Latest Essay

Subscribe now to receive new weekly essays by email!

 

Imagine That - Imagination is very helpful to both faith and love.

Any of us could imagine that he or she had wings or other special powers, knowing that we were merely engaging in fantasy. We are also capable of imagining particular facts, as when someone might say, “Imagine that” and we would call to mind a particular event that has occurred. We can use our imaginations to substitute for reality, or to engage with reality in a complete manner that profits us greatly.

We might not think at first that any form of denial would also be a failure to make proper use of our imagination, but we can probably find examples in our own experiences. When someone knows that he or she has an illness, but insists that nothing is amiss, imagination has likely been a tool of fear, supporting images of the very worst possible outcomes. The opposite and positive option would be to use imagination for identifying helpful actions to take. Through conscious choice, we have the ability to complement our encounters with reality or to subvert them by our use or misuse of imagination.

When we employ imagination with the intention of entering fully into an experience, we gain a holistic understanding of events, stories and almost every activity of which we are capable. As an experiment, we could contrast two different manners of reflecting on a human events story, such as the recent recovery of a group of boys who were trapped in a cave. We can recall the facts and be satisfied that we know them. Alternatively, we could imagine the circumstances of peril and relief that were a part of their experience. When we engage an event with imagination like this, we relate with the facts in a quite different way, growing in our awareness of life’s realities rather than merely making note of something that happened.

Contact with realities through imagination is effective and it is affective. Because we bring our own personal histories to whatever story we engage, it affirms some of our beliefs and it challenges others, so that we are able to learn from experience. When we use our imagination in order to understand a particular event as it relates with us, we obtain the feeling component of whatever is under consideration so that we have more than thoughts and ideas alone to guide us. We might be able to deny facts when we consider them only with our minds, but imagination allows realities to touch us as whole persons who are composed of mind and heart, and who integrate our thoughts and feelings as complementary.

Imagination is very helpful to both faith and love. When we relate with unseen realities, we are not limited to knowledge of facts, but we observe the effects upon us of images that encourage and support our beliefs about the primacy of love or fail to resonate with our purpose in life. Imagination presents particulars to our minds and hearts, not mere vague generalities. Therefore, every time we entertain a familiar image or even a completely new one, we have a decision before us about whether or not the matter under consideration enhances faith and love or does not.

Imagine that!

   Last Updated 7/14/18