Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: present moment

Stuck On Being “Right” Over Being Kind

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I have been stuck on being right over being kind and loving so many times.  It is freeing for me to admit that most of my perceptions are probably wrong.  I don’t have the answers in life as much as I want to pretend that I do.

I’m sorry for all the people I have hurt as I try to be “right” over being kind.  I am coming to understand that living by what I think faith is will never be static.  It is about living in the present moment.  I cannot stay stuck in my perceptions of yesterday, last week, or two year ago.

It is all so uncertain.  And that is good.  My certainty can destroy me because a lot of the time it is an illusion of control that I fabricate to feel more secure.

Living more by my deep intuitions is more important to me than being locked into clearly defined theological concepts that I pretend to understand.  Maybe we should all approach life as Christian atheists who are not basing our spirituality in the past moments (days, weeks and years), but on the present moment today which is always fleeing and changing constantly.  This is exciting to me because no past structures of church or moments in the past will define who God is to me today.

I am free to be me in the present moment of this day, this month, this year.

I love the scene in the movie Garden State where Sam encourages her new friend Andrew to do something in this moment that no one in the history of the world has ever done.  Every time I see that movie this scene always stands out to me.  I want to see the unfolding of my present moments in life to mean that much to me as they did for Sam in the movie.

May we all embrace the uncertainty of each present moment that is constantly forming the shape of our lives as we become our true selves as our days unfold more authentically in the twenty-first century.

  •  Practiced with diligence and perseverance

Living by faith is uncertain.  We do not always known exactly how God is leading us all of the time.  The mystical imagination is very intuitive.  Living by faith is a way of life that needs to be practiced with diligence and perseverance.

  •  Our freedom and liberation

This is our freedom and liberation.  Sometimes we will not understand God’s leading and guidance, but that is what living by faith is about.  We have to do the best we can even when we do not understand.  The mystical imagination within will help us.

  •  Teachable, open to correction, ready to admit “I’m wrong”

Influential writer Brian D. McLaren says, “In a real way, faith is about constructing a model of reality…  This is why faith must always be growing, and why the disciple must always be teachable, open to correction, ready to admit ‘I’m wrong,’ and ready to think again… This is because none of us is so naïve as to believe that he or she has the whole cosmic theological equation figured out.  Nobody’s model is perfect.  We are constantly in the process of critiquing our model, adjusting it, recalibrating it…”

  •  Our spiritual formation

The mystical imagination is always about our spiritual formation as we listen to the context of life in the parish.  The mystical imagination helps us to seek God together in this way.  The mystical imagination helps us to live into a beautiful reality full of potential.

  •  God is hidden, but always revealed

We need to be open, ready and teachable in everyday life as we live by faith.  God is hidden, but always revealed through the particulars of the place we live.

How can we live in the present moment with uncertainty, openness and wonder?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431799777&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

9 Things You Can Do to Cultivate a Relationship with the Present Moment  

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I find that the present moment is always slipping through my fingers just when I think I have a hold on it.  But I am finding out that the present moment cannot be contained by me in any way.  It can only be embodied in an evolving fashion in everyday life.

The present moment is constantly teaching me to live my life.  It is calling to me to do away with my anxieties and find what is available now.  There is usually so much wisdom, peace and love in the present moment, but I cannot see it because I am focused on what is missing in life.  This is one of my greatest mistakes as it keeps me from being grateful about the life I have.

This is a lifelong process of learning to live by the rhythms of the present moment.  It teaches me of the mysteries of God and the sacredness of all of life.  When I have practiced appreciating all of life as a gift, my imagination becomes alive and I start to breathe freely.

Here are 9 things we can do to cultivate a healthy relationship with the present moment.

1. Practice silence and solitude

Our silence and solitude will bring us to embrace living in the present moment.  Living in the present moment is impossible without silence and solitude.  Our silence and solitude will cultivate a healthy, functional relationship with the present moment in the place we inhabit together.

2. Embrace an embodied wholeness

Without silence and solitude, we will have an unhealthy relationship with the present moment.  We will abuse the preset moment with our own agendas.  We cannot directly see this relationship with our eyes, we can only feel it embodied in our relationships.  Is it whole or not?

We feel the energy it brings into our locality.  It is either functional or dysfunctional.  This relationship affects all our relationships.

3. Be open to yourself, others, the world and life

David G. Benner says in his book Soulful Spirituality, “Our relationship with the now will always shape every other relationship we have.  A dysfunctional relationship with the present moment will be reflected in a dysfunctional relationship with our self, with others, with the world, and with life.  But on the other hand, an embrace of the present moment opens us up to life and all we encounter.”

4. Embrace the mystical imagination within you

Our self, our neighbors and our locality will be the recipients of a colonial expression of faith if we do not cultivate a healthy relationship with the present moment through silence and solitude.  A healthy relationship with the present moment opens up the mystical imagination among us.

5. Become aware of the ecology of relationship

It causes the mystical imagination to come alive within us.  And this will affect the ecology of relationship in the place we live.  This ecology of relationship will affect all that we are.

6. Go to solitary places often

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place…” (Mark 1:35). 

I believe Christ practiced silence and solitude because he was cultivating a healthy relationship with the present moment in his life.  It affected all his relationships.  It gave him solidarity with others.

Jesus understood the ecology of his relationship with others in the present moment.  That is why he practiced silence and solitude.  It was a part of his passion.

7. Appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now

Thich Nhat Hanh states, “Our true home is in the present moment.  To live in the present moment is a miracle.  The miracle is not to walk on water.  The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.  Peace is all around us – in the world and in nature – and within us – in our bodies and our spirits.  Once we learn to touch this peace we will be healed and transformed.  It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice.  We need only to find ways to bring our body and mind back to the present moment so we can touch what is refreshing, healing, and wondrous.”

8. Find your home and identity in your local community

We need to become connected to the present moment in our local community as the body of Christ in everyday life.  This is our home.  This is our identity.  This is where the true self is discovered.

9. Practice the liberation and freedom of gratitude

It is an on-the-ground miracle to embody living in the present moment in the place we live.  This is where all beauty is found within and around us.  When our bodies become rooted in the present moment we experience an ongoing sense of freedom, liberation and gratitude.

How do you relate to the present moment?  Are you uneasy?  Anxious?  Peaceful?  Tired?  Rested?  Content?  Unhappy?  Disillusioned?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427496064&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Learning to Embrace the Miracle of the Present Moment

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I often wonder if miracles still exist today in everyday life.  Sometimes I have doubted that they do, but I have been looking at the whole thing wrong.  Every time I have embraced the present moment, I am embodying a miracle.  This is a miracle to live in the present moment.

So I am slowly becoming a believer in miracles.  As I was walking down the street the other day, I started to consider that in this moment right now I have what I need for life, for presence, for love, for gratitude, for compassion, for solidarity.  Nothing is keeping me from embracing the present moment.  It is living, changing, mysterious, miraculous, evolving, undefined and it is my home.

  •  Jesus went to solitary places

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place…”  (Mark 1:35). 

  •  Cultivating a healthy relationship with the present moment

I believe Christ practiced silence and solitude because he was cultivating a healthy relationship with the present moment.  It affected all his relationships.  It gave him solidarity with others.

  •  Practicing silence and solitude

Jesus understood the ecology of his relationship with the present moment and his relationship with others.  That is why he practiced silence and solitude.  It was a part of his passion.

  •  To live in the present moment is a miracle

Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Our true home is in the present moment.  To live in the present moment is a miracle.  The miracle is not to walk on water.  The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.  Peace is all around us – in the world and in nature – and within us – in our bodies and our spirits.  Once we learn to touch this peace we will be healed and transformed.  It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice.  We need only to find ways to bring our body and mind back to the present moment so we can touch what is refreshing, healing, and wondrous.” 

  •  The true self is discovered in the present moment

We need to become connected to the present moment in our local community as the body of Christ in everyday life.  This is our home.  This is our identity.  This is where the true self is discovered.

  •  Where all beauty is found within and around us

It is an on-the-ground miracle to embody living in the present moment.  This is where all beauty is found within and around us.  When our bodies touch the present moment the mystical imagination sings songs of freedom.

  •  The present possibility

Mary Jo Leddy writes, “…there is a more ordinary mysticism to be found in discovering the liberating attitude of gratitude.  This is not given rarely or only to a few but exists as a present possibility for all of us…” 

Have you ever experienced this miracle of living in the present moment?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411666462&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Opening Up the Life-Giving Potential of the Present Moment

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In my life it is so easy to become distracted by the future or get caught up in the past.  But where I find life is only in the present moment of my days.  I cannot make sense of the present moment just like I cannot always make sense of things like love, compassion and grace.  Keeping my eye on the present moment is breaking through my dualistic thinking, oppression, prejudice, control, indifference, inertia and apathy.

  •  God lives in the present moment

God sustains, strengthens and inspires us through the present moment.  God is always living in the present moment, even if we can’t see it.  God is not dead, but alive in the present moment of our everyday lives.

  •  The present moment will not be controlled

Our silence and solitude gives us an understanding of this.  The present moment will not be controlled.  It cannot be controlled or explained.  We breathe in the present moment.

  •  Everything is about the present moment

We move and work in the present moment.  We learn in the present moment.  We interact with others in the present moment.  We experience our bodies in the present moment.

  •  The living sacrament of the present moment

The present moment is a living sacrament that can shape us from within.  We need to integrate our lives with the present moment.  This is where purpose and intentionality are found.

  •  God is at work every moment

Donald Spoto says, “God is at work every moment, sustaining everything in being…” 

  •  Being faithfully present to the present moment

The present moment will sustain our lives together.  God never abandons the present moment.  When we are faithfully present to the present moment, we will become the body of Christ in everyday life together.  God is in the sustaining of each present moment that we embody together.

  •  God cherishes the present moment

The present moment will not be forgotten by God.  God cherishes the present moment.  God dreams of days when the church will not live in the past or the future, but will embrace the present moment in the parish.  The present moment should not be an enemy, but a friend to us.

  •  Being a creative agent in the moment

Sharon Daloz Parks writes, “The practice of presence is integral to the capacity to be a creative agent in the moment – poised on the edge between the known reality and the emergent possibility.  Presence is the meeting place between the inner life of a person and the outer life of action in the world.”

  •  Christ is teaching us the way of living in the present moment

When we are present to the present moment, this is where we commune with God.  This is where God is experienced.  This is where we need to be, faithfully present to the present moment through our silence and solitude.  Christ is teaching us of the way of living in the present moment.

  •  Wisdom cannot be experienced outside of the present moment

This is where wisdom is experienced.  Wisdom always touches the present moment.  Wisdom cannot be experienced outside of the present moment.  This is where we find all beauty and authenticity.

  •  Finding a way to really live in the present

Carl Arico says, “The only way we can really live is in the present.  It is by being present to the present moment that we encounter God and God encounters us…” 

What is one way you have experienced wisdom through the present moment?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410562641&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination+finding+a+way+to+

Being Responsible Only for the One Action of the Present Moment

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I was taught by my upbringing that it is the big things that will supposedly change the world.  I was raised in a family were we went to a big Catholic church every week where God seemed to be too big to be sought.  The priests were impersonal and distant to me.  I believed that God was far removed from my small world in the particular place I lived, but I am coming to understand that it is in the small acts of love where God is moving and working within me in everyday life.

  •  Love is sometimes perceived as too small and ordinary  

Loving others is all about what the world perceives as too small and too ordinary for it to possibly be of God.  Love is not “spiritual” enough for us.  Love is not considered “religious” enough for us.  Love does not fit into our programs and services.

  •  Love cannot be boxed up or figured out

Love cannot be controlled because it is everywhere.  Love cannot be boxed up into propositional statements.  Love cannot be figured out.

  •  Love is relational, mysterious, subversive, countercultural, miraculous

Love is relational.  Love is mysterious.  Love is subversive.  Love is countercultural.  Love is miraculous.

  •  Paying attention to the small, hard to see things

We are to pay attention to the small, hard-to-see things of life in the parish.  “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him…” (I John 4:16).  The communal imagination needs eyes for the small.  It is through the small that we live our lives.  Christ always manifests himself to us through the small.

  • Being responsible only for the one action of the present moment

Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, says in her book Loaves and Fishes, “Young people say, What good can one person do?  What is the sense of our small effort?  They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time; we can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment.  But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus did the loaves and fishes.

  •  Doing the small things that bring relational care

Our love could be multiplied again and again as we do the small things that build relational care in the parish.  Are we on a path that will give our lives to explore the small things of love?  Jesus is waiting for us in the small particulars of life.

  •  Collaboration and partnership around the small things

He is wanting some collaboration and partnership around the small things where he lives and dwells.  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…” (1 John 4:7).

How can we become an expression of love by paying attention to the small things in everyday life together?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400683804&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Faithful Presence in the Present Moment of Everyday Life

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It is so nice to go for a walk and enjoy the present moment.  After a hard fall and winter season, it is nice to just rest in the beauty of the world God has created.  Too many times I am unaware of the beauty of the created world around me.

  • I cannot separate myself from the world

I cannot separate myself from the world in which I live.  It is all around me and I am a part of it.  The world in which I experience everyday life is my small contribution to bring my unique self forward.

  • Coming to realize life is a gift

After losing a friend this past year, I am coming to realize just how much life is a gift.  My grief and sorrow are showing me just how important it is to take nothing for granted.  I am alive in the present moment.  My salvation is wrapped up in sharing life together with others.

  • Staying in the same place the past ten years

Sometimes I think about how my life would be different if I hadn’t stayed in the same place the past ten years.  Would I have more money?  Would life be easier?  Would I be the person I am today?

  • Hope to be a faithful presence for decades to come

My life is now about halfway over, as I have turned forty this past year.  I don’t know how long I will live, but I hope to be a faithful presence in my local community or parish for another couple of decades.  If I could embody that way of life, it would make me very happy to know I have lived my life out of a sense of love, grace and humility toward others.  I do not want to become an angry man that only cares for himself and no one else as I become older in life.

  • The struggle of living in the present moment

Wonder has been difficult to embrace as I have struggled with living in the present moment.  The past always tugs at me and the future is always calling out.  But I must find my grounding in the present moment of everyday life in the parish.  This is how I can experience God within me on-the-ground in the context I live in.  The ordinary moments are drenched in sacredness and there is no escaping my responsibilities to those I am in community with.

  • The present moment is calling out to me

The present moment of deep wisdom is calling out to me as I am tempted to live individualistically.  The present moment is filled with discovery and revelation.  As I live today, I am tired of fighting the present moment of enlightenment only to enter into a depression of despair.  There is a sense of life in the present moment in the ordinary.

How can we find beauty in everyday life in the present moment of the ordinary?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423

Examining the Shape of Our Lives

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Living in a culture that values entertainment, speed, consumerism, individualism and upward mobility has made my life very difficult at times to create within myself some kind of practices of reflection.  I have found that without practices that help me to examine the shape of my life, my imagination becomes stuck and my freedom to live becomes disembodied.  My body has a deep need to breathe, reflect, rest, and slow down.  I am coming to understand more that my life cannot survive in a healthy way without this.

  • Cultivating honesty and trust within  

Our practice of reflection and rest helps us to examine the shape of our lives together.  We are constantly tested by our locality to see if what we believe is being embodied in our everyday lives.  Examining the shape of our lives together takes a sense of honesty and trust in God.  Examining the shape of our lives can be difficult.

  • The mirror of reality

It is the mirror of reality that will praise or shame us.  Reflection and rest cannot escape this examining of our lives together in parish.  There is a freedom to this kind of examining of our lives.  Our freedom is in our presence to the mystical imagination within us as the body of Christ in the parish.

  • Freedom to be fully present in the moment

We will find rest in the examining of our lives together.  We will develop a reflective spirit within us in the examining of our lives together.  Leighton Ford says, “The rest God offers is the freedom to be fully present in the moment, free to reflect and enjoy what has been; to let go of the deficits and regrets that wear us down; free to envision what will be, what we are being re-created for; free to unburden ourselves of regretful thoughts about our yesterdays and anxious thoughts about our tomorrows.”

  • Constantly reimagining our lives

Our freedom is embodied in the ways we learn from our past as we reimagine the present and the future.  When we examine the shape of our lives together through reflection and rest, we are free to reimagine.  We constantly reimagine the present.  This pushes us into the moments of reimagining the future.

  • Working through our anxieties and regrets

Our reflection and rest is always manifested in our reimagining everything.  We will celebrate the past and learn from it.  We will reimagine what God has for us in the present and the days to come.  Through reflection and rest, we will free ourselves to work through our anxieties and regrets.

  • Listening to our tomorrows and yesterdays

We will move into the mystical imagination in the parish.  Our tomorrows will not be so bad and our yesterdays we can learn from.  Our tomorrows and yesterdays speak to us through the mystical imagination in reflection and rest.  Our tomorrows and yesterdays can bring out the life of Christ within us in our locality.

Why is it so difficult to create a reflective spirit within us?