Thursday, April 26, 2012

Invisible Counselors

"In a dark time the eye begins to see."  

This is the opening line of the poem by Theodore Roethke.  But how does it happen in life?

In a dark time, when battling paralyzing fear (the fear of poverty, of criticism, of loss of love), I wrote down those words of the poet.  I had no idea how I would find my way out of the underground passage I found myself in, especially as there were no mentors or guides.

The idea that I could turn misfortune (which I began to write about in the form of a book that I would call The Red Coat) into a blessing was the thought that changed my life.

In his inspirational classic, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says that people end up where they are because of their dominating thoughts and desires.  Everything created in the world begins in the form of a thought inside your head.
"All thought has a tendency to clothe itself in its physical equivalent."
If you are a worrier, you get things to worry about.  If you fear criticism, you find yourself inundated by it. 

To address his own shortcomings, Hill conducted a thought experiment.  He called an imaginary council of historical figures whom he admired and who he thought would have a positive influence on him, such that he might in time and through interaction with them rebuild his own character.  Hill appointed himself the head of that assembly and addressed the figures one by one, requesting their assistance in his endeavors.  Soon, these "Invisible Counselors" began to communicate to him through the "receiving set" of his subconscious mind, granting him throughout his day the extraordinary ideas, plans and hunches that flashed before his mind. 

Here is my cabinet (with seating chart) and call to order.  Who's in yours?


NAPOLEON HILL (sitting at my right hand which is the strong hand of my will), I ask that you pass on to me the habit of directing my thoughts toward success, being ever mindful that thoughts are things, and powerful things when mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence and a burning desire for their translation into wealth.  

SHIKO MUNAKATA (self-taught Artist born to a blacksmith), I ask that you teach me to see what is already there and to work with marvelous speed in getting it down on paper.

From you, DIONYSUS (God of Theater and Wine), I wish to acquire the freedom of Nobody and the gift of the Poets through whom speak the daemons of your house.

From you, INGMAR BERGMAN (Master of the Magic Lantern), I wish to learn how to express through word and image those chasms, heavens, eternities that we bear within us.

You, ERESHKIGAL (Queen of the Great Below whose dark forces when unobserved are felt as depression), I wish to keep in my circle so that you do not destroy me.

From you, POLAR BEAR (sitting opposite me), I ask that you let me put on your coat and be who I am.

From you, INANNA (Queen of Heaven and Earth), I wish to acquire all of the virtues: the virtue of war, of incantation, of truth, of dagger and sword, of fear, of lovemaking, of the happy song, of the lamentation, of treachery, of straightforwardness, of kindness, of deceit, and so on, so that I am a whole and sovereign being.

From you, ARISTOPHANES (Comic Poet of the Ancient World), I wish to acquire the audacity and skill to erase the world that is and create another.

From you, ARTEMIS (Mistress of the Wilderness), I wish to acquire the ability to talk to the animals and to hear the wisdom of the natural world.

From you, C.G. JUNG, I wish to acquire the ability and courage to overcome those strange resistances that hold me back, to let go of suffering and open myself to the possibility of all that I am, giving battle to the nursery demons at the gate and entering the causal zone of my psyche where I clarify and name the Eternal Ones who hold the keys to my life.

From you, JOAN OF ARC (sitting to my left, the little left hand of me), I desire to acquire the Movement of Faith, the resolute action that is needed to put in motion the extraordinary ideas that come to me in sparks of divinity. 


Linda said...

WOW. Makes me think of who I'd want as my counselors and tells me that, through the magic and mystery of the Universe, they really CAN be part of my "Team"... forces to draw on for guidance and protection.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Cynthia Wylie said...

My invisible counselors are all women because they uniquely understand the women's journey to success. Can I copy you and add Joan of Arc?

The Red Coat Writer said...

Please do! There certainly is enough of Joan to go around!

Sarah said...

I would choose my old friend Chuck Miller. He can look at a Matisse and see where the artist struggled.