…creative imagination, our containing well…

“Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” — William Plomer

Let me see if I can summarize all the various bits and pieces I’ve introduced regarding creative imagination and the containing well.

  • Creative imagination is one of four natural endowments.
  • Values and beliefs are distilled from experience; they express themselves imaginatively in everyday “waking reverie.”
  • Creative imagination builds on peak experiences events we want to experience again, and on disaster experiences events we never want to experience again.
  • Creative imagination also builds on average experience, establishing a kind of predictable norm.
  • Creative imagination works with image values – it is not “the fact” which is important, but rather the feeling which “remembers” the fact.  Memory “calls ups and selects” facts, imagination “holds and contains” image values.
  • Creative imagination is faithful to our experience, but it is more faithful to that which fulfills us.
  • Creative imagination holds a future orientation; it seeks to create, not merely to repeat.
  • The dynamics that call up our creative imagination are acceptance, forgiveness, and renewal, essential attributes of faith. This is what the containing well is about and what creative imagination is about.
  • The Containing Well asks us about vision and clarity – “What’s my goal?,” or about belief and values – “What do I believe?,” or about renewal and transformation – “Can I start over?” 
  • Because the containing well is uniquely personal, it holds the essence of our original being.  Even if we have forgotten that original being it is still within us.
  • To fall backwards into the containing well is an act of renewal; “the-person-we-believe-ourselves-to-be” dissolves and a new person arises.  This act of renewal cannot come about without a belief in a power greater than oneself.  The containing well expresses that power.

The negative associations for the containing well (and creative imagination) are confusion and forgetfulness. 

  • It’s hard to have faith, if we forget who we are.
  • Creativity is hard to express if we are wrestling with doubt or fear.
  • Confusion is our inability to have open-ended trust; it is our inability to imagine current reality in the moment
  • Our  greatest challenges are often accompanied by pangs of doubt, amnesia, and forgetfulness; we all have an knee-jerk resistance to falling backwards, to losing our orientation in the world.
  • A failure of imagination is the failure to remember and the failure to realize our fulfillment; this is how we forget who we are.

The containing well and creative imagination are about holding and maintaining trust and engagement with ever-flowing life.  Life asserts itself without our involvement.  Like the spring water that comes up from the bottom of the containing well, life’s goodness is abundantly present.  A character trait that Stephen Covey talks about is the “abundance mentality.”   The belief there is plenty out there for everyone.  The more we can identify with the imagery of the containing well, the more we can access our creative endowment and realize its abundance.

Thanks for listening!


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