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Don’t Believe Everything That You Think (or Act on Everything You Feel!) - Part 1

January 26, 2017

Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember?

- Mark 8:18

Isn’t it interesting that we often hear sermons and commentaries on these verses of scriptures and yet we pay little attention to the meaning of the words themselves. These words must have some tremendous import because Jesus is reported to have used them over a dozen times in the New Testament and there are numerous other references throughout the scriptures. But what does it mean?

The truth is that the brain and, therefore, our thoughts or cognitions are not good arbiters of reality! We process some 20 billion bits of information per second and, yet, the conscious brain only attends to about 20-40 of them. One example is that you can only see about 20 frames per second (which is why we have “moving pictures” that when first invented only moved at about 28 frames per second to give the illusion of movement). We can only see, with the naked eye, a miniscule portion of the visible spectrum (and on the longitudinal scale of that spectrum can only increase that portion minimally with microscopes and telescopes). We can only hear a miniscule portion of the auditory spectrum (and on the longitudinal scale of that spectrum can only increase the portion minimally with enhanced “listening” devices). And yet, we are so certain that we can ascertain reality using our limited biological senses! We are a bit arrogant in that way!

Indeed, we do ascertain or, perhaps, a more precise definition would be “create” a reality, but it is, uniquely, our subjective reality. It is informed by those senses, but, also, by your life experiences which have programmed you to think and see and hear and feel in certain ways. Our brains are so easily tricked. That’s why we generally make such poor eyewitnesses of a catastrophic event (especially, one that is emotionally charged).

So we see that the brain has a hard time creating a “true picture of reality”. Whatever that might be? But, the irony is that regardless of how fictitious, subjective, or just plain WRONG OUR REALITY IS, there is a part of us that is spending almost all of our time trying to protect that perception of reality and trying to get the UNIVERSE and GOD to conform to it. True prayer is not trying to convince God that our view of reality is the right one, but letting God open our eyes and ears to seeing with the eyes and mind of Christ. Paul asks us to “put on the mind of Christ”. It is only in this way that we can really experience the “Spirit in the midst” of our daily lives (especially, our family life) and transform fear into love. Use your prayer and meditation time (at least, some of it) to let God mold you and transform your vision of “reality” into a Christ-centered vision. This is one thing that “pastoral counselors” bring to therapy that some other counselors don’t have as a resource. Thus, pastoral counseling is not just for when problems occurs in life or stress gets too great, but can be a path to spiritual growth and healing. Contact The Center for Pastoral Counseling of Greater Philadelphia at 610.544.1400 x 308 for help in getting started on a new journey. You just might see the world a little differently!

Dr. Keith Coleman,
Pastoral Counselor

“Family Matters” is a community service presented by The Center for Pastoral Counseling.
For further information call CPC at 610-544-1400, ext. 308.

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