Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Imagine that — a cry for God

By  Mary French, Youth Speak News
  • May 25, 2022

Welcome to Earth 2022: where even the phrase “we’ve only got one world” is questioned.

Forget virtual reality — imagined reality is in vogue. Despite all our technological advancements, is it true that we can unlock and create worlds using the sole power of our minds?

About a year ago, I first became aware of “reality shifting” and “lucid dreaming,” which kept appearing on shorts all over social media. Through meticulous cerebral training, people experience “lucid dreaming” upon honing strong awareness and self-control during dreams. Reality shifting poses a similar concept: through deep meditation, some individuals can “shift” their minds into another perceived consciousness, where they can live and exist in this other world.

Manifesting a world apart from this one, where your imagination comes alive and you can live a second life, sounds pretty cool. Is it the desire for control or escape that makes this so appealing? Maybe the draw is simply the satisfaction of the creative mind. Either way, I was fascinated, entranced and, at once, cautious of the idea.

Exploring your imagination is supposedly harmless, but what happens if this more appealing alternate world consumes you so much that you lose the capacity to live this life authentically and purposely? That worried me.

Flash forward to this past month’s arrival of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The movie follows the master of the mystic arts’ travails in many parallel universes, which up until this point were only able to be accessed by his dreams. That’s right — dreams are real and a link to other dimensions, at least in the MCU.

This was not the only film this year centred around the multiverse. Everything Everywhere All at Once is another recent release in which a middle-aged woman must use her supernatural abilities to battle and protect her way across the multiverse.

These films pose an eerily similar reflection of the culture of shifting, which I suspect is no coincidence. While many experts consider it a type of self-hypnosis, some shifters and dreamers believe these alternate realities are palpable, whether created or existing in another universe. The practice has grown more popular since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, even prompting new psychological research and articles.

Being part of something bigger than ourselves and our world is an appealing notion. After all, our world is broken, full of pain and hardship, limiting and, at times, unforgiving. Struggling with this reality may make us want to turn to a new one, real or imagined.

As our confused world continues to move towards its most incredible advancements, giving us everything, everywhere, all at once, and allowing us to follow our every whim, why are we still dissatisfied? The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers an answer to this question:

“The desire for God is written in the human heart because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to Himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.”

This answer necessarily means that every person is indeed part of something divine, so our desire for something bigger than this world makes perfect sense. Wanting the freedom to be the most incredible versions of ourselves and be overall happy also makes sense. Yet, no imagined reality can substitute the Heaven we truly ache for as Christians.

Becoming the best version of ourselves certainly takes a lot more time and effort here. What would be the possibilities if we created a better world in front of us instead of seeking enrichment in alternate realities? That’s what I believe our God-given gift of imagination is for, and something worth living and working towards day by day.

(French, 23, is a graduate of Seat of Wisdom College and lives in Barrie Ont.)

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.