“I am in some sense boundless, my being encompassing the farthest limits of the universe, touching and moving every atom of existence. The same is true of everything else…. It is not just that ‘we are all in it’ together. We all are it, rising and falling as one living body.”
— Buddhist scholar, Francis Cook, Hua-yen Buddhism
After sharing a utopian vision of a harmonious and brighter future where everything and everyone is in ‘right relationship’ and the soul shines joyfully from each human heart like a radiant sun, my friend turned to me with a somewhat bemused look on his face and exclaimed, “Fine words Michael but that’s just wishful thinking!”
Pondering on this gentle rebuff for a moment, I found myself replying: “Yes – you are absolutely right – it is wishful thinking. However it is focused, disciplined and directed ‘wishful thinking’ that we at Meditation Mount refer to as Creative Meditation.”
Our dreams and wishes contain a deep longing and desire for things to be better. They are the messengers of a preferred future and for these subtle seeds to germinate, take root and grow they need to enter the fertile field of the human heart in time and space and there be nourished through purposeful, loving and intelligent activity. Invariably, a vision without action remains a daydream while action without vision runs the risk of turning into a nightmare.
To dream and imagine is to create. Throughout the ages, indigenous peoples around the world have been the custodians of their respective Creation Stories that keep the dream alive and tell of a time before anything existed. It is the story of how No-thing became Some-thing – how the invisible became visible and manifest. There is a striking similarity among all these stories that allude to a Dreamer or ‘Wishful Thinker’ creating the Universe out of a state of No-thing-ness.
Here in North America, an Abenaki legend held by the Keepers in the Blackfoot Nation reflects this universal theme:
“The Great Spirit, in a time not known to us looked about and saw nothing. No colors, no beauty. Time was silent in darkness. There was no sound. Nothing could be seen or felt. The Great Spirit decided to fill this space with light and life.”
On a smaller scale, it reminds us of the artist who stands before a stretched white canvas awaiting inspiration from the Muses that will be transmitted from heart to hands in a swirl of colors, textures and shapes as a rendering of that which is vividly sensed inside.
What will it take to create a white canvas of our lives – one that is ready to receive the pure inspiration of the soul?
All past negative imprinting and fears that cloud our consciousness and close down the heart to Self and others must be squarely faced and recycled through a self-initiated act of fierce compassion. The three stages of this essential redemptive process are: Name, Acknowledge and Take Responsibility. We are describing here the alchemical process of ‘spiritual composting’ where the various decaying and outworn forms of the old cycle are magically transformed over time from a sour and slimy mass to a sweet-smelling mound of nutrition for a new season of planting.
Liberating ourselves from these past patterns as well as drawing strength from the wisdom we have harvested hitherto on our journey is the two-fold spiritual approach for preparing the canvas.
The optimal conditions preceding the birth of any dream into reality can best be summed up in this aphorism from the Ageless Wisdom teaching:
“Before creation, silence…
And the stillness of a focused point.”
With a clean and clear field, receptive and free from anything that could distort, we are now open to receiving images from our focused dreams and wishful thinking that live inside us as the Great Promise. As the inspirational artist of life, we are tasked with imagining and capturing the beauty and possibility of the future on the canvas of the present. Without imagination we are chained and relegated to a ceaseless round of ‘same-ness’. The best way to burst out of this self-imposed prison is to break down the walls and dissolve the crude barriers of limitation erected by our doubts and fears and to allow the light of a new day to enter.
Wishful thinking is not an escape from the unbearable pain and pressures of a society that is behaving in ways contrary to all that we aspire to as souls. Wishful thinking is a positive response to this sad and seditious decline by calling forth the power of the eternal dream that lives within the heart of humanity as its splendid destiny.
This dream of a light-filled future has temporarily encountered hostile growing conditions and the Deep Wish of our ‘better Angels’ is being stymied by the gravitational pull of the forces of materialism whose need for total control is threatened by the levity, joy and freedom of the soul.
May we live the promise of our dreams each day and dare to be what we wish for in our hearts. This courageous approach is unquestionably the most powerful antidote to the encroachment of darkness.
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato