Eric's Sunday Sermon; Self Help and the Soul, Love
I just love this place where I tried to "grow up".
The energy that is us.
Let us assume that there is a soul. You can be agnostic or atheist and that is a fine way to be if you are inclined that way. You can be Christian or Buddhist or Muslim and that is just dandy like candy. You can be pink or blue and that is fine too. And of course we think that everyone should spend time studying diverse “religions” and look for fine things that they offer. So this request is more for those who believe in God than for those who do not. Please leave God alone and out of this for a few moments. I promise God will not mind a bit if you exercise your mind.
If you take enough potatoes and stick wire in them and then tie all your wires together with some razzle dazzle stuff you can make electricity from the potatoes. We all know that the sunlight can be converted into energy. Most people understand that our bodies on a sub molecular level have more space than matter. Interesting trivia that gets us thinking about our electricity. Yes our bodies have electricity in them occupying both space and tissue matter including blood. If conditions are right and your heart stops, it can be restarted with electrical current. No electricity in our body and we are dead.
Souls don't live, souls don't die?
Red Rocks soar above us mere mortals.
So what of the soul? We did not know about this electricity in our body stuff 200 years ago and today we can measure it and control it or overload it on purpose. Think of electrolytes – you need them, think of electrocution -- weird. Today we are starting to measure electricity just outside the body emanating from our body. Fifty years ago this was impossible. Yet since the time that writing and philosophy and “religion” has existed it seems most people have recognized the soul as being. Mind, body and soul have been in our lexicon since there has been a lexicon. There appears to be studies that suggest over 90 percent of Americans believe in the soul. An interesting paper is here: rci.rutgers.edu.
So it can be assumed that today we are writing for people who believe in a soul. Something aside from the electricity that courses through our body. Don’t you find that extremely interesting? Look at your neighbor or bus driver or local cop, they believe in a soul. There is no “source” for the soul. The soul is not contingent on the life of a host, if it is distinct. At its simplest it is not of mind or body. Now you have an eternal soul. Or perhaps a soul that can die, but then it should be measurable. We are that smart.
So why did we throw “self-help” in with the soul? Because the notion of a soul operates in us living creatures in conjunction with our mind and body. The self is all three. But normally we treat self-help as a behavior modification system. Partially it is the striving for less of something and the more of something. Less poverty, more wealth. Less alcohol, more health. Less sadness, more happiness. Emotions and things are what we want to get improvement on.
Now take this man who had depression. Notice we did not say he suffered from depression. He had all the symptoms of depression without the sadness. His inability to function in things like work and get out of bed and take care of himself was cause to “cure” the depression. So he sought out the professionals and the self-help. But he did not suffer. Then there was a man with cancer. He sought out the professionals and went for self-help. His body was ravaged by the cancer and treatment but he was not suffering and was surrounded by love and was basically happy. It seems that getting well meant fixing his body and health meant a mechanically fix to a disease. There is a real need to fix ourselves to keep living and providing for that life. It is what we can do.
And the suffering is connected to the mind body experience not the soul. Or is it that the suffering is connected to the soul and not the mind, body experience? As with self-help and medicine we can treat symptoms that seem to reside in our physical is there self-help for the soul?
We are well aware that the mind can literally separate itself from the body in the sense that it can block acknowledgement of the body. And we know that our body can have things go on in it without regard to the mind. But we know they cannot “exist” without each other. But likewise it seems that the soul can operate independently from the body and mind and we have no direct evidence that suggests the soul is dependent upon the mind or body for existence.
Interesting video, and mix of beauty and downright strange.
Which part of us is to yield to the other part of us?
What are we looking to help?
Enough of this gobbledygook mumbo jumbo. Let us get right to the crux now. The largest self-help group by far is Alcoholics Anonymous. Less than 100 years ago this concept began. Shortly it developed twelve steps. These twelve steps, sometimes slightly modified is the key to countless other self-help groups. There is just no two ways about it, the twelve steps are a spiritual program. Yet their concept relies upon behavior modification. Sorry but to any rational human being that makes no sense. How can we take behavioral steps to spirituality?
Remember we took any notion of God out of this equation. Now let us take a straightforward concept that makes sense. We need something timeless. We need something all powerful. We need something omnipresent. And we need something beyond the control of man. We need a something whose existence has never been really questioned. We need something that is beyond the mind and body.
For me there is one thing that has all these attributes. I look no further than what a young man proclaimed thousands of years ago. “God is Love”. It just fits. This thing called love seems to transcend and bind the mind, body and soul together. While it is a part of us it is also much larger than us. It is in all of what we would call a “human” being. If there is one without it, we call that one an animal. Yet evidence would show that love even enters and resides in animals, though not all.
So it would perhaps seem to us as we ponder that loving oneself and others is the greatest self-help of all. Somehow it is the letting in and letting out of God. Now we can understand the notion of loving love. How pure a concept.
Let us end with the wonderful thought of knowing. Why do we use the concept/word two ways? We can easily understand someone saying “he knows the law”. Clearly we mean here that his brain has learned the law. And we can easily understand someone saying “he knows God”. Clearly we mean something different and possibly more than his brain has learned about God. In the second we actually are speaking of the soul.
And so on this fine Sunday I suggest to you that self-help in all its glory is a rather simple truth. The real self is mind, body and soul. Connecting the soul with love is the ultimate self help. It will bind the three parts into one and fill all three with love. So though our cancer patient may be dying he is well. Though our depressed friend is “mentally” functioning poorly he can be happy. And that alcoholic can find relief from his obsession. And my favorite is our financial self-help seeker. Most assuredly he will find satisfaction and joy in what he has and not need more stuff. Please today let this God who is love enter into your mind, body and soul and find all the help you need.
Hey Now! Can I get an Amen?