Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: rest

Living into a Reflective Way of Life   

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A deep, reflective way of life in which I find an abiding rest in the things I do is so essential for my functioning in a healthy way that is respectful to the sacredness of all of life in the world.  When this breaks down in me, I usually become more isolated and depressed inside.  And this is not what God is calling me to in everyday life together with others.

I find myself longing for rest, reflection, silence, solitude and peace.  These are hard to come by in a fast society that is pushing me to make more money at the expense of the interior life.  The interior life might frighten us at first because we are not used to living in this center, but this is where our salvation is worked out in everyday life.  Without the interior life, we are shells of empty words and our actions will soon manifest into a colonial violence that goes on unconsciously.

  •  The process of becoming human

Our courage could help us in the process of becoming human, like Christ, in the place we inhabit together.  To be like Christ is to become human.  To be like Christ is to embody courage.

  •  To be like Christ

To be like Christ is to practice reflection and rest in our humanity.  To be like Christ is to be present to our local community, to live in our local community and to love our local community.  Christ was alive in his local community in the world and we should be too.

  •  More need of our weakness

Marva J. Dawn says, “God has more need of our weakness than our strength…  By our union with Christ in the power of the Spirit in our weaknesses, we display God’s glory.”

  •  Called to be an expression of love

Loving our neighbors in the parish is why we practice refection and rest.  This is how we become human.  This is how we love God in the place we inhabit together.  There is no way around this.  We are called to be an expression of love.

  •  God cannot escape us in the form of our neighbors

Our reflection and rest is only authentic if we love our neighbors in everyday life together.  Within our locality, God cannot escape us in the form of our neighbors.  Our neighbors are all around us.  God is working within us and all around us constantly.

  •  This mysterious working in and around us

Our humanity becomes sensitive to this mysterious working in and around us.  Our reflection and rest helps us to reimagine this mystery.  Our reflection and rest embraces God through the diverse faces of our neighbors.  This is the way of Jesus.  This is the path of wisdom.

  •  Seeing all that lies hidden

Ken Gire in his book Seeing What is Sacred writes, “To better love God and other people is the goal of the reflective life.  But before we can love them, we must see them.  And we must see them not as we would like to see them or as they would like to be seen.  We must see them as they are.  Otherwise we don’t love the person.  We love the image we perceive the person to be.  If we are to love people as they are, we must see them as they are.  Which means seeing all that lies hidden within them.”

Do you practice a reflective way of life?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427242608&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

The Beauty of Humanity

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I am realizing the beauty of my own humanity.  I am not just a “sinner,” as some would like to box me up as, I am an expression of love, compassion, grace and humility in the world.  God is beautiful and I am created in God’s image as a beloved child.  That is something I have been resting in lately and it is bringing healing to my soul.

Beauty lives within me because God lives within me.  I am thankful for that!  God is beautiful, compassionate, loving, vulnerable and graceful. As I live into my belovedness, this is the kind of expression I will be in the beautiful human experience of life I have been given.

  • Our humanity is not to be taken for granted 

Our humanity is beautiful.  Our humanity is our greatest asset.  Our humanity is formed by God and is good.  Our humanity is not to be taken for granted.

  •  Our humanity is how we experience life

Reflection and rest gives us the chance to feel our humanity and live in it as an embodiment of love in the world.  All we know in everyday life is our humanity.  Our humanity is how we experience everything.  Nothing escapes our humanity.

  •  The medium of giving and receiving love

Our sensuousness is our humanity.  We are our humanity.  The body of Christ is manifested through humanity in the parish.  Our humanity is the medium of giving and receiving love.

  •  Being an expression of love

Love is only experienced through our humanity.  When we are disconnected from love, we are disconnected from our humanity.  Reflection and rest helps us to connect with our humanity.  As we rest, our humanity becomes centered on being an expression of love.

  •  A practice of faithful presence

Reflection and rest puts us on the path of working out our salvation together as the body of Christ in everyday life.  As we work out our salvation together, we are in the process of becoming human.  Becoming human is a practice of faithful presence.  Becoming human is a practice of endurance.

  •  On a path of listening

Becoming human puts us on a path of listening.  Becoming human allows us to live in peace with our neighbors in the parish.  We become the kind of people who manifest the peaceful ways of Christ who lives within us.

  •  Solidarity with others

When we become human, our union with God and others is integrated.  They cannot be separated.  Working through our salvation connects us to our solidarity with others.

  •  Relationships of wholeness and healing in union with God

Ilia Delio says, “To be human is to be on the way to salvation, that is to be brought into relationships of wholeness and healing in union with God…”

  •  Reconciliation with others

When we become human through reflection and rest, we develop relationships of “wholeness and healing.”  Reconciliation becomes a big theme to our purpose and existence as the body of Christ in everyday life together.  We experience our salvation through our reconciliation with others.

What do you think about the idea of becoming human?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412771212&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Could Our Questions Revolutionize Life Within Us?

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…” (Matthew 11:28).

  •  Christ calls out to us in our questions

Our union with Christ is embodied in our questions.  Our union with Christ is alive in our bodies when we practice reflection and rest.  It is our questions that speak of this union with Christ in our local context.  Christ calls out to us into our questions.

  •  Listening and learning from our reflection and rest

Christ calls out to us in our reflection and rest.  Christ is calling us to listen and learn from our reflection and rest.  Christ will give us a rest in our souls.  Christ will heal our unrestful and unreflective lives if we take on a posture of openness to our questions.

  •  Living inside of our questions

It is revolutionary and innovative to live inside of the questions that create new life from within.  We must not fear our questions anymore.  Our questions could liberate us from the status quo.

  •  Bringing us back to authenticity

Our questions could bring us back to authenticity.  Our questions could make us human again.  Our questions could help shape us from within.

  •  Our questions bring us together

Answers often times keep us from sharing life together.  It is our questions that bring us together as the body of Christ in the parish.  Our reflection and rest cultivate our questions.

  •  Answers ignore a listening posture in everyday life

We embody our questions together.  We embody our questions as a way of life in our local community.  Answers destroy our trust in the divine mysteries within and around us.  Answers ignore a listening posture in everyday life.

  •  Answers tend to dismiss others

Answers tend to dismiss others in our relational context.  We don’t need questions when we have answers.  We don’t need one another when we have answers.  We don’t need reflection and rest when we have answers.

  •  Maybe we don’t know as much as we think we do

Answers are misleading.  Answers are a lot of time an illusion.  We think we know a lot with answers, but maybe we don’t know as much as we think we do.

  •  Answers make trust and listening unnecessary

Richard Rohr says, “Answers make trust unnecessary, they make listening dispensable, they make relations with others superfluous.  Having my answers, I don’t need you in order to take my journey.  I need only my head, my certainties, and my conclusions.  It’s all private.  But Jesus said we have to live in this world so as to be dependent on one another…”

  •  Our questions promote a need for one another

Our questions promote a need for one another.  Our questions show us our need for a local context to inhabit together.  Our questions help us to see clearer.  Our questions lead us to a practice of reflection and rest.

What is one thing you do that helps you to live into your questions?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410349241&sr=8-1&keywords=mark+votava

Having the Courage to Embrace Our Humanity

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Sometimes I have not cultivated a way of reflection and rest within myself to embrace my humanity.  When this happens I have lost touch with my true self.  My interior life deteriorates when I forget my limitations and responsibilities as a human.  Christ is constantly teaching what it means to be human.

This question has haunted me as I have believed many different narratives about what it means to be human.  As I have developed a practice of reflection and rest it has helped me to embrace my humanity.  It has helped me to become a person of compassion and love.

  •  The courage to embody an authentic way of life

It takes a lot of courage to embrace our humanity.  But we need to practice a powerful courage within us to survive.  All the talk of liberty and justice for all in America, when this is clearly not the case, leaves us needing courage to embody an authentic way of life where this is true within us.

  •  Fullly and unreservedly embracing our humanity

Peter Rollins says, “…we must be courageous enough to fully and unreservedly embrace our humanity.”  The mystical imagination lives into a liberty and justice for all.  Our humanity needs to be embodied in the parish.  Our practice of reflection and rest gives us the courage to live in our culture with a powerful courage.

  •  It will take everything within our humanity to follow Christ

Courage is intertwined within the mystical imagination.  It will take everything within our humanity to follow Christ because reflection and rest is pretty much shunned by the popular culture.  It is seen as a waste of time.  It does not make sense to rest when we should all be working to the point of exhaustion.

  • Losing the meaning of our humanity

Becoming human is not really an issue for many of us because we are not truly aware of our disembodiment in everyday life.  We have truly lost the meaning of our humanity.  We have become a people who have very little time for reflection and rest.

  •  Becoming human like Christ

We have cultivated a Christianity without an interior life of reflection and rest.  Our sanity is gone with our humanity.  Our courage could help us in the process of becoming human, like Christ, in the place we inhabit together.  To be like Christ is to become human.

  •  Being alive in our locality

To be like Christ is to embody courage.  To be like Christ is to practice reflection and rest in our humanity.  To be like Christ is to be faithfully present to our locality, to live in our locality and to love our locality.  Christ was alive in his locality and we should be too.

  •  Loving our neighbors in the parish

Loving our neighbors in the parish is why we practice refection and rest.  This is how we become human.  This is how we love God in the place we inhabit together.  There is no way around this.

How can we fully embrace our humanity in everyday life?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402142727&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Becoming Human Through Place

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Sometimes I take for granted the gift it is to be human; to be able to move, breathe, create, work, reflect, dream and walk.  The ability to love, experience friendship, pleasure and laughter is wonderful.  I have been exploring my own growth in my humanity for over twenty years now, and I am always amazed how unending this journey is within me in the place I live.

  • Deepening our humanity

Thomas Merton writes, “It is the strict truth, and until we realize before a man can become a saint he must first of all be a man in all the humanity and fragility of man’s actual condition, we will never be able to understand the meaning of the word, ‘saint.’  Not only were all the saints perfectly human, not only did their sanctity enrich and deepen their humanity, but the Holiest of all the Saints, The Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, was himself the most deeply and perfectly human being who ever lived on the face of the earth…”

  • Learning to be human

Jesus Christ lived in his humanity in the place he inhabited.  He lived in a local context in his humanity.  He had to learn how to become human.  His incarnation manifested all that is good in humanity.

  • Manifesting goodness in our humanity

We are called to manifest this goodness in our humanity.  We are called to be deeply human as the body of Christ in everyday life in the parish.  We are called into becoming the hands and feet of Jesus to our world in the place we live.

  • To live as saints is to become human

To live as saints is to become human.  To live as children of God is to become human.  To work out our salvation together is to become human.  To live in the freedom of the Holy Spirit is to be human.

  • Living in reconciliation with others is to be human

To live reconciled with others in the parish is to be human.  To become human is a good thing as we practice reflection and rest.  Our reflection and rest helps us to become human through the mystical imagination.

  • Honoring human beings as beautiful

The mystical imagination is calling us to become human.  The mystical imagination is showing us that humanity is beautiful.  We need to honor and search for this beauty in one another.

  • Rest, quietness and trust  

“In… rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15).

  • Experiencing our salvation in everyday life

Our salvation cries out from the earth.  The earth blossoms our salvation.  Our lives experience our salvation in everyday life together as the body of Christ in the parish.  Our salvation is intertwined with our humanity.

  • Becoming a people of place

When we are deeply human, we will be a people of place.  We cannot become human without a love for locality.  We cannot become human if we abandon our neighbors.

How can we explore what it means to be human in the place we live?

 

Responding to a Longing Within

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Growing up as a Catholic, I always thought that Christianity was about being a good moral person.  I had a hard time with embracing an embodiment of communing with God as a lifestyle in everyday life as a part of the body of Christ in the place I lived.  I didn’t understand longing for God.  I didn’t understand the purpose of the body of Christ.  If I could be good on my own, why did I need the church?

  • Being a nice boy

I was the model moral kid if ever there was one most of the time in my life.  I did not drink or smoke or swear.  I treated others with kindness and respect.  I was very quiet and shy, but I was a nice boy.

  • Not responding to life out of my longing for God

One time someone at a movie theatre that I worked at asked me if I was a Christian.  I told them that I was, but I really only thought being a Christian meant being a moral person where you didn’t harm anyone and were kind to others.  Now this is important in life, but I was not responding to life out of my longing for God.  It was only out of the way I chose to live because it made sense to me for some reason in a rational kind of way.

  • Being a good moral individualist

I wasn’t much interested in the body of Christ or reflection and rest.  I was an individualist, but a good moral individualist.  I didn’t see anything wrong with this.  I called the moral shots in my life and that’s how it was.

  • Letting life respond to a longing within   

I would try to read scripture out of a moral obligation to God, not out of my longing for God.  There was very little longing for God within me, just a rational morality that seemed to make sense.  After experiencing some depression and a loss of identity on the things I was building my life on, I came to realize that Christianity is not about a morality that I could construct.  It is about cultivating a longing for my Creator and letting my life respond to that.

  • For the common good of our neighbors

Morality can become a box we become trapped in if the priority is on being good over longing for God through reflection and rest.  All of our life should be a response to our reflection and rest as the body of Christ in the parish.  Our lack of reflection and rest will affect not just us personally, but will ultimately affect the world around us.  Our reflection and rest is not to be pursued as an individual self help technique, but is for the common good of our neighbors who we live with in our locality.

How can we live out of our longing for God?

The Inner Transformation of Doing Nothing

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Some of the greatest moments of my life have been when I have rested deeply and done nothing.  I remember when I first started to practice this, my intellect could not understand this way of life.  It wanted to resist and push back.  But my body was longing for this sense of peace and rest within from all the cultural expectations of success, productivity, noise and activity.

  • Seeds of revelation

I have come to understand God to be a God of peace within myself.  God has become a God of love and rest within myself.  Seeds of revelation in everyday life have showed me that my being is so important to who I am in the world.  I must connect with my true self if I am to live compassionately in the place I live.

  • Doing nothing through reflection and rest

We cultivate our spirituality when we do nothing through our reflection and rest.  Doing nothing can help us to embrace the mystical imagination.  Doing nothing can detach us from the cultural patterns of escapism.

  • Creating an inner transformation

Doing nothing helps us to rest.  Doing nothing helps us to embrace a reflective life as the body of Christ in the parish.  Doing nothing creates an inner transformation within us.  Doing nothing is dangerous and needs to be practiced with a lot of courage.

  • The cultural pressures scream to us

Most of us can only handle doing nothing for so long before the cultural pressures scream to us, “Get on with something meaningful.  All this reflection and rest is a waste of time.  It doesn’t make sense.”

  • Embracing a different narrative

Our reflection and rest teaches us to embrace a different narrative.  We embrace a narrative that values reflection and rest instead.  We embrace a narrative of listening.  We embrace a narrative of love and grace.

  • Our greatest source of strength

Doing nothing actually turns into our greatest source of strength.  Doing nothing is powerful and subversive.  William Shannon says, “In the production-orientated culture we live in, we are not good at doing nothing.  Just being seems difficult precisely because instinctively we feel that we ought to be usefully involved with something or other.”

  • Cultivating being

Doing nothing cultivates being.  Doing nothing cultivates the mystical imagination within us in the parish.  We are not very good at being.  We are not very good at resting and reflecting.

  • Pushed into doing something

Our consumer society always pushes us to do something.  We are pushed to buy something.  We are pushed to go somewhere.  We are pushed to get on with it.

  • Acts of attentiveness and awareness

We are rarely ever just content with doing nothing and being.  Doing nothing manifests in local acts of attentiveness and awareness.  We need to become better at doing nothing as the body of Christ in the parish.

How can we center our lives around reflection and rest instead of giving in to the cultural pressures of doing all the time?

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?

Embracing an Ongoing Awakening

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Sometimes in my life I have lived as if I was asleep.  I’ve had experiences of depression where all I wanted to do was sleep my life away.  This has not been very healthy for me.  I am slowly learning to be present to my own awakening as it takes shape in my life.

•  Listening to our awakening

We cannot make awakening happen within us.  We have to listen to awakening and let it live through our bodies in the natural rhythms of our existence.  We need to trust awakening.  It will become a part of us if we follow it within the depths of our souls.

•  The awakening of reflection and rest

Christ is calling us to awakening in the depths of our being as the body of Christ in the parish. Reflection and rest call out to our awakening.  We need this.  We long for this.

•  Live the truth of our awakening

Stephan Bodian says, “In the end, the only conclusion we can make about the awakened life is that it assumes the form and personality of the person who lives it.  You can’t imitate it or will it to happen; you can only wake up, live the truth of your awakening and notice how life lives through you…”  We are called to live our awakening through our sensuousness.

•  Awakening is calling out within us

All of our lives need to touch awakening.  Not one of us can be content without embodying awakening in our local context.  Awakening is calling out to a local presence within us in everyday life.  Our reflection and rest is opening its hands to awakening.

•  The contextual form of awakening

Awakening always takes a contextual form in the parish.  Awakening does not hold back life within us.  Awakening is mysterious and uncontrollable.  Awakening shatters all holds on modernity that we might have as the body of Christ in everyday life.

•  Putting us in touch with the mystical imagination

Awakening can be frightful and unkind to our illusions.  But awakening will put us in touch with the mystical imagination in all of life.  The awakened life calls out to us in the place we inhabit together as the body of Christ.

•  Creating a posture of openness

Catherine Whitmire writes, “The opportunity before us in every moment is to choose to live awakened lives…”  We cannot make awakening happen within us, but we can create a posture of openness to awakening at all times.  We can practice reflection and rest as a way to be hospitable to awakening.  Awakening is bound to happen in all of us if we take this posture in everyday life.

•  An ongoing awakening in our local context

We are created for an ongoing awakening.  Every moment of our lives calls out to our awakening.  We can choose awakening.  We can choose to seek God as the body of Christ in our local context.

What seems to keep you from an ongoing awakening in everyday life?