Are You Out of Your Mind?

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Are You Out of Your Mind?Strange question…simple answer.  We can live “out of the head” instead of the heart or soul. Perhaps the longest journey you will make in your lifetime is from your head to your heart.  Healthy people have a combination of both.  Recently, on the hit TV show “So You Think You Can Dance”, one of the judges told a contestant, “You are dancing out of your head and not your heart.”  Everyone agreed, even the contestant.  The same holds true about musicians as well as many other professions.  One of the highest compliments I’ve received as a minister is, “You really spoke to us out of your heart today,” which usually meant that I was preaching to Me.  I wonder how many sermons I’ve preached when my heart wasn’t in it?

Singing or dancing or speaking from the heart is soulful—expressing our deepest feelings.  Soulful living is right brain stuff, like singing, dancing, playing, loving and creating.  The soul helps us to be imaginative, intuitive and to get in touch with our emotions.  When people say, “My gut feeling tells me thus and so,” they are coming from the soul.  “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” (Proverbs 23:7).  We tend to become what we think about, similar to the old adage, “You are what you eat.”  We can literally think ourselves into a depression or anxiety in no time at all.  What we think about produces our feelings.  If we change our thoughts, our feelings will follow.

All this is not to downplay the role of the mind at all.  The brain is a miraculous gift from the Creator God.  It helps us to choose, learn, solve problems and so on.  It can also be our worst enemy or our best friend.  As long as we identify with the mind, we will pollute it with worry, anger, fear and so on.  You are more than just your mind.  You are a spirit.  People who master life refuse to be pushed around by negative thoughts.  This is not to hide your head in the sand, but if you listen to the voice in your head exclusively, you may end up judging, comparing, complaining and imagining the worst.  The mind can play tricks on you, and play old “tapes” such as, “I’ll never amount to anything,” or, “I don’t belong,” or, “I don’t have any talent,” etc.

The Power of NowEckhart Tolle, in his book, “The Power of Now”, says when we listen to our mind “thinking” and realize that here I am listening to it, this “I am” is a sense of your presence that opens the door to reality.  I believe that this “I am” is also our connection to god.  Emotions are signals from the soul.  Every emotion offers information about you that is important.  Our emotions are expressions of the soul.  Spiritual growth comes from listening to those emotions with the desire of bringing them in line with your faith in God.  If you try to live exclusively out of your head (left brain), it may keep you from learning to swim, or painting, or playing a musical instrument, or whatever you’d like to do that your mind won’t let you risk doing.  Your mind can sabotage you just by “thinking” you can’t do this or that.  If you live out of your phobias, life can be just one scary thing after another.

We live in a time when the mind is suffering form information overload.  We are almost forced into head-living by trying to keep up with the internet, numbers, systems, charts, gains and losses, and other stress-producing technological advances.  Soulful living, or spiritual growth will just have to wait until we can take care of business, which may take too long, if we are not careful.  So, find time to give expression to the needs of your spirit.  Take time for soulful living.  Get in touch with your dreams.  Wake up to the beauty of creation.  Find time to meditate and to pray, and feel your connection to all living things.

I believe that the Apostle Paul knew a lot of this soul-mind stuff long ago when he wrote to the Philippians: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worth of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8).  In the meantime, keep watch over your mind, not as your master, but your slave.  The mind is a great instrument; I wouldn’t leave home without it.