hard. We are simultaneously the harsh judge and the lost, scared child who wants to stop feeling judged. It becomes a vicious cycle. It only stops when we step outside ourselves and observe how we get ourselves stuck.” We can’t be loving to the people who hurt us if we have not released our own past hurts. To me, the hardest part of this commandment is not the part about loving our enemies; it’s about loving ourselves.

One idea that helps me is remembering that all those who are doing harm to others are people who do not feel any love for themselves. They are wounded just as we all have been in one way or another. The truth is we all grew up in the same family of humans, and we all have wounds that have not fully healed. As we continue on this journey to enlightenment, or what I call the evolution in consciousness, let’s remember we are all members of the same family. Everyone I encounter is not my enemy but my brother or my sister.

In the Book of John, we read that Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” That sounds pretty simple, but we human still have a hard time knowing how to do it. the strange thing is that even when we know the dictionary definition of the word, we still have a hard time doing it.

Wikipedia tells us that “love refers to a feeling of strong attraction and emotional attachment. Love is considered to be representing human kindness, compassion, and affection, as ‘the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.’ It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals. In its various forms, love facilitates interpersonal relationships. Love also is a function that keeps human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.

So why is it so hard to do sometimes? Learning how to love is a lifetime challenge because we are so deeply controlled by our basic fight or flight mechanism that helps us stay alive. And therein lies the problem: we still depend on this biological power and are still learning about the inner power we also are born with.

When the wise people tell us that we are all one, it’s very hard to believe. Am I one with people like Adolph Hitler and Rasputin and Vlad the Impaler? How – and why – am I supposed to love them?

So here’s a theory. We are involved in the evolution of consciousness which is the ability of the mind to reflect upon its own experience. Robert Ornstein, PhD, an internationally renowned psychologist and author wrote the book God 4.0 which offers a fresh understanding of how the brain can produce a transcendent shift in consciousness that some have called “seeing God.” The book points toward a new unity of science and spirituality concerning a reality that people have sought forever. This higher consciousness is not something “out there,” but something in the brain that we can develop. Once unlocked it allows us to see and use vital connections that can help us unite around a common higher perspective.

So, my friends, we are still learning about who we are and why we’re here. Learning to love is one of the first lessons!