Friday, 25 September 2020

Practicing the Presence of Peacefulness

If you can tolerate the situation, stay and learn what you can from it. It means detaching from your selfish interest, from being right, from being seen in a certain way, from what you want right now. Detaching means escaping the hold of the senses, of earthly desires, of the material world. You have the perspective of an objective observer. Only by detaching can we truly gain control of the mind. I've remixed some Zen stories, introducing new characters so that they're more relatable. One of them is about a monk who arrives at the entrance to a palace. She's a known holy woman, so she is brought to the king, who asks the monk what she wants. I would like to sleep in this hotel for the night, says the monk. The king is rather taken aback at this unexpected lack of respect. This is not a hotel, it is my palace! Is your heart chasing after God's heart? Is He the most important thing in your life? If not, your words will be careless, empty and idle, for no one whose heart is fully turned to the Lord speaks words that contradict their hearts' reality. Your tongue enables you to connect with God's eternal purposes for mankind. It also has the ability to connect you with or be disconnected from others. When you experience a disconnection (relational breakup) with someone, I can almost guarantee you that words were involved. The way to get reconnected with God and with people is to repent if you have hurt them through you words as well as to forgive those who might have spoken hurtful words to or of you. Words of repentance reconnect you with both God and people. Speaking yourself into defeat

In the article of Numbers article 13 and 14 we read about how the Hebrew spies came back from exploring the land of Canaan, and how they gave a negative report about the land, causing the whole community to turn and grumble against Moses. Rather than have our perceived weaknesses drive our life's course, it should be our strengths and core values that do so. We must locate them and bring them to the fore. Living with purpose and laughing at life will also help, as will adopting a more courageous approach to challenging situations. We should also try hard to think about ourselves and others as allies not enemies. I have covered a lot of ground over the last nine articles, discussing the problems social comparisons can create for our mental health and how we can take control to make them work to our benefit instead. Let's remind ourselves of the main points. How we perceive ourselves is heavily affected by the comparisons we make with others as well as those they make with us. We're all products of our comparisons. There's a large chunk of luck whether the targets for our comparisons are appropriate given that we typically choose the most convenient individuals to compare ourselves with. If they're unsuitable and we believe the results of the comparisons, which we're prone to do, we can arrive at a highly inaccurate impression of ourselves. You will be stronger and better prepared to deal with similar scenarios in the future. If you are enabling, covering up or abetting any illegal activity, get legal counsel and leave the company. If he goes down, you will too. If you decide to stay: Document everything that goes on for future reference. Educate yourself about pathological narcissism so you know exactly what you are dealing with. Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Learn to distinguish between lies and truth.

Don't try to be a rescuer. The monk asks, Who owned this place before you? The king folds his arms across his chest. I am heir to the throne, he declares. Is he here now? He is dead. What is the meaning of this? And before your father, who was the owner? His father, the king shouts. The monk nods. Ah, she says, so people who come to this place, stay here for a while, and then continue their journey. They saw the giants in the land, the descendants of Anak and were afraid. What they did was to speak the problem, instead of the solution. They focused on their own inability to defeat the giants instead of focusing and confessing God's ability to do so. They actually allowed their own words to paralyze them with fear. When you use your words to sow the seeds of doubt and defeat, those seeds of unbelief quickly grow. The bad and fearful report of the spies concerning Canaan caused the whole nation to become negative, accepting defeat at the hands of these hybrid giants even before going into battle. They had more faith in the giants' ability to destroy them than in God's ability to wipe the giants out. Not only did they accept their defeat prematurely, but they sealed it by confessing it. Very often in life it is not the giants of life that destroys us but it is what we say about the giants of life that destroys us.

It is what we believe and confess that brings about our downfall. Even accurate impressions of where we stand relative to appropriate others may have undesirable effects depending on how we react to the results. Academic research confirms that comparisons can create problems for our psychological well-being, with issues of inferiority and/or superiority most commonly cited. The damaging feelings we experience are created by thoughts that are automatically triggered when we encounter particular situations. The advent and extraordinary growth of social media has dramatically altered the nature and number of comparisons we make. There's growing evidence that intensive use of many of these platforms is having detrimental effects on the mental health of young people in particular. To remedy the harmful influences of our comparisons and turn them to our advantage we must adjust our thinking. Using Thought Records and plenty of practise we need to invalidate our current negative thoughts, replacing them with constructive alternatives. If our current thoughts can't be disproved then we have a choice - Constructively Accept the situation or come up with an Action Plan to improve it. Similar methods will help us deal with mistakes and failures. Ultimately, we're aiming to achieve three things. That is not your job. Do not discuss personal things with your boss or invite him into your personal life. He will use those things against you. Do not be fooled or manipulated. Do not try to go above your bosses head or report him. You will end up on the losing end. Do not badmouth your boss to your co-workers. You don't know who you can and cannot trust. Never disagree, criticize, correct or challenge your boss.

Don't be fooled by kind gestures. Sounds like a hotel to me. This story gives a window into the illusion of permanence with which we all live. A more recent window is Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the show where Kondo helps people declutter their lives, and at the end, over and over again, you'll see people weeping with relief and joy at having purged so much. That's because they've just dramatically decreased the number of things they're attached to. Attachment brings pain. If you think something is yours or you think you are something, then it hurts to have it taken away from you. A quote from Ali, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammed, best explains the monk idea of detachment: Detachment is not that you own nothing, but that nothing should own you. I love how this summarizes detachment in a way that it's not usually explained. Usually people see detachment as being removed from everything, not caring. Marie Kondo isn't telling people to stop caring--she is telling them to look for joy. Verbal seeds of unbelief will cause you to focus on failure and defeat. Instead of focusing on the problem, you should always turn your attention towards God, speaking positive words as defense against the giants in your life. God's word says that with God everything is possible. Unless we remind ourselves of this and confess this steadfast victory daily, we run the risk of confessing defeat daily. Eventually Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it. Caleb understood the power of speaking positive, faith filled words. He knew that God created the heavens and the earth by speaking everything into being; Now that we have looked at the power of negative words, let's explore the power of speaking positive words. Speaking positive words is a must, but I believe we need to go further than that.

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