Why Detaching From Negative States Is Important To Practise

When we get serious about exploring the inner world using truths from the Word to do that, we soon discover that what actually presents as our mental life in the form of its emotions and thoughts can be somewhat disturbing. This is because prior to practising self-examination and repentance in relation to the life of our mind, we give very little attention to the quality of the inside of the cup (Matthew. 23:25-26).  In the work True Christian Religion (215{2}), we see this idea of the need to attend to the things of the mind expressed:

Jesus said: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, because you clean the outside of the cup and dish, but the insides are full of robbery and intemperance. You blind Pharisee, clean first the inside of the cup and dish, so that the outside too may be clean. Matthew 23:25, 26.

In saying this the Lord spoke in similes and comparisons which are at the same time correspondences. When He said ‘the cup and dish’, cup not only means but stands for the truth of the Word, since cup implies wine and wine stands for truth. Dish, however, implies food, and food stands for good. Therefore cleaning the inside of the cup and dish means purifying the interior parts of the mind, the seats of will and thought, by means of the Word. ‘So that the outside may be clean’ means that in this way the exterior things too, what we do and say, are purified, for their essence is drawn from the interior.

To live a spiritual life involves attending to the life of our spirit or mind, of our thoughts and affections, in an effort to see the quality of what passes for our mental life in the light of what the Word teaches is good and true. For it is only in making an effort to see the quality of our emotional states and their related thoughts in the light of what the Word teaches that we can hope to discern their source. If we judge a state to be hellish in nature, then it is clear that in the moment of that assessment we have a choice to either give ourselves over to the negative emotional state, so that we become it and it becomes us, or we can resist having the state take possession of our mental faculties so that we don’t lose our sense of self in it. Anyone who has attended to their emotional states will be well aware that catching them before they catch us is a difficult thing to do, and without practise is near to impossible.

So, in working with negative states, as we begin to become more aware of them, we need to observe and acknowledge them without falling into feelings of self-condemnation or negative self-talk…

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

Or, should this occur, we then need to look to find a way to see these responses for what they are – another face of the proprium, that seeks, through pronouncing its judgments, to undermine our efforts to work with the Word that we might be set free from the negative emotional states in which the proprium takes delight.

The outer self must be reformed by the inner self, and not the reverse. By the outer and inner self we mean the same thing as by the internal and external levels of thought, which we have discussed frequently before. The outer self must be reformed by the inner self because the internal flows into the external, and not the reverse. People in the learned world know that there is an influx of the spiritual self into the natural self, and not the reverse. And in the church people know that the inner self must be purified and renewed first, and by it then the outer one. This is known because the Lord teaches it and reason declares it. (Divine Providence 150[6])

The natural man or the natural mind is inwardly purified when falsities and evils are removed, but it is not purified when they are not removed. For such as the interior is such does the exterior become, but the interior does not become such as the exterior is. For the interior flows into the exterior and disposes it to agreement with itself, but not the reverse. (Apocalypse Explained 960)

Without giving attention to the intentional practice of the Word nothing can change in us. And yet there is a paradox here, for it is also true that no amount of effort on our part guarantees a change in the state of our being or life. In the spiritual economy, there is no return for effort, if, and note the ‘if’, we are working in order to get a benefit or reward.  In Logopraxis work we engage with the Word and practise it simply because that is what it asks us to do. We do this without looking to gain any preconceived outcome or reward. We work out of our love for the Lord and our neighbour, and if this is done we shall be made whole, not because of our work or effort, but because of the quality of our love.

Self-examination and repentance involves taking spiritual principles from the Word and assessing the quality of our inner mental life in the light of these. As we identify what is opposed to the Word and practise repentance in regard to what is seen, so we purify the internal level of our thought and this provides us with a plane of mind from which those things that flow into the external level can be assessed and dealt with.

For it is truths worked into the life of the mind that form the basis for being able to see anything within, these truths because they are drawn from the Word, are in fact the Lord in us.  Therefore, to see spiritually is to see from the Lord as if of ourselves, in fact, all seeing of this kind is really the Lord seeing within us but Him giving us that seeing as if it were ours. He, being the Word, is both the Seer and the Light. In ourselves we have no ability whatsoever to see anything, this is why we need to stay engaged with the Word and to practise it as is so clearly pointed out in the following…

The internal man is purified by knowing, understanding, and thinking the truths of the Word, and the external man by willing and doing them. This makes clear how the Lord’s words to Peter must be understood, “He that hath bathed needeth not save to wash his feet;” likewise how the Lord’s words to the Pharisees must be understood, “cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside may become clean also.”

That the internal man is purified by truths which are of faith, and the external by a life according to them, is meant also by these words of the Lord:
Except one be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5).
“Water” signifying the truths of faith, and “spirit” a life according to them. (Apocalypse Explained 475[7-8])

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