Get it Together

River-Runs-Pitt-Sheffer-Skeritt

 We all live simultaneously in two worlds - the inner world of reflection and the outer world of action. There is always a relationship between inner and outer. In particular, there is that relationship between one's thoughts and actions. As has been said - as a man thinks, so is he

 There is therefore no mystery as to where my actions come from. They come from me. They come from my thinking. 

 As much as heredity and environment play a part, the greatest factor by far in determining the quality of one's life, is the way one thinks

 My perspective is that I am responsible for the thinking that creates the character of my life.

 It is up to me and nobody else, to make my life mean something. 

 To get it together involves ensuring that my best thoughts manifest into my life.

 I am a disciple of Victor Frankl in this regard who made the strong statement that in whatever circumstances, however extreme, that we are always capable of thinking and acting nobly.

 We don’t have to wait for this or that condition to be fulfilled. We are responsible now, however dire our straits may be.

 It is our dignity as human beings that we can always choose to think nobly - no matter what - and to act nobly - no matter what.

 As Frankl states: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.

 "They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing - the last of human freedoms - to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning)

 We always have the power to choose our attitude and to choose our way.

 Even some small thing we do is a relevation of what we've been thinking about, even if unconsciously. Some little thing we do says so much.

 Someone with a refined sixth sense - a discerning gift - will know  everything about you because of some tiny thing you’ve done.

 Freud is known to have emphasized that the story of what’s really going on beneath the surface posturing is revealed by a slip of the tongue, a glance of the eye, or a nervous tic. 

 "Almost invariably," said he, "I discover a disturbing influence from something outside of the intended speech. The disturbing element is a single unconscious thought, which comes to light through the special blunder.” (Sigmund Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.)

 Some hidden thing slips out and the true story is revealed.

 The unconscious slip has announced the truth as if shouted from a rooftop through a megaphone. The beans have been spilled. The jig is up. 

 Newly aware, the challenge is to acknowledge and to integrate what was formerly hidden.

 Newly aware, one can now put oneself together.

 Now, clear thinking is possible. An uncluttered, unconflicted mind can now create a whole new life.

 And thus it makes all the difference as to whether I am thinking clearly from my inmost beingFor each of us is becoming more and more what we think about. 

 I would like to suggest that a clear mind is possible if we meditate upon “whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

 A mind saturated in the contemplation of these higher things will translate into a life that comes together, a life that coheres.

 It is tragic to hear of when someone fails to get himself together, as in the film, A River Runs Through it.

 The film features the Rev. Maclean, played by Tom Skerrit, who preaches a God so wholly other - so distant and unreachable - that his sons reject their father’s religion. 

 And yet Father and sons come together when they flyfish at a nearby river. 

 Father and sons are at their best when they fish. 

 Son, Paul, in particular, played by (Brad Pitt), is especially in harmony with himself when he fishes. At the river, he has it together. He is himself. Skilled and focused, he is a model of beauty and perfection.

 And yet tragically, whenever Paul leaves the river, which is symbolic of leaving himself, Paul gambles his life away until finally destroying it. 

 It can be otherwise. As in the case of Lao Tzu, whose coherent life was recognized at a pivotal moment.

 Someone, upon noticing his extraordinary presence, said to him: "Please leave a record of your beliefs.

 In response, Lao Tzu, "retired for three days and returned with a slim volume of five thousand characters titled Tao Te Ching, or The Way and its Power.” (Huston Smith, The Religions of the World)

 It’s a small book that can be read in a half hour, but can be reread for a lifetime.

 To this day, this basic text of Taoist thought, is the best selling text ever to come out of the Eastern world.

 It exists not because Lao Tzu ever preached, organized or promoted anything. It exists because someone noticed Lao Tzu’s holiness.   

 Lao Tzu then showered his inspirations upon the world by writing a few pages and rode off on his water buffalo.

 Another whose life came together in a remarkable way is Whittaker Chambers who tells his story in his book, Witness

 Whittaker Chambers is perhaps best known for testifying against the treasonous, American communist, Alger Hiss, who spied against his own country for the Soviet Union.

 He writes of a surprising inner revolution that occurred after forty years of plotting a communist revolution. 

 The break with communism enabled Whittaker to come fully into his life: "I became what I was. I ceased to be what I was not.”   

 "What I had been fell from me like dirty rags. What fell was the whole web of the materialistic modern mind - the numinous shroud which it has spun about the spirit of man, paralyzing in the name of rationalism the instinct of my soul for God. Time and the world stood still.”

 Chambers found himself in the presence of God, "holding me in silent assurance and untroubled peace.” 

 Lao Tzu and Whittaker Chambers were men who got it together. They knew the experience of cohering at the deepest level of their beings.

 The message always is that the time to get it together is now, not then.

 Get it together now.

High Ground