In an earlier post, I mentioned that I am taking an on-line class (Breathing Under Water )based on a book by the same name by Fr. Richard Rohr. Last night I read the introduction to the book just before bed-time – and then couldn’t get to sleep. Here is one extended quote that stirred up my mind:
“We are all spiritually powerless . . . and not just those physically addicted to a substance, which is why I address this book to everyone. Alcoholics just have their powerlessness visible for all to see. The rest of us disguise it in different ways and overcomp-ensate for our more hidden and subtle addictions and attachments , especially our addiction to our way of thinking.
We all take our own pattern of thinking as normative, logical, and surely true, even when it does not fully compute. We keep doing the same thing over and over again, even if it is not working for us. That is the self-destructive, even “demonic,” nature of all addiction and of the mind, in particular. We think we are our thinking, and we even take that thinking as utterly “true,” which removes us at least two steps from reality itself. We really are our own worst enemies, and salvation is primarily from ourselves. It seems humans would sooner die than change or admit that they are mistaken (p. xix).”
Fr. Rohr says we are all addicted; we just hide it better than people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol (or food or sex). Our superciliousness in the face of “those” people really seems arrogant if we acknowledge that our thinking is an addiction.
Thinking as an addiction! Addictions are things we deny, things we think we control, things that often make us look foolish and ridiculous, things that are self-sabotaging and harmful to others. So, according to Fr. Richard, is insisting upon holding on to thinking that we believe is logical “even though it doesn’t fully compute.”
I’m reminded about the concept of false narratives in the Apprentice Series by James Bryan Smith. False narratives are ways that we think about our lives and relationships and even about God that, when looked at through other perspectives and lenses, do not hold up. We need to change those ways of thinking to align with how Jesus looked at life. Changing those narratives is often very difficult. Looking at our thought process as an addiction helps explains why withdrawal is so difficult. And it may also help us acknowledge our need for help in “having the mind of Christ.”