Another word for it is latent. I learnt about it when, as an eleven year old, I built my own photographic darkroom and enlarger and started developing films and prints. It was always a thrill to me to see the image on the film or paper gradually appear.

I learned later that the images before development were called latent, and it took some effort and skill to develop them. Of course that is like us as humans, we have so much that is latent until it is developed. This potential that we all have I believe is enormous. That too I learned about as a skinny, spotty thirteen year old. I started exercising and changed my eating habits and saw a latent me becoming real as a sturdy, strong youth. But there is so much more of you than an outward appearance and a healthy body. I discovered I had an inner me as well as an outer me. So from a young man who was thrown out if school at fifteen as hopeless, who didn’t even know his ABC, I started exercising my mind and found I had an amazing potential. At sixteen I started my own photographic business but because National Service was in operation I had to join the armed forces. I chose to be trained as a medic in the RAF, and had an honorary pass with accelerated trade test. I was getting weekly test results in the 90’s, so was released before everyone else. See Swaps Camera for Rifle

Later still I learned that we are all born with an immense potential that often remains latent because of the condition of our body, our education, our prevalent social teachings, or our belief that what authority figures and parents say is taken as truth. As Plato said so long ago, “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and a fool”.

For instance I was brought up to believe that the brain if destroyed by disease or injury destroys not only memory and brain function but you. Yet when I experienced a devastating stroke which knocked out my ability to speak, tore a massive hole in my brain, took away my ability to move, and my face was therefore immobile in a gargoyle condition, I was still acutely aware of what was going on around me,  but had no way of communicating it. I saw then that the brain was only an organ enabling me, my consciousness, to move and express through the body. See Tony’s Experience of Stroke

See also this remarkable video of a young girl who was judged mentally deficient, breaking through the barrier of her body. See Breaking out. 

Example: An example of this is given by Sir Auckland Geddes, a surgeon and one time British ambassador to the U.S., he described the case of a doctor friend who late at night was suddenly ill with acute gastro-enteritis. A brilliant description of such an experience showing how time and space are no longer the same in this condition. Becoming suddenly and violently ill with gastro-enteritis he quickly became unable to move or phone for help. As this was occurring he noticed two levels of awareness. One was normal sensory awareness in his body; the other was external to his body. From the external self he could see not only his body, but also the house, garden and surrounds. He needed only think of a friend or place and immediately he was there and was later able to verify what he saw. In looking at his body, he noticed that the brain was only an end organ, like a condensing plate, upon which memory and awareness played. The mind, he said, was not in the brain, the brain was in the mind, like a radio in the play of signals.

Example: Brain Injury That Turned Jason Padgett Into Math Genius Suggests Dormant Skills May Be Common.

Padgett, a furniture salesman from Tacoma, Washington, who had very little interest in academics, developed the ability to visualize complex mathematical objects and physics concepts intuitively. The injury, while devastating, seems to have unlocked part of his brain that makes everything in his world appear to have a mathematical structure. “I see shapes and angles everywhere in real life” — from the geometry of a rainbow, to the fractals in water spiraling down a drain, Padgett told Live Science. “It’s just really beautiful.” [Album: The World’s Most Beautiful Equations]

Padgett, who just published a memoir with Maureen Seaberg called “Struck by Genius” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014), is one of a rare set of individuals with acquired savant syndrome, in which a normal person develops prodigious abilities after a severe injury or disease. Other people have developed remarkable musical or artistic abilities, but few people have acquired mathematical faculties like Padgett’s.

Now, researchers have figured out which parts of the man’s brain were rejiggered to allow for such savant skills, and the findings suggest such skills may lie dormant in all human brains.

Such obvious examples state that what we have been taught is far from true. It shows how our potential can be ‘developed’ if we do not give up on ourselves and those around us.

 Your Future Self

If you can accept that you have a huge but unexpressed self, you can also probably accept that the latent potential, if it is beginning to show in our present life, will be presented as our future self, the self we can become by developing.

Our future self, which is like a baby, which parents can see can grow in the future into a mature woman or man, has similar promise. In dreams it can be shown as a spiritual guide, an alien, a great spiritual being like the Christ, Mohammed or Krishna, or a dreamt of new born baby.

I see that we are never separated from the infinite potential. But what happens is that often our thoughts, our energies and decisions are so scattered and changing that we never manifest what is possible. It is like beginning to build something, then we leave it and move on to something else that we start to build, and leave that and move on to something else again. So nothing is taken to full form. We need to hold something steady in our being and then the life energy that flows through us cannot help but begin to give it form and life, to bring it alive.

But we need to hold something steady, something that we long for. I don’t mean something like a car or a big house, but of course that could work too. I’m talking about those deepest passions that we have, the things we really long for deep down. We need to recognise them and hold them as sacred. It is useful to put an image outside of us that will remind us because we keep forgetting. It is a difficult world that we live in; difficult to hold on to our ideals and goals in that way because of the distractions and the many and varied currents of thought and impulse that we live in. It is a difficult world because it is so full of images and influences.

Part of our journey and life is the skill to find our way through the those many impacts we meet, and continue to be in contact with our innermost passions and directions. We need to understand how we relate to them and therefore deal with them more easily. There is a lot of temptation to make an image of ourselves in some way. The temptation is to direct an image of ourselves in the world that others will see from a distance and follow or adore – perhaps like happens with pop stars. There needs to be the recognition that we sit together as equals, and so teach each other, “I share life with you. In triumph and in failure I share life with you.”

But How do we Unfold

Well, first we must put aside everything we believe or have been taught. I am not saying discard it, but simply put it on one side so you are open to learn something new. What most people do not admit to themselves is that they – you – are a living example of the greatest mystery on this earth – a living human being. You are Life and life is a mystery that no one has fully understood. So take on the realisation that you are in the middle of a never ending mystery, a never ending wonder that you want to unfold.

There are a thousand paths to do that, and I only know some of them. I know that recording and exploring your dreams is such a path. I know that living a life which treats each day as a wonderful education can do that. I know that treating the difficulties of your life, your body and mind as things to learn valuable lessons from can do that. I know that learning to love without possessing, without jealousy and pain can do that. I know that Love that does not grasp, Power that does not bend others to my will, and living a life of wisdom that lets others look through me upon the face of  Life, can do that. Yes, it is difficult to do those things, and you do not need a thousand dollar course to learn them.

You ARE LIFE with an enormous potential, and if you start trying to live any of them Life will be with you every step of the way. I know because I trod that path. It might help to read Opening to Life – Meeting yourselfHow I Became A VirginProcessing Dreams – Trauma – Street Wisdom – Using Your Intuition

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