Sunday, May 18, 2008

Flogoing, not Control


It has been a very longstanding fantasy in the metaphysical community that ALL illness can be ascribed to psychological causes. If only the complex issue of etiology (causes) were that simple! Then, we could all change our thinking, and be healthy forever! This is the fantasy offered by some.

But etiology is not quite that simple. Of course, we can choose to alter the contents of our conscious minds, but, even though this is therapeutic to the point where it can actually eliminate disorders of the hypochondriacal variety, not all disorders are hypochondriacal or "psychosomatic." There are much deeper causal factors at work here, including many deeply subconscious (unconscious) ones. These include karma, suggestion, negativity, and, as you imply, repeated negative suggestions to our own minds-- always harmful.

Nature does not allow us simply to shrug off biochemical or physiological conditions with the "change your mind" simplisms. Life, joyfully, is much more challenging than that!

Hypochondriasis is, for that matter, a good example of the limitations of the "power" of the conscious (aware) mind. For it has been repeatedly documented in medical history that a person can tell herself that she has a disease; she can do this for many years, and even become an "expert" on the disorder, reading and learning everything that she can about it-- again, for many years. Every day, hundreds or dozens of times, she tells herself that she has the disease, and pictures it with horrifying clarity.

Then, a doc professionally examines her, and she has no trace of the disease. But, if the conscious mind were as powerful as the "magical thinking" of some pseudospiritual systems claim, she should be riddled with the disease. The fact that she is not implies the limitations built into the conscious mind.

For the conscious mind is designed to experience, not to control, the molecular world. It makes choices and creates karma.

But "magical thinking" is a childish and/or primitive phase of psychology which a healthy adult usually outgrows by about age five. For example, the little four-year-old believes that she is "responsible" somehow for the death of her dearly beloved aunt. This is "magical thinking." It is also present in some backwards and isolated tribes still on earth. But with science and observation, the Western world has found that objective analysis is a much more valuable tool for exploring reality-- what the ancients called "truth."

Of course, it would be wonderful to believe that everything in your life were caused/created by the conscious mind. Then, all that you would have to do is change your conscious mind and you could "protect" yourself from anything "bad." (You might recognize this as the matrixteaching of the cult Christian Science.)

Here's a practical example: How long do you think that you would have to "affirm" that you have a ten-carat diamond before it would actually "appear" in your hand? You could do this for decades, with zero results.

In the practical (real) world, for example, many winners of giant lotteries have never even heard of positive affirmation, and many who "affirm themselves" winners each and every day still fail to win!

Unfortunately for all of us, a little experience, and just a little observation, soon convince us that the conscious mind is not God. Just because we consciously will a condition or change does not automatically, simplistically imply that God also wills that same thing. The great masterteachers and mysticsaints have always emphasized that the "will of God" (Love) should always be master, the human will, the servant.

Jesus said that you could not change the color of a single hair. If "positive thinkers" deny this, challenge them to change the color of a single hair on their own heads. You will discover that Jesus told the truth; they cannot.

Of course, it is wonderfully exciting to believe that you can control, change, or influence the world by your conscious thought. And you can indeed live a much happier and more productive life by thinking positively rather than negatively. You can improve even the functions of your biological body. But you cannot do everything or anything. The "power of positive thinking," as healthy as it is, is limited.

When they mistake the conscious mind for the Mind of God, this is where metaphysical speculators veer off-track. It is just so very comfortable to believe that, "If I want it, God must also want it." But this is simply not always so.

So, we are challenged spiritually, every day, by living in a rather complex world guided by laws that can be anything but simple. But instead of trying to wrest control of the cosmos, and making the world the way that we want it to be, Jesus recommends a very much more "Taoist" Way: Live, he says, like nursing infants, like flowers, and like birds.

What do all three examples have in common? Their absence of the desire to control. Jesus knew how seductive was this desire, rooted in fear of "bad" events. (And fear is the conceptual opposite of Love.)

So, it follows that a life based in Love cannot be based on fear, however subtle. And people long for control because they are terrified of the world. The enlightened do not seek control, but faith: If perfect Love already controls all events, then it becomes our task, our assignment, to cultivate faith in this Love-- the same faith that a nursing infant has that her mother knows where she is going and what she is doing. This faith, when cultivated, results in total relaxation: Complete faith is complete relaxation. The goal of Taoism is an "effortless" life, as the great sages taught.

That is why Jesus, and the other masters, did not outline ways to control the cosmos. Instead, emphasizing faith, they told us to cultivate a Love for all sentient beings (selfaware creatures). For that much, we can do.

And it is Love, not fearful control, that fills our lives with the richest blessings.

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