Ways of Christ

Logo: drawed Christian cross and earth symbol

Main text part 1, The Gospels,
chapter :

The "holy zeal" (and viewpoints concerning emotions).

Drawing: Jesus and the clearing of the temple

In John 2, after the wedding at Cana the "clearing of the temple" is described. Jesus zealously drove the traders and money changers out of the temple with violence. Here he wanted to set a clear sign against the hypocrisy of the world, designating the temple as a place of worship and not as a place of mere haggling. In this situation he knew he could not expect anything of urban or clerical officials and so he used his own hands as the only one who still felt responsible "in his father's house". This was a non-violent act of social resistance. "To obey God rather than people" is Jesus’ unobsequious attitude in general . Also where he says: "Give to the emperor, what is the emperor's (and to God, what is God's)", there is no obsequious attitude as sooften wrongly interpreted, but rather the aim is to spare the disciples pointless friction with social powers irrelevant for them. Religion and politics have their own laws. To serve their fellow men and to want "the best for the city" is not servility either.**

In this context the question of how to deal with emotions could arise, because not everyone's emotions are on such a high level - filled with love - as Jesus'. He lived continuously in "positive trembling before God" and compassion for people and his zeal were based on conscious good intention. In normal human beings nearly all emotions are initially mixed at least with unconscious stimulation - response mechanisms that vary biographically and vary in strength, but are quite similar in their basic pattern. Looking at this oneself, without being satisfied with the interpretation of others and to continue to find these mechanisms in our own reactions, to look at them and finally master them and/or to deliver them to God is a long learning process.

Although we are dealing here with the psyche, the usual psychological analysing and/or therapy procedures are not very appropriate for seekers of God and of truth.
Psychology can even stop us from developing spiritually if we have one-sided interpretation models in the back of our minds that seek to reduce psychological problems to those of sexuality and childhood moulding; furthermore, "causes" of weakness can become "justifications" for remaining how one is instead of stressing the human ability to develop, as mentioned by Erich Fromm. 

Where psychology stimulates looking into psychological processes and when the psyche / soul is seen as more than just a chemical-electrical brain function – which rarely occurs -, their study could also be a helpful bridge. This science would develop better if knowledge and/or contentions of alternative psychological schools were accepted as material for their own research. It does not usually help much to work on whole complexes of problems at one go. It would be more effective to first search for components of this complex; and to then distinguish whether it is a "beam in one's own eye" or a "splinter in the eye of someone else", who is responsible for it. Jesus and some Christian schools stress the "beam in one's own eye", because to look at one's own problematic deeds is more difficult, has to be learned and because one should start by correcting one's own mistakes; so hearing someone's confession has - besides the spiritual aspect - a therapeutical effect too. Psychological schools sometimes prefer the other point of view (viewpoint) as that of a victim. One may notice, that one finally looked at both. For instance, eastern spiritual teachings would stress the connection between both sides in life as the source of "karma", fate.

Concerning the elimination of after-effects caused by difficult daily routines , a means brought to light again by R. Steiner could help, i.e. a daily retrospective, starting with the evening and looking back towards the morning. This makes it easier to be in the present again. This practice also facilitates a similar process after death, as reported from many "near-death-experiences".

It is also possible to produce a "mirror of the psyche", a list of our own negative qualities to be improved on and with qualities to strive for. One goes through this often, controlling one's own development - a well-tried practice used by mystics.

Psychological progress can have the effect of improving conversation between people too. People are less prejudiced and less likely to jump to conclusions when they themselves have become more transparent and been able to let go of burdens. When Jesus stresses the non-judgmental attitude and the importance of "what comes out of the mouth", he is not talking about an unfulfillable moral claim, but a request to begin learning. This may require to stop quarreling, take a break - see the chapter "The silence in the dessert" - and then having a frank talk with each other. This is a phase of new birth too.

In this context there are European spiritual paths which include nerve or consciousness centers known in Yoga as "chakras" (Anthroposophy, Universal Life - not to be confused with the Universal Life Church -, and others). One cannot automatically describe these ideas as being non-Christian, as some churches would have us believe, but were already known to the Christian theosophists in medieval times (J. G. Gichtel*), and can  now be recognized as really existing in each of us - just as the acupuncture points, especially well known in China, are not automatically "taoist", because these points and lines can be measured electrically and viewed histologically in human flesh.

**) The "zeal" in this sense differs from "Zeal without understanding" (Romans 10:1-3).

In the wide context see also the extra page "...ethics"

Help: a self-examination for the work with the main text

Can God help me deal with my emotions more consciously?


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