That’s How It Works

In a place you may recognize, there is a closed curtain. A heavy, important curtain of the sort drawn across a stage. You are curious about what is hidden behind it.

With a small flutter in your belly, you step closer and touch the dense fabric, find an opening, and slowly pull the curtain aside. Peeking in, you are awed by what you see – an enormous space filled with living, changing forms. A complex, vibrant jungle of shapes, colors, and structures pulls at your aching heart with a sweet, painful intensity.

It’s beautiful,” you whisper in a whimper to yourself.

“Yes, it is,” a quiet voice says nearby. Someone has been watching you. He stands guard on the outside of the curtain, dressed as a trickster, as usual for this place. He knows what you want, but you voice it anyway: “Can I go inside?”

“No,” he replies in a calm voice.

Your heart sinks so low it just about falls out of your soul.

“You may not go inside. But – if you bring everything that is behind that curtain out here, then you will be in there, won’t you? That’s how it works.”

We all have a curtained world inside of us, full of visions and ideas. We could spend the rest of our lives peering into that inner space, enjoying our personal view of “endless forms most beautiful.”

Our imagination is powerful even just within the bounds of our own heads. In some cases, mental rehearsal of an activity – doing something only in our imagination – leads to actual improvement in our ability to do that activity. Or we can watch another person make a painting, and feel a bit like we’re doing the painting ourselves. Or we can fill our heads with images of other people’s paintings online and feel like we’re surrounded by and immersed in art…yet with not one painting on our walls or easels.

If a tree falls inside your head, no one hears it but you. If a really awesome, beautifully painted forest full of trees has been falling inside your head for years, still no one has seen it but you.

And all of those wonderful ideas for projects popping around in our minds every day? All those interior visions that make our everyday experience so interesting? They are nothing to anyone else, they are mute, invisible, non-existent to the world beyond our heads…until we bring them out from behind the curtain and make them exist in this world we share with others. We can actually live in the world we imagine – if we bring enough of the contents of our imagination out into the world. That’s how it works.

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