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❚ play ❚ symbols ❚ ceremony ❚ imagination ❚ simpleman ✱ Robert A. Johnson

symbol, ceremony, art, and imagination

The problems of meaninglessness and loneliness, the results of our unlived lives, can be made conscious. We can find an alternate interior environment for experiencing and integrating our lost youth in the realms of symbol, ceremony, art, and imagination. These languages exist apart from time and space.

A man cannot be redeemed from his unfulfilled life by any literal rebirth but he can be redeemed by the world of imagination and symbol (the water and the spirit). Nicodemus’s question to Christ: “Must a man enter into his mother’s womb a second time?” Christ replies, “No, except a man be born of the water and the spirit he cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven” (John 3:4–5).

A man caught in the early stages of three-dimensional consciousness finds a little nourishment in the remnants of his two-dimensional consciousness (sport, play, adolescent behavior, closeness to nature, adventure, hero worship); so also a man at the close of his three-dimensional consciousness can get a small trickle of nourishment in the anticipation of his four-dimensional consciousness. It is the dead center that is so dangerous when one is shut off from both the two-and the four-dimensional worlds — that terrible day Kafka spoke of that sits between the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ.

Imagination and symbol make up a realm of experience in our interior lives where ** the ego consent to a subordinate, still important, but not dominant role**. Without the ego, chaos would erupt. With the ego in control, you are blocked by the egocentricity (Part I Faust made a horrible tangle of the process, as the ego always does when it is in control).

With inner work you take part in a process in which every element of life, including the dark elements, has a place of dignity and worth. The process requires that you give honor and dignity to every dimension of your life. It is the unity of life, not the triumph of one faculty over another, that is the goal of imagination, fantasy, and ceremony.