Self as Communion

My intention is to keep this a entry short. Let’s see if I can hold my toes to the line.

Across the past couple of months I have been wading through Ian McGilchrist‘s work “The Master and His Emissary“. Honestly, I love the work. Part of why I can’t move through the book any faster than a critically slow rate is set in my also reading in and practicing at several other aspects of my chosen life. The other side of this slowness resides my efforts to link his work into other’s works I’ve already found my way through. Finally, he is a psychiatrist who was also a literary scholar from Oxford. Does that give a hint of how this work was built?

My love of theology fits too well into McGilchrist’s work and probably not from his perspective, though. Out of my exploration of John Zizioulas‘ “Being as Communion” grew an odd consistency with my minor training in ‘family systems theory’ while going to graduate school at DU. Problems we all deal with are both ours and not ours. By stepping out of isolating problems in either direction means seeing a flow of strengths, weakness and problems. Correcting those problems isn’t something that only someone in the family needs to accomplish. While the supposed problem person can change, it is too common that others in the family won’t cooperate meaning the problem continues.

As Zizioulas intimated, “This way of being is not a moral attainment, something that man accomplishes. It is a way of relationship with the world, with other people and with God, an event of communion, and that is why it cannot be realized as the achievement of an individual, but only as an ecclesial fact.” His words fitted unusually into both my training and experiences in family systems work. It is the communion in which we all are engaged which really needs to change. It’s change comes from within our ongoing assimilating and accommodating to the other’s actions.

Believe it or not Ian, in his own fashion add to my joy found in graduate school, practicing various fashions of psychotherapy and my own primitive hesychastic efforts. By describing self as the communion of the right and left hemispheres he light a fire in me. I’ve been gently blowing at it, just as I learned to do back on the ranch. There were times when we attempted to burn small areas of weeds so that the seeds were gone as well as the plants. Some one needed to set a fire in some tumbleweeds and other dried out plants, which took gentle blowing to get the fire to really engage. Likewise, I’m working at getting those smoking embers to finally bring up the fire I want.

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