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Day 47: Living Daily in Reality: Does the Mind Understand or Manipulate?

by Ernest O'Neill

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As we begin to live in reality rather than the fantasy that we are self-made, autonomous creatures, our personalities start to work the way they were intended - from the inside out. This changes the way our minds work.

Why does the mind think the way it does ? Why does it spend so much time trying to work out what the other person is planning to do or what he thinks of us ? Why do we go over and over the things that have happened to us that day or what we are going to do to solve the situation ? Why is our mind continually working out how to move the chessmen of our circumstances and relationships so that we achieve what we wish for ourselves ? Why do we find ourselves unable to think of a way around or through a certain problem - why do circumstances and people seem so intractable and unmanageable ? Why do we simply run out of ideas ? Come to the end of our own resources ? Because our minds were not created to work out all these things - they were made to understand what our Maker has planned so that we could then direct our faculties to bring that about.

But even though Einstein, when faced with a problem would excuse himself by saying in his quaint English "I will a little tink" and then would return later with a possible solution, we think we can create things ourselves with our own minds. Einstein said in his matter-of-fact way "all ideas come from God", but we dismiss that as just a figure of speech - despite the fact that he - and others like him - imply that ideas and directions come from outside themselves. So Elgar said his music is in the air, and the poets have always talked of the Muse or the spirit bringing words and ideas to them. And this, of course, is the way our Maker has planned that his son would exercise his will and thoughts to complete his Father's universe through us whom he made the "crown of creation".

But when we try to live this way, we find we cannot - our minds and personalities are so used to looking outside ourselves to the people and things and circumstances around us, that we cannot make our minds move as they were designed to move. Indeed, we have no relationship with our Maker and we spend no time in spooky activity like prayer or meditation - there simply is not time for that kind of thing - nor is there any sense in it. Obviously, our personalities have become twisted out of shape and perverted so that they cannot work the way they were meant to. Only our maker can remake them - this is why the cosmic miracle took place - it's why we were created in the Maker's Son - so that he could experience for his Father all the agony of his own nature being destroyed and twisted and perverted - and thus be justified in being what he is himself. Only then would our relationship to Him be justified and realistic - only then could his love triumph over the unthinkable.

A famous poet was sitting on a rock in the Lake District in England and remembering his boyhood days there - he said:

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

Even though we may not have expressed our feelings in the same words we have all had those moments when we thought there was some other mind present besides our own - this is what faith is - and living by faith is listening for the thoughts of that mind. The famous German general, Bismarck, called it " listening for the footsteps of God". In no way does God "MAKE" us do what He has planned; he accompanies us and gently nudges us as a dear friend - who would bear from us even the willfulness of Calvary.

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