DM Express

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Anxiety seems to be an experience shared by so many people nowadays, that it has almost become a way of life. Anxiety at its core is the anticipation of a negative outcome: something bad might happen, and that causes anxiety.

If we pay attention, experience shows us that even when we anticipate something positive, something exciting and life changing, we can still feel anxiety, often manifested through an underlying feeling of unsettledness. Often it is the fear that the anticipated future may not come to pass after all, but there is something deeper at play here.

When we live in the future - anticipating bad and even good outcomes - what we are doing is putting life on hold, even if for a little while. Instead of living in the real world, we live in our heads. We no longer live in the present moment, with whatever that moment requires of us. In that sense we end up living an artificial life.

We do not have the energy necessary to deal with what MAY come up. We have energy to deal with what DOES come up each moment, in that moment. That is why Jesus teaches us to not worry about the future.

So show up. Breathe. Be aware of now. Let the future worry about the future, even if good things are afoot. Celebrate the energy of being fully alive by paying attention to what is going on around you and within you.

  • Me: Can I have a white Americano, please?
  • Barrista: No. No, you can't.
  • Me: ...
  • Barrista: I'm just kidding.
This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis for all human mental illness. Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree, lacking complete mental health.
M Scott Peck, “The Road Less Travelled”, Random House, London 2006, p. 5
Neurotic suffering is suffering in imagination - suffering in fantasy. Somebody calls you a son of a bitch, and you think you are suffering - you feel hurt. But you don’t, you are are not hurt! There are no bruises, there are no actual injuries there. It is your so-called ego or vanity that is hurt. We can even go a step further and say ‘when you say you feel hurt, you actually feel vindictive; and you want to hurt the other person.’
Fritz Perls, “Awareness”
  • Q: Should church doctrine be questioned or challenged?
  • A: Of course! That is the very purpose of church doctrine!
  • Q: Isn't that dangerous?
  • A: Nothing is more dangerous or idolatrous than doctrinal rigidity, nor anything more destructive for the human soul.

Cliffs, Glenbrittle

Cliffs, Glenbrittle, Skye

Loch Brittle, Isle of Skye

In a conversation with an experienced minister, I realised that the number one reason children don’t want to come to church or participate in worship is that they hear their parents and grandparents criticise their minister around the dinner table. Why would they ever want to put themselves in that position?? Think!

Next time when you feel like criticising someone to elevate your own sense of self, think about the collateral damage!

People come to church if there is love there. Criticism is to love as oil is to water. They do not mix. Ever. Repent of this spirit of criticism and see new life emerging!

To the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
Jerry Seinfeld, on the fear of public speaking