I was at Unity Church-Unitarian in Saint Paul yesterday, at a Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association cluster meeting, and I was thrilled that the Rev. Karen Herring gave us a taste of her Open Page Guided Writing Sessions. These sessions are part of Karen’s literary ministry at Unity, and I have to say I was really impressed by the process (high praise coming from someone who has not one, but two Master’s Degrees in Poetry and Creative Writing). What was most impressive was the potential for this guided writing process to free the imagination and open the heart. While this week’s small group ministry session may not yield the same written results for participants, it’s designed to help folks reflect on the importance of Imagination in their lives. As always, the resources for this session come from SpiritualityandPractice.com.
Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions. — Albert Einstein quoted in Zen and the Art of Making a Living by Laurence G. Boldt
A Teaching Story from Say Please, Say Thank You: The Respect We Owe One Another by Donald McCullough
In this well-titled book, Donald McCullough discusses a wide repertoire of practices that can serve as an antidote to the incivility of our times. In the following illustration, he reveals the dynamics of imagination as a lever of compassion.
One day Gandhi stepped aboard a train as it started to move, and one of his shoes slipped off and dropped on the tracks. Unable to retrieve it, he calmly took off his other shoe and threw it back along the track to land close to the first. When an amazed passenger asked why he had done that, Gandhi smiled and said, “The poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track will now have a pair he can use.” With the eyes of his imagination, Gandhi saw a man with bare feet, saw him coming across a lone shoe and desperately searching for the other, and saw the disappointment on his face when he didn’t find it; seeing these things, Gandhi did what he could to help.
Questions: Generations of people have grown up in environments hostile to the imagination. Share your personal experience, covering the role of imagination in your childhood, at home, in school, or in a religious community. What do you think can be done today to advance the cause of the imagination?
Check-out/Likes and Wishes
We tend to consider imagination too lightly, forgetting that the life we make, for ourselves individually and for the world as a whole, is shaped and limited only by the perimeters of our imagination. Things are as we imagine them to be, as we imagine them into existence. Imagination is creativity, and the way we make our world depends on the vitality of our imagination. — Thomas Moore in The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life
To Practice This Thought: Always be on the lookout for ways to imaginatively practice compassion and kindness.
For a PDF version of this small group ministry session, click here: Imagination.
For more information on small group ministry, visit the UU Small Group Ministry Network.