Reframing Our Imagination

     We may recall the days during our childhood when fantasy meant everything.  How easily we became lost in the storyline of televised cartoons, comic books, imaginary friends or dwelling somewhere in the vast world of make believe.

     As we matured, few of us understood the nature and potential use of our imaginations.  Parents may have felt uncomfortable with their children’s preoccupation with what distanced them from the real world.  The fact that no one was teaching about the use of this creative ability only compounded the misunderstanding of this unique quality of our species.

     Yet among all the talents and abilities that each person possesses, the imagination stands as one of the crown jewels of humanity’s potentiality.  Through the eyes of imagination humankind has created every advance in science. Improved farming techniques and products of every description have had their genesis from the imagination of their creators.  Those who create magnificent musical scores, write mesmerizing novels or envision images of what the future will one day reveal are using this skill.  We are free to create anything we wish.

     Our dark side, however, also fuels the imagination to cultivate appetites within some people to develop pornographic fantasies, schemes, scams and fraud, viruses that destroy computer information, weapons of mass destruction, as well as various forms of obsession and mental illness.  Such imaginative creations only confine people to the realm of their physical experience.  No one is condemned for choosing not to grow.  They merely engage in delay.

     Imagination originates from the invisible realm of spirit. Imagination is what enabled everyone from Aesop to Jesus to communicate their lessons by creating visual vehicles known as parables or stories.  Many metaphysical truths reveal themselves in the storytelling of dramas like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and A Christmas Carol.

     When imagination is harmonized with the flow of God’s creative, loving energy field, we receive spiritual guidance, more informed interpretations of life and a deeper understanding of our individual role in the shaping of tomorrow’s world.  This process provided a framework for the author of Hebrews who wrote, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for and to be certain of the things we cannot see.” (Heb. 11:1)

     Imagination helps us to create more healing insights related to painful memories, discern deeper meaning from the words of yesterday’s inspired visionaries and bring into our physical world ways of thinking that push back the horizons of what is known.

     For example, our theology and our understanding of God were developed from the imaginations of those who lived before us.  Through our imagination, however, has also come our ability to sabotage efforts to interpret more critically the thinking of these writers.  We have been fearful of concepts that bear the labels of sacred or inspired by God.

     There are several reasons for suggesting our need to reframe our understanding.  First, God who micro managed the Jews with extreme favoritism intervened in their history with many highly visible acts. Such understanding of God’s activity might have been the sole frame of reference used by Jewish authors who chose to perceive their history from this exclusive point of view.

     Second, humanity in other parts of the world developed their own motifs of God that were fueled by their imaginations.  Their creations were equally inspired by the heritage and symbols of their respective cultures.  Numerous world religions have stories of creation, virgin births, incarnations, death and resurrection, second comings and judgment days, leading many authorities on religion to suggest that truth is one.

     Third, a world clientele is starving to death spiritually because those sworn to protect the sacred have refused for centuries to change their dogmatic frames of reference.  People need new paradigms to inspire their imaginations to move further into the realm of understanding and reinterpreting their reality.  It is not God who prevents people from expanding their horizons; it has been the refusal of the faithful to permit the use of imagination as other disciplines have done.

     As a result, people are coping with life’s uncertainties and perceived reversals with medication and strategies for enhancing the quality of their material existence.  Because of the failure of religion to communicate its message through relevant themes, people have chosen to develop their own frames of reference.  For centuries there has been an absence of leadership in exploring the last frontier – humanity’s inner world.

     No one can anticipate where our imaginations will take us.  When we are free of our predispositions and learn to paint outside the lines established by those before us, there may be no limit to what we can accomplish. If we can dream of it, we can make it happen.  All creativity begins with imagination.  This is why the business community years ago coined the phrase, “Learn to think outside the box.”  Religions find such thinking heresy.

     All growth and evolution is by the Creator’s design.  It would be arrogant to think otherwise.  It may appear sacrilegious to contemplate humanities infinite possibilities.  If we cannot ask the relevant questions without fear of censure, what authority will do our thinking for us?  Are we to ignore the possibility that God hardwired our species with curiosity to reach beyond what is known?  Jesus provided guidance on how we humans could create when he taught, “Where your treasure is, there will your hearts be also.”

     Learn to think of your soul not as a spirit that is destined either for heaven or hell, but rather as one that is in training in the minor leagues as you wait your moment to play in the majors.  There has always been a component buried within human potentiality that has inspired people to stretch.  What separates the level of creativity among human beings is the differential in their consciousness.  The evolution of our species will unfold according to our design, not by the quality, intensity and faithfulness of our faith and beliefs.  While such are important components in any movement forward, they are only stepping stones, not the qualifiers of our worthiness.