by Cam Danielson.
To live an imaginative life doesn’t mean a life of fantasy, in ignorance of the suffering of human existence. Rather it takes that very suffering as a means of transcendence. In the work of George Herbert and John Donne we witness literary men who evoked their imaginative powers as a way of guiding the human heart (both their own and others). As I addressed in the In Claritas spring retreat at Sarum College, we find in their writings and sermons wonder and suffering, compassion and dissolution, intimacy and incomprehension co-existing. Resolution of the tension of finding meaning and direction in life isn’t a rational argument but one of being open to guidance, as Herbert expresses in his poem The Collar.
For In Claritas, the message is one of using imagination to create the container (inwardly and outwardly) for inspiration to arise. Out of our context, whatever it may be, is the possibility, even the promise, that inspiration can inform our lives. However dreadful or bleak the landscape at times, a shift of consciousness takes place when we embrace the paradox of being both separate and unique AND sharing a common identity with all living things.