by Deborah C. Tyler
A new theoretical framework in the tradition of William James’ work posits that religious experience is the deepest level of self-comprehension, and that four streams of consciousness — natural, unnatural, theistic, and deistic — flow together to form both individual and social religious experience.
You can take an online assessment to profile your religious experience!
by Deborah C. Tyler & a Vietnam-era Vet
A Vietnam era Marine with a traumatic brain injury asked me to write up his idea to solve the crisis at the border. He told me nobody would listen to him because he’s just a nobody, a vet with a hole in his head. I assured him of the perfect equality of our nobodyness, but promised him I would get his idea published.
by Deborah C. Tyler
“I am paying for this microphone!” Do you recall the anger in President Reagan’s words?
Mindfulness is the term for an interdisciplinary movement in psychology, philosophy, and the health sciences. One of its founding parents, Jon Kabat-Zinn, perfectly expressed the greatness of Ronald Reagan in his definition of mindfulness: “Living as if your life really mattered.”
Mindfulness is moment-to-moment living in full awareness and acceptance of thoughts or feelings that enables one to take in what is really there and to act with authenticity and vitality.
Mindfulness is a big tent of consciousness that covers the psychological concept of “healthy anger,” which means swiftly dispersing the fume of the moment. It is an immediate and proportional response to wrongdoing that can be understood by its intended recipient. It may cause discomfort but not harm. Mindfulness is necessary in healthy relationships because it communicates authentic feeling and enables the addressee to make informed choices about their own behavior. It reflects the belief that one deserves to be treated respectfully and that the recipient is capable of respectful behavior. Anger within mindfulness does not seek to manipulate or intimidate. Resentment and rage are mindless and unhealthy. Bitterness and wrath result from “carried” or “transferred” anger that, for one reason or another, did not diffuse when it arose.
One of the reasons Americans of traditional values and their leaders do not speak up is because they have become numb and paralyzed under relentless mental abuse from the government-media-educational establishments. In response to the open hydrants of over-the-top vituperative from the left, many conservatives do not respond mindfully. An important reason these behaviors regarding the problem of anger differ is a reflection of differences between the psychological conditioning of Judeo-Christian beliefs and humanism. These perspectives not only differ, they are diametrically opposed.
The heart is the seat of the mind. The Bible has hundreds of passages which say that sin begins in the individual heart, mind, and soul and that angry thoughts and feelings are in themselves sinful. Matthew 5:21-22: “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister shall be subject to judgment.” The Judeo-Christian belief system regarding the problem of anger was the accepted basis of civility and self-control in American public life until the mid twentieth century, until the assumptions of humanism came to define much of public conversation, particularly political behavior and discourse of the left-wing.
Humanism assumes there is nothing beyond this life – no God Who cares about thoughts/feelings or judges anything. It is a humanist cliché that there is only heaven or hell on earth. Humanism leads to the unintentional religious experience of “autodeism,” in which one’s own mind is the all-powerful judge. In such self-directed life, expressing emotion is a positive end in and of itself. And because emotional disrestraint can be habit-forming, such expression tends to snowball.
Psychological theory supports the Bible, insofar as establishing that that which is mentally envisioned tends to be behaviorally expressed. Angry thoughts are precursors to violent deeds. But for decades the philosophical and moral underpinnings of humanism have dominated psychology and have opened the floodgates of anger in everyday life in America.
In a recent American Thinker essay about racism, I recounted how a friend, Joe, had been harassing me with unwanted e-mails, slandering me and others with the appellation of racist, and ruining meetings with his compulsive defense mechanism of projected racism. When I finally challenged him, Joe angrily barked that I was rude. I said, “No Joe, that wasn’t rude, this is rude.” Then I suggested where he might insert his abuse.
Those words, which I believe expressed mindful, healthy anger, were omitted from the published piece. Perhaps the AT editors were wise in purging what they believed to be objectionable material. Perhaps that editorial decision was to some degree the self-suppression which can develop among people who are constantly called names.
The mindful expression of anger is influenced by cultural expectations. Joe and I are both originally from New York. Possibly because of the crowded conditions, the tendency to quick familiarity, and a sense of camaraderie under the rigors of urban life, big city people tend to have good healthy anger skills. I would never tell a Southerner to “lodge it away from the moonlight” because of their culture of pride and decorum. But after repeated polite requests, finally telling Joe what to do with his allegations improved our relationship. He has backed off on the racism echolalia, at least around me.
The 2008 interviews of Sarah Palin by Katie Couric is a study not only in Couric’s insincerity, but also of different cultural norms regarding the expression of anger. By the end of the interview, Palin was very angry. When a woman of her culture says in that tone, “I’ll get back to ya on that one,” that is her idiom for what I said to Joe. But it was ineffective because nobody seemed to hear it. I did because I have been practicing psychology among such people for years. Couric came off as in control, not only because Palin was operating under mistaken assumptions about honesty in the left-wing media, but also because of her style of expressing anger based on her religious and cultural backgrounds.
Americans of all geographic and cultural backgrounds are craving a conservative president who has the integrity to express healthy anger. Bluntness has become a political advantage. Chris Christie and Donald Trump enjoy that advantage because they are brusque New York types and are not afraid of a little conversational push and shove.
Just as devout people do not have to give up their belief in the sins of the heart, conservatives do not have to resign their convictions. Everyone who loves America must open their eyes and see, open their ears and hear, and feel within their hearts the abuse they are paying for. They need to say with Reagan’s tone, “I am paying for this IRS, NSA, DOJ, Planned Parenthood, government schools, and all the rest. I am paying for that pen and phone that the President threatens to use dictatorially. And I have the mindfulness to stop paying.”
Do me once, shame on you. Do me 100,000 times makes me a Republican. Do you recall Governor Romney being a punching bag for Candy Crowley and standing mutely while Obama lied about Benghazi? Or Marco Rubio’s furtive water-drinking incident. He was a senator but apparently afraid to wet his whistle and take a sip of water. Mindfulness empowers the individual to set their pace and claim their own power in the moment.
Every relationship necessarily proceeds at the level of the more restricted consciousness. The relationship between the Christ and humanity is conducted at the level of humanity. The relationship between an adult and a child proceeds at the level of the child. And the relationship between conservatives and liberal progressives has been controlled by the latter. Conservatives must take back control of that relationship – and that requires cultivating mindfulness.
by Deborah C. Tyler
Trayvon Martin’s last act in life was to commit an assault and battery. He had illegal drugs in his system and he lashed out in unjustified violence against a stranger who had offended him. George Zimmerman’s behavior that evening can be characterized as adaptive post-traumatic hypervigilence. He knew that a home invasion had occurred in his neighborhood and he was taking reasonable steps to protect his wife and home.
by Deborah C. Tyler
Not too long ago, I spent a few days at an oceanfront resort hotel. While I was there, an Islamic group of about a hundred people checked in for a few days.
This article originally appeared on American Thinker