JP21 Via Vida The Jesus Path Life Operating System for the 21st Century
Session 3: Next Mindify Yourself!
Practice Centering Prayer.
Scripture Study: Matthew 3; Mark 1:1-11; Luke 3:1-22; Philippians 2:1-11.
What image or phrases caught your attention?
What was most puzzling?
What would you like to learn more about?
What really spoke to your heart?
What does it mean to talk about our minds? What are common ideas of the mind? What do you understand the phrase ”change my mind” means?
What might Paul mean by” having the same mind?”
View Video for Session 3, and the video, “Spiritual Practice 2: Confession.”
Discuss video, share reactions
Read “Next Mindify Yourself!” Discuss using the discussion questions provided. Read “Spiritual Life Practice #2 Confession” and view the video.
Assignment: Practice the form of Confession described at the end of each day for the next week.
Close in prayer.
Next Mindify Yourself?
In the previous session we began to look at the call of John the Baptist and Jesus to “Repent and be baptized.” In that session we looked at the word “baptize.” Now we need to look at the word, “repentance.” The original Greek is metanoia, which literally means to change one’s mind, to change the direction of one’s mind, and thus one’s life. In fact, metanoia also translates as “beyond the (normal) mind,” or “the next mind,” and the force of the verb indicates going beyond our normal consciousness or way of thinking into a deeper, bigger mind, the “mind of Christ” as Paul calls it in Philippians. You could legitimately translate what Jesus and John say as “Next-Mindify yourself!” Metanoia, or repentance, then, means redirecting our lives from our small self-centered minds into the Bigger Mind of God. John preached about immersing oneself in repentance, or metanoia. John says Jesus will come to immerse us in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, Jesus comes down to the River Jordan to meet John. If you are like me, you probably ask, “Why did Jesus have to repent?” But remember, metanoia means to move into a bigger mind in order to start over, and Jesus comes to symbolically demonstrate that he embraces this bigger mind of God. In essence, he is embracing his divine mission to show us a path to God, which is a consciousness of God, a perspective of life based upon the perspective of God.
The path of Jesus is nothing less than a path into a bigger mind, an expanded consciousness, the metanoia John preaches. Our minds literally have to be changed from our present mind into our Next Mind. But this is no easy task. Anyone trying to escape the clutches of addiction or trying to heal from an abusive upbringing, or recover from PTSD knows that “changing one’s mind” is not like changing the sheets or changing one’s clothes. It actually entails changing the very quality and content of one’s mind, and changing the configuration of the neurons in the brain. It involves developing a new mode of thinking and perceiving the world. It involves literally an expansion of consciousness. Paul called it having the mind of Christ, Jesus called it the Kingdom or Realm of Heaven (or God) that is within us and in our midst.
This is what Jesus came to help humanity realize and develop into. But there are a lot of things that have to be deconstructed, taken apart, disassembled, in order to be rebuilt and reconfigured in our mental landscape. This is the work of the Spirit within us. And that is what Jesus immerses us in – the power of the Holy Spirit. And this transforms us. It transforms our direction in life, it transforms our focus in life, it transforms the world around us by the things we do, and it transforms our very reality. This is why the first Spiritual Life Practice is Centering Prayer. It is this practice that works to center us in the life-transforming presence of God.
We Begin with Reality. Reality – our present reality, is our beginning place. We tell the truth about our world, and about ourselves and actively seek to engage healing processes in ourselves and our society. In order to tell that truth truthfully and completely will force us to face uncomfortable truths about ourselves, and our participation in systems of oppression and exploitation. But the work begins there. Jesus insisted upon telling the truth. Telling and knowing the truth sets us free. Think of it in medical terms. Frequently the only way to rid the body of cancer or extreme disease is to do surgery. Any surgery is invasive in some form, and can be painful (thank God for anaesthesia!). But in order to save our life, we submit ourselves to surgery, and the painful healing process that follows. In order to extricate ourselves from the deep psychological, emotional, and behavioral entanglements of these systems, we use the scalpel of truth-telling and inquiry into social and psychological systems that are oppressive, dysfunctional and destructive. The basic process of dismantling and disentangling from oppressive, dysfunctional, and destructive Life Operating Systems (LOSs) is as follows:
Confession: Tell the truth, listen to the truth
Admit the hold those systems have over us
Recognize the Divine Source that empowers change, growth, and development, and actively engage with this Source, using time-proven practices to manifest change within ourselves and our societies and communities
Seek guidance and companionship of experienced and engaged persons
Make amends for the harm we may have caused, and acting in solidarity with persons subjected to oppression, injustice, bias, hate, discrimination, abuse, trauma.
Learn to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
Help others who suffer from the effects of oppressive, dysfunctional, and destructive LOSs.
You may notice that this process is informed by Twelve Step processes, which are actually an adaptation of traditional and proven practices of Christian Spirituality. Twelve Step processes begin with telling the truth about addictive behaviors and the damage they have caused us and those we love and others. Then means are sought to make amends and even seek forgiveness. Positive behaviors are substituted for destructive behaviors, and accountability is established in order to maintain the change in life. The same basic format is what we will follow as we seek to dismantle and disentangle ourselves from oppressive, dysfunctional, and destructive Life Operating Systems.