Harvey is a great black and white movie classic. Elwood P. Dowd’s best friend is a six-foot, three and half inch invisible white rabbit who accompanies him throughout his day helping him. It doesn’t take you long to fall in love with Elwood’s charming innocence. The movie also has some great spiritual lessons too:
Spiritual Wisdom from Harvey
Ponder these delightful quotes from Elwood:
“Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for thirty-five years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.”
“In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”
“I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whoever I’m with.”
God’s Spiritual Wisdom
God accompanies us in our daily walk too. Now I am not saying God is an invisible tall rabbit, but though others cannot see him with earthly eyes, we see him and know he is with us.
What a wonderful offering to us from God – the gift of imagination. Using our imagination can help us recognize where God is touching our lives.
Active imagination is a “tool in which a bridge is establish between one’s conscious and unconscious self through the use of imagery.” (Alan Jones)
Imagination helps us find the language to express what our souls and mind find as inexpressible. Encounters with the holy are often rooted in symbols and images.
“Imagination is the creative task of making symbols, joining things together in such a way that they throw new light on each other and on everything around them. The imagination is a discovering faculty, a faculty for seeing relationships, for seeing meanings that are special and even quite new.” (Thomas Merton quoted in The Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther de Waal)
Spiritual Wisdom and Imagination
How can we use imagination in our search for healthy spirituality?
1. Take a well-known Bible story – The Good Samaritan, Peter walking on the water or the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, for example. Quiet yourself and reread the story slowly. Imagine yourself one of the characters: the beaten victim left to die, one of the disciples sitting in the boat watching Peter, the unnamed person walking with a friend toward Emmaus. What are you feeling? What do you see/smell/ taste/ hear? Imagine with great details – the dusty road, the salty sea. What does Jesus say? Imprint his face, his eyes in your memory. Journal about your experience.
2. Try a guided imagery experience. Either have someone read it for you or have one already recorded in a CD player.
3. What is your image of God? A judge? Someone sitting far away. A companion? A friend? Sometimes I can easily imagine God as a gardener or I see him in an artist smock painting the rapidly changing sunset clouds. Lately it seems like Jesus and I are sitting side by side in rockers on a front porch. We don’t say much. We are just together.
4. When we enter a time of silence in prayer, see in your mind’s eye Jesus sitting next to you. Often I sit in one chair and “see” Jesus in the other chair listening with me, praying for me, healing me with his touch and loving me with his eyes.
How have you used imagination in your spiritual walk? How you used any of these methods to help you feel closer to God?