Mid-week in our first week of taking action, where we’re taking it slowly, sometimes still observing our old behavior while we evaluate what we should be doing instead; and sometimes taking action. It’s funny how when you think about it you can easily choose the right response, but when the heart becomes engaged, another part of you takes over. Don’t fret. It takes longer for the heart to follow and get with the program.
I had a dream last night, and in it an old friend was asking about whether a task could be automated, and said they understood if I wouldn’t or couldn’t do it, since I didn’t attend their church anymore. I said I could do it–it had nothing to do with attending their church; and I mentioned that the church was like any other club, it had monthly dues, too. She said, ‘Yeah, but these dues are much higher!’
I think however you express your faith, that is up to you, and as you move this Lent toward a new behavior, you’ll see others respond to you differently. I hope each day is a new day for you, full of promise and fulfillment.
The discovery period is over. You should now understand how you want to change your response in the given situations. My guess is you are already using the new response, at least some of the time. I think this is the beauty of being deliberate. The more you become aware of the present moment, the more naturally you respond to it.
And when they say, ‘Time flies,’ I think it flies fastest when you are focused on the moment. You don’t realize or think about time anymore, and thus when you look up, so much time has passed and it has seemed to be nothing. I imagine that’s the way it is when we are reunited with God. We become present to the moment and to our creator, and time loses all meaning.
I think that happened to me this weekend, which is why I missed several posting days. I had read the reflection for the day, but missed posting something here. I look forward to the coming week.
P.S. I was made aware of another prayer site that is excellent, and includes daily prayers, here. I find it very familiar in some cases to my own thinking.
The pope. Those two words lately generate quite a bit of conversation and controversy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some time in the future the reasons why he stepped down become evident. His position commands such great reverence and respect from many people that I think some of them believe him to be perfect. I’m sure he would disagree, and his actions, if they were known, would reveal a human being, someone just like any of us lesser-knowns or unknowns.
As we spend time discovering how we might respond differently, the key is looking for consistency. By this I mean something consistent with our inborn nature. When each of us is born, we are born with innate talents, and with capabilities that, with practice, can be developed into additional talents. So I might say I was born with a natural ability to learn. However, until I use that talent, my capabilities in other areas will not develop.
To attempt to do something contrary to your nature is very difficult, requires a lot of energy and focus, and when we consider the change as something we want to carry on for a lifetime, might be considered unrealistic.
I’ve discovered I have several responses I can use to change a behavior. I have a few more days to discover other ways, and to choose the most natural way, such that it complements my nature rather than go against it, making it easy to implement as I practice, practice, practice.
If you had a choice between being well-known, respected, and highly followed (on Twitter or wherever your social universe resides, be it electronic or physical), or having made an impact in several people’s lives (of which you were directly aware), which would you choose?
It’s easy to pick the second choice, altruistically speaking, yet I wonder when we look at our daily lives, which choice our actions reveal to us. Is there much of a difference between the two? I think it boils down to the reasons behind our behavior. And that’s part of the discovery process, in terms of choosing a new behavior. After identifying the root of our existing behavior, (if we are successful in that, which is not a given), we consider how we might behave differently, what actions we might choose to perform instead, from the standpoint of that root cause – not to perpetuate it, but to change it.
And so I want to discover a new action that brings out the best in me, not to glorify myself, but to glorify God, quietly.
In a discussion yesterday someone pointed out two extremes – altruism and psychological egoism – and we talked about them, about how easy it is to do something that looks good and bask in the glow of praise from others. And it is difficult, when the adulation comes, to deflect it, accepting the thought without letting it puff you up.
“You should be proud,” is often heard from others when you do something worthwhile; yet, how opposite this is to Jesus’s teaching, to Buddha’s teaching. (And probably to others, as well.) When you focus on God, and focus on shining God’s light, then the need for praise, for boosting yourself up, diminishes. If you’re capable, it might even vanish if your focus is complete.
As you discover what to do instead of what you were doing, don’t judge the action on how it would make you appear, but rather how it fits in with your personality. If you try to do something that is not you, like an extrovert trying to keep quiet, you’re bound to meet with disappointment. Here we are working to reveal who we are in a way that does not glorify ourselves, because when we reveal who we really are, what we are doing is glorifying God.