Saturday, August 29, 2009

Clarity and the Joy of Living

Don't know what made me pick it up, but I am really enjoying The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret of Science and Happiness by Tibetan monk Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. An interesting thought for the day from a section on clarity:

As this [clarity] begins to happen, the sense of difference between "self" and "other" gives way to a gentler and more fluid sense of identification with other beings and the world around us. And it's through this sense of identification that we start to recognize that the world may not be such a scary place after all: that enemies aren't enemies but people like ourselves, longing for happiness and seeking it the best way they know how, and that everyone possesses the insight, wisdom, and the understanding to see past apparent differences and discover solutions that benefit not just ourselves but everyone around us.

If you agree, or find this insightful, be sure to pass it on.

21 comments:

Dennis Fermoyle said...

I do agree, Michael, and a number of books I've been reading over the past year have had a similar message. That philosophy makes sense, but it is very difficult for any of us to get past our egos enough to really live according to it. I'll keep trying, though!

Friends of Narnia said...

Hey, that all sounds great. But there's one problem: sin. We are sinful human beings, which means that we cannot become perfect, partly because we have no desire to be perfect. I mean, sure I want to be perfect; that is, until my brother keeps talking to me while I'm trying to study, for instance. Right then, at that very moment, do I think, "I'm not going to get angry, I'm going to love him and tell him, patiently and gently, that I will be happy to talk to him later, but I need to study right now."? No! My first impulse is to snap at him to be quiet. Maybe afterwards I think, "I shouldn't have done that, I should have been kind." But not in the heat of the moment. And that's just one example. You know it yourself. And even if I DID say that out loud, still in my heart I would have the wrong motivations. I am still in my heart irritated with him, although it doesn't show on the outside. Come on you guys, you're smart, you know this! We have to realize that we aren't perfect, and that we can never be, so therefore we can never stand before a holy and just God who demands perfection! But "God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." He himself came to earth and lived the perfection that we never could; but then He took our sins on Himself and suffered God's wrath so that we wouldn't have to!! Now all we have to do is trust in His gracious promise to cover our sins with His righteousness! God will look on Christ instead of us, because He took our punishment!! If that isn't love, then I don't know what is. "He became sin who knew NO SIN that we might become His RIGHTEOUSNESS" (that was written by Chris Tomlin)!! How can you help but be glad? He became what we never could be. Here is a wonderful quote from C. S. Lewis: "Now we cannot.....discover our failure to keep God's law except by trying our very hardest (and then failing.) Unless we really try, whatever we say, there will always be at the back of our minds the idea that if we try harder next time we shall succeed in being completely good...It is not trying that is ever ever going to bring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment when you turn to God and say 'You must do this. I can't.' Do not, I implore you, start asking yourselves, 'Have I reached that moment?' Do not sit down and start watching your own mind to see if it is coming along. That puts a man on the wrong track. When the most important things in our life happen we quite often do not know, at the moment, what is going on. A man does not always say to himself, 'Hullo! I'm growing up.' It is often only when he looks back that he realises what has happened and recognises it as what people call "growing up"..........
......the thing I'm talking about now may not happen to every one in a sudden flash, as it did to St. Paul and Bunyan: it may be so gradual that no one could ever point to a particular hour or even a particular year. And what matters is the nature of the change itself, not how we feel while it is happening. It is the change from being confident about our own efforts to the state in which we despair of doing anything for ourselves and leave it to God."

~Queen Lucy~

mazenko said...

I'm not sure, Lucy, how that relates to the quote at all. The quote, to me, seems quite similar to Christ's message.

Friends of Narnia said...

I guess you don't understand what Jesus truly says. It's not that "everything becomes 'unscary' and wonderful", it's that we have a promise and hope, and are no longer under God's condemnation. Go read your Bible again.

mazenko said...

Pride and self-righteousness are not admirable qualities. (Matthew 6:5)

Stating that man is sinful, and can't be perfect, does not authorize you to sit in judgement of another man's faith or knowledge of the Bible. (Romans 14:10) After forty years of faith, study, searching, and worship, I'm pretty comfortable with my knowledge of the Bible, as well as my spirituality.

The passage I posted was about how to live a better life. And if you read all of the Gospels you know that Christ regularly gave advice on how to live a good life. Rinpoche's advice to understand each other in trying to make the world a better place is exactly what Christ said in Mark 12:31, among other places.

I feel sad that such a simple passage on seeking peace could lead you to respond with such rigid criticism. I hope someday that you'll be able to see such words with a more open mind and understand that they are not a challenge to your faith.

Friends of Narnia said...

Alright, first of all I'm going to tell you that this takes some pride-swallowing. And it doesn't taste too good either. ;P Secondly, please don't think that because I'm disagreeing with you I dislike you or even love you less than I used to. You're my uncle, and I love and admire you as much as ever. :) Okay. I am really sorry for the way those earlier comments sounded. To tell you the truth, I AM proud and self-righteous. (You probably don't have much trouble seeing it, just me. ;P) Everyone is to some extent, unless the Lord has changed them. I was just reading in Isaiah this morning: "The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day." (Isaiah 2:11) I am proud and think I'm better than others, when I should be remembering that I am so sinful, just like Paul called himself the "chief of sinners." Thank you for pointing that out; I need to work on that, and also work on taking rebukes to heart when they are true. I did not mean to be judgemental, though. God also says that we are to correct each other in love. But please, don't be content with just being comfortable with knowledge of the Bible! We should always be reading it, over and over again, seeing new things each time that God reveals to us!! "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." (Psalm 119:11) That quote didn't sound like Mark 12:31 to me, but it may have reminded you of it. And I am also sorry that what I said sounded like 'rigid critisism' to you. I can't find the passage right now, but there is a verse that says (I am paraphrasing :) that we must test everything we hear against scripture, and see if it is truth. What I read did not seem to me to be scriptural, although I maybe have interpreted it wrong. It is not exactly that that statement is a "challenge to my faith", as you put it, but that things like that sound nice, but then we start reading more things like that and often it will lead us down the wrong path. We have to be careful. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it to sound like "rigid criticism." Also, you seem to know your Bible very well. I'm glad. :) But I am nervous about you saying that you are comfortable with your own "spirituality". I don't exactly know what you mean by that, but we can't just be "spiritual" and therefore accepted by God. We can only come through Jesus. Don't get upset at me for saying that, because I don't quite know what you mean by spirituality. But, do you trust in Jesus to save you from God's wrath? I am just wondering. :)

~Queen Lucy~

P.S. I bet President Obama read that ("enemies aren't enemies but people like ourselves, longing for happiness and seeking it the best way they know how..."), and that's why he thinks we should just be nice and friendly and trust our enemies! :P Sorry, I couldn't help it, that reminded me of him. I'm not serious, I just love to joke and I couldn't help it. ;)

Friends of Narnia said...

Oh oops, when I said "test things against scripture" I mean hold them up to scripture and see if they are true, not that they are "against scripture." ;) I sure need to start re-reading my comments more thoroughly!! :P

mazenko said...

Don't worry about it. I'm never upset by your comments, but instead pleased at your interest and passion for discussion.

As I noted, the quote was, I believe, a good reminder on how to live and be the best person I can be. And, I checked on my verse. Mark 12 is valid, but I think I meant Luke 6:27-36, which is much like Rinpoche's point.

Of course, much of the advice on how to live is a hard path to tread. Yet, I believe we are intended to do our best. Matthew 19:24 is a good example, and always troublesome in this world, and Luke 35-36 is as well.

It would seem that our actions in life are pretty important; otherwise there wouldn't have been so many lessons about how to act and what to do. Ultimately, there is strength in compassion and forgiveness, and we should glean that message most of all.

Either way, there is much in the New Testament about how to live. There is much in other books as well. Rinpoche's "The Joy of Living" is just one example.

Friends of Narnia said...

Oh, I totally agree. God DOES want us to do our best, but we always need to make sure that we don't rely on our works to save us, because they won't. Thanks for the verse references; I'll look them up. This morning we read Ephesians 4-6. Those are really good passages about how to live. You ought to read them again. :) You are so right, we are to be "kind and compassionate, forgiving each other as God in Christ forgave you." Okay, off to go look up those verses! :D Oh, and you didn't answer my question!

Friends of Narnia said...

I should have added: "We should do our best so that 'men would see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.' We do them because we love our Lord and want to bring glory to Him through EVERYTHING we do. :)"

Friends of Narnia said...

Heh heh, I just looked them up and there IS no Luke 35 or 36. :P I think you must have made a typo. :P It only goes to 24. I really should have known that... ;P

mazenko said...

It was Luke 6: 27-36, although the rest of Luke 6 is great as well.

Friends of Narnia said...

Oh, okay, that makes WAY more sense. ;P You still haven't answered my question, though!!

mazenko said...

Oh, spirituality?

I mean my relationship with God and my understanding of the nature and purpose of man.

Friends of Narnia said...

Okay. But as to Jesus: are you a sinner saved by grace, or a sinner trying to stand on his own two feet?

~Lucy~

mazenko said...

That's all part of my relationship with God and my understanding of the nature and purpose of man.

steven said...

I'd love to see that thought applied to our foreign (especially immigration) policy. That's the first thing I thought of when I read it.

Friends of Narnia said...

Wait, you didn't say which one! :) Do you "believe in Jesus/ I believe He is the Son of God/ I believe He died and rose again/ I believe He paid for us all/ and I He's here now/ standing in our midst/ here with the power to heal now/ and the grace to forgive" ? (I did not write that, it's an awesome song but IDK the author; author whoever you are I give you credit ;). If so, then I so glad. :)

~Queen Lucy~

P.S. I'm not saying this about you, but always remember what Jesus said: "For whoever is ashamed of me...of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."
Luke 9:26

Friends of Narnia said...

heh heh, it's "and I BELIEVE THAT He's here now..." :P

Friends of Narnia said...

P.S. I would like it if you would read my blog & comment. ;) I leave lots on yours... ;P

Ana said...

Hi,I found your blog I dont know how,but I really liked your posted.This post about clarity and the joy of Living inspired me to create a blog called Joy of Living.God bless you.