Sunday, January 10, 2016

Nature Expands Our Imagination

Material development with all the good it has brought us may be distancing us from nature. Books, computers, smart phones and man made instruments can blind us to the world of nature, and we don't know fully the results of this alienation from the natural, and what it will do to the mental and spiritual makeup of the individual.

Imagination expands a child's vision, and openness to the  world. By means of imagination the child begins to ask questions. Can I exist in  this world in a different way? How would I feel? What can I find and create? Within community, imagination helps  a person grow to maturity and enables one to give their special gifts to society. During the years of growing up we are continuing  to develop our imagination.

Peace Weekly spirituality columnist recommends the dream world of the child be encouraged, and the need to  draw out the child to express colors, sounds and touches experienced. Concern is not with interpreting the dreams but to exam and deal with  the feelings that are aroused and help them to speak about their dreams.

Studies show that 80% of the dreams children have are about animals which show their relationship with nature in the wild. Not only concern for material and personal matters is important  but life is filled with  interesting and inviting opportunities, and children are acquainted with this. Children do not grow up with only what they experience in the home.

The world of the imagination is what helps the child to mature. They should be encouraged to experience  internal reality to the degree they experience their external  reality. William Blake says: "But to the eyes of man of imagination, nature is imagination itself."

We are a part of nature. Children don't just examine nature but all their senses are in mutual interaction with nature. They don't only see a bird on the chimney top but their arms move and body feels lighter. They hear the sound of the wind, and the bird's song; trees are to be climbed, water is drumming; they want to run into the water. They see themselves one with the animals. Rain brings to the child a sense of loss, the sun warmth and hope,  storms bring fear to the child. Imagination, Body, Emotions and Nature are influencing the child complicatedly and charmingly, interacting with the child. Children need to experience the four of these,  when one of them is ignored, the other three are in some way damaged.

"I think we have exploited nature too much," Pope Francis said, "Thanks be to God that today there are voices, so many people who are speaking out about it." We need to find again a harmony with nature and deepen it daily.

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