What is God-Centered Living, Anyhow? (A Contemplative Inquiry)

In Dr. Hora’s commentary on one line in the Lord’s Prayer, we’re told that “God-centered living is the only alternative to self-confirmatory ideation.” So perhaps we can explore precisely what that term means, what it implies for the state of our values and consciousness, and how it might come about.

At first glance, it seems impossible to attain. On a behavioral level, it appears analogous to the requirement of ceaseless prayer, or the blessings of God that one is advised to constantly recite by Judaism regarding every conceivable aspect of living. But we’ve been taught to eschew will driven, behavioral solutions to problems, so that gives us a legitimate excuse from attempting to keep our mind perpetually focused on God.

It must, like all Metapsychiatric truths, rely on our understanding something, for as last year’s PAGL Associates topic asserted, “Truth liberates, understanding transforms, love heals.” The implication, then, is that understanding alters consciousness in some profound, radical way such that God centrism becomes not only possible, but actualized.

Now, we also know that understanding cannot be done, but that it can occur, by the grace of God, to those who sincerely seek it by studying and paying attention to truths about spiritual reality.

We are looking for an alternative to self-confirmatory ideation, which is the natural state of consciousness for the incessant stream of thought. In meditation or psychotherapeutic dialogue we become suffused with an ineluctable awareness of the tendencies to which we succumb, thereby revealing, to those interested in knowing, the values underlying our particular form of self-confirmatory thoughts.

Metapsychiatry has pointed out to us that, before we are likely to forsake some invalid mode-of-being, we need to become consciously aware of its inherent existential invalidity; this means that it is an ultimately futile way of living that can never bring us the quality of life to which we aspire. Such a realization leads us to regret that troublesome perspective on life and inspires us toward seeking a healing truth in a spirit of humility, for our past misguided attachment inexorably induces a grudging acceptance of our limitations.

In other words, the “dark night of the soul,” experienced when we come to clearly see our addiction to self-confirming ways of being, morphs into a bleak dawn filled with embarrassing recognition of our errant approach. We are being prepared to acknowledge our utter dependence on God, perhaps initially perceived as a loss of self-assertiveness, but later embraced as the sole, genuine source of good in our lives. That transformation, constituting a real reversal of our intentions, can only occur as a gift to a receptive consciousness. We are challenged to attain a state of receptivity, under the persuasive pressure of our discomfort, by becoming more urgently, acutely aware of the nature of life and of our real identity and purpose.

Like Dr. Hora’s recommendation to practice Metapsychiatry non-verbally, God-centered living is only effective when secretly cherished. Spoken interactions with others regarding our new perspective are ill-advised invitations to be viewed as a kook and disparaged, either overtly or, more frequently, covertly. Hence it is the private, subjective, internal realization of, and commitment to, reliance on God that frees us from our impulse toward self-confirmatory ideation and liberates us from interaction.

The interest in being emancipated from habitual patterns of problematic thought and inherited, clung-to, unhealthy values combined with the glimpses we get of the seemingly unencumbered, simpler, calculation and worry free, joyful life of the spiritually minded are the dual motivators, driving and drawing us to turn toward God-centered living. The criterion by which we can identify whether God has become the focal point of our attention is by the manifestation of PAGL in our consciousness.

We are further reminded by the second principle that God-centered living consistently directs attention to the good that already is, in contrast to our desires. Such a discipline is clearly at the heart of this liberated mode of being in the world.

Also, when we come to wholeheartedly, reverently esteem the enlightened quality of mind as a wonder-filled spiritual blessing, we may finally know the constancy and absence of precariousness that Isaiah promised in Chapter 26, verse 3: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”