EXPERIENCING THE WORD
THE LIVING WORD
You are the living word:
o when you practice what you preach
o when you walk as you talk
o when your actions are living evidence of your faith, of what you believe
QUESTION: IN WHAT WAYS DO I ACT DIFFERENTLY FROM THE WAY I TALK?
As St. Paul said: That which I will I do not; that which I do I will not.
Phrases like "I can't" which really mean "I won't" or "I don't want to"
QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE THINGS I WANT TO DO OR WAYS I WANT TO BE AND HOW DO I STOP MYSELF FROM DOING THESE THINGS OR BEING THIS WAY? WHAT IS MY LANGUAGE LIKE OR WHAT IS THE LANGUAGE OF THOSE AROUND ME LIKE? HOW CAN I CHANGE THIS. WHAT WOULD I HAVE TO TELL MYSELF AND BELIEVE IN?
QUESTION: WHAT ARE MY THOUGHTS ABOUT MYSELF? WHAT ARE MY THOUGHTS ABOUT OTHERS, FRIENDS, LOVED ONES, THE PEOPLE WITH WHOM I LIVE AND WORK? ARE THESE THE THOUGHT I WANT TO HAVE? HOW COULD I CHANGE THEM?
How do I formulate my "words". What is the source of my truth?
o POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE?
o LIMITING OR LIBERATING (FREEING)?
o SPECIFIC OR GENERAL?
o CLEAR OR MUDDY?
QUESTION: WHAT WERE THE PROMISES OF CHRIST? WHAT DID HE SAY HE CAME TO DO? DO MY WORDS AND ACTIONS MANIFEST THESE IDEAS OR THOUGHTS? HOW? IN WHAT WAYS SPECIFICALLY? HOW COULD I BETTER EXPRESS THESE IDEAS IN MY EVERYDAY ACTIONS?
THE POWER OF THE WORD
THE GOSPELS TELL US THAT WE ARE CAPABLE OF A DEFINITE INNER EVOLUTION IN UNDERSTANDING. THAT GOD'S GRACE IS THERE FOR US TO ACHIEVE THIS NEW UNDERSTANDING, TO PUT ON THIS NEW "MAN" OR NEW "PERSON"
THE GOSPELS TELL US WHAT WE MUST THINK ,FEEL AND DO IN ORDER TO REACH A NEW LEVEL OF UNDERSTANDING. AND THINKING HERE MEANS HOW WE SPEAK, BECAUSE SPEECH, THE WORD, REFLECTS OUR THINKING, IT IS THINKING MANIFEST, THE IDEA MADE FLESH.
THE WHOLE OR WHOLESOME OR HEALTHY PERSON IS ONE IN WHOM THINKING, FEELING AND DOING ARE IN HARMONY. SERIOUS DISHARMONY BETWEEN ANY TWO CAN RESULT IN DISCOMFORT, DISTRESS AND ULTIMATELY DISEASE AND REQUIRE TREATMENT BY A PHYSICIAN OR PSYCHIATRIST.
THE "HOLY" PERSON IS ONE WHO COMBINES THIS HARMONIOUS THINKING, FEELING AND DOING FOR A SPIRITUAL PURPOSE RATHER THAN SOLELY FOR A WORLDLY OR MATERIALISTIC PURPOSE. IN THIS CASE THE SPIRITUAL WRITERS SPEAK OF RIGHT THINKING, RIGHT FEELING AND RIGHT ACTION.
THE GOSPELS KEEP EXHORTING US TO REPENT, FOR AS WE ARE TOLD, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND, HEALTH OF MIND, BODY AND SOUL ARE AVAILABLE TO US NOW, IF WE WILL BUT REPENT. AS I UNDERSTAND THE INTERPRETATION HERE, REPENT MEANS TO CHANGE ONE'S THINKING, ONE'S IDEAS, TO CHANGE THE WAY WE LOOK AT OURSELVES, OTHERS, THE WORLD, AND OUR RELATIONSHIPS TO EACH OTHER AND TO THE UNIVERSE; AND THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT GOD AND OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD.
IN OTHER WORDS, THE GOSPELS SHOW US THE WAY TO A BETTER LIFE IS TO CHANGE OUR ATTITUDES. THIS WOULD, OF COURSE, SHOW UP IN THE WAY WE TALK TO EACH OTHER, THE WAY WE THINK, THE WAY WE ACT AND FEEL.
THE WORD MAY BE:
AN INNER WORD: A SILENT WORD OR THOUGHT
AN OUTER WORD: A SPOKEN WORD OR THOUGHT
NONVERBAL: AN EXPRESSION; A GESTURE; A SIGN
"THOUGH WE ARE CONTINUALLY BEING HURT OWING TO THE NARROWNESS OF THE REALITY IN WHICH WE DWELL, WE BLAME LIFE, AND DO NOT SEE THE NECESSITY OF FINDING ABSOLUTELY NEW STANDPOINTS. ALL IDEAS THAT HAVE A TRANSFORMING POWER CHANGE OUR SENSE OF REALITY. THEY ACT LIKE FERMENTS. BUT THEY NECESSARILY LEAD US IN THE DIRECTION OF AFFIRMATION. TO SEE MORE WHOLLY, MORE COMPREHENSIVELY, REQUIRES AFFIRMATION, AN ASSENT TO THE EXISTENCE OF NEW TRUTH? (Nicoll, Living Time).
Every word mentally or orally has back of it an idea and the power of that word is in the idea (or more strictly speaking the image that it evokes). As Genesis teaches us, everything that is created is created according to an IMAGE. The world and man, according to the image of God. Our lives, according to the images we hold in our minds.
We make our world by our words, either in our heads by internal, silent speech or in our talking to and with others. Meditation contributes, by concentration, to the power of the word. Much can happen in silence, on the inner plane.
Our thoughts, or words, are things which can be regulated, controlled. Casting out by denial all undesirable thoughts and planting by affirmation all good thoughts, we can create a world of beauty and harmony for ourselves. For true beauty and harmony are of the soul, an inner experience.
The Greek philosophers influenced Christian thought. In the Greek texts of St. John's Gospel the word is referred to as the Logos, which literally translated means REASONABLE SPEECH. The assumption of the early philosophers was that God or Mind or Logos made all things in the beginning and all things crated are the perfect results of the power of Mind, or the Word, or the Logos, at work.
As is written in John (1;1): In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Here we have a strong expression of the relationship between the word and the creative power (or God working in and through all material and spiritual creation).
And, of course, Jesus brought us words that were never given before, words or ideas which we see changed a world. He changed the way men and women see each other - even though we may think these changes have yet along way to go to achieve the ideal of the example Christ left for us.
You are the word made flesh, just as Christ was. But the question is whether we are the Word of God made flesh, whether our word has the power of transforming lives for the better, to do the good, to fulfil the will of God for us. In Proverbs (18;21) we read: LIFE AND DEATH ARE IN THE POWER OF THE TONGUE.
Christ calls us to put on a new personality, the new Adam, the new idea of god and life. We can do this because we have been given the power to choose our ideas and to act or not act on ideas presented us, to accept or reject or put them aside for future reference. This power is at least part of what we mean by freedom of will. This freedom of choice carries with it the consequence that we shall bring into manifestation the conditions corresponding to the sort of personality we accept as a normal standard. That is, what we accept as normal for ourselves.
QUESTION: WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF JESUS? HOW DOES THIS SQUARE WITH YOUR IDEA OF YOURSELF? OF YOUR FELLOW CHRISTIAN? OF THE NON-CHRISTIAN?
A KEY IDEA
TO RECOGNIZE THAT OUR OWN CREATIVE THOUGHT-POWER EXTERNALIZES CONDITIONS REPRESENTATIVE IN OUR IDEAS.
SO: SPEND TEN TO FIFTEEN MINUTES EACH DAY IN MEDITATION UPON THOSE IDEAS LAID DOWN IN THE GOSPELS THAT WE WANT TO MANIFEST IN OUR LIVES: IN OUR SPEECH, OUR FEELINGS, OUR ACTIONS.
RECOGNIZE THAT YOUR WORD IS LAW, A LAW OF NATURE, UNFOLDING IN YOU LIFE, NOT BECAUSE YOU WANT IT TO BE, OR BY SOME FORCE OF MIND TRYING TO MAKE IT SO, BUT BECAUSE THAT IS ITS NATURE.
TAKE THE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL: AS THOU HAST BELIEVED, SO BE IT DONE TO THEE.
THIS IS NOT SO BECAUSE JESUS HAD THE POWER OF MAKING IT SO BY SAYING IT, BUT JESUS SAID IT BECAUSE GOD HAS MADE IT SO FOR ALL OF US.
THE WORD DOES NOT MAKE THE LAWS OF GOD; BUT THE WORD IS A LAW OF GOD. WORDS DO WHAT THEY DO BECAUSE GOD MADE THE WORLD THAT WAY. THIS IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND; MANY SO-CALLED HEALERS AND PREACHERS HAVE FORGOTTEN THIS AND BELIEVED THAT THEIR PERSONAL WORDS MADE THE LAW. AND OF COURSE, SOME EVEN STRAY SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH AS TO BELIEVE THAT THEY PERSONALLY HAVE ALL THE POWER, AND NOT THAT THE POWER COMES FROM THE PROPER EXERCISE OF GOD'S WILL, THAT IS BY REMAINING TRUE TO GOD'S LAWS AS THEY ARE REVEALED TO US THROUGH THE SACRED WRITINGS AND TEACHINGS.
GOD'S LAW HAS NO INTENTION FOR US OTHER THAN THE INTENTION WE GIVE IT. THIS MEANS THAT THERE IS NOTHING IN THE UNIVERSE AGAINST US BUT OURSELVES. GOD IS NEVER AGAINST US, BUT ALWAYS FOR US. IT IS OUR BELIEF ABOUT GOD AND GOD'S INTENTIONS FOR US THAT CAN WORK AGAINST US.
CONSIDER HEBREWS (3:19)..THEY COULD NOT ENTER IN BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF
AND PSALMS (78:41): THEY...LIMITED THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL.
WHAT FOLLOWS IS PERHAPS ONE OF THE BEST ILLUSTRATIONS OF WHAT I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT. IT IS THE STORY OF HOW A FATHER, IN THIS CASE, A DR. ERIKSON, HELPED HIS SON WHO HAD FALLEN AND INJURED HIMSELF. HERE IS HOW HE HANDLED THE INCIDENT.
THREE YEAR OLD ROBERT FELL DOWN THE BACK STAIRS, SPLIT HIS LIP, AND KNOCKED AN UPPER TOOTH BACK INTO THE MAXILLA. HE WAS BLEEDING PROFUSELY AND SCREAMING LOUDLY WITH PAIN AND FRIGHT. HIS MOTHER AN I WENT TO HIS AID. A SINGLE GLANCE AT HIM LYING ON THE GROUND SCREAMING, HIS MOUTH BLEEDING PROFUSELY AND BLOOD SPATTERED ON THE PAVEMENT, REVEALED THAT THIS WAS AN EMERGENCY REQUIRING PROMPT AND ADEQUATE MEASURES.
NO EFFORT WAS MADE TO PICK HIM UP. INSTEAD, AS HE PAUSED FOR BREATH FOR FRESH SCREAMING, I TOLD HIM QUICKLY, SIMPLY, SYMPATHETICALLY AND EMPHATICALLY, "THAT HURTS AWFUL, ROBERT. THAT HURTS TERRIBLE."
RIGHT THEN, WITHOUT ANY DOUBT, MY SON KNEW THAT I KNEW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT. HE COULD AGREE WITH ME AND HE KNEW THAT I WAS AGREEING COMPLETELY WITH HIM. THEREFORE HE COULD LISTEN RESPECTFULLY TO ME, BECAUSE I HAD DEMONSTRATED THAT I UNDERSTOOD THAT SITUATION FULLY. (WHEN HELPING A CHILD LIKE THIS), THERE IS NO MORE IMPORTANT PROBLEM THAN SO SPEAKING TO THE PATIENT THAT HE CAN AGREE WITH YOU AND RESPECT YOUR INTELLIGENT GRASP OF THE SITUATION AS HE JUDGES IT IN TERMS OF HIS OWN UNDERSTANDINGS.
THEN I TOLD ROBERT, "AND IT WILL KEEP RIGHT ON HURTING." IN THIS SIMPLE STATEMENT, I NAMED HIS OWN FEAR, CONFIRMED HIS OWN JUDGMENT OF THE SITUATION, DEMONSTRATED MY GOOD INTELLIGENT GRASP OF THE ENTIRE MATTER AND MY ENTIRE AGREEMENT WITH HIM, SINCE RIGHT THEN HE COULD FORESEE ONLY A LIFE TIME OF ANGUISH AND PAIN FOR HIMSELF.
THE NEXT STEP FOR HIM AND FOR ME WAS TO DECLARE, AS HE TOOK ANOTHER BREATH, "AND YOU REALLY WISH IT WOULD STOP HURTING." AGAIN, WE WERE IN FULL AGREEMENT AND HE WAS SATISFIED AND EVEN ENCOURAGED IN THIS WISH. AND IT WAS HIS WISH, DERIVING ENTIRELY FROM WITHIN HIM AND CONSTITUTING HIS OWN URGENT NEED. WITH THE SITUATION SO DEFINED, I COULD THEN OFFER A SUGGESTION WITH SOME CERTAINTY OF ITS ACCEPTANCE. THIS SUGGESTION WAS, "MAYBE IT WILL STOP HURTING IN A LITTLE WHILE, IN JUST A MINUTE OR TWO." THIS WAS A SUGGESTION IN FULL ACCORD WITH HIS OWN NEEDS AND WISHES, AND, BECAUSE IT WAS QUALIFIED BY A "MAYBE IT WILL," IT WAS NOT IN CONTRADICTION TO HIS OWN UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE SITUATION. THUS HE COULD ACCEPT THE IDEA AND INITIATE HIS RESPONSES TO IT.
AS HE DID THIS, A SHIFT WAS MADE TO ANOTHER IMPORTANT MATTER, IMPORTANT TO HIM AS A SUFFERING PERSON, AND IMPORTANT IN THE TOTAL PSYCHOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ENTIRE OCCURRENCE -- A SHIFT THAT IN ITSELF WAS IMPORTANT AS A PRIMARY MEASURE IN CHANGING AND ALTERING THE SITUATION.
TOO OFTEN (WHEN TRYING TO HELP OTHERS), THERE IS A TENDENCY TO OVEREMPHASIZE THE OBVIOUS AND TO REAFFIRM UNNECESSARILY ALREADY ACCEPTED SUGGESTIONS, INSTEAD OF CREATING AN EXPECTANCY SITUATION PERMITTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF DESIRED RESPONSES. EVERY BOXER KNOWS THE DISADVANTAGE OF OVERTRAINING; EVERY SALESMAN KNOWS THE FOLLY OF OVERSELLING. THE SAME HUMAN HAZARDS EXIST IN GIVING HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS.
THE NEXT PROCEDURE WITH ROBERT WAS A RECOGNITION OF THE MEANING OF THE INJURY TO ROBERT HIMSELF--PAIN, LOSS OF BLOOD, BODY DAMAGE, A LOOS OF THE WHOLENESS OF HIS NORMAL NARCISSISTIC SELF-ESTEEM, OF HIS SENSE OF PHYSICAL GOODNESS SO VITAL IN HUMAN LIVING.
ROBERT KNEW THAT HE HURT, THAT HE WAS A DAMAGED PERSON; HE COULD SEE HIS BLOOD UPON THE PAVEMENT, TASTE IT IN HIS MOUTH, AND SEE IT ON HIS HANDS. AND YET, LIKE ALL OTHER HUMAN BEINGS, HE TOO COULD DESIRE NARCISSISTIC DISTINCTION IN HIS MISFORTUNE, ALONG WITH THE DESIRE EVEN MORE FOR NARCISSISTIC COMFORT. NOBODY WANTS A PICAYUNE HEADACHE; IF A HEADACHE MUST BE ENDURED, LET IT BE SO COLOSSAL THAT ONLY THE SUFFERER COULD ENDURE IT. HUMAN PRIDE IS SO CURIOUSLY GOOD AND COMFORTING? THEREFORE ROBERT'S ATTENTION WAS DOUBLY DIRECTED TO TWO VITAL ISSUES OF COMPREHENSIBLE IMPORTANCE TO HIM BY THE SIMPLY STATEMENTS, "THAT'S AN AWFUL LOT OF BLOOD ON THE PAVEMENT. IS IT GOOD, RED, STRONG BLOOD? LOOK CAREFULLY, MOTHER, AND SEE. IT THINK IT IS, BUT I WANT YOU TO BE SURE."
THUS THERE WAS AN OPEN AND UNAFRAID RECOGNITION IN ANOTHER WAY OF VALUES IMPORTANT TO ROBERT. HE NEEDED TO KNOW THAT HIS MISFORTUNE WAS CATASTROPHIC IN THE EYES OF OTHERS AS WELL AS HIS OWN, AND HE NEEDED TANGIBLE PROOF THAT HE HIMSELF COULD APPRECIATE. BY MY DECLARING IT BO BE "AN AWFUL LOT OF BLOOD," ROBERT COULD AGAIN RECOGNIZE THE INTELLIGENT APPRAISAL OF THE SITUATION IN ACCORD WITH HIS OWN ACTUALLY UNFORMULATED, BUT NEVERTHELESS REAL, NEEDS. THE QUESTION ABOUT THE GOODNESS, REDNESS, AND STRONGNESS OF THE BLOOD CAME INTO PLAY PSYCHOLOGICALLY MEETING THE PERSONAL MEANINGFULNESS OF THE ACCIDENT TO ROBERT. IN A SITUATION WHERE ONE FEELS SERIOUSLY DAMAGED, THERE IS AN OVERWHELMING NEED FOR A COMPENSATORY FEELING OF SATISFYING GOODNESS. ACCORDINGLY, HIS MOTHER AND I EXAMINED BLOOD UPON THE PAVEMENT, AND WE BOTH EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT IT WAS GOOD, RED, STRONG BLOOD. IN THIS WAY WE REASSURED HIM, BUT NOT ON AN EMOTIONALLY COMFORTING BASIS ONLY; WE DID SO UPON THE BASIS OF AN INSTRUCTIONAL, TO HIM, EXAMINATION OF REALITY.
HOWEVER, WE QUALIFIED THAT FAVOURABLE OPINION BY STATING THAT IT WOULD BE BETTER IF WE WERE TO EXAMINE THE BLOOD BY LOOKING AT IT AGAINST THE WHITE BACKGROUND OF THE BATHROOM SINK. BY THIS TIME ROBERT HAD CEASED CRYING, AND HIS PAIN AND FRIGHT WERE NO LONGER DOMINANT FACTORS. INSTEAD, HE WAS INTERESTED AND ABSORBED IN THE IMPORTANT PROBLEM OF THE QUALITY OF HIS BLOOD.
HIS MOTHER PICKED HIM UP AND CARRIED HIM TO THE BATHROOM, WHERE WATER WAS POURED OVER HIS FACE TO SEE IF THE BLOOD "MIXED PROPERLY WATER" AND GAVE IT A "PROPER PINK COLOUR." THEN THE REDNESS WAS CAREFULLY CHECKED AND RECONFIRMED, FOLLOWING WHICH THE"PINKNESS" WAS RECONFIRMED BY WASHING HIM ADEQUATELY, TO ROBERT'S INTENSE SATISFACTION, SINCE HIS BLOOD WAS GOOD, RED, AND STRONG, AND MADE WATER RIGHTLY PINK.
THEN CAME THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT HIS MOUTH WAS "BLEEDING RIGHT" AND "SWELLING RIGHT." CLOSE INSPECTION, TO ROBERT'S COMPLETE SATISFACTION AND RELIEF, AGAIN DISCLOSED THAT ALL DEVELOPMENTS WERE GOOD AND RIGHT AND INDICATIVE OF HIS ESSENTIAL AND PLEASING SOUNDNESS IN EVERY WAY.
NEXT CAME THE QUESTION OF SUTURING HIS LIP. SINCE THIS COULD EASILY EVOKE A NEGATIVE RESPONSE, IT WAS BROACHED IN A NEGATIVE FASHION TO HIM, THEREBY PRECLUDING AN INITIAL NEGATION BY HIM, AND AT THE SAME TIME RAISING A NEW AND IMPORTANT ISSUE. THIS WAS DONE BY STATING REGRETFULLY THAT, WHILE HE WOULD HAVE TO HAVE STITCHES TAKEN IN HIS LIP, IT WAS MOST DOUBTFUL IF HE COULD HAVE AS MANY STITCHES AS HE COULD COUNT. IN FACT, IT LOOKED AS IF HE COULD NOT EVEN HAVE TEN STITCHES, AND HE COULD COUNT TO TWENTY. REGRET WAS EXPRESSED THAT HE COULD NOT HAVE SEVENTEEN STITCHES, LIKE HIS SISTER, BETTY ALICE, OR TWELVE, LIKE HIS BROTHER, ALLAN; BUT COMFORT WAS OFFERED IN THE STATEMENT THAT HE WOULD HAVE MORE STITCHES THAN HIS SIBLINGS BERT, LANCE OR CAROL. THUS THE ENTIRE SITUATION BECAUSE TRANSFORMED INTO ONE IN WHICH HE COULD SHARE WITH HIS OLDER SIBLINGS A COMMON EXPERIENCE WITH A COMFORTING SENSE OF EQUALITY AND EVEN SUPERIORITY. IN THIS WAY HE WAS ENABLED TO FACE THE QUESTION OF SURGERY WITHOUT FEAR OR ANXIETY, BUT WITH HOPE OF HIGH ACCOMPLISHMENT IN COOPERATION WITH THE SURGEON AND IMBUED WITH THE DESIRE TO DO WELL THE TASK ASSIGNED HIM, NAMELY, TO "BE SURE TO COUNT THE STITCHES.: IN THIS MANNER, NO REASSURANCES WERE NEEDED, NOR WAS THERE ANY NEED TO OFFER FURTHER SUGGESTIONS REGARDING FREEDOM FROM PAIN.
ONLY SEVEN STITCHES WERE REQUIRED, TO ROBERT'S DISAPPOINTMENT, BUT THE SURGEON POINTED OUT THE SUTURE MATERIAL WAS OF A NEWER AND BETTER KIND THAN ANY THAT HIS SIBLINGS HAD EVER HAD, AND THE SCAR WOULD HAVE AN UNUSUAL "W" SHAPE, LIKE THE LETTER OF HIS DADDY'S COLLEGE. THUS THE FEWNESS OF THE STITCHES WAS WELL COMPENSATED.
NOTE: AT NO TIME WAS ROBERT GIVEN A FALSE STATEMENT, NOR WAS HE FORCIBLY REASSURED IN A MANNER CONTRADICTORY TO HIS UNDERSTANDINGS. A COMMUNITY OF UNDERSTANDING WAS FIRST ESTABLISHED WITH HIM AND THEN, ONE BY ONE, ITEMS OF VITAL INTEREST TO HIM IN HIS SITUATION WERE THOUGHTFULLY CONSIDERED AND DECIDED, EITHER TO HIS SATISFACTION OR SUFFICIENTLY AGREEABLE TO MERIT HIS ACCEPTANCE. HIS ROLE IN THE ENTIRE SITUATION WAS THAT OF AN INTERESTED PARTICIPANT, AND AN ADEQUATE RESPONSE WAS MADE TO EACH IDEA SUGGESTED (JAY HALEY, UNCOMMON THERAPY, 189-192)
USE WORDS LIKE SHOULD, MUST, HAVE TO, OUGHT TO, ONLY WHEN APPROPRIATE
OTHERWISE USE EXPRESSIONS LIKE CHOOSE TO, WANT TO, OR PREFER TO
USE CAN'T WHEN APPROPRIATE, OTHERWISE USE WON'T OR DON'T WANT TO
AVOID CLICHES (CLICHE BECOMES ARCHETYPE)
STRIVE FOR CLARITY, DIRECTNESS, STRAIGHTFORWARDNESS