I think this will be a short one. After plumbing the depths of my thoughts for the last post, I haven't much left, and am in real need of sleep. But I wanted to capture the germ of this idea while I have it.
Picturing a hero from some myth or epic tale. He endures the usual epic quest to reach the monster's lair. He strives with the monster. There is much drama, much suspense, many close calls, and then, just when victory seems certain, when the monster weakens and starts to falter, the hero makes a fatal mistake. He gazes into the face of the monster. He is fixated. Mesmerized. And as he gazes too long, he is transformed into an exact replica of the monster. Tragic ending. Not the kind I like.
Here's the shade of an idea that I got from that phrase, that picture in my head:
What we focus our attention on is what we become.
If we focus our attention on what we are Against, we become consumed with Against-ness. It breeds all sorts of twisted, negative, destructive emotions and tendencies. Like when people decide it's okay to hate a certain group of people, or a cause, or a religion, or an idea. Giving oneself permission to hate anything is a treacherous and slippery slope. I think that any time people give themselves permission to hate, even if the hate is directed at truly terrible things, they are broken, changed, and scarred by letting that hate dwell in them. People on every side of every issue fall into this trap.
If, instead, we focus our attention on what we are For, we are transformed in an entirely different and beautiful way. Focusing on what is positive, healthy, hopeful and good fills us up with all those good things. Like the Bible verse....okay, I'll go look it up so I get it right...
Philippians 4:8..."Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things."
What we think about, what we dwell on, what we fix our thoughts on...that is what we become.
If we gaze too long at the monster, we will become just like the monster.
But if we gaze long and steadily into the face of Beauty, we will be transformed into a reflection of that beauty.