The Blind See

I was given Anthony de Mello’s book “The Way to Love” for Christmas and LOVE it. He was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who lived in Bombay, India. His writing completely challenges conventional thoughts about love, relationships, addictions and freedom. This is a passage I read recently that really struck me. It’s a little long but absolutely worth it…(the bold, italics and definitions are mine)

The Blind See

“For judgement I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” John 9:39

It is said that love is blind. But is it? Actually nothing on this earth is as clearsighted as love. The thing that is blind is not love but attachment. An attachment is a state of clinging that comes from a false belief that something or someone is necessary for your happiness. Do you have any attachments – people or things that you falsely believe you could not be happy without? Make a list of them right now before we go on to study how exactly they blind you.

Think of a politician who has convinced himself he will not be happy unless he gets political power. His quest for power coarsens his sensitivity to the rest of life. He barely has time for his family and friends. Suddenly all human beings are perceived and reacted to in terms of the support or threat that they are to his ambition. And those who can neither threaten nor support he does not even notice. If in addition to his craving for power he has an attachment to other things like sex or money, the poor man has become so selective in his perceptions that he could almost be said to be blind. Everyone sees this except the man himself. This is the condition that leads to the rejection of truth and beauty and goodness, because one has come to be blind to perceive them.

Now think of yourself listening to an orchestra in which the sound of the drum is so loud that nothing else can be heard. To enjoy the symphony you must be responsive to every instrument in the orchestra. To be in the state called love you must be sensitive to the uniqueness and beauty of every single thing and person around you. You can hardly be said to love what you do not even notice; and if you notice only a few beings to the exclusion of others, that is not love at all, for love excludes no one at all; it embraces the whole of life; it listens to the symphony as a whole, not just one or the other of the musical instruments.

Stop for a while now to see how your attachments drain life’s symphony no less than the politician’s attachment to power and the businessman’s attachment to money have hardened them to the melody of life. Or look at the matter in another way: There is an enormous amount of information that is continuously flowing in from the world through the senses, the tissues of the organs of your body. Only a small part of this information reaches your conscious mind. It is like the infinite amount of feedback that is sent to the President of a nation: Only a tiny fraction finally makes its way to him. Somebody does the screening and the processing at the President’s office. Who decides what will finally make its way to your conscious mind from all the material that is pouring in from the world? Three decisive filters: First your attachments, second your beliefs, and third your fears.

Your attachments: You will inevitably look for what fosters or threatens them and turn a blind eye to the rest. You won’t be interested in the rest anymore than the avaricious (greedy/covetous) businessman is interested in anything that does not involve the making of money.

Your beliefs: Just take a look at a fanatic who only notices what confirms his/her belief and blocks out whatever threatens it and you will understand what your beliefs are doing to you.

Your fears: If you knew you were to be executed in a week’s time it would wonderfully concentrate your mind to the exclusion of everything else. That is what fears do; they irresistibly rivet your attention on to some things to the exclusion of others.

You falsely think that your fears protect you, your beliefs have made you what you are and your attachments make your life exciting and secure. You fail to see that they are actually a screen between you and life’s symphony.

It is quite impossible, of course, to be fully conscious of every note in life’s symphony. But if your spirit becomes unclogged and your senses open you will begin to perceive things as they really are and to interact with reality and you will be entranced by the harmonies of the universe. Then you will understand what God is, for you will at last know what love is.

Look at it this way: You see persons and things not as they are but as you are. If you wish to see them as they are you must attend to your attachments and the fears that your attachments generate. Because when you look at life it is these attachments and fears that will decide what you notice and what you block out. Whatever you notice then commands your attention. And since your looking has been selective you have an illusory (deceptive, misleading) version of the things and people around you. The more you live with this distorted version the more you become convinced that it is the only true picture of the world because your attachments and fears continue to process incoming data in a way that will reinforce your picture. This is what gives origin to your beliefs: fixed, unchanging ways of looking at a reality which is not fixed and unchanging at all but in movement and change. So it is no longer the real world that you interact with and love but a world created by your head. It is only when you drop your beliefs, your fears and the attachments that breed them that you will be freed from the insensitivity that makes you so deaf and blind to yourself and the world.

Congratulations if you made it to the end, hopefully you found it worthwhile. There are many ways that we become blind to the world around us but I came up with some examples of things that can be our filter to life’s symphony:

Attachments (Things I think I need to me happy): success, perfectionism, sex, money, control, substances, affirmation, relationships

Beliefs: I’m not good enough, I can do it on my own, If they really knew me they wouldn’t love me, I’m always right, I’m always wrong

Fears: loneliness, vulnerability, judgement, being hurt, rejection, insecurity

Here’s to fully experiencing life’s symphony without a filter.

Blessings,

Lynnea

Why Forgive?

We are designed to love and be in relationship. I find the human heart and emotions to be one of the most amazing miracles in God’s creation. But like I wrote on Tuesday we are imperfect and we wound each other…and by choosing to love you are always risking the possibility of being hurt.

“Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give your heart to no one. It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all dangers and perturbations of love, is hell.” C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

When our hearts get hurt we then have choices about how to deal with it. We can choose to forgive or hold on to our righteousness and focus on all the ways we have been wronged. It can feel good for a moment to think about revenge or justice…it can even be comforting to hold on to anger and bitterness. Here are a few of my thoughts on why forgiveness is essential for freedom.

  • Choosing forgiveness means you are no longer controlled by the emotions of a situation. You are not captive to anger and bitterness but let it go and open your heart to life and love. This takes a tremendous amount of humility and courage.
  • You can’t receive forgiveness without being able to give it…one of the great spiritual paradoxes. If we REALLY accept our identity as ABSOLUTELY forgiven by God…forgiveness should flow from us.
  • Choosing to forgive means you let go of being a “victim”
  • Choosing to forgive is a gift you can give yourself
  • Choosing to forgive DOES NOT mean we continue to subject our self to unhealthy behavior but recognize that we can’t change the past and don’t want to be controlled by it.
  • Forgiveness should never be forced but if your heart is honestly open to it have faith that you will find it

You can live a small life focused on how others are mistreating you or you can actually become a proactive person full of life and love. There is so much hope and beauty in forgiveness.Blessings,

Lynnea

Just Breathe

My posting has been non existent this past week because I spent the week on the Mediterranean in Spain…fairly disconnected from all things digital. It was glorious! And sorry to make you jealous. 🙂 I have spent the last 7 months feeling like the ground was falling out from beneath my feet. Every time I thought I had re-established my footing the bottom would drop out again. I was exhausted and tired of reinventing myself…having emotions and tears wrung out of me like a wet dish cloth. A friend of mine had been offering to host me in Calafell for ages and this seemed like the perfect time so I decided to take him up on it (Thanks Richard!!!) I collected my jetlagged mother at the airport in Schiphol and off we went.

Typically I like beach vacations for about 3 days and then I get a bit antsy to “do” something or “see” something. Calafell is 40 minutes south of Barcelona by train and I had grand visions of day trips into the city and exploring nearby villages. It was an amazing opportunity to explore the Catalan region of Spain…BUT that was not what I needed. This was a photo taken on my first morning there and it proved to be very difficult to move me from this spot for the whole week. Can you blame me? 🙂 It was my own private retreat and I finally had the head and heart space to just sit and let God pour into me. So honestly, I didn’t do much except sit, pray, read, write and look at the ocean…and breathe. It was a complete blessing.

I am coming out of this week knowing with every fiber of my being that my God loves me… Lynnea. He knows my name. In the midst of the billions of people on this planet He created me and absolutely adores me. He loves me in spite of all the ways I let him down and break his heart. He paid a huge price for me and I have done nothing to earn it. That love does not mean that things are easy, in fact it means that in the darkest times I feel it most profoundly because I know how little I can do on my own. Truth be told it is actually a pretty cool place to be. Crazy right?

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.

I’ve called your name. You’re mine.

When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.

When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.

When you’re between a rock and a hard place,

it won’t be a dead end —

Because I am GOD, your personal God,

The Holy of Israel, your Savior.

I paid a huge price for you.

all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!

That’s how much you mean to me!

That’s how much I love you!

I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,

trade the creation just for you.

Isaiah 43:1-6 (The Message)

Trade all of creation (read universe) just for me? Wow. Happy Wednesday everyone.

Blessings,

Lynnea