I recently had the honor of being interviewed by Dr. Graham Taylor of the Taylor Study Method. The topic of our interview was brain fitness but our conversation ended being all over the map. We talked about educational reform, having focus amidst distractions, the importance of thinking outside the box, Common Core, emotional intelligence, ancient and modern memory techniques, the psychological insight of Homer, and much much more. Here are some observations I made during the interview.
In ‘Best Kept Secrets About Brain Fitness: a Conversation with Graham Taylor and Robin Phillips (Part 4)‘ I talked to Dr. Graham Taylor about the role imagination can play in helping with cognitive reframing;
“The ability to see the situations in our lives from a different perspective (what psychologists call “cognitive reframing”) is important for being able to cultivate gratitude, self-validation or spiritual renewal, but crucially this involves creativity and imagination. When we get stuck in one way of viewing our lives that we know is wrong and yet we can’t seem to escape from it, the imagination is our friend. For example, if I’m having a bad day and I start engaging in self-pity, maybe it’s time for me to imagine how things could be a lot worse. Or I could imagine someone from two hundred years ago watching my life and being impressed with all the blessings I have that I take for granted. Or I could imagine how I would feel about my priorities if I knew I was going to die in 6 months. By using the imagination in these and other ways, we are able to take a different perspective on the challenges in our life.”
During the presidential election cycle, American politics feeds on fomenting the public’s sense of dissatisfaction and highlighting problems that each candidate claims to be the answer for.
Unfortunately the public tends to buy into this doomsday rhetoric.
Every four years I have at least one or two friends who tell me “This is our final chance – this election will determine whether or not our nation even has a future.”
Various Christian end-times scenarios have contributed to the same pessimism about the future, so that it takes only a strange whether pattern or a report about a tragedy somewhere in the world to justify the pronouncement that “This surely proves we’re living in the end-times!”
From my earlier post “Killing the Imagination (Common Core, Part 3)“:
In cultivating the imagination, great literature helps to keep us free….the capacity to imagine has been the enemy of all great totalitarian regimes in history, for it is through the imagination that we are able to make connections, to form associations, to conceptualize long-term consequences and to see the infrastructures of meaning that lie beneath the surface of things. The poetry of life, and the sense of wonder that keeps the imagination vivid, fresh and restless, remains the constant enemy in the prosaic utopias that aim to convince citizens that there is nothing beyond this life to live for. Accordingly, for collectivist and totalitarian regimes to truly work, the first books to go must be those that have no obvious functional value in a work-based economy but which feed the imagination, and enable us to see the world in a fresh and wonder-filled light.
Sometimes we over-complicate the spiritual life. In our obsession with the intellectual aspects of theology, we sometimes overlook the more basic aspects of the Christian faith.
Here are three basic foundations of the Christian life that we easily overlook:
- The love of God that has been poured out to us in Christ Jesus is so strong that no conceivable hardship can separate us from that love. (Romans 8: 35-39)
- Everything that happens to us is organized by Divine Love for our benefit, even if we can’t understand how. (Romans 8:28; Matthew 10:29-31)
- In response to this love, we are commanded to replace anxious thoughts with a moment-by-moment awareness of all that is lovely, noble and good. (Philippians 4:6-8; 2 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Luke 12:29)