This article is drawn from a story I have used often. I’m including it in a book I’m finishing, titled “The Creative Imagination UNLOCKED.” The Imagination is not about fantasy or make-believe. The Imagination is a powerful faculty of Knowing and Being that lies dormant within our deeper mind.

Our task is to free ourselves from our surface mind and then activate our Imagination, so we can enter into deeper and more meaningful levels of “Reality.” This is easy to say, but hard to do. Why? Because we are caught in a trance of mistaken identity that disconnects us from who we truly are.

We are all more like the character Fred Pierce in the following story than we realize.

Elvis Presley was widely considered by millions to be the undisputed King of Rock ’n’ Roll. He was indeed an amazing performer. Although he died many years ago, Elvis lives on in the hearts of his fans, some of who swear that he is still alive. These fans regularly report Elvis sightings. They see him in parking lots, at movies, and more than a few have seen the King while scuba diving in 50 feet of very fishy water.

Fred Pierce, the owner of a small music store outside Portland, Oregon, is a passionate music lover. He is a big Elvis fan who took things a step further. Not only had he seen Elvis many times, but also he was convinced of something even more astounding. Fred believes he IS Elvis.

Here’s his story.

Fred wakes up one morning convinced that he is Elvis Presley. After jumping out of bed and singing, “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog,” he turns to his wife and demands that she treat him with the respect due the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. At breakfast, Fred demands the same of his two children, and later at work that day, he demands that his business partner and employees call him Elvis.

Initially, they all get a kick out of Fred’s bizarre behavior, but by week’s end, they’ve had enough.

They conclude that the best way to expose Fred’s folly is to hire a lie detector expert. They reason that once a lie detector proves that Fred is not Elvis, this foolishness will end. Somehow, Fred gets wind of their scheme. Upset and disappointed, he decides to spoil their plan by denying that he is Elvis.

On the appointed day, everyone arrives at the lie detector expert’s office, on the 12th floor of the Tell The Truth Building. All are eager for the test to begin. The expert begins with obligatory questions. She asks Fred: “How old are you?” “What town do you live in?” “What’s your shoe size?” “What’s your favorite holiday?” And so on.

Then the lie detector expert asks the key question: “Are you Elvis Presley?” To everyone’s surprise, Fred answers, “No.” But even more flabbergasting are the results.

So deep is Fred’s conviction that he is Elvis Presley that the lie detector reads that Fred is lying when he says that he isn’t. This is exactly our problem.

In our ordinary state of mind, we lack the awareness to know who we deeply are. And we firmly believe we are our self-image-based surface identity. And who we truly are suffers in exile as a consequence.

The person our family saw us as — is not who we truly are. But, due to conditioning, we are often lost in waking dreams, as if we were that person. And we typically lack the “deep mind” awareness we need to wake up from this dream. During sleep, if we dream of a tiger chasing us in our home trying to eat us, we will run, run, run away in cold-sweat terror.

But if we wake up, we don’t need to flee from our home or call the police. Why? Because we have come into a higher awareness — we are “awake.” The dream is over. In truth, our ordinary mind is a dream machine. We have a deeper mind within us, a mind capable of profound awareness. It’s a companion of our Creative Imagination. Once our deeper mind awakens, our conditioned self-image will begin to fall off, like a tired mask.

In time, we can loosen the ties to our mistaken identity and, through our Imagination, strengthen and stabilize our connection to who we deeply are.

From our deeper identity, we will be better able to hear Destiny call our name. As writer Bruce Nelson put it so eloquently: “Our Destiny is always present, although never completely visible until we remember who we truly are. ... remembrance is a form of grace. It is the grace that arises from awareness ...”

The grace of remembrance includes emotions filled with sacred heat and light, emotions that celebrate the reunion with our very soul.


Dr. Jim Manganiello is a clinical psychologist and diplomate-level medical psychotherapist based in Groveland and West Boxford. He is also an author and teacher focusing on stress, personal growth, meditation and “inner fitness.” His book “Unshakable Certainty” is available on Amazon. Email him at or visit

Recommended for you