Friday, November 15, 2013

The Examined Life

The Examined Life
Socrates' boldly stated "The unexamined life is not worth living." He doesn't mince words. He doesn't say that the unexamined life is "less meaningful than it could be". He simply and clearly says it's not even worth living. Our lives truly are to be ones of spiritual growth and development, yet too many of us are so caught up and overwhelmed with the busyness of each day that rarely do we spend serious time in thought and introspection. As a result, we can lead lives of RE-ACTION, rather than ACTION.

In my practice, we often work with releasing trapped emotions. There are several methods taught today on how to release these trapped or repressed emotions. We all experience emotions for which we may not have the tools, support or experience to adequately deal with. As a result, the subconscious mind, in an effort to protect us, can stuff these emotions down. We have learned that "feelings buried alive, never die" but can later manifest as physical, emotional or spiritual symptoms.

I have been troubled a bit by so many of the natural therapies that are designed to relieve or remove spiritual or emotional issues with the wave of a wand (or magnet). And while we can experience miraculous results with these types of therapies, there are many for whom these treatments are only marginally effective or ineffective all together.

Recall the story in the New Testament in Matthew chapter 17. Christ is up on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James and John. Returning, they discover the remaining apostles who have unsuccessfully tried to heal a young man possessed. Christ heals the young man. Later, the disciples inquire of the Lord, "Why could not we cast him out?" He tells them it is because of their unbelief and goes on to say "this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."

I believe that there are many of us who may require more to heal than the more simple approaches. In dealing with emotional scars and wounds, it may not be sufficient that the well-intentioned practitioner run through the prescribed course of treatment and expect complete healing. How many of us have "the kind of spiritual or emotional wound that goeth not out but by prayer and fasting".

In my searching for what I call Christ-Centered Healing, I have come upon a procedure that I believe can help and guide us through the healing process. It requires some effort, but can result in a deep and lasting healing of deep wounds that have long been resistant. This also is in line with Socrates' statement of the unexamined life. Sometimes we need to face our demons and by so doing we can discover that our hardships, trials and adversity can also be our teacher and our personal refiners fire. By examining our life, including abuses and tragedy in the extreme, we may be able to find meaning, purpose, strength and the power to overcome.

When we talk of Christ-Centered Healing, we enter into the realm of the Atonement, Repentance and Forgiveness. Healing through the Savior is much more than lip service and professing believe. The power of healing through Christ is transformational. It is that of becoming a new person, who has truly partnered with Christ (becoming yoked together with Christ - Matthew 11:28-30). It is being Born Again, experiencing that Mighty Change and becoming a child of Christ.

Orson F. Whitney said "No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven."

I have added to my blog an exercise that you can work through that has helped many gain a clearer perspective of their trials.  As we gain an understanding of our life's purpose, we can realize that just as Christ endured unfathomable trials, so too must we experience injustice, abuse, sorrow and pain.  We cannot imagine Jesus reflecting back on his life complaining of the difficulties and unfairness of his experiences.  Rather, He views His life experience as perfect and exactly what was needed.  So too, your life's experiences are exactly what is needed for your eternal growth and development.   

So if  you are inclined follow this link to my blog and spend some time with this exercise. 


Dr. Kyle Christensen
May 2013

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