The aim of this book is to set you free. But free from what? Free from neurosis. Free from the feeling that you have to obey authority. Free from emotional intimidation. Free from addiction. Free from inhibition.
The key to happiness, mental health and being the most that we can be is absolute and unconditional self-acceptance. The paradox is that many of our problems are caused by trying to improve ourselves, censor our thinking, make up for past misdeeds and struggling with our negative feelings whether of depression or aggression.
But if we consider ourselves in our entirety in this very moment, we know these things :
1. Anything we have done is in the past and cannot be changed, thus it is pointless to do anything else but accept it. No regrets or guilt.
2. While our actions can harm others, our thoughts and emotions, in and of themselves, never can. So we should accept them and allow them to be and go where they will. While emotions sometimes drive actions, those who completely accept their emotions and allow themselves to feel them fully, have more choice over how they act in the light of them.
Self-criticism never made anyone a better person. Anyone who does a “good deed” under pressure from their conscience or to gain the approval of others takes out the frustration involved in some other way. The basis for loving behaviour towards others is the ability to love ourselves. And loving ourselves unconditionally, means loving ourselves exactly as we are at this moment.
This might seem to be complacency, but in fact the natural activity of the individual is healthy growth, and what holds us back from it is fighting with those things we can’t change and the free thought and emotional experience which is the very substance of that growth.
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Friday, 15 September 2017
|Devils and seducers-Picture is from the Vision of hell by Dante Alighieri, popular edition, published in 1892, London-England. Illustration by Gustave Dore|
Copyright: sebastiana2012 / 123RF Stock Photo
|Copyright: stevanovicigor / 123RF Stock Photo|
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Later I would encounter the ideas of Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith, who also provided a non-supernatural definition of God, saying that “God is integrative meaning,” by which he means :
That was over 25 years ago. Only recently I became aware of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, who looks for psychological insight in the Bible and defines God as “the Logos - the spoken word which brings habitable order out of chaos”. This is compatible with, but less all encompassing than, Griffith’s definition.
|Adam and Eve, woodcut, Germany, 1514, Metropolitan Museum of Art|
If our problems are due to a blockage in the free flow of the life energy, then compromised self-acceptance is central to that blockage. The self-accepting individual looks outward and participates unselfconsciously with others in pleasure and in problem solving. A lack of self-acceptance cause us to look obsessively inward or to interpret the world around us in the light of our need to service our wounded ego. Guilt is a spanner in the works.
As I came to the end of the Old Testament it occurred to me that it was really a story about the importance of maintaining integrity, personal and social. Some of the laws may seem unreasonable now, but the aim was to find a codified way to mediate conflicts and thus maintain the integrity of the society. If there were a prejudice prevalent at the time, that would be reflected in the laws. Most of us don’t believe in slavery, so owning slaves is against the law in our countries. At the time the books of the Old Testament was written, owning slaves was considered acceptable, so laws are about how to treat slaves. This is a problem for those who believe in a supernatural God who could have got Moses to tell people to release their slaves. It is not a problem for someone who sees the Bible as a human document recording our search for the divine.
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What about the judgement and the “lake of fire”?
Friday, 4 August 2017
What if we could trace the biochemistry of mystical or religious experiences? Materialists might see this as a way to explain away such events as aberrations arising from physiological disfunction, much as they sometimes tend to see depression as nothing more than a shortage of serotonin, as if the happiness of a dog were produced by a sufficient amount of tail-wagging. This would be no more rational than to think that our understanding of how the eye works lessons the size and magnificence of the galaxies we can see with it. The reality of such experiences can best be assessed by the effect they have on the lives of the experiencers. This says nothing about whether anything experienced as existing in an external physical sense actually has that independent existence. Think of it this way. If you read Hamlet, you are reading a work of fiction, but the play actually exists as a coherent creation which has the power to effect how you live your life. If someone has an experience which is far richer and more powerful than that, but of which there is no identifiable author, then that is something real, the mysterious nature of which is not so easy to explain away.
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
|Copyright: alexmit / 123RF Stock Photo|
What if there were a framework of understanding which could unite the perceptions of the mystic, the fundamentalist and the atheist into a single whole?
|ROME, ITALY - MARCH 12, 2016: The fresco God the Creator by unknown artist from end of 19. cent. in the church Chiesa di Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore. Copyright: sedmak / 123RF Stock Photo|
In the Old Testament there is an emphasis on laws. If selfishness were not to lead to the collapse of the society there needed to be laws. Such laws are a compromise. They don’t solve the underlying problem, and they are based on the prejudices prevalent in the society, hence the absence of such current day laws as : “Thou shalt not own slaves.”
|KRAKOW, POLAND - DECEMBER 19, 2010; Christmas Eve for poor and homeless on the Central Market in Cracow. Every year the group Kosciuszko prepares the greatest eve in the open air in Poland. Copyright: praszkiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo|
Selfishness is the knot that needs to be untied for us to feel at home in the universe that gave birth to us, for us to be re-united with God. Selfishness is the natural self-directedness of the insecure or otherwise suffering individual. Hit your thumb with a hammer and you’ll have trouble thinking about anything else but your thumb. In the same way, our insecurity turns us inwards. It can be a negative feedback loop. We behave selfishly. We feel guilty about behaving selfishly. The pain of the guilt directs our attention even more strongly toward our self. This makes us even more selfish. Thus the knot tightens.
|Copyright: noltelourens / 123RF Stock Photo|