Category Archives: Article

The Work of Empathy – That is Loving

Boundaries are important. My body seems to be bad at boundaries. My ligaments and tendons are too loose, and particularly at my joints they don’t hold my muscles where they should be. This means my joints can hyperextend or bend in the opposite direction more than they’re meant to. This could easily lead to more serious injuries, but mostly just means extra aches and pains as muscles stretch out and bones aren’t kept in place. It’s probably not possible to know whether its all genetics or some other external conditions, but one way or another it seems this is how I was born. I am having to learn how to force my body to re-learn and maintain its boundaries in hopes of not crippling as I age.

Emotional boundaries seem very interconnected and similar to me. We need boundaries to help us know where our emotions stop and another person’s begin. Without these boundaries we can bend and sway too far into another person’s emotional world and anxiety mounts as we take responsibility for things that are not ours to control.

Continue reading The Work of Empathy – That is Loving

Just Who Do We Think We Are?

I read books—mostly fiction—like most of us eat popcorn: frequently, in large quantities, and without much chewing. But there’s one I’ve been slowly nibbling on that has affected me more than any other secular book I’ve read in 2018: Mindset by Carol Dweck. It’s changed the way I think, especially about my spiritual life.

Dr. Dweck, a psychologist from Stanford University, asserts that way people view their talents, personalities, and skills affects the way they approach almost every aspect of life. According to her theory, people adopt either a “fixed” mindset or a “growth” mindset. Those who take a fixed mindset approach—say, about learning to play the piano—believe that ability is static, that talent largely explains success. But those with a growth mindset believe that they can change—that effort will result in improvement. Dweck illustrates her theory with extensive research and neat anecdotes from the worlds of sport, art, education, business, and relationships.

To be honest, I almost stopped reading at the introduction because her idea was so simple. Most of us would say that a good attitude and hard work can get us places. But do we truly believe that? Dr. Dweck shows how insidious and damaging the fixed mindset can be. Continue reading Just Who Do We Think We Are?

Trust

The Children of Israel left Egypt and were pursued by the Egyptians. When they reached the Red Sea, they were trapped, but the Lord worked a miracle: the sea parted, the people crossed on dry land and the Egyptians couldn’t follow.

“Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.” (Exodus 14:31, NRSV)

“’And they believed’ means faith and trust. This is clear from the meaning of ‘believing’ as possessing faith, and also trust since one who possesses faith also possesses trust. Trust is an attribute of love expressed through faith; consequently trust in Jehovah, that is, in the Lord, does not exist except with those in whom love is present, that is to say, love to the Lord and towards the neighbour; for faith does not reside with any others.” (Arcana Coelestia 8240, Elliot)

Trust, an attribute of love. I have been meditating on this idea this last week, on the relationship between trust and love. Trusting the Lord means loving Him, and both are active choices on my part. Continue reading Trust

The Lord’s Spiritual Light

This Christmas season I have been specifically drawn to the teachings from the Heavenly Doctrine concerning the Lord’s spiritual light, and its brightness when He was born on earth.

Here are some passages that particularly stood out to me.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; they who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, on them has the light given brightness.”
(Isaiah 9:2)

“All things were made by Him, and without Him was not one thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men…He was the true Light, which enlightens every man who comes into the world.”
(John 1:3-5, 9)

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined (Isa. 9:2); where “seeing a great light” signifies receiving and believing the truths which are of faith. On those who are in faith heavenly light is said to “shine,” for the light which is in heaven is Divine truth from Divine good.”
(Arcana Coelestia 3863)