"What if you were a mouse and you were locked inside a drawer and the key had been taken out of the keyhole? How would you get out?"
I made a few weak attempts at answers, but of course 5-year-old Maggie didn't really want me to get the right answer. She delighted in telling me that the mouse would make itself so small that it would crawl out of the keyhole.
"What if you were locked inside a metal box with no keys and no openings? How would you get out?"
This time I tried shapeshifting into something hot that would melt the metal. No dice. "Just stop imagining," was the surprising answer.
All the answers to these Houdini "riddles" had to do with the imagination. One way or another, imagination provided the escape route. And interestingly enough, in the second one, imagination had created the box itself.
Children are such amazing teachers about the powers of the unseen. In their world, we can change size, grow wings, assume powers of any kind, move in both directions through time, solve any problem and escape from any predicament.
Are they right? Well, in my shamanic training, my core teacher Alberto Villoldo, indicated they are. After a thorough lesson in journeying to spirit dimensions, another beginning student asked Alberto, "Isn't all that just in our imaginations?"
Alberto sat and thought. And then simply said, "Yes." And waited. Someone laughed. Then more people joined in until the whole room was laughing.
Did you get it? What does "just" in our imaginations mean anyway? The imagination is a whole dimension, a powerful one, the land of dreams that can shake us to the core. Was the last nightmare you had "just" in your imagination? I'll bet you felt in your physical body, in your emotional body, and in your mind--and still do.
Candace Pert, a brilliant scientist who recently passed away unexpectedly, provided eloquent proof of the mind/body connection, reminding us of what we already know: that the riddle of human suffering will be solved not within the box of logic and familiar territory, but by venturing into the vast inner spaces that children recognize. For lack of any better term for the vast land we can travel without vehicles, we can call it the imagination. It is the way out of the locked drawer, and the key to the box we find ourselves trapped in, forgetting that we already possess all the answers.
We know now that when a diver visualizes and feels the feeling of executing a perfect dive, the body registers that practice almost exactly the way it would were he physically doing the dive. What could this mean about the power of healing? If you have an affliction you're caught in, try visualizing and feeling the feeling of wellness. It is your imagination that will connect what is still unrealized to your body in a way it can register.
I believe one day we will all know we possess this gift, of creating new realities from the place of the imagination. That would truly be thinking outside the box.
Thank you, dear Maggie.