Your greatest challenge might be to learn to love yourself. — Author Unknown
Experience is a great teacher and it doesn’t lock us into any particular future. We do that. We lock ourselves into a particular future by virtue of our creative imagination.
If imagination is at work, how might we see it? The following statements contradict one another; but in their contradiction, they show creative imagination at work:
- “The past is no indication of the future.”
- “Know the past to understand the present.”
- “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
- “Tomorrow holds no fear; I have seen yesterday and I love
- “Clutching to the past leaves you too full to grasp the present.”
What’s going on here? Is every product of creative imagination a lie? Does creative imagination put limits on our perspective? If experience is such a great teacher, why does everyone hold such different opinions?
Let me explain.
What makes the “present” moment accessible? Past experience. But what causes the future to be different? Creative Imagination.
Think about it…. Every perception you have about the present occurs ONLY because you have invested yourself in the idea that “Today is LIKE yesterday.” We are constantly making the analogy that the past, present and future are understandable because they are SIMILAR. Similarity enables understanding. Predictability engenders trust. And skillful creativity inspires confidence.
The things I saw yesterday are SIMILAR to the things which I might see today. The speech that I will utter today is SIMILAR to the speech that I remember uttering yesterday. The actions that I take right now are SIMILAR to the actions that I might take tomorrow… just, as they too are SIMILAR to actions I took long ago in the past.
And nobody’s memory is perfect. We are constantly analogizing, comparing, and crafting associations which enable us to offer some appreciation or apprehension for whatever is going on right now. Our web of SIMILAR associations – clustered around things that are unique, meaningful and important offers a bridge into the current moment.
And let me be clear: Our cluster of associations has absolutely NO prior knowledge of today.
Apprehending today, by association, means that ANY appreciation we make contains imagination …. No static, mimeographic imagination could possibly understand today. Only a creative imagination, one that cobbles together part-to-whole relations, can construct a living appreciation, an understanding which puts us inside our understanding.
I’ve made this point before: knowledge is metaphoric. Because we believe today’s experience is LIKE yesterday’s, we are endowed with a metaphoric brush — one that can paint for us a version of what we are experiencing. And because we creatively take part, we are invested. We offer our belief in the metaphor by embodying it. The metaphoric brush uses us. The associations become us. The colors bleed from us.
And the metaphoric “part” that we call up from the past — that part — melds with our experience of the present to create a “whole” — a new whole which we believe, understand and trust.
Part-to-whole. Discovering ourselves.
But logically, the relation is part-to-part. This part from the past references this part in the present. But it doesn’t work that way. That would leave us out. Part-to-part leaves us unable to discover ourselves. Too divested. Too analytic.
It’s part-to-whole. This part melds with that part and a new whole is perceived. Why? Because the current moment is whole and we need to feel our wholeness in that moment. So that part from the past melds with this part in the present –putting us inside it. And as we move forward from moment to moment, we become an ever-changing Russian Doll. Part nests within whole, which nests within part, melding ourselves over and over into a larger and ever more layered whole.
Part-to-whole. Made anew. Connected and blest. A living appreciation.
That’s creative imagination at work. Reinvigorating us moment to moment with that newness of discovery — not only for who we are now, but who we choose to become. The metaphoric brush paints our future in the present by crafting new and different analogies from the past. We can make choices. And I’ll talk about that later.
“Your greatest challenge might be to learn to love yourself.” How true. We would do well to bring love into the picture. Be challenged to love the metaphors you create.
Thanks for listening!