Posts Tagged ‘doing’

To See Myself As Others See Me

February 16, 2016

I was in a queue. Complaining with others about something. Then my consciousness shifted. It was as if I were floating above the situation. I witnessed myself. It was painful. I shut up. Calmed down. Became more pleasant.

Roberto Assagioli developed a school of psychology–back when psychologists were discovering interesting things about mind and soul and not mindlessly arguing over what causes ADHD–called psychosynthesis. I read his books some 40 years ago. If you can find them, check them out.

He describes this process that I described from a life experience. It is a technique we can develop as a step toward self-awareness.

Yesterday’s note concerned being aware of what triggers our anger or temper. This is a technique we can use in the moment to help guide us back to a Jesus-centered life instead of a me-centered life.

We can expand this use from helping us relate to others or even understanding others in greater detail.

Perhaps we’ve expanded our level of consciousness so that we can see ourselves as actors in a larger context–that is, not just us and our wants but others, too. Perhaps we shift awareness to those close to us. We notice that certain things set off their alarms. We notice that other things make them feel better. Maybe we could even develop our interaction with the other person by becoming aware of them, aware of what they like, and then respond appropriately.

Some people are naturals at this. Others of us must develop the focus on others. Some can peek through their narcissistic shell just long enough to notice others, but they lack the will to respond.

I learned from Jesus and then from his brother James that feeling nice doesn’t count. It’s feeling and doing. Maybe even doing first to achieve the feeling (yes it works in reverse that way).

Or, as Robert Burns said so eloquently

O, wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!

From Theology to Practice

January 19, 2016

Andy Stanley last weekend talked about putting some motion in your devotion.

He captured it well.

Every time I dig deeply into either the Gospels to see what Jesus really teaches, or into the letters which were advice to the new disciples, I come to the same conclusion–the preponderance of the teaching focuses on how we live day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

I’ve been reading, studying, and contemplating on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Some scholars think Paul didn’t write it because the tone is a little different from the rest of his letters. It sure sounds like Paul to me. I go with some scholars who say it was probably more of a sermon than a letter. After all, Paul was firmly in the rabbinic tradition.

Some scholars dissed the letter because they thought it was used to justify the power of priests 1,700 years ago. Maybe so, but I don’t see that today.

Paul begins where he always begins, with the history of God’s relationship with the Jewish people, the breaking of the relationship, and then, most importantly, Jesus coming to teach, die, and be resurrected. Paul’s theology begins and ends with the resurrection. That changed everything for him.

Just as in Romans, though, Ephesians teaches that once we settle on God’s grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus and our acceptance through faith, then the most important thing is how we live. Romans ends with practical advice; Ephesians ends with practical advice.

Part of our spiritual discipline, or spiritual practices, involves how we act. By the way, James who writes from a different tradition supports this thought. Be ye doers, he said (in 16th Century English).

But I digress. Today when you get dressed and head out to work or wherever you go, how are you going to act? What will you do? Will people see what you do and say, “There goes a disciple of Jesus”? Or, will they say, “There goes another one of those Christians who can preach belief but acts as if they’re the only people on Earth.”

I wrote yesterday about how I was once (?) book smart and common sense stupid. How hard it is for us to translate what we know into what we naturally do! But that is our task as set out by God. We may know. We may believe. But could anyone tell by watching?

You Have To Use It

August 17, 2015

“What good is it if he never used it?” Oxford student to his professor regarding Nietzsche on Inspector Lewis on PBS Masterpiece Mystery.

Nietzsche was most likely insane from syphillis during much of his life. Like some insane or “sub-threshhold” people, he could see into the human soul. He looked deeply into the 19th Century European soul and found darkness.

He also wrote about Das Übermensch, translated into English most literally as the Overman but popularly as Superman. He talked about the Will to Power. But he, himself, was not very powerful. He was sickly. 

Hence the comment by the student.

How many people do you know that know a lot but do little with it. I didn’t finish a formal engineering degree, but I used to work alongside many who did. Having enough knowledge to finish a degree did not make some of them an engineer. 

There are people with Masters degrees or Doctors degrees in various disciplines whose heads are filled with stuff. They go to leadership meetings and seminars. They can quote leadership stories. Tell leadership anecdotes. They couldn’t lead a group of children to a candy store.

There are people who can quote Scriptures for every circumstance. Do their lives reflect that they are disciples (by the way, my tradition and belief system is a follower of Jesus, but I observe the same problem with followers of Islam and Judaism)? It’s a human problem.

I am going through another cycle of studying the Proverbs. There are so many about accepting wise counsel. But also I read today that you can even tell a child’s character by what he does.

What good is it to say you’re a Christian and memorize reams of Scripture, and then your actions betray you as not a follower of Jesus?