Sin and Self-Loathing

Big title…

I am reading Martin Laird’s “Into the Silent Land” and he (along with several other ancient contemplative authors) makes a wonderful distinction between sin (transgression, failure, etc.) and the often-resulting self-loathing (shame, condemnation, etc.).

To some, this separation may seem obvious, but the mind is so good at sliding in judgement as one is experiencing life. Seeing the ways in which we fall off the path with respect to our own chosen and/or dispositional values is a truly important introspective skill, but the moral self-lacerations that can follow are poisonous and should themselves be examined.

The objects of mental and emotional life can be seen as separate from the act of observing them. Once we develop a habit of “seeing the seeing”, those objects are less reified, less identified as “me”, and can be held more lightly – then the experience of “oops, I am not thinking, saying, or doing what I feel I should” can be recognized, accepted as having happened, and then observed as the flow of oncoming experience presses that moment through the mind to make way for another (often almost-identical-but-distinct) moment of awareness.

Objects of the mind arise out of awareness like plants from the soil: there is little we can know about the soil unless we dig some up and take a look. For this, we might need to “change clothes” and kneel down to be still and silent for a while.

I am beginning to feel like all self-loathing, shame, and condemnation do is breed more discontent and hatred rather than skillfully recognizing where some part of this wonderful creation could be more well cared for.

We each have the responsibility of care, but should we really bring blame into the situation when (not if) something goes wrong?…

When Christ is seen in ourselves, we begin seeing Christ in others, then seeing Christ in all, then knowing Christ in-and-as ourselves and in-and-as all – Christ is already shining out of our own eyes and revealing itself to reality through the blessings of virtue… and of mishap…

I heard Richard Rohr say that St. Teresa of Calcutta once told the nuns she was guiding not to try to “sell” Christ to others, but to “be” Christ to others…

We already are (due to the fact that we are breathed expressions of the Logos: the Living “Word” of God) all One-in-Christ.

Our wounds are God’s wounds.

“In the Crucified and Risen One, grace and disgrace have been joined.” (Laird)

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