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brain gum

“Oh, I can forgive, but forgetting is my problem.”

How many of us have ever said these dreadful words?

I surely have, and you’ve probably at least had some version of the thought at one time or another. It’s usually an indication of some deep trauma. Somebody showed you his or her dark side. Injustice busted a move in your life like Bruno Mars. The taker took. The liar lied. The thief stole. Trust was violated. And ultimately, whatever it was that happened, you got punched in the kisser with one of life’s nasty haymakers.

Live long enough and you’ll eventually see that wounds and pain happen to all of us. Granted, not all traumas rearrange your outlook on God, life, or death, but there are a plethora of events that can dump overbearing loads of burdens and mental anguish that genuinely qualify as torment to our souls. Talk to any marriage, family, or grief counselor, and they’ll confirm what I’m saying. People carry a lot of pain, and it’s not just a few of us. It’s not just a small isolated demographic. Pretty much throughout all humanity there is more than enough pain to go around. If, for some reason, you don’t see that, then you’re not paying attention.

brainBeing known as a minister or spiritual director seems to open doors by which many people feel free to share their burdens. It’s not a complaint, just an observation. And honestly, it’s what we signed up for. I only mention it because I’m about to make an observation about how we usually react to what has hurt us the most. The offense or wound or pain gets played over and over and over in our minds. It’s like chewing gum in your brain that never loses its taste. We rework the math and fantasize our recalculations, but the bottom line never changes. Again, this isn’t criticism. I genuinely think this is just the normal way we process intense pain. I’m no expert, but it appears to me that the more intense the pain, the harder and longer we work at mentally and emotionally chewing the gum that never changes the end result.

How do we ever get back to some sort of peace?

 How do we ever forgive and/or heal without continually reworking the math?

I am very intrigued with the ideas I have posted for you below. If you find yourself with some margins to forgive, but you’re unable to get the forget part squeezed into your emotional Spanx, it might be helpful for you to consider these thoughts from Father Richard Rohr. I don’t know if lightening will strike and you’ll be able to complete the transition immediately or not, but it might be something worth working towards to resolve the things that have been most difficult for you. That is my prayer. That is my hope. See what you think:

Abba Poemen said, “Teach your mouth to say what is in your heart.” Many of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, as well as the Philokalia in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, have described prayer as bringing your thinking down into your heart. It always seemed like soft piety to me until someone taught me how to do it, and I learned the immense benefits of the prayer of the heart. As a Catholic, I was often puzzled by the continued return to heart imagery, such as Jesus pointing to his “Sacred Heart” and Mary pointing to her “Immaculate Heart.” I often wonder what people actually do with these images. Are they mere sentiment? Are they objects of worship or objects of transformation? You must return their gaze and invitation for a long time to get the transformative message and healing. Such images keep recurring only because they are speaking something important from the unconscious, maybe even something necessary for the soul’s emergence.

 Love lives and thrives in the heart space. It has kept me from wanting to hurt people who have hurt me. It keeps me every day from obsessive, repetitive, or compulsive head games. It can make the difference between being happy and being miserable and negative. Could this be what we are really doing when we say we are praying for someone? Yes, we are holding them in our heart space. Do this in an almost physical sense, and you will see how calmly and quickly it works.

 Next time a resentment, negativity, or irritation comes into your mind, and you want to play it out or attach to it, move that thought or person literally into your heart space. Dualistic commentaries are lodged in your head; but in your heart, you can surround this negative thought with silence. There it is surrounded with blood, which will often feel warm like coals. In this place, it is almost impossible to comment, judge, create story lines, or remain antagonistic. You are in a place that does not create or feed on contraries but is the natural organ of life, embodiment, and love. Now the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart have been transferred to you. They are pointing for you to join them there. The “sacred heart” is then your heart too.  -Father Richard Rohr, O. F. M.

 I can’t help but believe we could all benefit to some level with this kind of spiritual direction and concerted contemplation. Getting out of our heads with all of our endless dialogues has to be better than the brain gum we’ve chewed more than once. It might be worth a shot. Right?

Live every day inside this magnificent truth: GOD LOVES US ALL!


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Gary McGinnis
    January 26, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Nice Mike! I enjoy reading the Philokalia by the way. Lots of good stuff…

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