Contemplation

Carl Jugun said that there are many problems that are unsolvable, they are simply outgrown. as we mature we see those problems as they really are, and not how we FEEL they are. We grow if we surrender to God. Complete surrender is against our human nature. It flight or fight. Its survival, not resignation.

A modern contemplative, Richard Rhor states that people form their identity in the first half of life by distinguishing themselves from others. It’s a negative foundation. You don’t need to know who you are, it’s an attempt to say who you’re not. We create an image like a container, we grow in it, defend, and argue why it’s the best and many of us get stuck there. It’s a private salvation container which has to fall apart- it’s called the cross.

If you’re not taught to endure suffering, failures, loses when young one may never learn it. Those who don’t learn it check out of life, addictions etc, etc,

Suffering is part of life. Yet our culture does not embrace that, we rail against it. We develop a worldview that is primarily for our comfort.

Philippians 3:10 King James Version (KJV)  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

The contemplative mind is an absolute assault on the worldview that culture imposes upon us. Because it really is a different mind.

The failure of liberalism is trying to critique mind, which will make more sense later. But this is what is called the calculative mind. The Bible calls it the mind of the flesh. The apostle Paul calls it the old man. It is the egocentric mind that interprets everything in the sense of personal advantage. Usually with short-term effect. It says what’s in it for me,  how would this situation be to my advantage what can I get out of it.

As long as you read everything from that small worldview, and read everything methodically, I don’t think you going to see things in any new way. You may move along with political spectrum from left to right to write and to left. But Jesus teaches us a different way of seeing, a different perspective, a different advantage point,

And a different starting point. Einstein said that the problem cannot be solved by the same mind/ or consciousness that caused it.  It reads everything in terms of personal advantage and cause and effect.

The word contemplation became popular through the works of Thomas Merton which is reasonably recent.  In the fifth 50s and 60s. A lot of people use the word meditation which is the same thing. The word that most Christians are familiar with is the word prayer. 

But the word prayer has a different connotation to us here in the West than in the East where it originated from. For us in the West prayer became something functional, something that produced an effect. It became a what’s in it for me!  And this is due to the idea that the ego is the center of their personal universe. It’s all about me. If I get offended I’ll sue somebody. If someone hurts me I’ll take revenge. If I don’t get what I want only react in some way. Is something, someone has something that I want; then I go out and get myself in debt to better it.

All about me the egocentric me. And this has overlapped unfortunately onto Christianity in a huge way. Individualism rules and reigns in Christianity in the West. But this is not what Jesus intended and it’s certainly not what he taught. As soon as you make prayer and exercise to get something it puts you in charge. Jesus does say ask and it will be given. However, this is from a humble and obedient submissive attitude towards Jesus Christ in the first place. This is nothing new it’s the same overall old mind or consciousness how can I get God to do what I want him to do.

That’s how most people approach prayer is about egocentric consciousness, I will try to get what I want to get from God. It is the way of the world, it is worldly values seat in our culture and has always been there but just manifests itself according to popular culture at the time. In this way instead of being a transformed mind or consciousness we remain egocentric and try to manipulate God and everyone else and we think we did okay. That’s why Christianity is in dire straits today because it’s not really transforming people as the Bible clearly states that it should and does.

It’s just giving people a form of religiosity to be in charge and control, it still the ego/natural/fleshly/false self.

And what Jesus always talked about was the transformed self (John 3). The apostle Paul uses that wonderful phrase it’s no longer either their lives Christ lives in me. It’s a different I,  it’s a different sense of self. So saying it’s not my ego self or my false self that lives but Christ who lives in my true self. It is not my egocentric self that lives Christ that lives within my true redeemed self. As long as you’re operating from the egocentric will, you never be totally free and meditation/ contemplation would be almost impossible to maintain. The ego-self can be pious, religious, be theologically sound, may even be a church leader in some way,  but never totally free because operating in the small self.

The result? Religion has always performed two very important but two very different functions. Firstly it is used to create meaning the separate self. It offers mixed tales stories narratives truths, Rituals and revivals used together, helps the separate self to have meaning and to endure, slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.’ And that’s okay that’s how you get started and as a psychologist say you’ve got to have an ego to be able to get rid of one. You’ve got to have the self to move beyond the self.

But most religions stop at that first function simply giving you a positive self-image. And Christians rarely move beyond this first stage and maybe it’s perhaps they don’t think there’s anything else beyond it. This satisfied with the fact there are a religious personal moral person or dedicated person with values up right good standing in a community. And most people do not go beyond that. But this kind of religion does not raise or transform the consciousness of the person it does not deliver true freedom where one can let go and let God. This type of religion does not transform or fully satisfy the true self, it fortifies the self comforts the self and even deceives this true self into thinking you are okay I’m okay.

Whereas underneath there is this innate this satisfaction and unrest and in a yearning something more and not knowing what it is. Christianity is the best thing in the world and the worst in the world. Why? Religious often people think they are right and they start from that vantage point. And when one thinks one is right there narrowminded intolerant of others and basically egocentric.

And the sorts of people can’t seem to really get to know because the ego is so sure that they are right and I will protect that at any cost, even the cost of hurting others and that’s where spiritual abuse occurs and that why I wrote a Masters of Art thesis on that subject as its so common in the churches- but that’s another subject.

Rhor continues to say there’s long as the egocentric self is warm and fed and think they are right then they are convinced that they saved. But what does saved really mean. Most people think that being saved is a ticket to heaven . Something that not here now but will come one day. It’s always in the future. It’s by the sweet by and by. If I am religious enough, good enough, and I do the right thing then I’ll get to heaven and that means that I’ll be saved. Does it?

This point of view comes from a punishment and reward system. If I play the game right I will be rewarded. Is about the works that I can do and God will be pleased and I’ll get into heaven. And that point of view has absolutely nothing to do transformation, absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ. This, unfortunately, is most Christians point of view, but Jesus had something completely different in his mind when he spoke to Nicodemus and we read in John chapter 3.

Because it is through contemplation that we are fellowship with God and not in fellowship with their ego. We learn to wait upon the Lord to renew our strength and then we will mount up with wings of Eagles and then and only then will we run and not be weary and then only then will walk and not be faint. So waiting upon the Lord, confessing our sins and repenting (turning away from sin)   is the basis of our contemplation. God is in the business of transforming you because He loves you. It starts with the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus. And contemplation is a life’s style will help with this and this is why this website exists.

Romans 12:2 New International Version
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

IHS