Let's Get Off Our Buts

Part Two: The Imagination Is for Rehearsing Our Dreams and Reliving Our Joys

The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.


The imagination is a fascinating, powerful place. For example, remember any incident from elementary school--perhaps the face of a teacher, the smell of crayons, the feel of fingerpaint, or writing with a fat pencil. (Remember those fat pencils?) Now, think of someplace you plan to go in the next month and imagine yourself there. Good. Now, imagine yourself on the moon, looking back at the earth--a big blue marble in the blackness of space. Excellent.

This is the power of the imagination: we can return to the past, rehearse the future, and zoom off on flights of fancy--all within seconds.

The images you had may not have been well-detailed, or held in the imagination for very long, but you probably had some sense of each. Some people primarily see in their imaginations, others primarily hear , others primarily feel . Whichever you do is fine.

When the comfort zone has control of our imagination, it is vigorously and creatively used against us. We relive the horrors of the past--fears that were justified, guilts that were especially foul, unworthinesses at their worst, hurt feelings at their most painful, anger at its most destructive. Considering the false history created by the comfort zone's careful selection and occasional rewriting, it's easy to feel discouraged about ourselves and anything we might even consider doing.

The ancestor of every action is a thought.


The comfort zone also uses the imagination to create a future of not just failure, but monumental failure, embarrassing failure, public and unconditional failure. Considering the power of our imagination, it's amazing that we ever get out of bed.

The comfort zone also uses news stories and other fictional accounts of disaster to show us why we had better not do anything new.

It's time to recapture the imagination from the comfort zone.

The comfort zone claims to have complete ownership, or maybe a 99-year lease, but, in fact, it doesn't even have squatter's rights.

Evict it! Out! Your imagination is yours. You can remember the past you choose, rehearse the future you want, relate to the real and fictional events you select, identify with the heroes you hold dear.

When we remember the good things from our past (and all our pasts are filled with both good and bad), we build an image of ourselves as doers and achievers--charmed, kind, and terrific. This self-esteem forms a solid base for future action.

When we project our dreams into a positive future, we see that we can have what we want. A positive image of the future not only shows us how to get there; it draws us to it, attracting us toward our dreams like a magnet.

When we hear some good news, read an inspirational story, or see an uplifting movie, we can use our imagination to put ourselves in the center of the action. This allows us to identify with all the good, happy, and wonderful aspects of our culture--and know that we're one of them.

The positive use of the imagination is often called visualization . The word visual in visualization does not necessarily mean "to see." Visual is used in the general sense, as in, "See what I mean?" As mentioned before, some people see, while others primarily hear and others primarily feel. Any one, or any combination, is fine.

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections, and the truth of imagination.


It is the spirit of the age to believe that any fact, however suspect, is superior to any imaginative exercise, no matter how true.


An excellent way to reclaim property is to build on it. I suggest building a sanctuary in your imagination. If you don't already have a sanctuary, you might want to take some time and do it now. We'll be using the sanctuary later in this book. If you do have a sanctuary, you might want to do a little revisiting--or even remodeling--as you read the next few pages.

Imagine immensely enjoying the process of building a sanctuary.

The Sanctuary

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.


A sanctuary is an inner retreat you build with visualization in your imagination. Here you can discover the truth about yourself, and work to affirm it. ("Make it firm.")

I call it a sanctuary. Some call it a workshop, or an inner classroom. You can call it whatever word gives you the sense of asylum, harbor, haven, oasis, shelter--a place you can go to learn your lessons in peace and harmony, or just take a rest and get away from it all.

There are absolutely no limits to your sanctuary, although it's a good idea to put some limits on it. In this way, the sanctuary is a transitional point between the limitations of our physical existence and the unlimited.

The sanctuary can be any size, shape, or dimension you choose--large and elaborate or small and cozy. It can be located anywhere--floating in space, on a mountain top, by an ocean, in a valley, anywhere. (You are welcome to combine all these, if you like.) The nice thing about the sanctuary: you can change it or move it anytime--instantly.

The sanctuary can contain anything. I'll suggest some things here, but consider this just the beginning of your shopping list. Before giving my design tips (you can consider me your interior designer), I'll talk about ways in which you might want to "build" your sanctuary.

I can believe anything, provided it is incredible.


Some people will build theirs by simply reading the suggestions: as they read each, it's there. Others might read them over now for information, and then put on some soft music, close their eyes, and let the construction begin. Still others may want to make this an active process. With their eyes closed (and being careful not to bump into too much furniture), they might physically move as each area of the sanctuary is built. Any--or any combination--of these is, of course, fine.

While reading through my suggestions, you will probably get ideas for additions or alterations. By all means make notes of these, or simply incorporate them as you go. Have I gotten across the idea that this is your sanctuary? Okay, let's go.

Entryway. This is a door or some device that responds only to you and lets only you enter. (I'll suggest a way to bring others into your sanctuary in a moment.)

Light. Each time you enter your sanctuary, a pure, white light cascades over you, surrounding, filling, protecting, blessing, and healing you--for your highest good, and the highest good of all concerned.

Main Room. Like the living room of a house or the lobby of a hotel, this is the central area. From here, there are many directions you can go and many things to explore.

People Mover. This is a device to move people in and out of your sanctuary. No one ever enters without your express permission and invitation. You can use an elevator, conveyor belt, Star Trek beam-me-up device, or anything else that moves people. Let there be a white light at the entry of the mover as well, so that as people enter and leave your sanctuary, they are automatically surrounded, filled, protected, and healed by that white light, and only that which is for their highest good and the highest good of all concerned takes place.

Information Retrieval System. This is a method of getting any kind of information--providing, of course, it's for your highest good (and the highest good of all concerned) that you have it. The information retrieval system can be a computer screen, a staff of librarians, a telephone, or any other device that will answer your questions.

Video Screen. This is a video (or movie) screen on which you can view various parts of your life--past, present, or future. The screen has a white light around it. When you see images you don't like or don't want to encourage, the light is off. When the screen displays images you want to affirm, the light glows. (Those who are old enough to remember Sylvania's Halo of Light television know just what I mean.)

Ability Suits. This is a closet of costumes that, when worn, give you the instant ability to be anything you want--great actor, successful writer, perfect lover, eager learner, Master of your Universe; any and all are available to you. When you're done with an ability suit, just throw it on the floor in front of the closet--ability suits have the ability to hang themselves up.

Ability Suit Practice Area. This is a place you can try new skills--or improve on old ones--while wearing your ability suits. Leave lots of room, because there's an ability suit for flying and another for space travel. In your sanctuary, not even the sky's a limit.

Health Center. Here the healing arts of all the ages--past, present, future; traditional and alternative--are gathered in one place. All are devoted to your greater health. The health center is staffed with the most competent health practitioners visualization can buy. Who is the most healing being you can imagine? That's who runs your center.

I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done.


Playroom. Here, all the toys you ever wanted--as a child or as an adult--are gathered. There's lots of room--and time--to play with each. As with ability suits, you never have to worry about "putting your toys away." They put themselves away.

Sacred Room. This is a special sanctuary within your sanctuary. You can go there for meditation, contemplation, or special inner work.

Master Teacher. This is your ideal teacher, the being with whom you are the perfect student. The Master Teacher knows everything about you (has always been with you, in fact).

The Master Teacher also knows all you need to learn, the perfect timing for your learning it, and the ideal way of teaching it to you.

You don't create a Master Teacher--that's already been done. You discover your Master Teacher.

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.


It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.


To meet your Master Teacher, simply walkover to your people mover, ask for your Master Teacher to come in, and from the pure, white light of your people mover comes your Master Teacher.

(I'll leave you two alone for a while. More uses for the sanctuary later. See you both in Part Three!)

New-Found Friends

Use your weaknesses; aspire to the strength.


Fear, guilt, unworthiness, hurt feelings, and anger are really our friends . Hmmm. That may take some getting used to. We have, in the past, treated them as enemies. In running from these enemies, people have abandoned their dreams and ransomed their futures.

Yet friends they are, and friends they'll stay. Our perception of their friendship might not always be up to par, but they'll continue doing their friendly activities whether we realize those activities are friendly or not.

Here are some suggestions on ways to work with your new-found friends:

  1. When you're using fear, guilt, unworthiness, hurt feelings, anger, or discouragement to limit yourself, pause for a moment and remember:

    • Fear is the energy to do our best in a new situation.

    • Guilt is the energy for personal change.

    • Unworthiness keeps us on track.

    • Hurt feelings remind us how much we care.

    • Anger is the energy for change.

    • Discouragement reveals our courage.

    Review the chapter for each of these if, in themidst of a comfort-zone binge, you ask, "What on earth does he mean by that ?"

  2. Observe your personal process of discouragement. What makes you give up before you even start (or shortly thereafter)?

    Since nothing we intend is ever faultless, and nothing we attempt ever without error, and nothing we achieve without some measure of finitude and fallibility we call humanness, we are saved by forgiveness.


    Where in your body do you feel fear? Guilt? Unworthiness? Hurt feelings? Anger?

    What are your thoughts ("I'm too tired," "I'm no good at this sort of thing") when you use these emotions in a limiting way?

    Which of these limiting friends is your "favorite"? Do they gang up? Which ones always appear with which others?

  3. Forgive yourself for treating your friends as enemies. Forgive yourself for all the things you could have done if only you had learned this years ago. Forgive yourself in general. (Lack of forgiveness is the mortar that holds the wall of the comfort zone in place.) Forgiveness is an easy process. Simply say, "I forgive myself for ____________" and fill in the blank with the transgression. Then say, "Iforgive myself for judging myself for _____________" and fill in the blank with the same transgression. Forgiving is also forgetting. Let it go.

  4. Love it all--the fear, the excitement, the guilt, the power for change, the unworthiness, the worthiness, the hurt feelings, the euphoric feelings, the anger, the movement, the discouragement, the encouragement--it's called life. ("Life!" as Cynthia Nelma exclaimed, "Can't live with it, can't live without it.") And when you're not loving it all, love that, too.

The key is awareness . At this point, simply be aware of the comfort zone and its effect on you.

Soon, we'll get to expanding the comfort zone enough to include your dreams--and maybe even a dance floor. For now--what is your dream, anyway?

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