Dr. Arthur Chang, author of “The New Positive Spirituality: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Everyday Life,” defines positive spirituality as the practice of positively embodying God’s attributes of love and law and using them in our lives to bring our desires into physical reality.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

THE VALUE OF YOUR LONGING AND BELONGING


THE VALUE OF YOUR LONGING AND BELONGING

By Arthur Chang

Poet David Whyte remarked, “Longing is the transfiguration of aloneness.” It is said that mastering the art of being alone means acknowledging the longing for connection. This is the need to belong to a larger group. To do this we must then orient ourselves to our central yearning—the connection, while developing the greater gentleness and less judgement that makes this possible.

Humans tend to live isolated, fragmented lives, without realizing how vital it is for our longing to take us out of our solitary cocoon to develop the butterfly evolution of our person-hood.  Our longing allows us to connect with others in the world with a sense of love and meaning. Our longing forms, for our isolated selves, a bridge between our longing and belonging. We will bring into the self from the world out there, a greater connection with the whole and a sense of belonging that transforms us. This vital activity heals the hunger of the heart by providing the antidote to aloneness, which wreaks havoc on the healthy development of our heart by stunting its growth into full human hood. 

When we fail to reach out, we are prone to diseases, intolerable of differences, impatient with the pace of growth, finally losing the eternal values of love, kindness, patience, flexibility and goodness. In as much as we live isolated lives, we desire to be relational in this relational world. The creative tension between our longing and belonging will provide just this.

Blessing

May you master the art of being alone by acknowledging your longing for connection to the larger world. May your then experience a deeper sense of belonging to the world in which you live.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

PROCESS THEOLOGY & PROCESS SCIENCE OF MIND


PROCESS THEOLOGY & PROCESS SCIENCE OF MIND
By Arthur Chang

Ernest Holmes’ dream was for a time to come (process) when science and religion walked hand in hand. That time is now. However, in the search for truth there is no guarantee that what is found will fit seamlessly into one’s assumed and familiar cosmology or worldview.

Process theology is radically different in many important ways than Plato/Aristotle influenced classical theism we have accepted as theological correct for centuries. Process is a theology that grew out of current philosophy and science (namely quantum physics) rather than out of the scriptures. However, the concept of God fits more closely the qualities of God in history, which is more like the Judaic/Christian model than it is like the current classical theism of Greek philosophy with its notion of God as a static actuality, immutable, perfect, and unfeeling.

Process thought affirms that process is fundamental. This does not mean everything is in process. That would imply even process is subject to change. It teaches that there are unchanging principles and abstract forms. However, to be actual is to be a process. Thus, anything that is not a process is an abstraction from process, and not a full-fledged actuality.

Alfred North Whitehead, the seminal thinker on this latest form of process thinking, says the temporal process is a “transition” from one actual entity to another. These entities are momentary events, which perish immediately upon coming into being (quantum physics). They perish to be succeeded by the succeeding events. Time does not flow but comes in “droplets.” Think of a filmstrip with discrete frames. When in motion it seems to flow smoothly. Without the boundaries, there could be no real individuals. Boundaries are what allows us to identify events.

However, there are events that have their own unity, unlike a storm, or party. These may consist of person or animal, tree, mountain and so forth. This is an experiential unity. Events of this type Whitehead calls “actual occasions” or “occasions of experience.”

This subject becomes much more complex and I’ll stop here. However, there are great implications for theological reflections. As we proceed we will see that God does not control everything, or else there would be no true freedom. There are past actualities as well as present. However, the future has no actualities. God is fully engaged in our lives offering options. God feels us and is responsive, and God is not coercive, God is persuasive.

This is an extremely brief attempt to introduce to you a few concepts of Process theology and Process Science of Mind. Learning it is worthwhile even if you will have to live with it awhile to arrive at that conclusion.

Friday, August 16, 2019

BODY WISDOM AND SPIRITUALITY


BODY WISDOM AND SPIRITUALITY
By Arthur Chang
“You only love me for my body and not for my mind.”
This familiar lament is evidence of how irresistibly the beauty of the body may affect us. The comment also fits into the concept of “One forbidden thing” motif of which there are several in our ancient myths. Two examples are that of the Eden creation story, and Pandora. Unsurprisingly, it is decidedly human to desire what is forbidden to possess.
Despite the tendency to regard the highly treasured gold of intelligence exclusively stashed away in the Fort Knox of the mind, the body has squirreled away an amazing cache of spiritual wisdom, seemingly, independent of the conscious mind. Moreover, without the body, what would serve as the vehicle for the mind?
Body-wisdom for spirituality comes without the prerequisites of credo and dogma, which are directives of the mind. Instead, the largely physical forms of yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, dance, and music, will bring us to a high spiritual state without theological preconditions. We have to neither believe nor disbelieve something to derive the spiritual benefit. In this manner, the experience is Zen-like.
Although unrecognized for its profound wisdom, the body knows how to function wholly without conflict or debate. No assistance of belief is needed from the mind. The Cosmic Intelligence is ever-present and active as the body’s instinctive knowledge. Whether in movements or stillness, the body is a vessel imbued with the consciousness of the Infinite Presence actively engaged with it in this process of living.
The body’s direct connection to the Infinite Mind is demonstrated in how the wisdom of trillions of cells, sentient beings as they are, communicate and cooperate to sustain each body as a viable being. There is no downtime in this activity, which these cells within the body accomplish with incredible speed and precision. At best, the body treats urgency with an almost dismissive ease that our faith struggles to find on its best days. The body is called upon to resolved life and death issues in every moment.
The body regulates our temperature, the rhythm of our hearts to respond to countless variations required for supporting us during periods of joy, fear and sorrow. It manages an amazing chemistry lab and does all this with very little help from the conscious mind.
Even more intriguing are our nights. Nights are calls for more than mere rest beyond fatigue. Lao Tzu’s line is apt: “Without doing anything, everything is accomplished.” At night, the body lets go of its upright day posture to lie prone for letting go into the sacred Mystery. From this anteroom, the body enters through the secret portals of the soul for spiritual renewal. Here, also, the mind finally remembers what the body does not forget, that it is one with the Wholeness of this vast universe and has everything it needs to be ready to meet our creative unfoldment with the next rising of the sun.
Blessing:
May you grow to appreciate how much non-verbal wisdom your body has to share by providing the disciplines and nurturing it needs to best serve you through your awesome spiritual journey through time.