Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Neville Goddard wrote extensively about the spiritual importance of imagination. He believed it to be the very gateway of reality, and the way in which we co-create with the God force and achieve our goals. He suggested in his book Awakened Imagination that the teachings of the Gospels can only be received in terms of faith and that Jesus was constantly looking for signs of faith in people, that is, faith in their own imagination. Goddard quoted from the Gospel of Mark, “Believe that ye receive and ye shall receive.” He considered that the same as saying, “Imagine that you are and you shall be.”
It’s an interesting concept, boiling down our belief in God, our faith, to just the use of our imagination. It sounds almost child-like and oversimplified. Yet, as we recall, Jesus told us we must become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. So let us explore this idea from a child’s perspective. Children know a thing or two about imagination, don’t they? They make great use of it and create great adventures for themselves. One of my favorite examples of this is the children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson. Originally published in 1955, the simple story about a creative toddler with a talent for drawing shows us just how far our imagination can take us.
Harold’s journey has some spiritual truths hidden it. It begins with Harold, a bald toddler in his jammies, wanting to go for a walk in the moonlight, but there isn’t any moon. So, he draws one with his big purple crayon. He needs something to walk on, so he draws a long straight path, so he won’t get lost. Now, like Harold, we make decisions and choices and create our very own path in life, don’t we? Go to college, don’t go to college. Choose this job over that one. Get married, or don’t get married. Have children, don’t have children. Live in this city or that one.
Harold’s path was straight. He did that intentionally, so he wouldn’t get lost. Some people chose nice straight paths in life. They seem to know their purpose early on, choose the right career, have a good job, a nice house in the right neighborhood. They choose a spouse who works well for them. They might be married for their entire life. They just seem to live life on a neat, straight path of good decisions. (I try not to hate those people.)
Harold feels like his path is so straight that he isn’t getting anywhere, so he goes off the path. (My kind of man.) It’s important to note for later that the moon went with him. He draws a forest, and to keep it safe, his forest contains only one tree: an apple tree. The apples are so beautiful Harold thinks they should be protected, so he draws a dragon to protect the apples.
But the dragon he draws has big sharp teeth. Harold backs away, and because he is shaking from fear, he accidentally draws ocean waves that end up over his head. His fears have become his reality. Kind of like when we focus on our fears, they often manifest for us, don’t they? Harold thinks quickly and draws a boat for himself and smoothly sails away. The story gently reminds us again: The moon went with him.
When Harold’s boat reaches land, which he has drawn, it’s a big sandy beach, so he decides he should have a picnic lunch on the beach. He draws a blanket and nine pies. Harold eats until he is full, but there is a lot leftover. He doesn’t want it to go to waste. Here we see a mini spiritual lesson in giving. Harold draws animals to finish his leftover pies. Spirit is abundant in blessing us, is it not? Scripture and the law of circulation tell us that when we are blessed with enough, we should always put some back into circulation. Even when we believe we are lacking, we can find ways to give. It is a cycle. “As you give, so shall you receive.”
Harold draws a mountain that he can climb, so he can see where in the world he was. He thought If he went high enough he could see his bedroom, his place of safety and security. But he falls off the edge of the mountain because he hadn’t drawn the other side! Once again, Harold’s own drawings lead him into a dire situation. First it was the scary dragon, and then the ocean waves, and now he’s falling off a mountain. He falls at a rapid pace, but he has that trusty purple crayon. He quickly draws a hot air balloon for himself. It is his thinking that saves him. It’s like Harold is showing us: Just imagine it. Just draw it. And perhaps most importantly, just believe it.
He couldn’t see any houses from the balloon, so Harold drew a house. With windows, but none of the windows was his bedroom window. He drew more windows—many windows—big buildings with windows—a whole city full of windows. Harold is stressed out, and I would say panicked. He wants his own window in his own bedroom, and he can’t find it. He asks a policeman, which he draws of course, and the policeman points him in the same direction he was already going. We seek guidance in all kinds of places, don’t we? We ask our friends, our spouse, our boss, our teachers. We ask facebook, twitter, and instagram. We listen to television, movies, and magazines. They often tell us things that we either don’t need to know or that deep down we already know. There is value in trusting your own intuition.
Harold wants desperately to be in bed looking out his window. Then he remembers something important. When he had seen his window before, it was always around the moon. Remember the story has been reminding us that the moon has been with Harold on his entire journey. So, he draws his bedroom window around the moon in his picture. He drew his bed, got in it, and drew the covers over him. The story ends with, “The purple crayon dropped on the floor, and Harold dropped off to sleep.”
So what does God have to do with all this? Where does Spirit fit into this classic children’s book about using our imagination?
I think God is like the moon. It’s what Harold first actively seeks before he goes on his adventure, and it is what ultimately brings him back home to safely.
“Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
The story states on several occasions, “The moon came with him.” While the moon is ever present on the journey, it doesn’t do much but follow Harold.
“…the Lord your God…goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Keep this spiritual truth in mind: Like Harold, we hold the crayon. Always.
The crayon represents God’s creative power and our use of it as expressions of God in the world. God gives us the crayon—it is automatically gifted to us through our consciousness. As Ernest Holmes wrote in The Science of Mind, “There is a power for good in the universe, greater than you are, and you can use it.” We can use our power (our imagination) in good ways or bad. We can make scary dragons, ocean waves, or dangerous mountains, but we can also create smooth sailing sailboats, an abundance of delicious pies, a safe hot air balloon, and the comfort and security of our own bed.
Trust and believe in your ability to co-create with Spirit and manifest anything and everything you could possibly desire.