Balance or Harmony

Balance or Harmony?

I have heard others say and I have said “I would like balance in my life.”

Is this what I am really looking for?

Balance has a connotation of two or more sides (pieces) in a condition.

Definition of balance

1 a : physical equilibrium

b : the ability to retain one’s balance

2 a : stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis

b : equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements

c : accounting : equality between the totals of the two sides of an account

3 a : an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements

b : grammar : the juxtaposition in writing of syntactically parallel constructions containing similar or contrasting ideas (such as “to err is human; to forgive, divine”)

4 a : accounting : an amount in excess especially on the credit side of an account

b : weight or force of one side in excess of another

c : something left over : remainder

5 : mental and emotional steadiness

6 : an instrument for weighing: such as

a : a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends

b : a device that uses the elasticity of a spiral spring for measuring weight or force

7 : a means of judging or deciding the balance of a free election

8 : a counterbalancing weight, force, or influence

9 : an oscillating wheel operating with a hairspring to regulate the movement of a timepiece a watch’s balance

In tightrope walking balance is achieved by position of the arms or a pole held by the arms.

In science balance has to do with equalizing opposing forces.

In Buddhism they talk about mental and emotional steadiness which is the result of a negative state of mind counterbalanced with its antidote.

In my own life I have thought of balance in terms of how many things can I manage to do while still staying healthy; mentally and physically. There is a dividing of my attention that I have run across with balancing multiple things at the same time that concerns me.

In a previous blog post I have written about the maximum amount of items we can store in our conscious mind, in what’s called our working memory, and a new study puts the limit at three or four.

Flow: No Emotion; Total Absorption

According to positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, there is a state known as Flow, a state of complete immersion in an activity.

He describes the mental state of flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

Concentrate your attention on only one thing in your working memory; get fully absorbed in that one thing outside of yourself and larger than yourself.

Instead of trying to balance several things at one time; I take the things I really want to do one-at-a-time. I cannot enter the state of flow while trying to multi-task.

So I have decided in my life to try to harmonize with the things I really want to do one-at-a-time.

Harmony has a connotation of unity.

Definition of harmony

  1. agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
  2. a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
  3. Music.
  4. any simultaneous combination of tones.
  5. the simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished from melody and rhythm.
  6. the science of the structure, relations, and practical combination of chords.
  7. an arrangement of the contents of the Gospels, either of all four or of the first three, designed to show their parallelism, mutual relations, and differences.

Harmony is performing my part in a musical arrangement of parts and feeling at one with the arrangement.

Harmony is going for a walk with the intention of becoming one with the harmonious relations of all life and being drawn into a drama of life and death in the forest.

Usually we think of harmony in terms of pleasant activities; but it can also occur in unpleasant activities.

When my parents passed away within 18 days of each other I was called upon to enter the harmony of life and death in their funeral. I was the Master of Ceremonies at their joint Memorial Service, I gave the Eulogy for my father, and I sang the gospel song “Until Then” acapella at the end of the service to help send their spirits on to their next plane of existence.

Since then I have discovered that harmony has many useful purposes for helping heal negativity in my life. When I have a storm of negative emotions flood through my body I try to observe what is going on inside of me and observe the storm passing. Then at a later time I revisit the storm of negative emotions this time trying to harmonize; to be at one with the storm. I have found that every storm has an “Eye” at its center; a place of calm where I can find the causes and come to a settlement with it. A caution to all reading; this is not easy and it doesn’t get resolved in just one visit. The larger the storm the more visits are needed to reach a settlement with it.

My advice is to prioritize the activities of your life, pick the really important activities, and do them one-at-a-time; getting fully absorbed in that one activity only. Save the less important activities for multi-tasking.


Self Inflicted Nonsense

Self Inflicted Nonsense

“SIN: Self-Inflicted Nonsense” Eric Butterworth

From the beginning of my last post:

When you came into this world; your mind was totally open to a world of endless possibilities. You had no KNOWLEDGE, prejudice, or belief; total innocence and no ego. Mystics and Sages have called this state “Beginner’s Mind”.

Setting the stage-

Genesis 1:31 God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so Very good! It was evening, it was morning– Day Six.

VeryHebrew :properly vehemence, that is, (with or without preposition) vehemently; by implication wholly, speedily, etc. (often with other words as an intensive or superlative; especially when repeated): – diligently, especially, exceeding (-ly), far, fast, good, great (-ly), X louder and louder, might (-ily, -y), (so) much, quickly, (so) sore, utterly, very (+ much, sore), well.

Genesis 1:26-27 God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature. So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female.

Gen 2:7-9 GOD formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive–a living soul! Then GOD planted a garden in Eden, in the east. He put the Man he had just made in it. GOD made all kinds of trees grow from the ground, trees beautiful to look at and good to eat. The Tree-of-Life was in the middle of the garden, also the Tree-of-KNOWLEDGE-of-Good-and-Evil.

Gen 2:15-17 GOD took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order. GOD commanded the Man, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-KNOWLEDGE-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.”

-Clearing the stage

So Man did eat from the Tree-of-KNOWLEDGE-of-Good-and-Evil and was driven from Eden.

So we have the Fall of Man; the beginning of the Rotten to the Core Dogma in Judaism and Christianity.

Where did this fall occur? It is a state of mind in Man himself. God didn’t separate Man from himself (herself); but Man chooses separation. Each one of us came into this world as totally connected to everything and we choose Separation. All the humans around you told you “you need to define self as separate from every other human and from every other thing “and we were hooked.

Now this fetish we have with defining things amazes me. We get a little knowledge about something; then we say we know all there is to know about something; and we give up the search. No wonder our definitions are poor at best.

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.  William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

I ask you; is any definition you have of anything, Infinite?

Is any KNOWLEDGE you have about anything, Infinite?

The idea that I am born in sin, separate from God, separate from all other humans, and separate from all of life, seems very alien to me.

“SIN – Separation Inducing Nonsense” © 2017 Russel Steffy

This Defining Self as Separate is like the creation of a movie entitled “The Universe I am Creating”. I assemble all sorts of KNOWLEDGE-of-Good-and-Evil; analyze & compare all this data; and then I cast myself as the leading character in the movie. I have many casting calls and I select many secondary characters; but how well do I know each character? Some of the characters who audition are only with me a few moments and I already have them defined. There are only two movie sets available; Heaven or Hell.

I am made in the image and likeness of God so I yearn to create a universe just like he did but I create this universe in my own mind. This universe that I create is it Reality or is it Virtual Reality? I suggest that it is just Virtual Reality; a mere simulacrum of the Real Universe that my body exists in. All the things I create in my Virtual Reality are just a very limited reflection of what really exists; as my KNOWLEDGE of everything around me is very limited.

Is the movie I create constantly changing or do I try to fix time and space to keep my Virtual Reality stuck where it is?

Is the movie I create objective or subjective? Do I portray things in the movie the way they really are or the way I want them to be?

Sages and mystics have told us that we must deny the self, ego, or I. Here is the dialog between one student and his teacher:

Student:   Sir, if one gave up the I (self), nothing whatsoever would remain.

Ramakrishna:   I am not asking you to give up all of the I. you should give up only the “unripe I.”  The “unripe I” makes one feel: “I am the doer. These are my wife and children. I am a teacher.”

Renounce this “unripe I” and keep the “ripe I” which will make you feel that you are God’s servant, His devotee, and that God is the doer and you are His instrument.   Sri Ramakrishna

In light of what this great teacher said; maybe the movie should be entitled “The Universe God is Creating using me as His instrument” and I am hoping I choose the movie set Heaven more often than Hell.

When Did You Start Subtracting

When Did You Start Subtracting?

When you came into this world; your mind was totally open to a world of endless possibilities. You had no knowledge, prejudice, or belief; total innocence and no ego. Mystics and Sages have called this state “Beginner’s Mind”.

Matthew 18:1-4 In that hour [or, At that time] the disciples approached Jesus, saying, “So who is greatest in the kingdom of the heavens?” And Jesus having summoned a young child, He set him in the middle of them and said, “Positively, I say to you*, unless you* are turned around [fig., changed inwardly] and become like such young children, by no means shall you* enter into the kingdom of the heavens. “Therefore, whoever will humble himself like this young child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens.

Then you started subtracting from those endless possibilities. What does this subtracting consist of?

Your Parents (or other adults), Religions (or other moral authorities), and your Culture (schools, country, politics, etc.) told you what was; right or wrong; good or bad; acceptable or unacceptable. Your Agreement with what you were told was your subtracting; your mind closed a little…

You watched what all the human beings around you were doing and judged each action as; right or wrong; good or bad; acceptable or unacceptable. Your Agreement with what you judged was your subtracting; your mind closed a little more…

Now during this process of making Agreements (developing a belief system) you added a lot of beliefs that contradict each other; your mind closed a lot more…

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.  William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

I cannot put it in words better than The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Excerpts from: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

We never had the opportunity to choose what to believe or what not to believe. We never chose even the smallest of these agreements. We didn’t even choose our own name…

Children believe everything adults say… We didn’t choose these beliefs, and we may have rebelled against them, but we were not strong enough to win the rebellion… The result is surrender to the beliefs with our agreement…

In human domestication, the information from the outside dream is conveyed to the inside dream, creating our whole Belief System

And we also learn to judge: We judge ourselves, judge other people, and judge the neighbors…

We train our children whom we love so much the same way that we train any domesticated animal: with a system of punishment and reward… Soon we became afraid of being punished and also afraid of not receiving the reward… With that FEAR of being punished and that FEAR of not getting the reward, we start pretending to be what we are not, just to please others, just to be good enough for someone else… Eventually we become someone that we are not. We become a copy of Mamma’s beliefs, Daddy’s beliefs, society’s beliefs, and religion’s beliefs…

The domestication is so strong that at a certain point in our life we no longer need anyone to domesticate us. We don’t need Mom or Dad, the school or the church to domesticate us. We are so well trained that we are our own domesticator… We are an auto-domesticated animal. We can now domesticate ourselves according to the same Belief System we were given, and using the same system of punishment and reward…

The Belief System is like a Book of Law that rules our mind. Without question, whatever is in that Book of Law is our truth… There is something in our minds that judges everybody and everything, including the weather, the dog, the cat — everything. The Inner Judge uses what is in our Book of Law to judge everything we do and don’t do, everything we think and don’t think, and everything we feel and don’t feel… Every time we do something that goes against the Book of Law, the Judge says we are guilty, we need to be punished, and we should be ashamed…

There is another part of us that receives the judgments, and this part is called the Victim. The Victim carries the blame, the guilt, and the shame…

And this is all based on a Belief System that we never chose to believe. These beliefs are so strong, that even years later when we are exposed to new concepts and try to make our own decisions, we find that these beliefs still control our lives.

Whatever goes against the Book of Law will make you feel a funny sensation in your solar plexus, and it’s called FEAR

Because everything that is in the Book of Law has to be true, anything that challenges what you believe is going to make you feel unsafe. Even if the Book of Law is wrong, it makes you feel safe…

That is why we need a great deal of courage to challenge our Own Beliefs. Because even if we know we didn’t choose all these beliefs, it is also true that we agreed to all of them…

All these laws exist in our mind, we believe them, and the Judge inside us bases everything on these rules. The Judge decrees and the Victim suffers the guilt and punishment…

True justice is paying only once for each mistake. True injustice is paying more than once for each mistake… How many times do we pay for one mistake?  The answer is thousands of times… But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again, and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again…

Is this fair?

But nobody abuses us more than we abuse ourselves, and it is the Inner Judge, the Victim, and the Belief System that makes us do this…

If we can see it is our agreements which rule our life, and we don’t like the dream of our life, we need to change the agreements…

End excerpts from: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

John 3:3-7 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most positively, I say to you, unless someone is born from above [or, born again], he is not able to see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus says to Him, “How is a person able to be born, being old? He is not able to enter into the womb of his mother a second time and to be born, is he?” Jesus answered, “Most positively, I say to you, unless someone is born from water and Spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God. The [thing] having been born from the flesh is flesh, and the [thing] having been born from the Spirit is spirit.  “Stop marveling that I said to you, ‘It is necessary [for] you* to be born from above [or, born again].'”

Later in your life you repent and make the choice to open up to “Beginner’s Mind”; this time not in total innocence and setting aside ego; turned around [fig., changed inwardly]; (to be born from above [or, born again]).

“The most necessary part of learning is unlearning our errors.” — Zeno
“When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.” —Henry David Thoreau
“The mind is slow in unlearning what it has been long in learning.” — Seneca
“Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.” — Mark Twain




Repent (Metanoia)

I want to (repent) change the way I think about repenting.

Matthew 3:1-2 Now in those days John the Baptist [or, the Immerser] arrives, proclaiming in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Be repenting, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near!”

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to be proclaiming and to be saying, “Be repenting, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near!”

Be repenting  μετανοέω  (metanoeō)  Greek from μετά  (meta) and νοιέω  (noieō); to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): – repent.

μετά  (meta)  A primary preposition (often used adverbially); properly denoting accompaniment; “amid” (local or causal) – after (-ward),X that he again, against, among, X and, + follow, hence, hereafter, in, of, (up-) on, + our, X and setting, since, (un-) to, + together, when, with (+ -out).

νοιέω  (noieō)   To exercise the mind (observe), that is, (figuratively) to comprehend, heed: – consider, perceive, think, understand.

Metanoia, a transliteration of the Greek μετάνοια, can be defined as “a transformative change of heart; especially: a spiritual conversion.” The term suggests repudiation, change of mind, repentance, and atonement; but “conversion” and “reformation” may best approximate its connotation.

Metanoia means afterthought (or beyond mind), from meta meaning “after” or “beyond” and nous meaning “mind”. In Classical Greek metanoia meant changing one’s mind about someone or something. When personified, Metanoia was depicted as a shadowy goddess, cloaked and sorrowful, who accompanied Kairos, the god of Opportunity, sowing regret and inspiring repentance for the “missed moment”. This conventional portrayal continued through the Renaissance. “The elements of repentance, regret, reflection, and transformation are always present in the concept of metanoia to some degree, …”

Philo Judaeus of Alexandria (c. 25 BCE – c. 50 CE) depicted metanoia as “in heaven, a beautiful and especially good daughter of the Most High.” There, “she entreats God Most High hourly” on behalf of people.

Metanoia: The term “…was used consistently in the literature of early Christianity to express a fundamental change in thinking that leads to a fundamental change in behavior and/or way of living“. In 2006, an ecumenical group of scholars published a study of repentance in the Bible and the Church. After “a thorough examination of Hellenistic Jewish writings,” the study found that for Jews living at the time of Jesus, “repentance” meant “a fundamental change in thinking and living.” For the New Testament, this change is a necessary ingredient in accomplishing God’s plan for salvation and community for everyone.

According to David N. Wilkin, “The Latin Fathers translated metanoia as paenitentia, which came to mean “penance” or “acts of penance.”” Tertullian protested the unsuitable translation of the Greek metanoeo into the Latin paenitentiam agite by arguing that “in Greek, metanoia is not a confession of sins but a change of mind.” “Conversion” (from the Latin conversiōn-em turning round) with its “change in character” meaning is more nearly the equivalent of metanoia than repentance.

“The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

“Very Little Is Needed To Make A Happy Life; It Is All Within Yourself, In Your Way Of Thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

“You have been thinking one way. Now you have to think a different way.” – Joseph Cambell

“WE ARE ALL TRAPPED in our own way of thinking, trapped in our own way of relating to people. We get so used to seeing the world our way that we come to think that the world is the way we see it.” – Brian Grazer

Time for a U-Turn.

“No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back” – Turkish Proverb

“It doesn’t matter how long we’ve allowed ourselves to travel the road of our false self. We know when it isn’t leading us to a sense of purpose and significance, and we can admit we’re on the wrong path. The awareness that our life lacks Meaning is more than enough evidence that it’s time to make a U-turn.” – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Repentance (Metanoia) is a different way of thinking; a change of direction in how we perceive or understand the world around us and how we act in it.

Metanoia: The term “…was used consistently in the literature of early Christianity to express a fundamental change in thinking that leads to a fundamental change in behavior and/or way of living.

What was this way of living that they thought Jesus Christ was calling them to? See below:
Are Christians Supposed to Be Communists?
By David Bentley Hart
Nov. 4, 2017


It was in 1983 that I heard the distinguished Greek Orthodox historian Aristeides Papadakis casually remark in a lecture at the University of Maryland that the earliest Christians were “communists.” In those days, the Cold War was still casting its great glacial shadow across the cultural landscape, and so enough of a murmur of consternation rippled through the room that Professor Papadakis — who always spoke with severe precision — felt obliged to explain that he meant this in the barest technical sense: They lived a common life and voluntarily enjoyed a community of possessions. The murmur subsided, though not necessarily the disquiet.

Not that anyone should have been surprised. If the communism of the apostolic church is a secret, it is a startlingly open one. Vaguer terms like “communalist” or “communitarian” might make the facts sound more palatable but cannot change them. The New Testament’s Book of Acts tells us that in Jerusalem the first converts to the proclamation of the risen Christ affirmed their new faith by living in a single dwelling, selling their fixed holdings, redistributing their wealth “as each needed” and owning all possessions communally. This was, after all, a pattern Jesus himself had established: “Each of you who does not give up all he possesses is incapable of being my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

This was always something of a scandal for the Christians of later ages, at least those who bothered to notice it. And today in America, with its bizarre piety of free enterprise and private wealth, it is almost unimaginable that anyone would adopt so seditious an attitude. Down the centuries, Christian culture has largely ignored the more provocative features of the early church or siphoned off their lingering residues in small special communities (such as monasteries and convents). Even when those features have been acknowledged, they have typically been treated as somehow incidental to the Gospel’s message — a prudent marshaling of resources against a hostile world for a brief season, but nothing essential to the faith, and certainly nothing amounting to a political philosophy.

It’s true, of course, that the early church was not a political movement in the modern sense. The very idea would have been meaningless. There were no political ideologies in the ancient world, no abstract programs for the reconstitution of society. But if not a political movement, the church was a kind of polity, and the form of life it assumed was not merely a practical strategy for survival, but rather the embodiment of its highest spiritual ideals. Its “communism” was hardly incidental to the faith.

The early church’s radicalism, if that is the right word, was impressed upon me repeatedly over the past few years, as I worked on my own translation of the New Testament for Yale University Press. When my longtime editor initially proposed the project, I foolishly imagined it would be an easy task: not because the text is a simple one, but because I had often “corrected” what I considered inadequate renderings of many of its passages, either for students or for myself. I assumed that long familiarity had prepared me to turn the Greek into English almost effortlessly.

Soon, though, I realized that while I may have known many things about the text, I had not always grasped them properly. I knew that much of the conventional language of scriptural translation has the effect of reducing complex and difficult words and concepts to vacuously simple or deceptively anachronistic terms (“eternal,” “hell,” “justification,” to give a few examples). But I had not appreciated how violently those conventions impoverish the text or obscure crucial dimensions of its conceptual world. The books of the New Testament, I came to see, constitute a historical conundrum — not because they come from the remote world of late antiquity, but rather because they often appear to make no sense even in the context of antiquity.

I found myself constantly in doubt, in particular, regarding various constructions concerning words dealing with that which is “koinon,” or “common,” and most especially the texts’ distinctive emphasis on “koinonia.” This is a word usually rendered blandly as “fellowship” or “sharing” or (slightly better) “communion.” But is that all it implies?

After all, the New Testament’s condemnations of personal wealth are fairly unremitting and remarkably stark: Matthew 6:19-20, for instance (“Do not store up treasures for yourself on the earth”), or Luke 6:24-25 (“But alas for you who are rich, for you have your comfort”) or James 5:1-6 (“Come now, you who are rich, weep, howling out at the miseries that are coming for you”). While there are always clergy members and theologians swift to assure us that the New Testament condemns not wealth but its abuse, not a single verse (unless subjected to absurdly forced readings) confirms the claim.

I came to the conclusion that koinonia often refers to a precise set of practices within the early Christian communities, a special social arrangement — the very one described in Acts — that was integral to the new life in Christ. When, for instance, the Letter to the Hebrews instructs believers not to neglect koinonia, or the First Letter to Timothy exhorts them to become koinonikoi, this is no mere recommendation of personal generosity, but an invocation of a very specific form of communal life.

As best we can tell, local churches in the Roman world of the apostolic age were essentially small communes, self-sustaining but also able to share resources with one another when need dictated. This delicate web of communes constituted a kind of counter-empire within the empire, one founded upon charity rather than force — or, better, a kingdom not of this world but present within the world nonetheless, encompassing a radically different understanding of society and property.

It was all much easier, no doubt — this nonchalance toward private possessions — for those first generations of Christians. They tended to see themselves as transient tenants of a rapidly vanishing world, refugees passing lightly through a history not their own. But as the initial elation and expectations of the Gospel faded and the settled habits of life in this depressingly durable world emerged anew, the distinctive practices of the earliest Christians gave way to the common practices of the established order.

Even then, however, the transition was not quite as abrupt as one might imagine. Well into the second century, the pagan satirist Lucian of Samosata reported that Christians viewed possessions with contempt and owned all property communally. And the Christian writers of Lucian’s day largely confirm that picture: Justin Martyr, Tertullian and the anonymous treatise known as the Didache all claim that Christians must own everything in common, renounce private property and give their wealth to the poor. Even Clement of Alexandria, the first significant theologian to argue that the wealthy could be saved if they cultivated “spiritual poverty,” still insisted that ideally all goods should be held in common.

As late as the fourth and fifth centuries, bishops and theologians as eminent as Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine and Cyril of Alexandria felt free to denounce private wealth as a form of theft and stored riches as plunder seized from the poor. The great John Chrysostom frequently issued pronouncements on wealth and poverty that make Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin sound like timid conservatives. According to him, there is but one human estate, belonging to all, and those who keep any more of it for themselves than barest necessity dictates are brigands and apostates from the true Christian enterprise of charity. And he said much of this while installed as Archbishop of Constantinople.

That such language could still be heard at the heart of imperial Christendom, however, suggests that it had by then lost much of its force. It could be tolerated to a degree, but only as a bracing hyperbole, appropriate to an accepted religious grammar — an idiom, that is, rather than an imperative. Christianity was ceasing to be the apocalyptic annunciation of something unprecedented and becoming just the established devotional system of its culture, offering all the consolations and reassurances that one demands of religious institutions. As time went on, the original provocation of the early church would occasionally erupt in ephemeral “purist” movements — Spiritual Franciscans, Russian non-possessors, Catholic Worker houses — but in general, Christian adherence had become chiefly just a religion, a support for life in this world rather than a radically different model of how to live.

That was unavoidable. No society as a whole will ever found itself upon the rejection of society’s chief mechanism: property. And all great religions achieve historical success by gradually moderating their most extreme demands. So it is not possible to extract a simple moral from the early church’s radicalism.

But for those of us for whom the New Testament is not merely a record of the past but a challenge to the present, it is occasionally worth asking ourselves whether the distance separating the Christianity of the apostolic age from the far more comfortable Christianities of later centuries — and especially those of the developed world today — is more than one merely of time and circumstance.

David Bentley Hart is a fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study and the author of “The New Testament: A Translation.”


Are You Paying Attention To Awareness

Are You Paying Attention To Awareness?


Definition of attention

1 a : the act or state of applying the mind to something

b : a condition of readiness for such attention involving especially a selective narrowing or focusing of consciousness and receptivity

2 : observation, notice; especially : consideration with a view to action on a problem requiring prompt attention

3 a : an act of civility or courtesy especially in courtship

b : sympathetic consideration of the needs and wants of others : attentiveness

4 : a position assumed by a soldier with heels together, body erect, arms at the sides, and eyes to the front (US) The troops stood at attention. = (British) The troops stood to attention. —often used as a command

Attention is like a searchlight in our consciousness. Whatever is in the narrow beam is in the light; whatever is outside the beam is in the darkness.

Attention is like a narrow band sound filter. Whatever passes through the filter is in the realm of sound; whatever does not pass through the filter is in the realm of silence.

Attention is like a narrow range of taste sensor in our consciousness. Whatever is in the narrow range is tasty; whatever is outside the narrow range is tasteless.

Attention is like a specific contact sensor in our consciousness. Whatever provides the specific stimulation is felt; whatever does not provides the specific stimulation is unfelt.

Attention is like a narrow range of smell sensor in our consciousness. Whatever is in the narrow range is smelled; whatever is outside the narrow range is scentless.

Attention is a conscious deliberate choice to concentrate or focus our consciousness; to be aware.


Definition of aware

1: having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge

2: archaic : watchful, wary

3: having knowledge; conscious; cognizant

4: informed; alert; knowledgeable; sophisticated:



Mind’s Limit Found: 4 Things at Once

Researchers have often debated the maximum amount of items we can store in our conscious mind, in what’s called our working memory, and a new study puts the limit at three or four.

Researchers debate the relationship between working memory and long-term memory. While some hold that the two are independent storage facilities, others say working memory is simply the part of long-term memory that we can currently access.

Many scientists believe that almost all of our experiences are encoded into long-term memory, and that forgetting is simply a matter of not being able to access that memory.

“It’s in there somewhere, the problem is just getting to it,” Cowan said. “Everything gets encoded into long-term memory almost immediately, but it gets encoded in a way that may not be distinct enough to be retrieved.”


Experience definition:

The processes of doing and seeing things and of having things happen to you.

To meet with; undergo; feel:

Events that unfold around me are only happenings; they become experiences when I add value to them inside myself. I am careful; the value can be positive or negative. It is what goes on inside of me; these are the most important things in my life; where my value comes from.

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – “Flow; the Psychology of Optimal Experience”

Concentrate your attention on only one thing in your working memory; get fully absorbed in that one thing outside of yourself and larger than yourself.
Consider Csikszentmihalyi’s “5 C’s” of a Complex Personality:

“The Complex Personality knows how to integrate a variety of experiences into its overall experience, making the dullest moments interesting. Being in Flow leads to Complexity for when you experience Flow, you want to experience more of it and construct your world to pull you irresistibly towards experiences within the Flow. Focus on these to craft your world:

1) Clarity – Know what you want to do in your life every day. Have clarity of goals, listen to feedback and adjust yourself to the feedback you receive from the world.

2) Center – You are in Balance. Your goal is to focus, to know how to avoid distractions, to become at one with what you’re doing, with all of your attention under your control.

3) Choice – Knowing there are a variety of possibilities around you, that you’re not determined by outside events but have choice and can move within it. Whatever you do, you do “at Choice”.

4) Commitment- Care for what you’re doing at all times. Remain conscious of what you care about. Commit to it.

5) Challenge – Keep upping your challenges as you master a certain level. Always make life more challenging.”