Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Transformation

That we want to live,
that we like to live,
are facts that require no explanation.

But if we ask how we want to live,
what we seek from life,
what makes life meaningful for us,
then indeed we deal with questions
(and they are more or less identical)
to which people will give many different answers.

Some will say they want love,
others will choose power,
others security,
others pleasure and comfort,
others fame;
but most would probably agree in the statement
that what they want is happiness.

This is also what most philosophers and theologians
have declared to be the aim of human striving.

However, happiness covers such different,
and mostly mutually exclusive,
contents as the ones just mentioned,
it becomes an abstraction and thus rather useless.
And happiness is fleeting,
a function of happenings
and of expectations.

The aim of the life of a rosebush
is to be all that is inherent in being a rosebush:
that its leaves are well developed
and that its flower is the most perfect rose
that can grow out of this seed.
The gardener knows,
in order to reach this aim
he must follow certain norms
that have been empirically found.
The rosebush needs a specific kind of soil,
of moisture,
of temperature,
of sun and shade.
It is up to the gardener to provide these things
if he wants to have beautiful roses.
But even without his help
the rosebush tries to provide itself
with the optimum of needs.
It can do nothing about moisture and soil,
but it can do something about sun and temperature
by growing crooked,
in the direction of the sun,
provided there is such an opportunity.

Why would not the same hold true for us humans?
My goal in life
is to grow optimally
according to the conditions of my existence
and thus to become fully
who I was created to be;
to let reason, experience, and compassion guide me
to the understanding
of what is conducive to my well-being,
given what my experiences enable me to understand.

My well-being,
defined as functioning well as a person,
not as a puppet,
was the goal of my efforts
and two specific ways stood out
that led to the attainment of this goal:
Breaking through my narcissism
and transcending my very existence.
Narcissism is an orientation
in which all my interest and passion
were directed to my own person:
my own body, mind, feelings, interests.
As a narcissistic person,
only me and what concerned me were fully real;
what was outside,
what concerned others,
was real only in a superficial sense of perception.

But it is was not real in a deeper sense,
for my feelings or my understanding.
As a narcissist I was aware only of what was outside,
inasmuch as it affected me.
Hence, I had not true love, not compassion, not rational, objective judgment.
As a narcissistic person,
I built an invisible wall around myself.
I was everything, the world was nothing.
Or rather:
I was the world.

When I gained the will and the determination
 to loosen the bars of the prison of narcissism and selfishness,
when I summoned the courage to tolerate the intermittent anxiety,
reaching out to help others in Grief,
 I experienced glimpses of joy and strength.

Only then did a decisive new factor enter into my dynamics.

New experiences
associated with my Ministry to the Bereaved and their Caregivers
 became the decisive motivation for going ahead
 following a path I charted.

Experiences of well-being,
 — fleeting and small as they were —
became the most powerful motivation for my progress.

Awareness, will, love, tolerance, compassion,
and openness to new experiences,
were all necessary for my transformation.

At a certain point, the energy and direction of my inner forces
changed to the point
that my sense of identity changed, too.

I moved from
I am what I have
through
I am what I do (for others)
to
I am who I am,
A beautiful creation of God.

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