There is the path of joy and there is the path of pleasure. The two paths lie in front of man. Pondering on them, the wise chooses the path of joy: the fool takes the path of pleasure.
What is wanting, if indeed anything be wanting, is not writing or speaking – whereof ordinarily there is more than enough – but silence and work. For whereas speaking distracts, silence and action collect the thoughts, and strengthen the spirit. As soon therefore as a person understands what has been said to him for his good, he has no further need to hear or to discuss; but to set himself in earnest to practise what he has learnt with silence and attention.
St John of the Cross
Every spiritual and poetical vision comes from imagination: because imagination is the light of the soul. Without imagination we cannot have faith, because ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’: things not seen of course by reason or by the eyes of the body, but seen by the spirit. Without imagination there is no vision and no creation. Most of the miseries of man, such as selfishness, injustice, and cruelty, have their root in a lack of imagination. But imagination is not fancy. As Rabindranath Tagore says, ‘The stronger is the imagination, the less imaginary it is’. Fancies disturb the mind and they may lead to destruction; but imagination is an inner light which with the help of reason leads to construction. All faith comes from true imagination, but fancy, or distorted imagination, is the source of all fanaticism and superstition.