By Freya Secrest
This sign appeared in my neighborhood recently. It immediately struck and resonated for me and I notice that whenever I go out riding now I turn my bike in the sign's direction just to pass by it again. In considering why, I see that I find the sign strengthening and uplifting; it connects me in a small but specific way to what I can do as one individual. It brings my individual actions into a wider community that is envisioning a quality of future that I too want to imagine for the world.
We live in a world shaped by imagination. My car was a thought that began as a twinkle in someone’s imagination for a different kind of transportation, a vehicle that could travel quickly and directly to a destination. My shower was someone’s imaginative idea to bring a waterfall indoors and warm it up. Air travel, for example, has been a glimmer in human imagination since Icarus tried to fly his father's wings, but not until the Wright brothers did we succeeded in giving flight a viable form for collective movement. There were many small steps, lots of trial and error, and many brave choices that lead to these new ideas becoming an accepted everyday reality. In seeing this in the long view, it is individual, step by step contributions that carried the possibility forward into today’s reality.
Imagining possibilities begins in our relationships with the world around us. From the balance of our known connections, we focus our curiosity and creativity and invite possibility. As we step toward these new possibilities, our relationship to what is known shifts, expands, grows. New forms emerge. What results needs a new set of organizing principles that recognize a new balance so that these imaginations can bloom and grow. As an example, before any new form of travel emerged, there was the imagination of a new relationship to distance and speed and our understanding of where we belong in the world. We did not need to be limited to where our clan lived, how far our own legs could carry us or the speed of a horse and buggy; we could move further and find shelter and connections far away from a familiar environment. Our predecessors imagined new technologies to help them travel through physical space more quickly and build relationships with new people and places. In so doing our center of balance moved from possibilities centered in place into those centered in ideas and human creativity.
Our world today is shaped by the relationships and possibilities imagined by those who came before us. Perhaps it was assumed that human connection and caring and a verdant earth could not be lost. But, given the social, environmental and political turbulence in the world today, I am brought to consider the need for an expanded imagination, one that makes a technology of wholeness the focus of its attention.
“Hate has no home here.” My neighbor's sign points me to a way that I can add my energy to widening an imagination of the world of the future. I want to imagine a future in which hate and fear do not isolate us from each other. Where my idea of “right” does not justify acts that separate and undermine others. I want to imagine a world where hospitality and respect are the foundation for connection, interaction and growth. Where my respect for the living earth gives it space to grow and nourish all its residents.
The sign brings me back to the small but valuable personal shifts in my own time and attention that are a necessary foundation for hospitality and respect. It helps me to bring weight and substance to my commitment to the future. It reminds me to embody my imagined world through deed as well as word.
This is a life-long project, not one that will necessarily be completed in my remaining time on earth. But it is one to which I am very committed to contribute. I greatly appreciate the family who posted that sign in their yard. Even though I do not know them, they remind me I am not alone. The steps I can take to bridge and connect are part of a wave that is transforming the world through imagination put into daily action.
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Views from the Lorian Community publishes essays from a team of volunteer writers expressing individual experiences of a long term, committed practice of Incarnational Spirituality (and the general principles shaping such a practice.) Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you would like to subscribe, please visit our website and click on Follow Our Blog Via Email. Or email the editor:email@example.com.