A friend told me about a movie she’d just seen. “Should I see it?” I asked after hearing the plot. “No,” she responded, “the message is much better than the delivery.”
Here’s the plot as I heard it. A little girl has an imaginary friend. He’s the perfect companion and they live in a wonderland of beauty, creativity, fun, and adventure. However, this idyllic life comes to an end when she reaches her tenth birthday, the age when imaginary friends must be left behind so that a child can join “the real world.” The girl grows up to be serious, competent, and responsible. She works at a serious, boring, dead-end job and becomes engaged to a “perfect” man who is handsome, successful, rich, self-absorbed, and completely oblivious to who she is. Everyone is happy for her because she’s made the perfect match and will now live happily ever after. Though she is not happy or fulfilled and doesn’t feel seen or loved, she is sure there is something wrong with her because she has, after all, the perfect life. Everyone and everything tells her that hers is the life all good people desire, the perfect life with all the perfect things, and she is clearly wrong not to be thrilled. The “right” person would be ecstatic.
She soldiers on, trying to be happy, until magically her imaginary friend, now grown-up as well, returns to show her what’s possible. He knows everything about her: favorite colors, books, art, and foods, what she wants, wishes for, dreams of. While she’s away he even decorates the apartment she’s never had time or energy to make into a home. The new world he creates for her perfectly captures and expresses her essence. She’s seen and understood, mirrored in a way that allows her to see the unique beauty of her being.
Just what we’re all wishing and hoping for, yes? Okay, maybe not the apartment decorating but certainly being seen, understood, and loved unconditionally.
Up to the return of the imaginary friend the heroine’s life is one we can all relate to, I suspect. Egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate on a world-wide scale gives non-stop information to every little child about how life is, what’s real and important, how a person should feel, what leads to happiness, and, in most cases, just what it means about a person if they don’t achieve the state of bliss and ease they should. For most children, the world presented in the media—and even through education—is just not going to be the world they live in. What we realize with awareness practice is even if all the “right” content falls into place—right job, right partner, right children, right home, etc.—those externals don’t guarantee happiness. Like the woman in the film, most of us reach that much-encouraged-by-society conclusion that not having the “right” feelings is proof that there really is something wrong with us.
The point in the movie at which reality becomes magic is the very point at which in “real life” magic becomes reality. Each of us does have, and has always had, an “imaginary friend” who is more real than all the bogus information we were force-fed growing up. We have direct, immediate, 24-7 access to the wisdom, love, and compassion that animates this world of ours via the Mentor. Each of us has an expression of conscious, compassionate awareness that is exclusively in relationship with us. We have a kind, clear guiding wisdom that knows us completely, understands us perfectly, supports us unconditionally, and will show us the path that does lead to the happiness we’ve always known was possible for us to have.
Karmic conditioning about what’s real and what’s imaginary is strong. We’re meant to live an entire life believing, following, and trying to please the inconsistent, confusing, cruel conversation of conditioned mind that has been yammering at us since before we can remember. That conversation was always at odds with what our heart knew and gently attempted to return us to, a world of kindness and compassion. But the pressure to believe the voices comes from every corner of our conditioned world, and it can feel impossible to get free of it. HOWEVER (and this is the biggest however ever), as soon as you hear the voice of the Mentor telling you what you’ve always known in your heart to be true, you can never be fooled again about what’s imaginary, what’s real, and what’s magic.