Imaginative Contemplation

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Many Christians are hesitant to engage the spiritual disciplines because they have allowed themselves to be convinced that only the spiritual giants are able to immerse their lives in the practices. Meditation is one of the disciplines that seems to be far out of the reach of the saints. We have a picture in our minds of one sitting cross-legged in a deep state of communion with the divine, completely disconnected from world around them and possessing a peace that you and I cannot seem to find. Looking at this picture we turn away, thinking that we would be unable to attain this state and surrender back to splashing around in the shallows of our life of faith.

Well, erase this image. You have every ability to integrate every one of the spiritual disciplines into your life, starting with meditation. One of the things we learn as we begin to explore meditation is that there are numerous avenues into the practice. One of the easiest ways to begin meditating and linking the mind and the heart is through your imagination. To use the imagination is not to engage in flights of whimsy, forming new stories of our relationship with God based upon our own desires. It is to use the power of your mind to place yourself immediately at the feet of the Master. It is to place yourself in the Upper Room as the Lord speaks to His disciples, you included. Feel how tight the space is filled with people, smell the bread and the wine, see the Lord’s face in the candlelight and watch the shadows dance about the plaster walls. Now, hear the words he speaks:

A new command I give you: Love one another. (John 13:34)

Your imagination will allow you to see his face as he mouths these words. You can look about and see how they strike each of the men present. Judas has gone—would he have recoiled at this statement? Do you? The images of your mind help you to be fully present to the Spirit as He moves the words from your mind into your heart. Have you loved others as the Lord loves you? Do the words pierce your heart or comfort you? Contemplate on the words as the Spirit communicates the truth to you in ways related to your life.

Meditation using the imagination troubles some people as they fear that this sense can be corrupted just as our others can. We have to live with this reality but the question to ask is this; if God can redeem other aspects of our life can He not redeem our imaginations as well? Trust in God and open your mind.

 

Image by OkaySamurai

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