March 21st, 2007

Sinfest - Extreme Prayer

An A-Ha

I had an interesting a-ha today.

I've previously figured out that buying new things would not make me happier. Just having things does not equal enjoyment. Now, I buy things (mostly!) because of a hobbies or an interest. "No"s come much easier nowadays for those impulse buys. This I already knew.

Here's the big a-ha I got today. I figured out that I keep difficult things in my life so I can convince myself that those events add to my unhappiness. I know... this sound weird, but allow me to explain. Being unhappy feeds my depression and despair. Properly sated, these give me comfort that I am sad because of external things. The thing REALLY going on is that I have a fear of moving forward. I am fearful that I will not have happiness or I'll be called to do something bigger than me or something else.

These thoughts lead me to thoughts about my past and future. The buying new things has also been put into a new light. I was not looking for these things to make me happy. I was instead looking to them to distract me. Well, I outsmarted myself. I'm not willing to distract myself with the fun things, unless you count watching "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" on the TIVO. There is a future waiting for me, or better yet, I am capable of a fuller now. I am capable of a NOW (more) free of distractions and purposeful fears. Will this future bring me happiness? Perhaps. I don't think this is the goal anymore. What is the goal? I think it has to do something about having an impact both on the world and on myself.

What waits for me after I stop pretending that I am the victim? What is my "purpose" after this self-imposed period of non-activity? Stay tuned... I'm sure I'll blog about it.
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Shake - That's What it Does

Seen and Disbelieved

This is a WAG, a Wide Area Generalization. Nuff said!

I've witnessed what I perceived to be very reactive remarks on public LJ blogs. At first I thought it was an aberration, but this happened over and over. Who will respond, and how they will respond, has become predictable. Those with elder status had the most predictably pointed remarks. They have years of experience teaching, leading worship, and generally being spiritual mentors. What's the deal? I got a clue today in one of my computer industry trade journals. The column 'Technically Speaking", in the December 2006 'Better Software' magazine, was titled "Believing is Seeing". The column was about "On the Perception of Incongruity: A Paradigm", a psychological study on the nature of perception that was done in 1949 by Jerome S. Bruner and Leo J. Postman.

As presented in the column, Gary Jaron summarized the study's findings as follows:
"Beliefs have the power to affect the mind's ability to accurately interpret incoming sense data. The stronger the beliefs, the stronger the convictions, the more resistant those beliefs will be to challenged by incoming sense data of any kind. Those strongly held beliefs will fight off any incoming data that appears to, and attempts to, contradict those prior beliefs."
Do years of experience contribute to a purely reactive response, irresponsible of the quality of the incoming data? It is an incredible irony that experience can lead to intolerance by blindness, lack of compromise by deafness, and belligerence by rigid assuredness. Is this inevitable? Do all those with years of experience led to this trap? I don't know.

How can this trap be corrected if it does happen? More often than not, there is some event in the person's life that informs them that data does have different interpretations. Perhaps this occurred because of a reactive response towards them. Whatever the reason, and no matter how painful it may be, (IMO) it is good to be broken from the illusion of our fixed convictions.

It is better that none of us come to this end. Nobody has all the answers or can even pretend to. Why do so? I suppose we are human. Still, I hope this is not an inevitable conclusion to years of service.

Is this a WAG? Is there another explanation to what I've seen???