Monday, January 21, 2008

TESTING, TESTING...


Well, I find that each day we are all tested in so many ways...Our patience, our stamina, our beliefs, our trust, our love, and our perspective and so forth...

A BROKEN RECORD

I keep saying that "PERSPECTIVE IS A MIRROR NOT A FACT". It's the most simple of statements, but has resonated so deeply within me it's unreal! I can't really believe I never realised it before...Duh,...As Susanne K. Langer points out - “Most new discoveries are suddenly-seen things that were always there”...Too true.

CONFLICT OR NOT?

Just now I had an email from a guy who runs a group in Glasgow who is experiencing pain as the result of a relationship. I get that on a daily basis - so that in turn is nothing new - so I do what I do and reply in my own way (which not everyone appreciates and that's their perrogative)...In doing so, I send along two of my favourite quotes - one which is my all time favorite quote:

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit” - NAPOLEON HILL AND another "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." WINSTON CHURHILL.

While he did thank me for my response, his reply was a little surprising..."as a devout Christian I also denounced the false teaching of the 'power of positive thinking'. Something I personally believe in very strongly."

I wonder what this means. I admit I don't know much about Christianity (as I am not a church-goer or a "believer" in organised religion full stop), but I do believe in the golden rule and I actually lead what many would classify as a fairly "Christian" life...(Though admittedly my leanings are veering Eastern of late...)

Correct me if I am wrong but isn't Christianity based on concepts of "good" and "positivity"?

Again I put my hand up, I don't know, and I readily admit that. I am open to other people's input on this one but I do ask you this though, "what's the alternative?" A belief in "negative thinking"?

I honestly don't understand how anyone can write off the entire presmise of "Positive Thinking" lock stock and barrel. Well, at the end of the day it's of course this gentleman's perrogative to believe whatever he wants to believe - just as it is for each and every one of us...

What I don't understand is how anyone can denounce "positive thinking" basing his reasoning on being a devout Christian?

Many of the greatest, most-positive thinkers and teachers - like NORMAN VINCENT PEALE - use quotes straight from the Bible in their teachings...and though I personally find his "GOD TALK" sometimes off-putting - I am certainly able to see past it to the principle he's trying to convey. I find their worth (said principles) in the message despite the words Peale uses - most specifically "God".

But even he, (the gentleman of the afternoon), with such a polar opinion to mine, gives me pause for thought, fodder for today's blog, and a test for better understanding - not to mention an opportunity to apply my principles and teachings I am learning so as to provide ME with more self-awareness.

So yeah, I am pleased, but I still don't understand it.

WE ALL DO WHAT WORKS FOR US

The fact is we all do what works for us...sometimes consciously and sometimes subconsciously...If he believes the Bible or God is "the way" - then that's exactly right - FOR HIM.

PERSPECTIVE though is a MIRROR not a fact. And what I believe or feel may not be what he (or you) does. At the end of the day does that matter?

Isn't life so intersting? We are all connected regardless of our beliefs, our colors, our age, our gender our nationality,...and yet we're all unique too - in those beliefs and thinking habits and so forth.

I bet if we actually tried - we might be able to find evidence and statistics to back each of our claims.

BELIEVE OR DON'T BELIEVE - THE CHOICE, MY FRIEND, IS YOURS

At the end of the day, it's whatever works for you. These days my more Eastern-slanted thinking is working for me. I've always resonated so much more with the "positive thinking" tomes than I did with religion and the Bible.

A little know fact is that I was brought up, (in the early days) Mormon...Can you believe it? But as soon as I had any say in the matter, I stopped that. (In primary school as I recall).

What always bothered me about religion was the whole idea of its way being the "right way" - when I don't think I've ever believed there was a "right way"...(dare I say it? "Perspective is a mirror not a fact") But if Mass is where it's at for you - or Sunday Service or Temple (or whatever) - then that is awesome.

SENSE MAKING EXERCISES

I do believe we are all just looking for a way of making sense of our existence and our purpose - and how we find it varies for each of us...Some try to find it a church, others in a bottle, others still in self-help books, still others in music...

Different methods, yes, but I believe the same sense-making urge drives us all.

If this gentleman CHOOSES TO REFUTE all "positive thinking" as anti-Christian "mumbo jumbo" - then he's absolutely right for him.

It seems a bit short-sighted to me, but then that's merely my perspective. Perhaps if he changed the way he looked at things, the things he looks at would change, and just maybe he might find there are actually beneficial quotes which would offer much merit and dare I say solace if he chose not to write off everything by being so very blinkered.

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE

I personally believe the mind is a powerful thing. I've seen it in my own life. I've looked at the people on my site (for eight years) and those with a more "POSITIVE OUTLOOK" were always the ones who healed with less hurdles, setbacks and agony. That is not to say that they didn't feel the pain. Only that their attitude made all the difference in their recovery and follow-on happiness.

STOP BEING OFFENDED

I love this quote by Wayne Dyer - “Stop being offended! The behaviour of others isn’t a reason to become immobilised. If you’re looking for occasions to be offended you’ll find them at every turn.”

Anyway said gentleman was concerned I took "offense" but first I remembered that "positive quote" and though I admit I was indignant (for a moment or two and rushed to reply) I bit my tongue and paused. Then, I put myself in his shoes and reminded myself about that phrase about perspective and told him "no offense was taken."

How can I take offense by another person's belief when I realise it's only a mirror?

He's on his Path. I am very much on mine. It's not like I ever wish to force my beliefs or coerce someone into thinking something they don't want to. Nor I believe does he.

All I can do is let people know what is working for me. I can't say it will work for everyone. But honestly, I said it before, the responses I am getting from within the forums on SYBD - shows that at least some people are finding it "thought-provoking" and "helpful" to them, and frankly that's all that matters to me. Not because I am after the praise (though don't we all like a compliment?), but because I genuinely want to help people change the way they look at things - their life, their setbacks, their relationships, their break-ups and yes their ways of thinking. I have finally realised that is my purpose and I am merely doing it to the best of my abilities.

I am HUMAN like everyone else. I have up days, down days, I make mistakes, I say the wrong thing, I do the wrong thing, I hurt people I care about (unintentionally), I embarass myself by saying or doing stuff I shouldn't, I have insecurities and I am constantly being tested...I admit I don't have all the answers but no one does.

On that note, I close with:

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” - - Vernon Sanders Law

AN UPDATE ONE HOUR LATER...

5pm: And the messages keep on coming....

"Again my apologies if i did cause any offence even momentarily, i certainly never intended to cause any disrespect. I merely wanted to point out that positive thinking is regarded as a highly offence practice to many."

Can that really be so? I've never ever heard of anyone saying they found it "offensive" let alone "highly offensive" (which is, I believe what he was trying to say). Perhaps English is not this gentleman's first language? I can actually see some people writing it off as "pointless" or even "mumbo jumbo" - (I've heard that to be the case by non-believers), but I've never actually heard it being called "offensive".

This to me has been such an interesting day!!

PS: Oh and I finally figured out how to turn on COMMENTS so I welcome them...well sane, non-attacking ones anyway! All will be moderated, mind you. :)

Stumble Upon Toolbar