27a. What is the Divine Therapy? Part 1

[Music] you [Music] Jesus has another strong saying that’s directed to that aspect of the false self that we were describing in the last conference namely the tendency to to be identified with the particular group that we come from you only have to think of times past where parents used to choose who their children had to marry in so that that was all through the ages there’s been this stratification of society in which you had to fit into certain values that were pre-programmed and anyone who didn’t do that would be ostracized or wouldn’t be very popular to say the least so so this the cultural straightjacket of over identification is something that Jesus invites us to break with the same unless you hate your father and mother and relatives and property and your own self – you cannot be my disciple and so this saying is another way of saying repent it that is change the direction in which you’re looking for happiness change your over identification with your group so that you can be free to follow the values of the gospel in your own conscience and not be unduly fearful of unsettling the group you’re in or as they say rocking the boat so so much of later life after we’ve chained a certain settlement with our families and profession or business or someone leads to these challenges to let go to let go of our over identification with who we think we are this is a problem for parents for ministers for people with the special role I suppose for politicians or certainly in older times with kings and noble people who felt that they were they totally identified with their position whether social or otherwise Jesus on the contrary in the parables tends to undermine all the social structures of his time and to subvert the unquestioned values of the way things were so the movement of Jesus parables is to take down barriers of any kind and and to enable people to experience their unity with the whole human family and not just with the family or ethnic group or nation or even religion so as life goes on you would people come to what is called the midlife crisis which is simply a time when all the great aspirations we had for success or fame or fortune whatever the symbols in the culture appealed to us as the perfect gratification of our emotional programs the happiness begin to get upset or shattered actually right now here in New York with the tragedy of the Twin Towers people are asking themselves why do I go to work why am i climbing the economic ladder why am I going to all this trouble if every place I move or every place I go is hazardous or dangerous these security systems that we were familiar with the fact that that no Foreign Wars hadn’t touched our shores since the Civil War caused people to put a disproportionate sense of security in in a number of things especially in the economic situation or domination of the United States so as as the onset of the midlife crisis comes people’s families are often upset the children have moved out often and and a couple are back to living with just each other it’s the time when a lot of people get divorced it’s a time when their second careers anew in other words people have not found in their programs for happiness expressed in the symbols of the culture of their daily life what they had hoped for and and so there’s it’s a time for some psychotherapy I guess a lot of people do this or you take Prozac or whatever the more contemporary pill is that helps us to feel somewhat calm when we’re not come and will never become until we face head-on what the problem is and no amount of chemicals is going to heal this problem that’s why psychotherapy is not just an issue of chemicals as its tending to become in that profession because there’s no money for extended psychotherapy the whole purpose of chemicals is I was taught to understand it is that it puts the patient in a certain level of calm that you can begin to deal with the real issues which are basically emotional or spiritual so so if the midlife crisis doesn’t work then nature has a one more possibility of disengaging us from the roles that we played or thought we had to have in order to be happy and this is sometimes occurs or is expressed with old age you just can’t do it anymore you become feeble you become a little senile everybody is trying to make jokes jokes about your lack of memory and and and so your your whole human level of expertise and of people relying on you and then as it gets worse then the children wind up taking care of you and sometimes to the point of of taking care of you as if you were actually an infant and then comes the crisis of the old age home or the nursing home and an senility and and this is one way in which we person loses their role because it’s forcibly taken from them well the question arises why not let it go a little sooner so that you could enjoy the freedom of choosing the measure in which you’re going to belong to certain groups and the freedom if if they have values that that are offensive to your conscience you can move out peacefully and graciously well if all of these don’t work there’s always the possibility that the dying process may be helpful because when the brain dies that’s the end of the false self that is that’s the end of the individual self and all its support systems so we don’t know much about the dying process when it actually take occurs or how long the soul lingers close to the body it seems to be the whole variety of possibilities according to some researchers that have put some time on this but whatever it is that it may be the moment in which for the first time in our lives we could make a free choice because we’re not influenced by any of the baggage the emotional programs for happiness or the over identification with our group or our role that we had carried with us all through life so from this perspective sickness tragedy disaster even natural disasters even man-made disasters are not unmitigated evils because for many people they may be the only way that their unquestioned interiorization of the values of that they absorbed from four to eight are ever really really aided questions and hopefully put in the wastebasket now this is not to say they’re not real values in one’s role but it’s the over identification with them that makes it difficult or impossible to fulfill those roles correctly so you might almost say the only way to become a great parent is to be willing not to be won or to be willing to let the children go and become whoever they want to be without being crushed or humiliated or feel rejected all of these things emotions simply reflecting an over identification process which obviously the children would be by would be wise to disregard so this the strength and energy of Jesus wisdom sayings again not to be taken literally is simply you gotta let go of the support systems for your false self because it’s basically an illusion it can’t work it’s fouling up your relationship with God with other people with yourself and and so along with the invitation to repent change the direction in which you’re looking for happiness comes Jesus invitation that we have been looking at quite closely take the divine therapy if you want to be free if you want to pray if you want to heal your relationship with God enter your inner room it’s a kind of office it’s where the divine psychotherapy takes place close the door so you don’t run away too fast quiet your own interior mind and so that you can listen to what the Spirit is saying to your particular little cell the little hole on that you are within the greater whole a hole on of eisah mystical body and the whole purpose of this therapy is enabled to enable us to become who we really are and I don’t know what else you think you can be but it it we’re scared of being who we really are in any case Jesus has an a wisdom saying for this suggestion and and it’s this one he says if you try to to save your life that is to say your false self it seems to be the meaning of life in this context you will bring yourself to ruin okay so the false self has no future it’s it’s it’s it’s death that enables us to discover the true self and who we really are and then comes the second half of the wisdom saying which is if I’ll just repeat the first part to keep the context clear if if you try to save your life you will bring yourself to ruin one who brings himself to nothing we’ll find out who he is there’s the promise that means bring yourself to know thing that is no particular object because the true self is limitless in its spiritual capacity and one of the things within us that is limitless is the desire for happiness – so to let oneself become no particular thing no over identification no over identification with the body of feelings we have these things our friends our relatives our property our roles and our inmost self – that is to say our idealized image of who we think we are or should be or want to be this this is what Jesus invites to let go of and the divine therapy is designed to enable us to do this in a in a humane way over a period of time and with all kinds of other helps and with enormous intelligence to guide us through this process and with love that is absolutely unconditional and determined to bring this about at all costs to himself and so the scene in this way the redemption of Christ is not so much the atonement for sin but the work of healing the wounds of human nature so that we might enter with him and be co-heirs to use Paul’s phrase of the divine nature that is to share inherently in the divine light life and love which is not only transforming of human nature but glorifying in the sense that it opens us totally to the presence of God which is what glory really is so the next question now that we’ve laid this foundation is is to say well what is the cure what is the therapy what in other words goes on in the inner room in the office of the divine therapist in which we faithfully day-by-day and twice daily expose ourselves to the spirit to the language of divine science a silence and to the negativity or dark side of our personality or whatever in us is opposed to the likeness of God in which we were made so there are two things that need to be distinguished but emphasized as part of this therapy or profound healing process and the first one that takes place normally and in most situations or cases is the affirmation of our basic goodness I touched on this earlier in in this section of our spiritual journey tapes and it was to say that that when we begin this therapy the first thing that God does is to reassure us that it’s okay that it’s good for us and that we ourselves are respected and honored by God as truly being created in God’s image so the very idea that we’re no good that some people brought with them from early childhood or unlovable or unworthy is is itself an insult to God because God does not make junk we make junk but God not only supports and honors this inmost being of this in this image within us that reflects His goodness but nothing can never take it away it’s hell itself I can never destroy this basic goodness so any amount of failures on our part and the amount of subjugation to the human condition and the amount of of personal disregard for our own conscience and the needs and rights of other people and whatever our complexity or complicity rather in human human affairs or or violence or brutality and even torture this is never can take away our capacity to recover from the wounds of the human condition that hide from us the the beauty and the and the purity and the essence of who we really are and so the affirmation of our basic goodness is sometimes expressed very simply by by the peace that we notice that during the time of prayer that even when there are a lot of of perceptions coming down the stream of consciousness consciousness or or a lot of thoughts or unpleasant memories or worries about the future the the this reassurance about our basic goodness gives us the courage and the strength to to drop those tempting thoughts to drop so to speak our interest in in their content so that we don’t think about those thoughts but simply allow them to pass through our consciousness during the time of prayer and on out the other side here is where time is a great friend if you just wait long enough everything passes and so these thoughts that are so distressing if we don’t identify with those thoughts then right away we begin to experience a certain peace because it’s our complicity our over-identification our concern our immersion in the ordinary psychological awareness of everyday life and in our own interior dialogue with its endless commentaries this is what is disturbing and there’s that calms down the number of thoughts at least under normal conditions begin to diminish and and we begin to sense the presence of God within us to feel this delicate attraction to go deeper manifested by a devotion to the periods of centering prayer where we even feel drawn to it and in many cases as it develops people feel they cannot not do it that if they don’t do it they’d feel uneasy throughout the day so so this this therapy is very real very reassuring and it manifests itself basically feeling that everything is okay even though I feel awful and completely unregenerate and still under the influence of all these energy centers and my over identifications and I know there’s some things I should change in my life but I’m not quite ready to I don’t and a lot of other things I’m beginning to see that should be changed that I was never aware of until this process began and so basically the it’s entering the private room and that’s a clear expression of goodwill which is all that God wants come in and be healed is the invitation and and the first experience is usually normally a period fairly extended in which we are finding a new world and it reflects and is manifested in daily life by a greater peace greater calm sometimes joy and a capacity to be more concerned for others and not just mentally concerned but practically concerned for others so all our relationships are healed our beginning at least to be you through the process of unwinding our emotional programs for happiness and of dis identifying with our over identifications with our group but this includes also our over identification with all the other aspects of our body and our nature that we tend to get unduly concerned about suppose now that we’re doing this prayer on a regular basis centering prayer as you know is is a discipline leading to contempo Tver that is to say it’s a discipline to foster the relationship that gradually becomes contempo t’v prayer in which the Spirit of God more and more takes over our prayer and through the contemplative gifts of the Holy Spirit knowledge understanding and wisdom begins to to modify our view of reality by the divine view to modify our perception of what is a value and our belief systems and I refer here not not so much to religious belief systems but to the belief systems that were part of the socialization period when we absorb the values of our particular group which could have been as trivial as having your hair parted on the right instead of the left but usually those human being acts out of a belief system and so if you think that you always have to please everybody if you think our have been taught that you always have to have straight A’s if you’re a high achiever because of of the encouragement of parents or the competition of peers and and those things then that’s that’s why you function or act or if you have identification with status or if you’re ambitious all of these things are belief systems that are unquestioned that probably we picked up in that socialization period from four to eight and and they’re a straight Jack and they’re hindering our inner freedom of choosing what we really think or believe or know is some case maybe is right or is congenial to the our conscience and to our faith so this this process then can can deepen and the centering prayer method normally consists in introducing a sacred word or can also be the sacred glance or gaze towards God not as an image or as a particular concept but simply as a mysterious presence that we know is there and that we love it can also at times take the form of noticing our breath as as the pouring into our spirits of the Holy Spirit spirit means breath and exhaling divine love into the atmosphere for the healing of all the social ills of humanity but it’s not a reflective act it’s simply a symbol and expression a gesture of maintaining our intention to consent to God’s presence within or more exactly to consent to God’s intentionality which is to heal us of all our wounds and to transform us in the process of divine union so as we practice this prayer on a daily basis and twice daily the capacity to let go of interesting or attractive thoughts or perceptions of feelings or or for that matter thoughts that inspire an aversion because that both of them are emotional interferences with the movement towards interior silence so as we let these go the habit of letting go becomes more prompt and as this becomes habitual there are moments in which we’re aware that we’re not interested in the thoughts even the most interesting or those that are of immediate concern or those that we really have to decide in the next few days or those that we have to deal with because of their importance they all maintain their importance but the process of therapy that we’re taking is more important and we know that through those moments of silence our mind will be clearer to make the right choices and that the Spirit will be with us through the gift of counsel to help us to make at least reasonably correct decisions than that capacity to make ever better decisions is related to our growth in the prayer and and that capacity of being aware that one is not interested in the thoughts it’s not a judgement it’s not an evaluation it’s not an act of reasoning and still less is it a choice it just happens spontaneously and intuitively at times one is aware that the thoughts are going by perceptions feelings memories plans all that we call thoughts in the centering prayer practice and yet we feel at some deep level it’s mysterious to us we can’t name it a certain freedom and that easiness that they’re not interfering with the movement of our communion so so centering prayer then is experienced as a movement from conversation to communion as a movement from activity to receptivity and it’s this recipe that enables contemplative prayer to take root and to take over the whole process and the method and then the Spirit of God becomes the only method that is to say guides off during the time of prayer from start to finish and so this experience of freedom from thoughts during the time of prayer is the beginning in my view of contemplative prayer it’s still tenuous so there’s an alternation of our own activity returning to the sacred symbol usually the sacred word and and then being silent and then experiencing maybe not silence but thoughts and yet being still free from follow or being interested to him this is the beginning of the healing process and the taste of what true happiness really is this taste that is to be encouraged and to grow and begin to take over all our attitudes and to manifest in all our activity and faculties and bodies souls relationship roles and everything else to manifest God’s presence

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