Category Archives: Imagination & Reverie

…dependent and independent…

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton

Today, I want to look at creative imagination and independent will.  These are two of the four endowments that Stephen Covey identified.  The four include creative imagination, independent will, conscience, and self-awareness.  As we shall see, creative imagination and independent will pull us in different directions.  Creative imagination pulls us toward a faithful dependence – a trust in the goodness of life.  Independent will pulls us toward self-assertion and independence, toward the belief that only we can take care of ourselves.  The paradox of course is that both sides are correct.  We need to embrace both …  if we are to enact “choose, respond, and change” as a mindful approach to living in the moment.

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…the vocation of being human…

“Do I feel a vocation to be fully human? “- Margaret Wheatley

Margaret Wheatley in her book, Turning to one another: Simple conversations to restore hope to the future, engages her readers in the magic of conversation by starting off with a question:  ‘Do I feel a vocation to be fully human?’

On one level the question is kind of silly.  We don’t have a choice.  So why bother?  But that perspective ignores the very word she puts before us, “Do I feel a vocation to be fully human?”

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…new age or alchemy…

“Alchemy is the art of manipulating life, and consciousness in matter, to help it evolve, or to solve problems of inner disharmonies.” – Jean Dubuis

New age thinking gets a lot of things right: its optimism, its concentrated wish, its use of affirmations, its open-ended acknowledgment of personal value, its respect for personal achievement … and yet, for me, it embraces a trust that weakens the very freedom it tries to create.  New age thinking holds a lot in common with alchemy.  And my complaint would be that new age thinking,  like alchemy, creates a form of trust that privileges and set apart a believer from a non-believer.  Gallwey’s involuntary Self 2 (which we looked at yesterday) desires, but at the same time it knows what’s at stake for everyone. For Gallwey, there maybe a focused and involuntary command “to win,” but privilege does not attach simply because one issues an involuntary command; skill does.  Resources that go beyond one’s conscious imagination come into play and these add a dimension of involuntary finesse to one’s skill.  With new age, the emphasis is on creating a mental space where expectancy alone enables creation, and not just immediate and personal creation, but rather a form of creation that is supported and confirmed the cosmos itself. This is not the enhancement of skill, this is the creation of capacity that requires no skill whatsoever.  

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…the inner game and its challenge…

“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. … at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.” – W. Timothy Gallwey, author of The Inner Game of Tennis

The Inner Game of Tennis changed a lot of people’s conception of trust and engagement.  The inner game’s environment is the inner game of focus.  Putting 100% of yourself out there because you keep up a concentrated focus and because you get caught up, involuntarily, in the goal you seek.  Wait!  Did I say “involuntarily”?  That must have been a mistake.  Concentrated focus takes work and effort; it requires commitment and dedication; it is just about as far away from involuntary as you can imagine.  Or is it?

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…true or false self…

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” — Judy Garland

In the realm of life lessons, I have been torn by irreconcilable, two-headed desires:  where one part is objective, factual and social, the other part is  subjective, personal and dream-like.

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…trust and engagement…

“Our dreams must be stronger than our memories. We must be pulled by our dreams, rather than pushed by our memories.” — Jesse Jackson

Trust and engagement are very similar to memory’s ‘call-up and select’ and imagination’s ‘hold and contain.’   I introduced this distinction in my last blog as a way to understand the difference between memory and imagination.  Hopefully, this distinction is both memorable and easy to understand. 

What I want cover in this post is the how we come to harness memory and imagination when ever we exercise trust and engagement.   We call up and select something which is a concern, we then hold and contain our feelings about that concern.  In so, doing we put value into our trust and engagement.

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…memory or imagination (part two)…

“We cannot change our memories, but we can change their meaning and the power they have over us” — David Seamands

I want to review an important idea covered in my last four blog posts.  But I fear any review complicates very issue I want to bring up.  Memory’s ability to ‘call-up and select’ is very different from the imagination’s ability to ‘hold and contain.’

Let me get at this idea using a couple of jokes:

  • What’s the difference between a lawyer and an angry rhinoceros? — The lawyer charges more.
  • What’s the difference between a washing machine and a violist? — Vibrato.
  • What is the difference between a Harley and a Hoover? — The position of the dirt bag.

OK… the last one was out of line, I apologize to the vacuum cleaner.

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