My favorite definition of success, which I’ve cited on numerous occasions, was offered by Henry David Thoreau in the mid-19th century at Walden Pond: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” I’ve italicized two words in Thoreau’s definition of success—dreams and imagined.
What Thoreau is saying is so important to you today. Be willing to dream, and imagine yourself becoming all that you wish to be. If you live from those imaginings, the universe will align with you in bringing all that you wish for—and even more than you imagined when you were living at an ordinary level of consciousness, or what Thoreau calls “common hours.” Keep in mind the basic axiom—all that now exists was once imagined. It follows then that what you want to exist for you in the future must now be imagined.
You’ll see as you read through these foundations for fulfilling your wishes that using your imagination involves more intensity on your part than just imagining an occasional wishful thought. You must first unlearn some of the ways that you’ve been misusing or squandering the capacity your imagination has for providing you with an unlimited ability to manifest all that you desire. Thoreau called it advancing confidently in the direction of your own dreams. Unfortunately, most of us have learned to do the opposite with our imagination, and instead regularly use it to develop mental habits of advancing in precisely the reverse direction of our highest dreams for ourselves.
In my book Wishes Fulfilled, I also address in depth how to utilize the I ams and live from your I am God awareness, beginning with your imagination. Recall that I am God doesn’t refer to your body in any way. It refers to the birthless, deathless, changeless spirit that remains in all the changing forms your body takes every moment of your temporary life here on Earth.
It is important that you recognize a few of the imagination missteps that will block you from fulfilling your unique desires. Remember that your imagination is yours and yours alone. You have the inborn capacity to use it in any way that you choose. No one else is responsible for your imagination. Anything placed in your imagination and held there ultimately becomes your reality.
Nikos Kazantzakis reinforces this idea by giving these words to his fanciful character Zorba (in his book Zorba the Greek), who always lived his life to the fullest: “By believing passionately in something that does not yet exist we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.” This is the power of your imagination when what you desire is imagined sufficiently to make it your reality. Don’t diminish this great gift by using it in a way that is antithetical to its I am God original nature.
Perhaps the most common misuse of imagination is stressing what you don’t want for yourself. This is the largest category of misusing imagination. Start paying attention to general conversation, and you will be astounded at how incredibly prevalent it is. Imagining that finds expression in phrases like, I don’t deserve prosperity, I am always so unlucky, Things never work out for me, and I am unhealthy and cannot be healed, are the kind of ideas that may have been entertained since childhood. Highly functioning self-actualized people simply never imagine what it is that they don’t wish to have as their reality.
Begin noticing and being careful about keeping your imagination free of thoughts that you do not wish to materialize. Instead, initiate a practice of filling your creative thoughts to overflow with ideas and wishes that you fully intend to manifest. Honor your imaginings regardless of others seeing them as crazy or impossible. Recall the words of Kazantzakis and passionately believe in that which is in your imagination and which does not yet exist on the physical plane.
Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. Wayne holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York.