ECS Wellbeing: Bishop Martin’s Awareness Practice – Week 8
Returning from our half term break, Bishop Martin’s Wellbeing and Awareness Practice this week focuses on Imagination.
“Will you do something for me.” It depends on who’s asking you that question, of course! What are your initial feelings about being asked? What are you being asked to do? And am I willing to respond?
In practicing this myself some years ago, in a quiet moment, I somehow imagined Mahatma Ghandi asking me to help carry huge pictures of water to villagers that were dying of thirst. Likely? Perhaps not!
Try turning your ‘phone off for ten minutes or so. Picture someone, sense someone in front of you that you’ve met and admired, or maybe haven’t met in person, or perhaps that you’re never likely to. She or he may be a historical character – an attractive inspiring person about whom you’ve read or heard, or seen in film or television. Imagine that person is right with you now! What does she or he look like? You have a conversation. Let your imagination run free. You feel your confidence in the person is growing, but don’t allow your cautious critical faculties to be suspended. Being aware of them is also important.
You’re now, perhaps, willing to be of service to the person. Don’t concern yourself whether the request is practical or even achievable. That’s not the point. It’s about building some hope within. The person asks: “I’m wanting you to…for me. Will you help me?” What is it that the person asks YOU? If you do, allow yourself to feel some resistance. Maybe you have some questions that need answering. These may be important. Imagine yourself fulfilling as best as you can her or his request NOW. This practice of Recollection develops three skills: listening, watching and restoring vision in your life, no matter how small. If you feel it might help, jot it down the experience.
By practicing this once or twice with children, sharing your own experience will be modelling this creative inner work for them, whether your a parent, guardian or teacher. Of course, children may not have a huge bank of experience of charismatic and creative leaders. However, you may be surprised if you give them the space to bring to the surface such a person.
This practice comes from the Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola. He calls the practice ‘Christ the King and His Kingdom’. By first imagining a figure from history or books etc., he then asks that Jesus Christ himself is imagined asking ‘you’ directly to undertake a particular task. What then would be your response…? I repeat this is about building up the imagination to strengthen the creative response of service. It’s also important to have a sense of humour about you!
An important note
This request is not blind obedience. The word ‘obedience’ comes from a combination of words that means to listen deeply and to think deeply and then…follow.