*Note: This reflection is based of Ronald Rolheiser’s book, “Forgotten Among the Lilies: Learning to Love Beyond our Fears.” I reflect on chapter five, the subsection it titled as my blog post is.*
How many of you daydream? I bet not a single person said no. Why? In our dream we can be whoever we want to be, do whatever we want to do; everything we could possibly wish for is true in our dreams. Why? We are able to escape the life here that has tears, limits, and failures.
In fantasy we achieve salvation, consummation and vindication.
Many people don’t even admit that they escape to daydreams anymore. The thing is, a certain amount of daydreaming is actually healthy and natural. It is a way of relaxing. For me, I like to imagine all the possibilities for me life, and all the good they have for me.
There is little difference between a tired person inserting a musical cassette tape into a stereo and sitting back to forget life’s problems and another tired soul inserting her favorite daydream into her imagination and sitting back to relax.
Interesting, huh? Listening to music or getting lost in a daydream, either of them as good as the other in order to relax. Both of them provide an escape from the intensity of life.
A healthy fantasy life can positively help spawn creativity because our daydreams put us in touch with the goodness and potential that is inside us.
Daydreams are good things. In them we are never small people, but those who do great things. We become special people who really live in God’s presence and live up to our life’s potential. Even with all that, daydreams can also be bad.
If we daydream too much we become unhealthily self-preoccupied.
Too much fantasy dulls full attentiveness to the present, to others, to prayer and to God. Too much daydreaming leaves us distracted and dissipated with too much of our perception and thought centered upon our own agendas and our own obsessions.
We can become so preoccupied by what is around us if we stay too much in our daydreams. I know I have been caught so many times in doing that. It has become at times, something that has distracted me from God and His will for me. There needs to be a balance.
To the extent that our daydreams our healthy , we may enjoy them. However, more and more, as we mature in life and prayer, we must actively work at turning away from fantasy towards prayer.
Towards prayer. While prayer has always been in my life in some way or another, this is something that really has been in my heart these past two years out of school. I would always dream of what was to come for my life, but now I am in that future. Prayer is so vital, asking God what He wants of me and listening to His response. Here is a little about prayer and contemplation.
Prayer is more than just saying prayers. Radical prayer is contemplation, and contemplation itself should not be understood simply as good feelings we have when we gaze at something which moves us.
We contemplate every time we see something as it really is, nakedly, face to face.
When we genuinely perceive, when we see, hear, smell, touch or taste anything that is other than ourselves and do no manipulate it, we are contemplating, we are praying. (This of course does not preclude other methods of praying.)
Contemplation is awareness without manipulation. Such awareness, as great spiritual writers have always assured us, is prayer.
Amazing, isn’t it? I wanted to leave you with just this last chunk, but I felt the pre-stuff was important to backing it up. A lot of people in the world know praying as the saying the rope prayers that are commonly said. Really, prayer is so much more than that, as we have just read.
Are you aware of how many times you manipulate the senses and what is around you? I find that people like to deny that they do anything of that, but most of the time people are not even aware that they are doing it.
Do we take the time to see (or any other sense/feeling for that matter) something as it really is? The challenge I am presenting myself with once again is living in that simplicity of seeing things so that it becomes prayer.
There are many things that my heart contemplates with this section of the book I am reading, but I am unable to express it all to you. Take to heart especially that last part quoted on prayer and contemplation. See what is means for you in your life. With that, I leave you with one more line on your way out.
It is enjoyable to daydream but it is ultimately more enriching to pray.