A good word from a friend (also a writer) who like me exited “inerrant,” religious, dogmatic Christianity for something more real, and who like me, embraced the work of awareness, compassion, and authenticity. Thank you, Karl (and Ginger) for embodying whole-heartedness. Published with permission.
Karl Styrsky, Foment Compassion
I love listening to Brené Brown, researcher on vulnerability and shame. She’s shared her research at Ted Talks, she’s written books, and produced audibles. She’s a great speaker—funny, humble, down to earth, insightful and clear. I’ve listened to her audible The Power of Vulnerability at least three times. From her work I find clarity and healing.
One of my favorite teachers is Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
His teachings on mindfulness ring true with me. Mindfulness more than anything else scooped me out of a very foggy place and gently placed me up on higher, clearer ground. I believe it’s a solution to most of our problems. The quote below is worth every second of the read—Jon Kabat-Zinn paints a clear visual using very few words, and I totally get it, because I once lived inside Plato’s dream cave world.
“We all carry a potential for mindfulness with us at all times, and it’s infinitely available to us, yet sadly it can be easily forgotten, overlooked or ignored, and the consequences of this ignoring are vast and deep and ultimately unhealthy for ourselves and the entire society in which we live and work and contribute our energies.
“You might say that ignoring leads to a certain ignorance that can cloud our lives over long periods of time. We may forget who we actually are. We may lose touch with our golden qualities, with our heart, and with our path in life, that is the one that’s ours to walk, but requires a commitment to live outside the shadows of Plato’s dream cave world.
“In the republic there are people who are chained inside a cave and they are basically looking at a wall and their reflections on the wall from light far out behind them. They’ve been in the cave for so long that they believe those reflections are the world, and so they make up a whole world around these shadows that are dancing on the walls of the cave.
“One person manages to escape, go outside the cave and discover that there’s a whole world of light and of vitality far beyond the shadows; the shadows disappear. He goes back to tell the others in the cave, but they refuse to believe it.
“The point being—we can get caught up in delusory states where we actually believe that the world is a certain way and we become prisoners of our own thinking. We get stuck, inslaved in some way by our own lack of awareness of the full range of what it means to be human.
“This loosing touch usually brings one thing when it happens over and over again, and that one thing is unhappiness, because it cuts us off from ourselves and others—it isolates us and it clouds our view.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Adventures in Mindfulness
Comments on natgeo blog made by two former members, one my oldest son.
April 16, 2012, 4:26
Dear People, I belonged to the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps. for 20 Years, I left the group in 2004, it is important for people to understand that this group has done a lot of damage to destroy families and lives that were a big part of their organization. I have one son who I raise in the organization and by the mercies of the Lord he is standing on his own feet, as so am I. But to all those out there that have suffered tremendous pain and hurt mentally and emotionally due to groups such as this, my prayers and heart goes out to you and your families. There is so much more to tell in regards to the ACMTC group, I hope the Maura’s story will enlighten the public, it is a chip of the iceberg, hopefully someday the group will come to it’s end.
December 13, 2012, 12:39 am
I spent almost all of my childhood in this cult, got out when I turned 18. The person who donated his sperm to my mother (Steve AKA Phillip) is still in there. Yeah, they are a bunch of a$$ holes, and they certainly deserve to be dealt with. But what can be done? They continue to spread their hatred, and do their best to take advantage of gullible people, who are “searching”. I’m glad my mother did this show, she’s a strong person, and a great mother. The cult does their best to slander her, but anybody of sound mind can see right through their garbage.
For a good, short, relatively objective sum-up of Jim and Deborah Green
and if you haven’t read Zechariah’s story yet,
I’m actually enjoying jury duty. I didn’t expect to find the compansionship of dysfunction and loneliness in my retirement. I need to be away from my house more. I tend to isolate, and isolation is good only for so long.
We learn a lot by going within, that’s what meditaion is about. We observe our thoughts and our actions, and how they make us feel. But we need balance. None of us can see the bigger picture alone.
We benefit by stepping outside of our boxes—physical or mental, and regardless of how isolated or crowed they are. We benefit by embracing larger perspectives, because from our own little boxes we’re able to see only so much and so far.