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.  

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