by Nick Andrea
I have been most spiritually influenced by two philosophies: The Science Of Mind (Ernest Holmes) and Zen. I have had trouble reconciling them, however. Where to me the former represents control and directing one’s path the latter represents surrender and trusting the flow.
Science of Mind is an empowerment-based tradition. It says that this mind you think with is the very mind of God, and that you are always creating with it for better or for worse. The focus, therefore, is on using this creative power intelligently to create a joyous life experience. God has handed us the keys to the Kingdom and asked, “What do you want?” Sounds pretty amazing, eh?
Well it is, and it works. The only problem is you start to become a control freak. Controlling how every aspect of your life turns out with thought is a pretty daunting task. Neurotic, in fact.
The contrast to this is Zen. Zen, like Science of Mind, recognizes our oneness with God. However, instead of trying to control our destiny this philosophy emphasizes aligning with It. This is very much not a path of control but of surrender and acceptance – relaxing into the truth of who you are.
A path of control and focus, a path of surrender and acceptance. How do I reconcile them?
I believe the answer is to be found in the words of a Catholic monk named Thomas Merton who said, “God never puts a prayer in our heart that He does not intend to fulfill.” (Keyword: heart.) In Chinese philosophy there is a concept called, “Li.” According to Alan Watts this term originally meant the markings in jade or the grain in wood; the way something naturally goes. However, it is far too complex, subtle, and multi-dimensional for the human mind to comprehend. The only way we can know it, therefore, is through the heart.
Thomas Merton was talking about Li. We all have Li. Who was praying, he or God? Yes. He was one with his Li. God was praying through Thomas Merton as Thomas Merton. Similarly, when I set an intention it is God setting an intention through Nick as Nick to create a result in the world.
To bring the point home, then, we should be the architects of our own joy through setting intentions and using affirmations, AND we should surrender to the truth of ourselves in every moment. But, how do we know the moment? How do we know what intention God is already setting through us? We know it through the heart, where all questions are already answered. Thank you.