The Spiritual Practice of Imagination 

The Spiritual Practice of Imagination  December 22, 2023

As we close out 2023, I look back on the year. One of the hardest pills for me to swallow this year was the complete realization that my longer trail race days are over. While I still believe that I can do 50k and beyond, having COVID seemed to do something to my ability to recover from these longer events that is rather unpleasant. It has been almost 4 years since my last 50k.  

What an Adventure! 

This year I have covered one thousand eight hundred and seventy-three human powered miles and spent around four hundred hours and thirty –two minutes active. Some of the more memorable events this year were my attempted thru hike of Connecticut with my sixteen-year-old and the thru bike I rode on the Great Allegheny Passage with my thirteen-year-old. Because of the forest fires in Canada, our thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut did not happen, but we had an enjoyable time anyway. My thirteen-year-old crushed the one hundred fifty miles of the GAP trail. For family trips, my eighteen-year-old graduated from High School this year and wanted to go back to Cape Cod as her graduation gift and our whole family joined my wife’s extended family on a weeklong vacation in the Poconos which included an epic white water rafting trip.  

My fitness goals this year were to maintain training levels for a Master’s level athlete, 7-10 hours a week, which I largely kept throughout the season. I added two a week weightlifting session. 


This year, I undertook trying to maintain seeing thirty clients per week, blog more, and do more with my personal training and teaching. In the spring, I taught a sociology class, and, in the fall, I taught World Religions again. In September, I switched my blog platform to Patheos. I never really got the personal training off the ground and will try again in 2024.  

I have yet to find traction with any church that will work with me, and this continues to be an ongoing goal, though I have largely given up on this one. The conservative ones say I am too liberal or progressive and the progressive ones say I am too deist, traditional or too much of a therapist. 


The practice of imagination is not one you may think of when it comes to spiritual practices. Closely related to this practice is the practice of wonder. I find these two practices to be more mindful awareness practices. The practice of imagination enhances creativity, and the practice of wonder enhances sensuousness. Wonder comes alive in the imagination. We are animals dependent on our imagination. It creates the symbols that create our language, our devotions and our creativity. Imagination is an inner reality and wonder drives us deeper into ourselves.  

I am fond of the writings of Richard Rohr. He has this to say of wonder (Rohr, 2020): 

Wonder is our birthright. It comes easily in childhood—the feeling of watching dust motes dancing in sunlight, or climbing a tree to touch the sky, or falling asleep thinking about where the universe ends. If we are safe and nurtured enough to develop our capacity to wonder, we start to wonder about the people in our lives, too—their thoughts and experiences, their pain and joy, their wants and needs. We begin to sense that they are to themselves as vast and complex as we are to ourselves, their inner world as infinite as our own. In other words, we are seeing them as our equal. We are gaining information about how to love them. Wonder is the wellspring for love. . . . 


I believe we have a challenging year coming up. Political anarchy, extremist religious ideals, racist ideologies and a growing gap between the haves and have nots are going to be center stage next year. Perhaps a bit cliched, but I think of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine”. Imagine he writes, people living. For peace. For today. As one. 

The top of the year is always filled with narcissistic and self-centered goals to make our lives better, to get a better job, to lose weight and so on. But what if we instead made a goal to just be better to each other.  

The spiritual practice of Imagination as prescribed by Mary Ann and Frederick Brussat challenges us to keep track of images that come to us spontaneously in association with our thoughts and feelings.  

I believe Jesus imagined a better world and he was not afraid to speak of this better world. Perhaps the greatest person to ever be canceled by a government for speaking words to his imagined reality. Imagine then in 2024, peace, love, unity. What emotions does this bring up? Feelings? In mindfulness work, we talk about noticing. When you think of your “other” or “those immigrants” or “those whoever comes to mind”, imagine, wonder, how are you any different? In reality, you are not. In lovingkindness work, it is the imagining of the other as a small child or baby longing for comfort that eventually shifts our mind to an attitude of acceptance.  

God’s peace to all on this run around the sun. 





Rohr, R. (2020, August 13). ORDER, DISORDER, REORDER: PART ONE Awe, Wonder, and Love. Retrieved December 22, 2023, from 


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