“Holier than thou” is an interesting phrase.Holiness was a state we were taught we should aim for.But how should we aim for it? Can one become holy by will power?
I suspect not.Though one could be wicked by will power though I suspect most people don’t usually want to be wicked.And I don’t believe babies are born evil as I was taught.But we do wicked things.Pride is often involved.So what are some qualities that may help us to become ,not holy perhaps, but better.The first is one thing doctors have to agree to:
Do no harm.
How can we do no harm? Well paying attention is a possible beginning.If we are not attentive to ourself and the lives around us we don’t have the basis for choosing how to act.Then there is the quality of our perceptions.To a large extent these may have been formed by our experiences in infancy.If we are insecure and anxious we will perceive mainly danger,This leads me to think that we need to gain trust in either God,the Universe,our deeper selves….. something beyond us.If we have little trust we will live on guard and see things in relation to our own safety…..Somehow we will have to move to a wider perception/How many of us truly see others as people who are just as valuable,just as interesting,just as worthy of respect as we are.That when we kill a person physically or emotionally we are killing a whole world.Each person has their own world…..I believe.
If we trust we can perceive and as we perceive so we can act justly, caringly or in the best way possible towards that person.And we hope to receive it back.There is also grace which is a gift… if we live well and are open then grace may come from another source which may help us.But only if we are empty enough for it to come in.Being “full of oneself” is unlikely ro be good.Self forgetting, absorbtion in the other,the world,a task,a creation may be the best part of life.
I found it interesting to make a link between being able to be aware of other people as real people like ourselves and being secure in our inner being.That security or trust enables us to have an attitude called,”Submission to the will of God” in Christian teaching.I am sure it is common to many other religions especially Judaism.And for atheists it can be acceptance of reality,
Without trust in others, life is much harder as we are always concerned with keeping ourselves safe.I am not sure how much we can change our attitude from Fear to Trust.And I read today that paranoia is becoming more widespread probably because the government and other people can spy on us easily or find out where we are etc with modern technology
I recall a friend of mine dying when I was 15.We were taken to the Requiem Mass.I just recall the priest saying in the sermon something from the Bible
he Lord has given and the Lord has taken away
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
In other words,we can’t understand.Life and death are a mystery but we accept this is the will of God
At the time I’m not sure if I believed it.But i think acceptance of pain and grief helps us to cope with it even with the terrible suffering with losing a child.I was the last classmate to see her.It was late October.We left school and walked about 1/2 mile.I lived there but she had to then catch a bus fro a 4-mile journey
I still see her smiling face.Eight days later she died.
When you suffer a lot it’s hard to trust God,the Universe and all else.And depending on the circumstances it’s easy to be bitter or vengeful.But that will not help.
What I am wondering is:
How much can we change our attitudes by will power.Pr is there another way of changing?
Changing the way we see something may give us a different attitude.Talking to a good person may help.Sometimes we can only endure patiently.Sometimes God comes to us in the wilderness of tragedy,grief and pain.Because he can get in when we are still and silent.
I suppose going to the desert or on a Retreat may give us the same opportunity.Sometimes we can’t verbalise our suffering but that is not a problem.I found after seeking many ways out that as many people have said:~
The way out is through.
But we struggle like hell to avoid i