Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kabbalah Mind Trick

I recently received this from a friend:

"Here is a Kabbalah mind trick for you to practice. Go to your quiet place. Get comfortable and then let your mind wander. Do not attempt to discipline nor direct it. Your task is to act as a passive observer. Watch the assortment of thoughts and emotions pass through. Don’t react or interact. The purpose of this exercise is to understand that you exist apart from the thoughts and emotions that crowd your head. When you reach the point of detachment, you then realize that you have the ability to choose or reject each thought and each emotion. You will gain the will power to order your thoughts and subjugate your emotions to a higher purpose… the Lord’s purpose. It’s a beautiful thing."

5 Comments:

  • Anything to feel in control.

    By Blogger Paul, at 1:59 PM, March 20, 2007  

  • Well, in a manner of speaking, yes. As the Lenten liturgy reminds us, "We are to master our sinfulness and conquer our pride." Of course we need divine grace to do this, and we do it not for its own sake or even for ourselves but so that we can better love and serve God. He no longer calls us slaves, but friends; that demands the freedom found in self-control. I'll leave it there; I'm sure a JPII student could run with this line of thinking...

    By Blogger Aaron, at 8:07 AM, March 22, 2007  

  • "When you reach the point of detachment, you then realize that you have the ability to choose or reject each thought and each emotion. You will gain the will power to order your thoughts and subjugate your emotions..."

    This seems to me a dangerous path, not the way of virtue. Do we master the flesh with tricks of the mind? Do we conquer pride by pretending we have more control than we really do, by pretending that we can simply choose even which emotion to allow? This is folly. If one could manage such power in reality, one would not need suffering to tell us otherwise. If we have any strength, it is in weakness, not some clever mind trick.

    By Blogger Paul, at 7:45 PM, March 22, 2007  

  • Well, this begins to demand that we answer several questions: Are our thoughts and emotions extrinsice to ourselves or are they a fundamental part of who we are? Are we ultimately destined to be masters of our thoughts and emotions or not? (While I agree that we are quite weak in this matter, and must confess this weakness, and need God's grace to overcome it, recognizing that we are not our emotions and that we are destined to govern them may still be a good thing.)

    By Blogger Aaron, at 8:52 AM, March 23, 2007  

  • Actually, I think those questions miss the point. You can answer them as you would like, and it will not change fact that no clever method of self-realization is suddenly going to empower one with the ability to master one's thoughts and emotions.

    One may achieve the appearance of it however, by the kind of self-annihilation found in Buddhism, that is, by training oneself to close off part of what is authentically human.

    But authentic human experience in this carnal world will not allow a clever turn of thought to give one simple mastery of all thoughts and emotions. One may discipline the flesh to some extent (and let us not forget that thoughts and emotions are fundamentally bound to changeable flesh), but from time to time it will find the need to humble us, and prove that real mastery has not been attained.

    Now, if the goal is to discover our needfulness, and to give additional content to our hope, then that of course is a fine thing.

    By Blogger Paul, at 11:46 AM, March 26, 2007  

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