“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.
“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?”
Posted in Imagination & Reverie, Investigative, Leadership, Life Balance, Life Lesson, Margaret Wheatley, Personal Mastery, Perspective Taking, Self-deception, Tim Gallwey, Trust & Engagement, Visioning
“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.
“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?
Posted in Clarification Dilemmas, Imagination & Reverie, Investigative, Leadership, Life Balance, Life Lesson, Personal Mastery, Perspective Taking, Productivity, Self-deception, Tim Gallwey, Trust & Engagement, Visioning
“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.
“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.
“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.