One of the fundamental concepts in occultism, and even in modern New Thought, is that man can only become what he is able consciously to imagine, or more precisely to ‘image forth’. This is the reason why Avatars, divine Manifestations or spiritual Teachers have to appear among the masses of men when the time for a basic MUTATION, or a radical transformation of the implications of human existence, has struck on the vast clock of evolution. Such Personages embody the main characteristics of the ‘new step’ which mankind, or a section of mankind, has now to take. They are Exemplars. They stimulate, mobilize or fascinate human beings into doing what the latter would otherwise be unwilling and too inert to do. Looking at these Exemplars, human beings who have felt within themselves a vague, yet poignant sense of discontent and restlessness SEE clearly realized in the lifе of the Exemplar the ideal power or virtue for which they more or less unconsciously longed.
Every person on the spiritual Path must, in a sense, be his or her own avatar. One has to embody in concrete forms and deeds the ideal that is ‘potentially’ one’s own being. In order to embody it, the individual must visualize it clearly. He must mobilize himself; he must create himself. The spiritual life is always the creation of him who lives it; and he lives it because first of all he has imagined it. He has creatively visualized what he knew deep in his heart to be his butterfly-self. He has done so while still in the chrysalis state, the Dark Night of the Soul.
This is the Great Work of the true alchemist at the level of mind. But this visualizing mind is not what we today usually call mind. It is mind PLUS will, PLUS faith and vibrant openness to ever-new possibilities – the Sagittarian ‘Higher Mind’. It has been said of the conservative person that he is one who refuses to believe that anything can ever happen for the first time. To the creative imagination of a mind infused with spirit, every moment is a first time. Such an individual lives in a passion of creative discovery, in an ever-repeated act of rebirth.