What is the power of the imagination? As I was watching the movie “Polar Express”, and feeling amazed by it all – the wonderful landscapes revealed to my eye, landscapes of fantasy and dream – I began to feel in my heart that these things must, in some way, be real. I make them real, whenever I allow my spirit to soar in those imagined realms. Watching creative films like these makes me feel as if I’m taking a journey deep into myself.
It made me wonder, yet again, what exactly constitutes the Real. If it is whatever has a consistent affect upon us, then ideas are no less real than stone. The main difference is that stone exists in the material world, thought in the human world: the kingdom of the soul.
Reflecting back, I find that as a child, I practically lived in that world: seeing gold mines instead of creek beds, communicators instead of watches, spaceships in place of bicycles. There were two complete domains, one superimposed over the other: the world of awe and wonder, and the mundane substrate that was its seed, around which the other grew.
As the years passed, I left that first world behind, its colors, its mysteries, its treasures and hopes. They were replaced by the religion of science, and the great law of determinism. No more did ancient beasts take wing when the birds flew, or jungle cougars stalk in the form of my neighborhood cat.
What was that world? Did I too quickly allow it to be named unreal? Because, although its treasures were accepted by no banker in the real world, what they did buy brought my heart much happiness and joy – which would seem a far rarer currency these days than gold.
I begin to wonder if that land was the fabled Eden, that my knowledge slowly cast me from. In exchange for the commodity of other’s words to approve my maturity, did I give up on the Kingdom of God, which Christ tells us lies “within you”?
I do not question the value of the practical world in keeping the body alive, and serving as a ground for our hopes and aspirations. But what of the sky into which those hopes yearn to fly? Perhaps that heaven lies within: where other planets dance, and fairer stars shine with their fey lights.
Watching films and reading books, I am recalled to that world. I know that trains cannot fly, but I also know that it can when my imagination gives it wings. What I see with my inward eye is often what touches my heart the most, turning it from a mere pump into an organ of love, and dreams, and a subtle, radiant power.
Perhaps we are meant to have two lives, one inner and one outer; to see with two visions, and aim at two sets of goals in life. We stand astride two kingdoms: one of the body, and one of the mind. Both have their effect upon us. Who is to say which is more real? if we judge by the power of each to change us, rather than by simply what submits to measure. What is made in the outer world can be tested by the limits of that world, but it takes a ruler of a much different kind to gauge what is possible in the other.
I think human beings have a real inner life, which is the true undiscovered country. As all the storybooks say, it’s belief that takes us there. And while the outer world may be our horse and carriage, the ultimate destination lies within.