Thursday, July 10, 2014

Getting to Know Ourselves

None of us likes to acknowledge we have some kind of disorder. And yet we know none of us are perfect; we live with a number of imperfections, not an overly intelligent judgement of our earthly situation. We work to  diminish the problems that arise from this reality. Some of us have physical disorders, poor eyesight; some  live with personality and mental quirks and the vices we have picked up over the years. All of this makes for an interesting world, provided we work to change what we can and make the best of what we can't.

We should be willing to face this reality and not justify our disorders, but do what we can to live searching for the ideal. As Christians, we trust in the graces to overcome our problems and not in a few cases the very disorders will allow us to grow as persons and become  instruments for peace in establishing God's kingdom.

One of the disorders that we all have to deal with is a lack of attention to what we are doing and what is important; the society in which we live is not much help. A religious sister in her column in the Catholic Times has some helpful suggestions on what we can do and cease doing.

She works with the Korean words for searching using the help of others as we would in a computer search (檢索), and our own personal internal searching   faculties to meditate and philosophize about the meaning in life (思索).

An example was her searching for a recipe on the Internet. After a few days, she was back for another recipe. The search did not give her the principles or reflection on meaning, but  merely directed her to follow directions.

Traveling to her college class for four years she used her navigation device and when it was not turned on she felt uncomfortable. She believes that it weakened her ability to pay attention to the surroundings. She tells us about the taxi drivers in London, who are required to memorize tens of thousands of street names, squares, and side streets to get a license. Neurologists have made a study of the hippocampus (region of the brain associated primarily with memory)of these drivers and compared to other segments of society their hippocampus was greatly enlarged and the longer they were in the work the more so. The brain works to become bigger with use.

The lessons that we receive from this are clear, and she says not exaggerated. When we continually use  information gained by others and  do not search within ourselves, we will lack creativity. However, some will think this will require daily training. Some feel it is a luxury for which they do not have the time.

She recommends we read a book we always wanted to do but never found the time. Spend time alone, accompanied with deep breathing, and work with the  ideas that come to mind, associations, deducing from what comes to mind, discerning. It will take time, but something will happen. We need to be in control of  the information from the 'smart' world in which we live. We have within us a world of ideas, experiences, questions, difficulties, doubts, feelings, convictions, beliefs and for a Christian Christ's presence. That is more than enough material to work with.

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