The power of imagination may be an unconventional spiritual practice, but still a potent one
My mind travels back to my second-grade art class and the very first time I remember hearing the word imagination.
The invitation to close my eyes, open my mind, and take hold of whatever appeared was life-changing. Putting my imagination to work was the beginning of a lifelong journey of great discovery and quiet escape.
As a child, my imagination became a world of possibility, hope, and wholeness. I have come a long way from knowing blankets and pillows as a fort, lawn chairs and refrigerator boxes as a castle, and declaring the playground slide to be the mountain I must ascend and conquer.
As I grew older, my imagination became the locus of my sense of self and the start of every step forward. I attribute the ability to overcome some of the most challenging moments and situations to the power of imagination as an unfolding principle in my life.
Imagination as an Invitation
Imagination is the doorway to dreams for me. It has been the vehicle of creativity and the momentum of exploration. It must have taken a lifetime for me to learn that imagination was never my escape from something; it was my invitation into so much more.
There are so many ways to put the power of imagination to work in our lives, but perhaps an unconventional use is spiritual practice. There are many things to which we quickly and freely dedicate time and energy. Why not to the rediscovery of imagination active in our lives, homes, ministries, and the world?
The use of imagination is as much an activity for the sage as it is for the young. Some would say imagining something new is a lot of work, and I would agree. It is the sketch pad of concise strategy, the canvas of the visionary, and the magnum opus of the compassionate aficionado. Therein is the opportunity to examine up close that which is presumed impossible.
I invite you to find tools among your everyday possessions that remind you to step into the energy of the imagination. For me, those tools are crayons, acrylic paint, colored string, blocks, rocks, and stacks of brightly colored note cards. I know when people enter my office for the very first time, they are not quite sure what I do for a living. The truth is, some days I’m not so sure either, yet still I make myself at home.
Putting my imagination to work was the beginning of a lifelong journey of great discovery and quiet escape.
Imagination as a Possibility
Recently, while rearranging my collection of books, I discovered a small notebook that had slipped between the shelves. One of the early entries was dated April 1994, which was just after I had returned home from being stationed overseas. The title scribbled atop the page was “Second Wind,” and to that occasion, I wrote these words:
It is only the imagination that can change the heart of humanity and lift the soul of the world beyond its many attachments. Our capacity to embrace possibility is linked to our ability to imagine something other than what is before us.
Sometimes our journeys of life take us back to places that we have long since departed, and other times, it takes us closer to the moments and ideas that were never fully realized. Some would call this a second chance; I take a deep breath and call it a second wind.
I felt as if I were reading a letter written to my future self for a time such as this. I quietly returned the notebook to its home until the next time my heart needs its light of truth.
I tell you these stories so that you may find the will and the way to live into the vision your soul has already seen to fruition. I have gladly traded my blanket fort for a team meeting, my lawn chair castle for a strategy session, and my playground mountain for admission to the space where the soul designs destiny.
I am always in the presence of possibility that is brought to life courtesy of the power of imagination.