Monday, May 1, 2006

Vision #5

The woman with the issue of blood did nothing but touch Jesus’ robe. That was a very small act. But by doing it, God’s power flowed toward her. As Jesus put it, “power went out of him” and in to her.

Whenever we act, we always attract power, for good or for evil.

I believe that Jesus commended the sick woman because most of us avoid action. We live our lives believing that we are acting when we are really just thinking about acting. We mistake the emotions and intentions of our inner life with the reality of the world outside our heads. We get captured by our "subjective world," the word of personal perception, daydream and trance. We fail to realize that others are not sharing our sense of reality.

Living our lives in our own subjective world makes us sad, angry, lonely, and isolated. As we get older, we can begin to feel empty and false, as though we have not yet lived our real lives.

The perception is accurate. Early in life we learn how to produce powerful movies for viewing inside our own heads. The movies can become so compelling that we just "stay inside" and watch them. They become so real that years can go by during which we rarely "go outside" into the dangerous and unpredictable “objective world.” We fool ourselves into thinking that we are acting in the real world. But really we are just feeling emotions and intending to act. We keep rehearsing our script, constantly delaying our time out on the stage. We feel all the emotion of our lines but we are not actually acting.

Emotion is wonderful by the way. It is inner motion, that is to say, "motion inside ourselves." If the emotion lasts long enough, it may even produce an intention.

That's a very important because an intention is the beginnings of an action plan.

So intention is potential. Without it, we can do nothing. However, even intention is not action.
It is possible for us to feel very deeply about something -- to weep and wail whenever we think about it – to be so moved that we make a decision to do something – without ever allowing our passion or intention to mature into action. In so doing, we abort our dreams, goals and desires. Each time we perform an abortion on our intentions, a bit more of life ekes away. Emotions and intentions are products of our inner, “subjective” being. If they remain there inside our being, no one else will ever experience them. When we die, even the noblest of these intentions will die with us. But an intention is not meant to remain inside us. It is meant to be the first step of an action.

For years Nick Abernathy, a friend and financial advisor, told me to get a will. On several occasions, he nearly moved me to tears. I could smell the roses. I could see my loved ones floundering without me. On a couple of these occasions, I decided to make an appointment with a lawyer. Something important always come up and the intentions got aborted. Years past and all my emotions and intentions never produced a will.

Last month, Trish and I finally signed a will and a medical power of attorney. Our subjective intentions finally became objective realities. Our word became legal documents that now exist in the objective, world that we share with our children, grandchildren and the State of Tennessee. They are no longer merely a movie inside our heads.

The woman who touched Jesus did more than cry. She did more than think. She did more than talk. She did more than allow herself to be moved. He emotion generated motion. Her intention became an action. And power went out of Jesus into her.

The ancient philosopher, Lao Tzu, said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The step may be small, even laughable but it turns dreams into realities.

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