The Dynamic: Part One

dynamic

As we discussed in our last post, there’s a dialectic of the heart and it’s not important for us to figure out what happens first. I hope my Aristotelian and Thomist friends will forgive me, but I’m knowing by a kind of unctio here and it’s important to let the river flow.

In the wheel at the top of the image in this post, three phrases have primacy, although mental discipline is paramount and unites the three. Mental discipline consists primarily in not allowing any negative thoughts.

I’m convinced that negative thoughts happen, to some degree, because we have broken relationships. Hence, the next necessary component to emotional wholeness is having healthy relationships. In an ideal scenario, these relationships would happen within our homes and families. But, in reality, we can make our own temporary families as we move into healing. Once we’ve healed, our job will be to embrace our fractured families and see if they want to be pulled out of the mud.

The third, equally important, component to the Dynamic is spiritual warfare. If I’m right about all of this, it’s important to recall that the Evil One exists and that he’s trying to get one over on you. So, recall what Saint James said:

Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

He’s pretty clear: Submit to God, resist the devil. Wow! It sounds so easy that I missed it for many, many years. Submit to God, resist the devil. It works!

Before explaining the five items below the radiant wheel, I want to emphasize how important mental discipline is: Believe in the promises of Scripture. We’re in warfare and the King has given us specific instructions. He’s counting on you to do your part. I had a vision once where the end of the world was put off for 1,000 years because one saint woke up from his slumber and changed the world. You could be that saint!

After casting out the demons, exercise supreme mental discipline. Never allow yourself to think ill of anyone. That doesn’t mean that you don’t make accurate judgments. Is it wrong to kill? Of course! But that’s not a negative thought. The negative thought comes in when you say, “That killer ought to go to Hell.” Our dear sweet and blessed Savior is very clear when He tells us not to judge. Again, we should avoid evil, but not condemn anyone. This is essential.

I beg of you, gentle reader, to enter a place of peace and surrender. Trust in our Dear Lord and His Blessed Mother. It’s no accident that I waited until the Feast of the Sacred Heart to post this. I owe everything I have to Jesus, and with Him, I am co-owner of the Universe.

Pray for me as I stumble along my path in the Work. More will be revealed to us if we journey together. Comments are important! I want to learn from you, too! Peace and blessings.

3 thoughts on “The Dynamic: Part One

  1. This is excellent. Much food for thought. The the pillars make absolute sense. The triad approach is a great recipe.

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    1. Thanks for the kind remarks. While I’m not sure about this, I think that the principles here articulated can work with a variety of things that are called “mental illness”, “emotional disorders”, and such. Please let me know if they work for you or for others whom you may know. Peace and blessings on your journey!

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  2. Though I have not had the time to read all posts, I am treating myself whenever time permits to catch up on this most fascinating and inciteful blog.

    What do you think about doing away with the pop psychology term “negative thoughts” in your arguments in this post?

    I think this phrase “negative thoughts” is verbally misleading and woefully misused in general by most American psychologists. It implies all negative thoughts are damaging to the mental order, which is objectively untrue. Observing accurately criminal behavior in others (for example – the act of murder – as you give) is by nature a “negative thought” about a reality – so you are incorrect to say that it is not a “negative” thought to think it. It does not follow that it is a negative “judgement” about the culpability of the person who is committing the negative act, but that does not justify saying it is not a negative thought.

    It is wrong to judge people personally – but not wrong to have a negative thought.

    You said:

    “Is it wrong to kill? Of course! But that’s not a negative thought.” Yes, “wrong to kill” is a negative thought. “Wrong” is a negative word.

    You said:

    “The negative thought comes in when you say, “That killer ought to go to Hell.”

    No, that is a positive thought. “Go” is a positive word. But it is a “judgemental” thought. It is wrong to “judge” others, even oneself. Only God can do that, and He is not the accuser. (People choose hell – they don’t get sent there by a resentful God.)

    I would also like to point out the flaw in the “mental discipline” approach to treating cognitive disorders -depending upon how you define “negative” thinking and how you define “discipline.” I define them by common dictionary.

    Experts in CPTSD would object to the term “discipline” being used here because it is inherently a negative term. One cannot cure disproportionately “negative thinking” by a negative action (it simply doesn’t work) just as one cannot cure disproportionately fearful thinking by “fearing” fearfull thoughts. Also, it is unhealthy for one who thinks disproportionately negatively about themselves because they have been traumatized – to further impose undeserved punishment or “discipline” upon themselves, as if they are the “guilty” one.

    I do like, however, the positive term “mental exercise” which is what effective cognitive therapists use. Exercising the brain to “replace” disproportionately negative thoughts with more realistic ones is part of the correct, fully effective method to overcoming CPTSD. Two contradicting thoughts cannot be in the brain at the same time and thinking a positive thought is a positive action. There is a children’s story “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burtnett, that accurately teaches young readers this cognitive tool through the wise words of the gardener: Where you plant a rose, a thistle cannot grow.

    On the other hand, trying to “make” your brain stand sentinal to “guard” against negative thinking only attracts negative thinking and neurotic spiraling – and is ultimately self defeating. “Doing this” to your brain can lead to despair. Remember the story of the brothers who followed Saint Francis rules not out of trust but out of discipline, and it led to despair?

    You said ” Never allow yourself to think ill of anyone.”

    Who told you that?

    Certainly those words are not in the Holy Bible.

    The only thing Scripture forbids is “judging” the personal culpability of someone, which is something only God can do. This is an extremely important point, for if you skip over righteous anger in the recovery process from a complex stress disorder (or mental disorder triggered by CPTSD) you will not go through the healing process correctly and ever fully recover. If there is a “tangle” in the recovery process it will never work itself out on its own. You must go back and correct it, before you can move forward, untangling.

    Suppression of just, healthy negative emotions is extremely dangerous to the psyche.

    Sadly, many Thomistic psychiatrists (now part of a wrongly interpretted dogmatic culture infected with brute legalism, clericism, historianism and brute pederasty in the “traditional” ranks of the visible church) condone suppression of righteous anger in their patients – particularly in men – as if emotional responses are “female” or “weak” in nature – leading to the unhealthy suppression of all healthy and necessary emotional responses to life. This actually produces brute homosexuality and severe mental disorder.

    If one suppresses righteous anger and does not speak out or do some positive act to rectify a wrong – this is what leads to bitterness and resentment (against the abuser or others – in other words – sadism) and potential, total emotional shut down. Emotions are part of the fullness of our humanity – and are to be properly ordered – but never suppressed. Free and full expression of righteous anger (defense of the innocent – oneself or others) is a very masculine virtue related to courage and the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is a positive act.

    Moreover, the suppression of healthy, negative emotional responses (righteous anger and grief) is the root of all mental disturbances, and the development of schizophrenia and flat effect (lack of human empathy for oneself and others.)

    Also, sainthood is not the perfectionism of humanity – or worship of perfectionism, which is exemplified by the man made “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” mentality with which most Catholics were wrongly indoctrinated. A saint would not say they are guilty of something if they are not aware of intentionally committing an act against God.

    Sainthood consists of childlike trust in God’s perfect goodness and love – despite the flawed humanity that we all inherit. The flaws of our humanity are not something for which we are “guilty” and realizing this – is a necessary, humbling, freeing, growth step in the spiritual life.

    Finally, it is not perfectionism and “perfect” regimented “guarding” of one’s brain that casts out demons – but child like trust in the Fatherhood and providence of an all perfectly loving – and present with us, loving us fully, from childhood – God. Self proclaimed exorcists who confuse worship of self perfectionism (as if we are the “elite” who were meant to “perfect” our humanity) over trust in God, often end up worse off than when they started.

    May we all become fully human, for it is our lowly humanity that Christ embraced with the fullness of His Love.

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