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.

Monday, June 20, 2022


By Rev. Dr. Arthur Chang
If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:41-42)
Boundaries are indispensable, defining patterns in life. Nonetheless, while they function to keep us safe, they also can impede or enhance our growth. When we consider the lessons from the Bible’s Eden myth, or from scientific evolution, our presence in the universe makes sense to us largely because of its definite pattern of growth. Not to grow is to stagnate and ultimately to die prematurely. Stagnation is a loss of meaningful boundaries. Growth is our process of purposive becoming. Boundaries attained in growth are temporary shelters affording us an essential feeling of stability as we go from one phase to another. To be alive in this world is to grow. To grow is to learn and to create.
Process theologians argue that God does not define our purpose. God gives us an aim. The aim is goodness. To have the freedom to choose our boundaries means to choose our purpose. If that work were already done for us, there is no freedom. Our lives would be predetermined. How, then, could there be freedom if we could not choose our future? The condition of freedom requires an open future. In this sense, God is not controlling our experiences in the world. However, God has provided the potential for us to make meaning boundaries or concrete decisions. Furthermore, God is forever providing us with options from which we can choose.
Are there spiritual and mental laws? There are! To create our future, we must work with these laws. In our world of constant change, laws or principles are the only immutable aspects of reality. Knowing how universal laws work, our belief systems construct shelters of consciousness attractive to our desires. Contrarily, our beliefs can also repel what we desire. The Law of Attraction is also the Law of Repulsion. Consequently, this law will attract our desire, or repel it. This makes life quite an adventure, and each individual is responsible for his or her unfolding future. It is because we are largely free to choose our boundaries, that good and bad acts are both possible. When we ask, “Why did God allow this or that to happen?” this attitude works on the supposition that we are not responsible for our choices and future, that we are not free and that the future is not open. God cannot give us freedom then take it back when we feel endangered or overwhelmed.
Working with the Law of Mind is not magic, although it sometimes may appear that way. Furthermore, because we are interrelated beings, we have an important element of responsibility toward others in our world. For example, we cannot rightly justify that our homeless population is totally responsible for their misfortune, any more than the wealthy are totally responsible for their good fortune. Both are part of a system which must be constantly adjusted for justice.
Individuals acting separately cannot solve systemic problems totally. Only individuals acting in concert in the shelter of compassion can solve them. Moses’ prescription was “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is immortal advice. It still applies to social injustices and hurts. An effective system is constantly making boundaries that work for all, not just for some. The selfish, individualistic boundaries will eventually evoke the Law of Repulsion, such as evidenced in the French Revolution, slavery, and mass shootings. These are avoidable wounds which we can prevent. Jesus gave a hint of our interrelatedness in the opening quote.
Limits or boundaries are not bad occasions of experience. However, we need to look at the kinds of boundaries we are making and see if they will lead to our growth and our positive becoming. If they do, we are well on our way. If they do not, it is time to make a better decision. In this way, we are going beyond our limits, and everyone will be blessed.

No comments:

Post a Comment