A Mind Divided

cat_two_minds

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

That is a quote from Abraham Lincoln in 1858. He was using it in the context of the division in the ‘United’ States between slavery and non-slavery states. Ultimately it took a disastrous Civil War to finally unite the Northern and Southern states although there are still some who feel ‘divided’ and unjustly treated even today, over 150 years and 5 generations after Lincoln’s speech.

While Lincoln said it, it was not his original thought, like many great quotes it was first stated in the Bible, Matthew 12:25 and others,” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

I believe however, that the quote also applies very well to each one of us as an individual.

How can that be? How am i, how is anyone of us, a ‘House divided’?

It is an undeniable fact that we all live in our own physical ‘house’ – our human body. What is perhaps less clear, or at least not very well understood by the majority of us, is what that body ‘contains’ within, in terms of our consciousness; the thing that allows us to perform actions with that body as well as to think thoughts and experience our human desires and emotions.

While science has made unprecedented progress in discoveries external to our body and has made good progress in medicine and understanding of the physical human form it has made little to no real progress in helping us understand our internal nature, our consciousness, our mind and that poorly understood term, spirit.

I contend that within our true nature are two opposing ‘sides’, for want of a better word. The physical side that contends with our daily life and experiences (since conception/birth) of the physical environment around and outside of us, and a spiritual side that operates differently to our physical nature, one that is so very easily overlooked and hard to ‘pin down’ for our examination or dissection, unlike our physical side.

As we grow from our childhood into adulthood in our physical nature, gaining from every single life experience in the physical world, so too are we to grow from spiritual childhood into adulthood, by living and gaining from our experiences with the things of Spirit.

The trouble here is we tend to confuse both as being one and the same thing when it should be quite clear that it is nothing of the kind.

We live simultaneously in two ‘minds’ – one dedicated to the physical and one to the spiritual side of our nature. We are a house ‘divided’, subject to two differing and powerful ‘forces’ (attractions). As Lincoln and many others have long known, we do not perform to our full capabilities if we are of two minds, one must take precedent over the other so as to prevent working against our own best interest. As the Union was to be under one government to best serve it’s peoples’ interest, so too we are to be under one ‘government’ to best serve our self interest.

The Bible states ” No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.(material wealth)” Matt 6:24

The truth is most of us feel like we need to follow the attraction (force) that is dedicated to our material world, that this is necessary in order to feed ourselves and our families, to provide shelter, to educate ourselves and to ‘enjoy’ our (physical) life. Since this is the world we spend most of our time having to experience, the tendency to give it our highest priority is a quite natural and understandable one.

However, this largely ignores, and in some cases directly opposes, our spiritual natures, what some call our ‘highest’ ideals; we compromise ourselves out of expediency or physical ‘necessity’.

It does not have to be this way though, indeed – i feel it should not be that way!

The alternative is to find ways to follow the attraction (force) of Spirit in our life, to give our spiritual ‘child’ as much nourishment as was given to the physical child we once were. It requires a certain self-discipline, a willingness to even consider that the option exists in the first place and then to be able to overcome the attraction we feel to the physical and all the fixed behaviour patterns in it and to it we have developed since childhood, our materialistic desires and wants and likes; to gain control over our emotional states that oppose our spirit: Anger and rage, envies,greed, lust of physical form, hatred, selfishness, self-pride, etc, etc.

Some achieve this ‘naturally’, through a debasing process where an individual falls down so far and comes to realise how futile their life has become through ignoring their spiritual nature and paying attention only to the physical world and self. That such a life has no longer anything of value to them and they see a new way of being – their spirit reaches out to them once all the appeal of the physical has ‘died’ or is very near to death, to having nothing left of any permanent value to the individual.

Some take a longer route and achieve it through various devices, of a religious or ascetic nature. Whatever the path it is possible for anyone to choose to become more ‘in tune’ to their spiritual nature and to begin practicing living a life where the spiritual ‘mind’ takes control over the physical body.

We can ‘walk’ in Spirit.

But we have to crawl before we can walk, and ultimately run, as our spirit desires.

It is not just my philosophy, but that of many of the world’s greatest minds since humans began to write their thoughts down, that considers our spirit is a part of a greater ‘Whole’: that we can connect to a vastly more complex unity than we ever experience from our own self viewpoint and can learn how to operate in total harmony with that Unity, the Oneness, God.

But it requires us to recognise that the physical and the spiritual are most often working towards different aims, that there is an imbalance inherent in us that we have to learn to overcome, and that we can only do this by accepting the Gift of spirit we all have been given and using it in the manner in which it was intended to be used.

If we choose to ignore the spirit, we do so at our peril, knowing the consequences and taking what benefits we may in the short term.

But the spirit has a longer term objective, one of far greater reach than we can achieve using just our physical body alone, it desires to be re-united into that from which it came, even as it is certain it can never be parted from it for more than a single lifetime.

Once we become aware of this we then have the choice, to live with our physical mind commanding our thought and action, following the physical attraction, or to choose the spiritual mind to lead us and follow that attraction, each one will pull us in one way or the other – only we can choose which one is to have our full attention.

it’s your choice now.

© B Thursfield 2013

 

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How to Live Like a Good Roman.

Most of us can appreciate good advice when we hear it. The problem with it though is largely the difficulty we all experience when trying to put that good advice into practice in our daily life.

Even the experts can benefit from good advice

Even the experts can benefit from good advice

Whether it is how to improve a golf swing, how to cook a tastier curry, how and why we should stop smoking or give up a drug we enjoy, or how to live a happier, more fulfilling and satisfying life, taking up the advice in such a way as to produce a consistent and lasting result for our personal long-term benefit is without doubt not an easy thing to achieve.

It requires us to alter long-held habits and replace them with a better ones. Our mind and bodies feel discomfort when we are required to change and we sub-consciously resist such change, even if we consciously believe in the benefit we stand to gain.

Awareness of this helps us to overcome the ‘Change Momentum’ (resistance), as does regular conscious effort in the practice of the new habits and, perhaps most importantly to any change, we need to Believe, have faith, that the change is possible, or preferably, is inevitable for us. We need to believe it will happen or even has happened and we just need to ‘catch up’) in order for it to happen, if we don’t believe we will eventually give up and thus fulfill our own doubt.

Bearing those things in mind (Awareness, Practice and Belief) i would like to offer the words of Saul of Tarsus, also known as St Paul as he wrote to the believers of Christ in Rome (Romans Ch 12 specifically).

I am constantly amazed at the various and voluminous wisdom for mankind’s benefit that the Bible contains and has stated for thousands of years, but i can think of few chapters of the Bible that offer a better, more concise method for us to be aware of, practice and believe in so as to live a good and rewarding life.

Anyone can read for themselves St Paul’s words in Romans Ch 12 – it only has 21 verses and can be read in a minute. But that one minute could be the best investment of your time you could ever possibly make.

Here is a translation into point form of the things Paul says:

1. Make your body a living and holy sacrifice to please God. Let this be your form of spiritual service. Give up, surrender, your material body to God and live instead from your spirit body that gives freely your worship of God in voluntary service. Let this be that which guides your material body and not your own ego, your ego must surrender to your spirit, not the other way around.

2. As your ego is created out of and through the things of the material world, renew your mind and transform your thought from this material creation into a spiritual creation, the Spirit coming essentially from God, and prove to yourself that which is good, acceptable to all and is Perfect.

3. God has given to every one of us some degree of strength of Faith and of some particular kind(s). We are not to let this be a source of boastful pride or think we are better than any other, by reason of our particular gift(s) of Faith, but are to think of it/them/us in a sound and fair judgement of ourselves.  (not too great or too little).

4. As our own body has many parts that serve different functions to the benefit of the whole, so too should we recognise that each of us is a different part of the whole Human race and not consider that any one of us is more important to the entirety than any other. We are to seek out our own gifted talent(s) and learn to make the best of them to the benefit, not only of our self but of our species and the planet.

5. The gifts of the spirit are of many varieties, we may have one or many and they lead us in spirit to manifest a variety of works on Earth:(According to 1 Cor 12:8-10,28)Preaching of the Gospel (Apostleship in Faith) Prophecy, Teaching (Wisdom and Knowledge), Healing, Helping(others), Working of Miracles, Discerning of spirits, Speaking in Diverse Tongues (many languages) and the Interpretation of them, Encouragement of those of the faith, Leadership – setting, through example, the way of Christ, and Givers of Mercy.

6. Be Love, but without any hypocrisy, do so without any precondition but give love  totally and freely to all.

7. Reject that which is evil and cling instead to the Good, learn how to distinguish the two in your life, heart, mind and spirit.

8. Develop Charity to all, brotherly love in all honour. Devote your self to this aim in determined spirit, never lagging or ceasing as a service to God.  Do so in the joy of Hope everlasting, through all trial and disaster in continuous prayer and meditation. Practice hospitality to all, welcoming any and rejecting none.

9. When faced with those who would do evil unto you, bless them, return to them Good for evil and wherever possible be at peace with all mankind. Be of like mind one to another, do not consider yourself above anyone but associate with both the poor and the sinner and do not value your own self more than any other, but do only that which the spirit tells you is the right thing to do to all. Rejoice with those who rejoice ( unless it is in the practice of an evil), and grieve with those who also grieve.

10. Never take your own revenge, but leave such unto God as was written:” Vengeance is mine, I will repay” said the Lord. Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

For those who have lived long in a more earthly, material mind practicing and believing in those things will not necessarily come easily to you, but if you truly seek to have a contented life come the end, the sooner you begin the transformation into living from spirit and following the above template as your regular practice the greater will be your level of contentment.

Peace to all.