Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Conclusion on 'clearing the mind'

I am almost done with said psychology book.   The grain I get out of it is to do what I can to stop thinking about the yuck that comes my way from various locations in the form of dysfunction.   My own interpretation of this is that ultimately it doesn't matter, Christ is still risen from the dead.   It doesn't matter if my encounters are anxiety ridden and hard for me to be patient with.   There is a way to separate the dysfunction from dragging me down which include forgiveness, doing what I can to not respond and to remember Christ is risen from the dead so.....carry on.   I don't think I would recommend this book to someone who is not well grounded in the faith.    If you find me sitting like a Buddha in the corner humming, please have a chat with me okay?    Continuing in the hearing and preaching of the Word, Confession and Absolution, prayer and Catechesis.   That seems like a good plan.   We are not ducks which can let it all roll off our backs easily but we can remember how we are grounded.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Clearing the mind rewritten for Lutherans

First off, no one is going to get life 'right' by their own efforts.   I am reading a book which is basically about untangling yourself from all of the life drama which distracts you from.....(read dramatically).....who you really are.   Well, the reason I am reading it to begin with is to see what I can glean out of it to learn to detach myself from unavoidable dysfunctional behavior encountered in life.   Simply put, don't allow the dysfunctional behavior rock my world or consume me.   The title is "The Unteathered Soul".     It is very yoga like but it did have a few good points worth sharing so am translating in Lutheran talk.  

The first point I found of value is that in today's modern society, we have a lot of time on our hands to allow  for the mind to dwell on every little thing we do and every thing we see others doing.  In days gone by people were pretty busy working, making and preparing food, and basically doing those things which are done to survive.   We are much more tied today to a world that allows us time to think about what everyone else is doing and then worrying about what we say and do around them.   I am not sure my explanation of this makes sense, but it makes sense to me that if I truly was busy wondering if we had food on the table and life was less cluttered by my gadgets, I would not have so much stuff to get worried and fussed up about.   So.....the book suggests decluttering our minds of all these things which compete for our minds attention.   As a Lutheran, I would suggest this same point would be to mind my own vocations and live in repentance for those vocations I am neglecting - the God given ones.    Minding my own vocation leaves me a lot less time to think on what everyone else is doing and get busy doing what I am supposed to be doing.   Yeah, I fail at this but and ask forgiveness for that and I truly want to do better.  

This point led to 'clearing the mind' which of course is......Buddha like.   There is much talk in the book of how to do this.   Making choices as to what I react to and perhaps choosing NOT to react.   The author gives the example (which I am not siting as I am sort of rambling), of thinking on whether it is a good idea to react to some encounter where I could either choose not to let it bother me and forget it or, perhaps I might choose to give a person a piece of my mind.   The second choice, aka sin - anger, murder in my heart - comes with consequences.   Even if the choice is I decide to give some snarky remark, there is still a consequence to that choice.   I am still responsible for those words.   The author makes reference to this as clearing your mind, and I would call it calling upon the Lord to guard my mouth and to actually consider the consequence of my sin.  

The last point I read was on making a routine of clearing your mind.   My Lutheran response, is that it would be a good practice to use that routine in prayer and remembering my baptism.   They suggest every time you enter the car and before you exit it.   That is not a bad choice if I use that as a time to remember my baptism and who it is that saves me - Christ Jesus - and not my effort to keep my mind under control.   Remembering my baptism always brings to my mind who paid the price for my sin.   I personally do rush from one thing to another so the routines set forth in the Catechism for prayer and examining one self make sense and are helpful in minding my own vocations.  

Clearing the mind - Confession and Absolution.   Yes.   That is clearing your mind.   I value this practice and hearing the words of absolution are most important in 'letting it go'.   Seeking Absolution is a to seek the forgiveness of our sins - to seek Absolution from the Pastor as from Christ himself.   I am referring to private Confession and Absolution here.    Christ's forgiveness can not be substituted by making an effort to clear the mind.   There is no substitute.   Humanly speaking we can ponder the futility of our anxieties and desire to be in control of every situation to avoid the pain that comes in this fallen world.  

I am going to keep plugging my way through the book anyway as there have been a few good points to think about in my reaction to the world around me but this is my Lutheran response.   The best point thus far was the point on thinking on how I react to what comes at me in life and how much energy I spend ruminating on them.   Choosing to not let the yuck effect me is a good start to dealing with the dysfunctional/sinful behavior I encounter in life.   This seemed pretty lightly touched on but I have a third of the book left so maybe the author will touch more on that later.  

Kids have vocations too

I am in the habit of staring at my kids when they are having a rough time and reminding myself of the struggles they have as they are not that different than my own.   Why do toddlers and young kids in general push us to absolute distraction and how to handle behavior out of our control.    Then I remember that I am sure I too have my moments when my family wishes I could pull myself together.   I think my hardest struggle with all my kids, is that they tend to all decide to fall apart all at the same time and then I feel like a fireman trying to get the fire out fast.   My brain goes a bit on overdrive running triage to get them away from each other and away from me til we can actually communicate somewhat calmly and not in frustration.   

Avoiding these lovely moments seems next to impossible but I think they get worse when they are bored or feel somehow lonely and neglected.   My own children seem at their best when we are working on an outside project together orMaybe we misbehave because we are not busy at our vocations????   Feeling a lack of purpose and misbehavior makes a bunch of sense to me.   I can feel my worst when I can't manage to know where to turn first with my vocational duties or have no desire to begin at all.   Once I can get my engines started then life is not as frustrating.   

Kids vocations are equally important to avoiding misbehavior.   If I am not able to do my own vocational duties, is it any wonder the kids become wild animals?   When they are engaged in learning they feel better.   When I can put my own wants aside and read to them, work through their school work sitting next to them and actually being in the house with them......they do better and so do I.   Vocation, vocation, vocation.   Sticking with our God given vocations improves everyone's mood.   Narrowing my focus improves my mood for sure.   

Writing these thoughts out results in my putting it together.....for today anyway......that helping my kids focus on their vocations by actually doing mine and being home helps us all feel a bit better and less fragmented.   The more I can be home the better it is.   Helping my kids see what their vocations are as 'kids' is also helpful.   I do tend to ask them the question, "So, how is that growing up and being responsible for what you are responsible thing going?"    They like this question.   We can have great conversations with this question too.   It isn't me telling me how they are doing but me helping them remember to think about it and helping them to think.   Lots of carefully thought out questions with a child, help them to process how it is going for them.