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. Innen's weekly comments from a Dharma perspecti
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• the up-to-date practice calendar for our Red Maple Mindful Living Centre,
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

IMAGINE

Greetings to all,
      
IMAGINE

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one


    from Imagine, by John Lennon,
    first released this week, 1971  
   

We humans are blessed with two distinct thinking capacities, rational and imaginative. One creates order, structure and predictability; the other creates randomness, possibility and the deliberate toying with and even shattering of our comfortable and reliable world. Most of us have some experience of what life can be like when one or the other dominates. There is need for both to be robust and balanced.
In biology, the ‘imago’ is the last stage an insect attains during its process of growth and development. It is the stage in which the insect attains maturity. Perhaps we can consider that imagination has to do with that stage in our own maturity when, having set out patterns of structure and order, we can enter into play with our world. In 20th century psychology, Abraham Maslow proposed a “hierarchy of needs” for humans, where basic needs of food, safety, shelter and so on needed to be secured for us to develop. He concluded his proposition with a designation of the final stage in our development being one of self-fulfillment, of creativity, the stage of exploring possibilities. Imagination, then, is the central tool for us to achieve what is our full possibility, the capacity not just to think outside the box, but to live and act in novel, creative and meaning-generating ways.
It is only be allowing ourselves to consider what life would be beyond the rigid structures of “nation” or “religion” that we can open ourselves up to possibilities that take our lives beyond the suffering-infused experiences we already have. As Buddhists, we are even called to imagine there is no permanent self, no ultimate distinction between you and I. We perform all of our various practices partly for discipline and structure, but finally, we are reaching for our “imago”, our final stage, where we fulfill our dream, “where the world will be as one”.
              
Yours in the Dharma,                          
from Akashaloka,                  
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu                      

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