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Sunday, November 7, 2010

More on the Magic of Believing

Dear A. B.
Who knows what the alternative might have been if I didn't "mess around with imaging and imagining?"

I hear you.  That's why I am a bit skeptical about this imaging stuff. Scripturially, we are told that God has more in mind for us than we could ever imagine for ourselves.

... trying to beat life into giving us what we think we are owed ...
 
Indeed. You've pointed out other times that controlling behavior is fear-driven.  Faith is about seeing that life is a mystery unfolding, not a problem to be solved.  A leap of faith requires surrender...to God, a higher power, the universe. Can I let go and trust that whatever happens is for the greater good? 

You've said before that much wisdom seems contradictory.  Maybe imaging practice can be helpful, but as you seem to be suggesting, it's not enough to build one's life around.  The power of it may lie in the scriptural tenet, "Ask & you shall receive, seek & you shall find."  As you mentioned, I think we are meant to be creative and proactive and engaged and also to walk through life with an open hand, ready to receive and acknowledge the gifts in whatever happens.  We must it seems, find the right balance of surrender and action. I guess that's a key challenge for many people...finding that balance.

(I plan to order "Children" & a couple of your other children's books on Amazon soon.  I am intrigued by them!)

Could evil exist in the world because of our selfish natures?  You are praying for others, helping so many through your writing and research, and putting so much positive, unselfish energy out there. Your commitment to helping others (often from your home) reminds me of orders of nuns who live cloistered and never see many of the people they help, but they pray and dedicate their lives to lifting up humanity in peace. If more people lived such other-oriented lives, the world would be a different place.

If I make an " image board" in order to facilitate my husband's career aspirations, the sale of my house, and the move to a "good" place, I am not sending energy out in the world for the betterment of the human race. As I pull together those images and focus on them,  I am also not making an image board for eradicating hunger, or ending war or stopping hatred and violence. There is selfishness there, even if on the surface, such activity seems benign and harmless.   

Since I could be focusing the same energy on reducing suffering for others and fail to do so, am I not contributing to the presence of evil in the world? (I know this is a dramatic example, but you see my point.)  Multiply that sort of behavior (I know I'm not alone)  by millions, and where does that leave us?  With people getting jobs and houses, and so on, but the world keeps spinning around in turmoil. Does bad stuff happen, in a way, because exponentially, our self-centered energy lets it happen??? 

Thanks again for the interesting discussion and feedback.

Ginger

Dear Ginger,

Well, don't forget the “having fun” part of life. If you have imaging talent, it's all right to pursue it. Some people don't have "the knack."  It's all right to image something for yourself. It's just not the end-all and be-all secret to life for everybody. Some people are mystics, some are saints, most of us are just ordinary sinners looking to find our way.

One wise man once said, "some people only have the energy to save themselves."

But, it's certainly better to imagine good things coming our way than fearing we're going to get shafted again. I have always been convinced that as long as I used the phrase "for the good of humanity" before I attempted to use imaging or prayer, that everyone was safe from my meddling, including me. After all isn't it imaging that accounts for the wonderful inventions that make our world such a wonder. Man is a star,” said Paracelsus, “even as he imagines himself to be, such he is.”-

I guess the main thing to remember with imaging is that your whole concentration should be on the imaging itself without any effort, or mental investment in how it all turns out, except for the disclaimer about the good of humanity.

And this might help

Richard Cecil (1748-1777) defines duty thusly: “Duties are ours, events are God’s. This removes an infinite burden from the shoulders of a miserable, tempted, dying creature. On this consideration only can he securely lay down his head and close his eyes.”

In other words if you are a golfer, the idea is to put your whole effort into perfecting each stroke. You are not to be thinking about the score at the same time. All effort should be on the action, not how great you are as the actor, or how wonderful you hope will be the outcome.

I also like the lesson from Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her book Gift from the Sea. In a vacation by the ocean, we start to relax and are not so interested in dredging up the bottom of the sea for its treasures, just expecting whatever small pleasures a walk on the beach will bring, the morning breeze, a shell washed up on the beach, patiently, patiently, "choiceless as a beach--waiting for a gift from the sea." 

Every part of life has it's lesson to teach us. Winning and losing, we ultimately only win ourselves. Isn't that good enough? A. B.



1 comment:

Ginger said...

Thanks for your further insights.

As I think about your remarks I realize that imaging in a way is a form of prayer.

It sounds like you are advocating to put your desires "out there" and then let go of the outcome. So, there is both action and surrender at work. Prayer is just that very blend of expressing self and trusting God (in my view.) Prayer is bringing what is on our hearts to God or Spirit, and then trusting our higher power to lead us to what is best.

Incorporating some photos and imagery into the mix makes the "prayer" more specific and intentional, but by adding your suggested "disclaimer" you still are choosing to surrender your will to the greater good.

A nun I used to know told me years ago, "Ginger, God would not put this on your heart so strongly if He didn't want you to explore it." She practiced Ignatian spirituality and believed that God speaks to us through our desires. Actually, come to think of it, imagery is used heavily during Ignatian spiritual exercises and prayer.

Your comment, "...it's certainly better to imagine good things coming our way than fearing we're going to get shafted again" reminded me of "Sister B."

Yes, to ruminate on fearful thoughts does not make my corner of the world or the world at large, a better, more peaceful place. It does not help me serve the greater good. Maybe it's not such a selfish pursuit afterall! Imagining happy outcomes may even send some much-needed positive energy out into the world.

Thanks for sharing more of your wisdom.