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A Miraculous Life

A Miraculous Life

 

 

Miraculous Life


 

 

 

As I prepared to for my day, I was listening to a presentation on ‘ Life Lessons’, a recording from Jim Rohn, (a well-known Author and motivational speaker.  He was speaking on a topic, “the measure of one’s life”.

He stated,

“Life is not about the length of time but the collection of experiences”.

He went on to say,

“..  not just the collection of any experience but the variety of experiences with both magnitude and frequency.  A man can die in his 40’s and still could have lived many (full) lifetimes”.

This made me ponder on how we can understand the quality of living our lives.  Certainly, jumping from a plane, skiing down a steep powdered slope, climbing a rocky wall of a very tall cliff are vastly different than wasting hours in front of a television set or spending a life as a recluse, removed from family and friends.  I am not saying that all mundane experiences rob the quality of life.  In fact, these subtle times are just a small part in the vast variety of experiences that life has to offer us.  However, if the mundane is where the boundary of one’s life remains, it would certainly not provide the full range of color in our experiences and can leave us lacking all that our brief existence can yield.

The takeaway here suggests that it may be best to not dismiss unfamiliar opportunities never experienced, but consider every different event as a new hue in life’s color.  Just as shades of grey can bring detail to a black and white image, the range of experience can offer vibrancy to our life.

As I considered this topic, I thought about a discussion I once had with some friends at my church. We were talking about “Miracles” and the question came up on how we would define a Miracle.

 

 

Often when we discuss Miracles in the Bible, a good example would be the story where our Lord raised Lazarus from the dead.  Clearly, to all who believe this account, this would qualify as a Miracle.  There seem to be many examples of ‘Miracles’ offered in the scripture. But what about today?  Most, if not all people have heard of remarkable personal stories from people.  We hear of those who were facing a life-threatening disease, restored to health, or someone troubled by a business loss that somehow leads to a new direction, blessed with riches, or a barren spouse, despite complications eventually was able to conceive.  How about a less epic situation,  like having a flat tire on an unsafe roadside that received aid at the hands of an unexpected stranger?  Do not these also constitute “miracles”?

Reflexively, we tend to consider miracles as supernatural events.  We expect some desired need was fulfilled by something supernatural, or that it was somehow  ‘beyond what is considered a “natural event”, outside of what occurs in the known physical world.  But could we be diminishing activities that are just as wondrous, just less dramatic in our everyday lives?

 

Maybe a miracle is not as exclusive and separate from natural occurrence as we tend to believe.  It is true that Christ had performed many miracles. Even by historical records, Josephus, the Greek historian of the time wrote about this Christ who was a man well known to many, “performed countless miracles”.

 

The very first public Miracle of Christ that recorded was where Christ turned water into wine.  If we attempt to isolate which part of ‘changing water into wine’ was a miracle and what part was not a miracle, we will run into some problems.  We can say the water poured out as wine is the ‘supernatural’ part but then we are compelled to say the other activities (mother making the request, having servants to assist, filling pitchers with water, giving the first cup to the wine taster, etc) were not supernatural.  We then must understand that all that occurred in this activity and the items employed in this miracle were necessary to define the miracle.  If items and actions were necessary for this miracle to occur, then the actions and items around the “miracle” also had a role in the miraculous.

 

If we take a very limited view of what we define as a miracle, we would leave many aspects of the miraculous out of the story.   It was not a single cup like a parlor trick.  These were jar containers which had a large volume of water, which was changed to wine in composition in its molecular form.

We must forget to consider how time played a part of the miracle.  The story tells of a “wine taster” present at the feast whose role was to evaluate the quality of the drink, which was deemed of the highest quality.

 

Quality wine takes time and careful management to assure it is of the highest quality.  This allows us to see yet another part of the miracle.  The necessary time and care required to age the wine was completed at that moment.

There were jars, there was a volume of water equivalent to the volume of wine transformed and cups which brought the aged drink to the lips of the guests. Were these not also a part of this miracle?  Yet were these not a natural aspect of the of this particular miracle?

 

 

 

Let us consider another miracle presented in scripture about the “feeding of the five thousand “, with five loaves and two fish.  Here, a young boy donated his meal which was blessed by Christ before he broke it to disperse to a hungry crowd that gave Christ audience.  After everyone finished eating to their satisfaction, the scraps of food were collected and found to be over 12 baskets of leftover food.  Was this a miracle?  Yes, it was.  But it was not just the incredible volume of food that occurred from such a small-donated meal.  Every bite of food was a miracle.  The donated fish and loaves were a miracle. The faith of a child was a miracle.  The joyful collection of remaining food was a miracle.  Every part of this event was a miracle and resulted in praise to God from all who were there.

 

Sometimes, people report having some miraculous event and later discover a natural process behind the situation, which may also explain the “miracle”.  However, it does not mean the special experience would be any less a miracle.  Consider the following account also from scriptures.

 

The Bible shares the account of the pool at Bethesda.  There were many diseased, lame, blind and paralyzed people gathering at this pool. They had a belief that angels would stir the water at infrequent times and the first one to descend into the water is healed from their illness.

The story tells how Jesus was passing by this pool and observed a lame man who was alone near the pool.   Jesus was moved with compassion and approached the man and asked, “Why are you here?”.   The man answered, “Sir, each time the angels stir the water I have no one to help me into the pool first”.

Jesus then asked, “Do you want to be healed?”. The man said “yes” and Christ said, “Your faith has made you whole, take up your bed and walk”.  . The man picked up his bed and walked, immediately healed. Was this a miracle?

Yes. A lame man walked after his encounter with Christ.  What was the miracle? All of it; the water, the stirring of the water, and the faith of a lame man.

 

I learned some years ago that this same pool was excavated by an archaeologist. They found that this pool had a crack in its base where an underground spring caused the water to occasional stir. Does this information change the miracle? Even though it was discovered to be a natural event that stirred the waters and not the stirring of angels, it was still a miracle. Did Christ condemn the belief in angels stirring the water or the belief that the first one to descend the waters would be healed? No. But he did ask a direct question, “would you like to be healed?” and followed it by, “Your faith has made you whole..”.

 

 

I bring this particular story to emphasize a point. Just because we are able to explain an event in natural ways at the time, it does not take away from the miracle. Natural events are often a part of the miracle, a significant part, connected intimately to the very miracle itself.

 

I would offer that even though we may regard a miracle is “supernatural” activity, it is likely to still be a natural activity, that is not understood and grasped immediately by the limitations of known natural laws. Furthermore, I tend to believe that If we understood all the laws whereby Christ healed the sick, it would not pale as a miracle. It remains a miracle even when we consider the background of the event as less miraculous, or a common phenomenon based on our present understanding.

The factors that promote an event to the status of a miracle, introduces the background by comparison, of what is natural and presently known into the scene. Water is not routinely changed to wine, lame people do not naturally walk. Through our journey, we have considered some factors that help define a miraculous event. There is the deviation of the naturally evolving (timing), the scope of the event (intensity) and the frequency (a rarity).  These are the factors which help stage the miracle, separate from commonplace events.

Now, if we really apply these factors to our everyday events, we need to concede that we are surrounded by miracles often. It may be a kind word at the right time(timing), or an act of generosity from a neighbor(intensity), or a warm meal on a cold day(a rarity). Under the same lens, all such events are equally considered as miracles or connected to the miraculous.

 

 

I challenge you, my readers, to live miraculously by seeking the new experiences of adventure, to broaden your investment in the lives of others and add to your life the adventure of the miraculous. If we really observe the events that occur in our day and grasp the wonder of how unique each event is in our meaningful life, we will recognize the miraculous.  Recognize that when we participate in the miraculous, just by association, we can be miracles in the lives of others.

Thanks for sharing the miraculous with me.

Greg

 

 

 

 

 

A Miraculous Life was originally published on

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What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

 

What “LIES” Beneath…


 

The most fundamental principle in Psychiatry for self-development is discovering the content of our “self-talk”.  It is what we tell ourselves about who we are that determines how we behave in situations and with others in our sphere of life.

 

 

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), introduced by Dr. Aaron Beck, has been established as a very useful therapeutic strategy for those who are suering from a wide range of emotional problems.  The eective application of this therapy has been a powerful tool not only for troubled individuals but also for anyone who desires some sort of compass to navigate through the rocky terrain of everyday life.

 

 

The principles behind Cognitive Therapy(CBT) is based on uncovering the lies behind our maladaptive coping strategies that we have learned early in our lives and how this “map” is used to navigate our lives in the way we deal with situations and relationships.  We all face obstacles in our life journeys.  This is a necessary part of our growth.  When we were young we learned that certain behaviors would bring about changes in order to have our needs met.  However, as we matured throughout our adolescent and toward our adult years, the “old way”, (aka, our maps) required changes in order for needs to be addressed.  This learning model has much to offer especially since there are no perfect parents, no perfect relationships and there is no such thing as stress-free situations in life.  Yet, without obstacles, life would not offer us opportunities to develop the required skills for our personal growth and mastery.

 

Here some examples of Lies we tell ourselves.

 

I am not as smart as other people.

People at work think I am lazy

I am a failure as a parent

I will never be happy

 

 We are creatures of habit and tend to repeat particular patterns that appeared to best meet our needs.  This is true for our practiced patterns of behavior and the way we learn to interpret our situations.  Over time, our unique interpretations find a quiet place in a mental seat that precedes life scenarios.  This is what Cognitive therapists call. “Automatic thoughts”. 

 

  

What if you learned that the family was having coffee and one the kids told a funny story that made them laugh?

 

Personalizing the reason for the family laughing without knowing the facts is based on what I brought into the situation.  The false interpretation that I automatically believed resulted in me lashing out angrily and left me with a conclusion that only robbed my freedom.

 

 

Our automatic thoughts are a set of many conclusions tagged to other similar experiences we have had in our life.  Yet, these are more than just distinct memories.  Our automatic thoughts are about “me” in the situation.  They precede every situation we face and define who we are in those situations. We carry these interpretations about ourselves with us, unaware of their influence.  As we experience repeating themes in our life that seem to be consistent, we begin to embrace our interpretations as “truth”.  These “truths” continue to define us and provide scripts that we believe in our experiences throughout our life.  All too often, we solidify our personal interpretations from our past about ourselves as “truths”, when they are in fact, “lies”.

 

The real Struggle is about Fear

 

We are living creatures, designed to assure our survival.  Every part of our body, from our cells to whole body systems always promote our quality of life and well-being.  To stay alive, our body must be postured on the offensive and defensive.  When we plan to take on an adventure, we will need assurance of our safety and we will avoid any dangers that may threaten our survival. That is where the emotion of fear plays a vital role.  Courage, for example, is a virtue that can only occur in the presence of fear.  Without fear, no courage is possible.  The role of our fears is to keep our behavior in check.  But when the fear is unrealistic or false, our fears can actually enslave us. Unfortunately, fears do not always have a healthy role, especially when the fears are not based on accurate interpretations.  Inappropriate fears can hinder instead of promoting growth.  Fears help us gauge our risks more carefully because the priority of survival is vital for us to thrive.  The sense of danger is not just physical.  Often it can be relationship based and will direct us to avoid the likelihood of social threats as well.

 

In order to know if our fears are based on realistic or unrealistic interpretations, we need to evaluate the statements our automatic thoughts are telling us.  If our acts of avoidance are not “truth-based”, they will not lead to our growth, but to our enslavement. 

 

 The most valuable aspect of CBT is that it can instruct us on healthy coping strategies without the requirement of having lifelong counseling.  Unlike Psychoanalysis, where the therapy structure depends on unraveling unconscious motivations or defenses over many appointment sessions, in Cognitive therapy, the pace of therapy depends on learning the skills that will keep the mental dialogue in check.  When we learn how the lies we tell ourselves are compromising our growth, we can be equipped to replace our interpretations with the truth.  By applying a litmus test to our self-talk, we will able to break free from the anxiety and fear that threaten the freedom we have to live life fully as intended.

 

 

Below, you will notice six basic rules that we help reveal the lies we often tell ourselves.  Learning how to identify the lies we tell ourselves and learning how to correct our self-talk is central to the making life changes.  With practice, you will be well on your way to your journey of freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

How to apply Cognitive Therapy to your life

 

 

Let us use the coffee shop scene above as an example

 

 

Scene: Coffee Shop

 

I spilled some coffee on the table     

                     

(A family started laughing in the corner)                   [People are always laughing at me]

 

I became angry and yelled at the family                   [They are so rude-how dare they?]

 

I left the coffee Shop and I refuse to back                [I hate stores that serve such people]

 

 

 

 

 

Let us correct the interpretation with another possible explanation

 

 

 

SITUATION                                             AUTOMATIC THOUGHT                                          FEELING

 

 

A family started laughing                     They may be laughing at a family joke                                                unchanged

in the corner

 

 

 

This is just a rough guide to begin your journey in Cognitive Therapy techniques.  I have used these principles frequently in my life and they have been the most useful guide for dealing with many challenges I encounter.

 

I hope you will find this post useful for you as well.  Now, let us go reclaim freedom! 

 

Greg

 

 

 

 

What Lies Beneath was originally published on Braindoctr’s Blog

 

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“To Thine Ownself be true..”

exposedtruth

Polonius:

This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Laertes:

Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

Hamlet Act
1, scene 3, 78–82

 
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius’s shared this counsel with his son Laertes, who was departing on a journey. It is wise counsel to us all.  As I follow the growing research in medical sciences, it becomes more apparent that dishonesty with others,  has a greater impact on our own health.  In neuroscience, it has been documented that even the very organization and process of the changing brain is intimately connected to the truths and falsehood we personally embrace.  
 
Lies stem from fears. It orbits a deeply rooted insecurity created from the dialogue we share with ourselves.  The false statements such as “I am worthless” or ” I am not important” are planted by primary support authorities when we were children, and they reside close to the center  or seat of the pathology.  Over time, we coat this falsehood in added layers , with what we believe to be “our evidence” , from how we are treated, how others react to us or how we expect others to regard us. This leads us to a desperate course of  snatching any available opportunities to “feel a moment of gratification” at the expense of honest and just means.  We find ways to meet our immediate needs like a homeless child, stealing candy from a candy store when we could not afford the costs.  Under intense judgement, we grow up and learn whatever we have to in order to avoid the punishments attached to our wrong actions.  Over the course of years, we will either look inward and unravel the lies that bind us, or we will continue our journey to become skillful in obtaining what is not ours, by whatever means necessary.  We do this while we find that particular means to avoid judgement and criticism of those “righteous people” who dare to ‘ look down on me’.  We steal, and rationalize.  We injure, and redirect blame.  But avoiding truth and living in the denial of our core negative self regard, always catches up with us.  We are funny that way.  Sometimes we think it is better to go on living with our lies, despite the snowball of growing consequences, than to to just own our lies and confront them as needed. Just because we have injuries from our past, does not make our distorted “view of self”  true.  We just make it true.  We live to fulfil it in full without considering its impact.
 
Well, I was not planning to dissect this pathology of our mindset, but there it is.  
 
Recently, I have read articles about uncovering lies. 
 
One way in which we are not even conscious, is how it affects our handwriting.  See the following. 

Lying affects the way we write

..This study shows that the system can identify when participants have written the truth and when they have lied: For example, the pressure exerted on the page when the participants were writing false symptoms was greater than when they were writing about their true medical condition.The regularity of the strokes when writing a lie,reflected in the height and width of the letters, was significantly
different from the regularity of the strokes when writing the truth.Differences in duration, space and pressure were also found in false writing.
The researchers were also able to divide the types of handwriting into more distinct profiles (very small or large handwriting, etc.) and to find other more substantial differences associated with each writing profile.
According to the researchers, when a person writes something false, cognitive load is created in the brain
and this load creates competing demands for resources in the brain, such that operations that we usually perform automatically, like writing, are affected.
They added that the current study found that false
medical information in “laboratory conditions” creates cognitive load that enables the computer system to identify changes in handwriting,
and it can be assumed that in a natural situation, together with the need to lie to the doctor, the cognitive load would be even greater.

Here is an interesting article on clues about lying.

How To Tell If Someone Is Lying: The Tell-Tale Signs

  • TV shows and folk wisdom have suggested commonly held beliefs for spotting lairs, but the truth is they’re not always accurate
  • A liar will tend to give too much information and they often struggle to
    repeat their original performance if asked to recount the events in
    opposite order.
  • liars tend to avoid “I” statements and use third-person pronouns like “he” and “she” instead.
  • people who are speaking honestly will maintain eye contact for about 60 percent of a conversation. When one lies, they work at keeping eye contact
  • so as to appear honest.
  • A lliar will often engage in more eye contact without much blinking.
  • Liars will subconsciously point their feet towards the exit of the room.
  • A smile often surfaces from the liar when they think they’ve successfully deceived you.
  • Often they nod their head while denying or shake their head while agreeing.

This note was created from Liner.
By braindocPage with highlights – http://getliner.com/uGmJ7
Original page – http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/how-tell-if-someone-lying-tell-tale-signs-327998
Let us agree make it a regular habit to review our “self talk” the next time we find our words are not ringing quite true.  
Our integrity and health depend on it.
 
Greg
 
liars

“To Thine Ownself be true..” was originally published on

“To Thine Ownself be true..” was originally published on

“To Thine Ownself be true..” was originally published on

 

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