Imagination and Vision

imagination: the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.

vision: a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination

Bopp, Judie. Sacred Tree: Reflections on Native American Spirituality

We gain a vision of what our potential is from our elders and from the Teachings of the Sacred Tree. By trying to live up to that vision and by trying to live like the people we admire, we grow and develop. Our vision of what we can become is like a strong magnet pulling us toward it.  

Bopp, Judie. Sacred Tree: Reflections on Native American Spirituality (Kindle Locations 150-151). National Book Network – A. Kindle Edition.

This is a time when so many people seem lost and unsure of what the future holds.  What we need now are visions of what the future might look like.  Something to engage the heart and soul.  Something concrete to work toward now.

Most of us lack the stories that help imagine a future where we thrive in the midst of unstoppable ecological catastrophe. We have been propelled to this point by the myths of progress, limitless growth, our separateness from nature and god-like dominion over it.

If we are to find a new kind of good life amid the catastrophes these myths have spawned, then we need to radically rethink the stories we tell ourselves. We need to dig deep into old stories and reveal their wisdom, as well as lovingly nurture the emergence of new stories into being. This will not be easy. The myths of this age are deeply rooted in our culture.

My young children need me to be an adult. They are the reason I feel despair so profoundly. Yet they are also the reason I cannot wallow in it, acquiesce to it, or turn away from the horror. This is the reason I have sought to imagine another way, and to find and focus on that which I might do to usher that vision into existence, and to behave as if what I do really matters for their future. They are the reason I have directed my imagination to the multitude of paths only visible once I looked beyond the myths that have clouded much of my thinking. It is up to me show them a way beyond grief to a way of life truly worth living for, even if it isn’t the path I had expected to be showing them.

All that is needed is to cross the threshold with ready hands and a sense, even a vague one, of what might be yours to do.

Pontoon Archipelago or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Collapse. By James Allen, originally published by Medium
June 18, 2019

Having a vision can guide us through the chaos. It teaches us what we are being called to do and that can give us hope.

People often mistake hope for a feeling, but it’s not. It’s a mental discipline, an attentional practice that you can learn. Like any such discipline, it’s work that takes time, which you fail at, succeed, improve, fail at again, and build over years inside yourself.

Hope isn’t just looking at the positive things in this world, or expecting the best. That’s a fragile kind of cheerfulness, something that breaks under the weight of a normal human life. To practice hope is to face hard truths, harder truths than you can face without the practice of hope. You can’t navigate dark places without a light, and hope is that light for humanity’s dark places. Hope lets you study environmental destruction, war, genocide, exploitative relations between peoples. It lets you look into the darkest parts of human history, and even the callous entropy of a universe hell bent on heat death no matter what we do. When you are disciplined in hope, you can face these things because you have learned to put them in context, you have learned to swallow joy and grief together, and wait for peace.

April 30, 2018 by Quinn Norton

People of faith try to be very attentive to the Spirit at all times, so we don’t miss messages being given to us, telling us what we need to do next. Although we try to be attentive, we are often distracted by the demands of everyday life.

For those who have faith in a greater power, spirit, God, or however you express your spirituality, this is an opportunity to delve more deeply into your faith. This is also an opportunity to share your spirituality with those who don’t have faith or hope, as long as they are open to what you have to offer. The way that has worked best, in my experience, is to first offer the space for others to express their doubts, fears, or concerns to you. And really listen to what they are saying. Have the attitude that you can learn from this listening, because you can. Once someone else finds you are really listening, they often eventually reach the point where they begin to ask questions of you and to listen to your responses.

I wrote a post titled “Spiritual Depth” that tells a story about an indigenous man who changed the weather. That story made me realize my faith is sometimes too constrained, and I have work to do to deepen my own faith.

In this time of increasing chaos Mother Earth needs us to have the wisdom and courage to create visions from our imaginations and do what the Spirit is leading us to do. Do not be afraid.

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real but fear is a choice.”

from the movie After Life

This entry was posted in climate change, Indigenous, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s