Parallel Lives & The Imagination


My first inkling of a parallel life occurred during my late teens, but of course at that time I had no idea of what I was experiencing. When I would express that fleeting feeling to others the response was always, "Oh yea, deja vu. That happens to me sometimes too. Blow it off." But it is not a feeling of, "I have been there before" but one of, "I am somewhere else even now."

As time passed those feelings came more frequently and a theme began to develop. It had a continuity to it and a ribbon of reasonableness. I feel that I am physically situated in two different places as well. But only being able to be conscious of one physical environment at a time, I can describe this one in minute detail, yet I know there is another place and it is different. It is colder there, and wooded. And I seem to be alone.

Like the environment, this life is concrete and can be touched and seen and heard and felt. That parallel life is abstract and only alluded to within my own mind. I seem to have some control over it and the goings-on within it, unlike this one where, yes ,while one has control, there are also many variables that are beyond my control.

Yet, I can never seem to really gain a grasp of that other world. In my mind I call this life "reality" and that parallel life, "intuitive possibility." And the question that haunts me is, "Do I go there? Am I unaware of THIS life when I am there? And am I the same age and person there that I am here?" I have far too many memories of it to discount the possibility of its existence, and therefore, I wonder and ponder.

Sidestep, if you will, to the concept of the imagination. We are born with one; what happens to it? Watch a small child play pretend. They have not lost it yet. Watch a teenager daydream; they do not act it out as children, but they have not lost it totally yet. It has become a passive activity, yet it still exists. What happens to it?

A child imagines a monster under her bed. To comfort her we say, "It’s only in your imagination." The message is clear.  The imagination is a scary place full of unthinkable horrors. To escape those fears, we stop imagining.

A teenager comes home from school and says, "everyone hates me." We say, "No they don’t. That’s all in your imagination."

I think you see my point. Imagination is bad, scary, destructive, and counter-productive.

And so, the imagination is trained to retreat itself to the recesses of our memories. And then we have jobs and families and RESPONSIBILITIES and no room, no time, for the imagination. With an exception: if you are an artist and you have heard from, and been trained by teachers and mentors, to "Let your imagination soar and express it through this medium of painting or sculpting or music or writing or some other form of self expression." But for most of us, the imagination is considered a childhood luxury and not to be delved into as adults. Ah, but we do. You do.

Who hasn’t, at least once (come on, admit it) received a piece of mail that promises you ten million dollars if you have the winning number and you at some point allowed yourself to get lost in your imagination to think of what you would do if that happened to you? It was fun, wasn’t it? And yet at some point, you told yourself, "this is will never happen to me," and you pushed it out of your mind and went on with your life.

But ... you did manage to pull from those dark recesses that wonderful part of yourself called your imagination. And you just exercised that amazing human ability to venture off in your own mind to another world of possibilities. Like any other skill of the brain, it would follow that if you have the capability to access this section of the brain, then you should be able to strengthen and refine it, train it and explore it.

In order to comprehend the possibility of parallel lives, you must first recognize and accept your own imagination. The beauty of the imagination lies in the fact that you can program it, much like a computer, to only allow what you want within it. No scary monsters under the bed for me!

That brings me to the biggest downfall of the imagination. Those with a vivid imagination are prone to the worst sort of imaginings. A child is late coming home and you can virtually see them lying in a ditch as the result of a traffic accident. Your spouse calls to say they are working late again and you see them in the arms of their secret lover. These are the monsters under the bed for the adult imagination.

Opening up oneself to the intuitive possibilities brings with it the necessity of training oneself NOT to use it as a mental torturing device.

At this point you are thinking, it is not a parallel life that she writes of here. I know what it is! It’s fantasy! Sorry to disappoint you, but fantasy lies totally in another place in the scheme of things.

Fantasy is intense, yet fleeting. Fantasies, for the most part, are temporary and ever-changing and generally of a sexual nature or of ego, as in becoming rich and famous. Other than my long lived fantasy of a long train ride at night, in a sleeping compartment with an amorous lover, (but that’s another story within itself), all of my fantasies have been short lived and ever-changing. Fantasy is a temporary escape; whereas, my sense of a parallel life has been with me always and gives me greater glimpses into it as I grow older. And from that feeling, there is no escape.

It seems there should be an easier way to explore this notion. There are those who say drugs will give you enlightenment and expand your mind. I fail to see how trying to discover something within your mind can be accomplished if you then have to try to decipher it through a fog.

There are those who see this only being accomplished through religion. No, I have never seen it as a spiritual quest. Although that would make it easier; there are volumes written on man’s spiritual quest that one could spend a lifetime reading, only to miss out on the exploration and discovery itself, so bogged down on re-inventing the wheel and calling it our own.

It is of NOW, and yet, not here, as I sit typing this out. But apart of me.....that is somewhere else.

                                                    ¬©January 1997, Gayla Nelson

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