Of Detachment and Self-awareness
Well, today I feel like writing! Yay! Not about any subject in particular. Just random thoughts here and there. I'm just going to let my thoughts loose and see where it leads us.
I have not been doing much lately. I have run out of books to read. Gasp!! ya...can you believe it? "Poof....what's the big deal?", you say."I've never touched a book in years". Well for me, it's kind of a strange feeling not to be reading anything for such long periods of time. Reading had been my number one obsession for years. I always have some materials on stand by so as soon as I'm done with one, I can start with another. It's not healthy I tell you. Not reading per se but reading without taking time to digest what I read. It started well and good initially but in later years it became an addiction. I concluded that my genuine hunger for spiritual food all those years, in the form of written word, had later morphed into unhealthy escapism - always feeling the need to keep the mind occupied.
Now having said that, I must also testify that the recent months of doing nothing, reading nothing and listening to nothing on my iPod, left an enormous and uncomfortable gap in my "being". Is that good news? I don't know. Some people say we must learn to be silent and comfortable with ourself without any outside stimulation. Yes and I'd add that it's an opportunity for me to learn to stay focused on God without relying on outside stimulation. How about that? I was once inspired by Richard Foster's discipline of silence in Celebration of Discipline and I thought my recent inactivity was pretty close. But I think I failed. Not only have I lost that focus (on God) but I found my thought life splintered a thousand ways. I felt myself blending into the masses. I was more susceptible to pessimism, murmuring and cynicism. Instead of being light in the darkness and salt of the earth, I felt consumed by the darkness and lost my flavor. I remember pastor once said that if we empty our mind, like what new-agers do, without in turn filling it with the right thoughts, we are allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to other influences. I found that to be true to my experience. Could this be what St Paul meant when he said "Do not be conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you'll be able to test and approve what God's will is." So I guess detachment (i'm only using the word in it's limited sense. it encompasses a lot more) as a means to sharpen one's focus is beneficial while detachment as and end in itself could prove to be self-destructive.
It's not all bad though. In these moments of "nothingness" I felt exposed to myself. I began to think my thoughts and feel my feelings. These could have been suppressed by all the information overload and continuous activity. It's sort of a self-awareness kind of thing. Good or bad? Who knows? Some say that the more we look inward, the more depressed we get because soon enough, we'll discover the darkness that resides there. I can testify to the reality of it because I've experienced it myself. During these times there were moments of self-loathing I didn't know existed. I'll say things like, "I hate myself...I hate myself....I hate myself. God! I hate myself! Help me please!!" It was frightening the first time I heard it. I have always thought I love myself. Some spring cleaning seems to be going on. It's as though God was saying,
"Thank you for stopping long enough to realize you've been deceiving yourself. All those stuff you read and hear about me, of how much I love and accepts you just as you are, of me not remembering your sins and counting it against you, of me seeing you in the perfection of my Son and making you an heir of all my goodness, that there's nothing you can do to make me love you any less? They're all true. You thought you knew them all and believe them all but you do not. My servant, your pastor, tirelessly tells you these truth every week in the hope that one day one of you will really get it. Sometimes you do get it but most times you don't. You hear them so much that your mind shuts down. In your pride you thought you knew them all and so you stop listening. You had knowledge but not revelation. They're not the same. You do not know you are no longer yourself. You're just this thing that talks and thinks like what you've been taught to. The people of the world call it brain-washing. Knowledge changes your intellect. Revelation transforms your very soul. But now the silence exposes you. Your own voice is coming forth and you're frightened by it. You thought I'd be offended. That is because you do not know what I desire is for you to be real. Only then will you be ready to give me your all. Only then will you learn what it means to trust me and you will discover that my grace is bigger than your failures. Only then will you be at peace."
So perhaps like detachment, the purpose of self-awareness or self-realization as some would call it, has a God ordained purpose. It exposes the complete us (the good, the bad and everything in between) to us, so that we can in turn learn to accept them and give them all up to God because He wants all of us, not just the good.
Oh dear...I didn't expect this to be such a lengthy post. I had expected something light hearted. I promise the next one will be different. I want to tell you about my new toy! **big grin**