Skills and Us
A skill is something we gain and possess through constant repetition.
Each of us have varying degrees of raw talent and the level of skill manifests dependant on the level of talent we possessed and the efforts we put into practise and repetition.
Most of us have many skills we are not aware of.
Our natural tendencies are just like our raw talent and as we build and grow on these natural tendencies, practising and refining them over time these become our automatic reflex, our natural skill, our unconscious way of being. We unconsciously become skilled at these simply through years of reinforcing the same tendency and relating it over and over again.
Ducking responsibility. Shirking accountability. Knowing whom to blame when something goes wrong.
Deceit. Deception. Cunning. Making every effort to get our own way without making it obvious.
Establishing what we believe is right. Using and misusing the same laws for our convenience. Easily moving between two sets of standards - one for self and one for others - without any sense of moral ineptitude.
Our ability to comprehend only our own feelings. Our willingness to act solely on the fact that what we feel must be the only truth. Our complete sense of believing, that what we know is the only universal truth and there can exist no other reasonable, sensible perspective, feeling or need.
Our ability to create for ourselves a necessary group of “yes”people who for reasons of misguided love, fear or greed suspend their own rationale and ignore what they know is wrong and faulty in us.
Our ability to draw around us people who will invest in artificial peace and not risk rocking the boat for greater purpose, direction and search for meaning.
We are skilled in pretending not to be angry, but secretly planning plotting about getting our revenge without ever baring our fangs publicly. We may forget what is right, but we never forget a wrong done to us.
Unknowingly we possess the skill of frustration, despair and misery. We thrive on the wild excitement that confusion and chaos produces.
Being good, we discovered early, is boring.
We want the excitement of lust, of plotting and planning, of getting the better off the other, of murder, robbery and the boxing bouts of power.
Then we also say to ourselves “ I’m a forgiving person”
But think of it - what natural tendencies do you possess to forgive? More, how often have you exercised this tendency to make it a skill? Have you really learnt to overcome the bitter thoughts that come to you regarding a hurtful incident where you found yourself powerless to respond in a meaningful and powerful way that established you were right and the other wrong? Have you ever really been happy with the knowledge that you were proved wrong and the other right? Have you ever really even considered that you may be the real problem and not others?
It is a difficult thing to forgive someone. It is not the natural custom of this world. It’s not the stuff that our stories and movies are about. Our stories and movies are all about how the hero is wronged and how he or she gets her way in the end. Our stories mostly display that “the means justify the end and the end is to get even, get our justice and punish the other”
Seeking justice versus seeking forgiveness are two different skill sets. They lead us in two different directions.
Seeking justice by default sets us on the path of self righteousness where each individual is in charge of what is Universally right and uses every type of skill to establish that right.
However, the earliest religious persuasions of faith in all religions have been “Leave justice to God. You build the skill set of forgiveness”
Can we establish justice and be forgiving at the same time? For the Christian, and more so for the Catholic, this is without ambiguity. God will establish justice in His time. Man needs to seek after forgiveness.
From a worldly perspective it is very unjust to have one person suffer and pay the price of another mans faults. Is there a greater injustice than this? Yet, greater love no man has known than that one lay down his life for the other.
So we are really stuck in a thorny bush and our choices cause us to bleed one way or the other.
We may choose to establish justice in our own strength and use all our skills positive and negative to bring about what we consider right. The big problem in this is that there are so many different versions and perspectives of what is right and every individual is chasing their own version. Conflict, confusion and chaos is built in the system of wanting to establish our version of justice. We simply become increasingly self righteous and move further and further away from God.
Or we may choose love, mercy and compassion. The starting point of this is the simple and humble acceptance of Divine Authority and the will of God.
The mind which loves the finite world (the finite mind) wants certainty and control. It wants control over the present and the future. It prepares itself in every way to deal with the uncertainties of tomorrow with the certainity of today. It seeks to reduce the infinite and make it finite so that it is within the control of the individual. Such a person may speak of God, boast of loving God but has already rejected God in favour of himself or herself. The mind which loves the infinite world (the infinite mind) embraces uncertainty. It prepares itself only to respond to the uncertainty of today and tomorrow with a genuine trust and acceptance that all occurrences will be for good. For the infinite mind the events are uncertain but the outcome is certain. For the finite mind the outcome is pre decided, the means pre planned, the events controlled. Uncertainties are a reality that needs to be managed, overcome and bent to the power and strength of the human will to ensure a pre planned outcome. The finite mind comprehends the law and understands how to extract fro it what is self serving. The infinite mind understands spirit and learnt how to extract from self the necessary response. The finite mind produces assembly line factories, goods and services. The infinite mind is on a pilgrimage of the self, chartering unknown territories and risking the depths and storms of losing all in search of what must be found and known. To the finite mind even people become objects. To the infinite mind even objects become persons. If we are unaware of our skill sets we are most probably taken over by a finite mind which operates on self righteousness and establishing our sense of justice. Being human needs us to become aware of the universe inside our own being and embracing the infinite being ready for righteousness that is established by the One who made us all. This produces the love that respects all forms of life and even makes objects into persons.