Wednesday 1st week Lent 2015

PHOTO: LAURENCE FREEMAN
 
Luke 11:28-32: when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here

It’s hard to change your mind (the real meaning of ‘repent’) when you have it made up.  We often dig our heels in and resist, just to avoid changing plans or ways of perception. Some people temperamentally are almost impossible to budge once they have decided on a course of action because we can so easily rely on our plans to give a sense of control and safety.  To change a small thing makes them feel insecure about many things and even sends warning signals down deep into the caverns where our fear of death lurks.

When it comes to our character or personality, as shaped by years of experience, it seems even more difficult to effect change. This was for long scientifically justified by the conviction that the brain itself could not change much after childhood. We were ‘set’ for life after a relatively young age. But now neuro-biology has discovered that the brain’s plasticity is remarkably, youthfully adaptative long into our life-journey.

So there’s no excuse. Jonah was a prophet (born not far from Nazareth) and Jesus referred to him to illustrate how, once again, the minds of people were refusing to open (the precondition for change) to what a prophet had to show them. We have all kinds of means to resist changing our mind – denial, aggressivity and procrastination being among the favourite.

To change/repent means not only the content of our beliefs and ideas but the actual mode of perception by which consciousness operates. Saying the mantra tricks us out of these resistances and fears by first affecting the quality of awareness – through seeing what is really there. Then behaviour changes. Then thoughts. Radical change without force. Radical simplicity with unbounded love by daily increments. The meaning of ‘repentance’.
 
 
With love
Laurence
 
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