At least for me, counterintuitive applies as well to my walk with Christ as it does to taking hold of a client’s actual issues. So often, what the person wanted was precisely what their attention was meant to draw attention away from. Those who did well at such distraction whether intentional or simply well practiced but not thought through couldn’t be abruptly pulled around to face the real issue. People deeply able to hid from themselves were likewise adept at keep me off the mark. Only after years of practicing the tactic of asking myself the simple question, “Is it possible that this point is meant to keep my eyes off of something else?” was I able to pick up on common patterns.

It never was easy to fish for issues that were counterintuitive in the point of what I was experiencing with a client, family or group. I could never anticipate whether I would find a key issue by refocusing my attention. While often enough, I didn’t find something through the activities in each session I knew it was worth the effort. I’ll tell you as well, that practice does not make one perfect in this area.

For me, this is what I have found to be the deepest of personal blessings. Feebly, I’m beginning to try and sift through my tendencies to keep to keep myself distracted in one fashion or another. By so doing I’m trying to live out toward myself what is vastly easier with another person. From this vantage point you might feel that I’m somewhat Jungian and in ways you’re right. While I never used styles of psychotherapy that evolved out of Jung’s work, I do agree that none of us can grasp the whole person we are.

It is from this point that I’ve launched off into trying peacefully that the Spirit of God’s actions in my life do not need to match up to my expectations. Launching from this point is a counterintuitive move. Having been raised and educated expecting the Spirit’s actions in my life to match up with how I had learned to understand God, I am now cutting against that grain. What I learned to see as God’s intentions, in my immediate life, are not necessarily wrong. I am striving to begin questioning, from as many directions as I can, what shapes, intentions and outcomes I expect God’s actions to take in my life.

As someone who was raised Baptist, trained as a pastor, became and Episcopal, and am now Eastern Orthodox I have snippets of markedly different points of view of God and what God’s actions are to be like. Taking hold of these perspectives I am intent on using them as items by which I can do a contrast and compare. Not theologically, but closer to how I make out the works of Soren Kierkegaard. Where this will windup I don’t know but I do know my intent.

Finally, I have picked up strong suggestions to carry on like this in the works of people like Kierkegaard, Archimandrite Sophrony, Zizioulas, Maximus the Confessor, Palamas, Juan de la Cruz, etc….


About the post

Eastern Orthodox, hesychastic, mental health, Mysticism, philosophy, psychology, theology

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