Monday, February 09, 2015

ADDRESSING "MY PEOPLE"

THE UNITARIAN CHURCH OF YUMA INVITED ME TO SPEAK LAST SUNDAY ON WHATEVER SUBJECT INTERESTED ME.  I chose as my title: WHAT HEALTHY PERSONALITIES  LOOK LIKE----AND HOW THEY ARE GROWN.
The Unitarians rent a chapel from the Presbyterian church and hold their meetings at 11:30 am on Sundays. Here, I've just begun to speak.

Not a big group--they rarely are---but most sizable towns usually have a Unitarian/Universalist congregation..  At least 5 U.S. presidents were Unitarian: Jefferson, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, William Taft. And Lincoln is said to have Universalist leanings.
If you are curious about them---here are their 7 principles:
  1. 1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. 2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. 7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Note that they have no "doctrines".  Over time they have gotten rid of them all: (The trinity, Divinity of Jesus, Virgin Birth, Atonement, Hell etc) and focused on VALUES----like those above.

To save time, I passed out copies of Maslow's 22 characteristics of self actualized people:



1. HAVE MORE EFFICIENT PERCEPTION
Unusual ability to detect the spurious, the fake, dishonesty in personality
In general, to judge people correctly and efficiently.
They can see reality more clearly.
2. ARE NOT FRIGHTENED BY THE UNKNOWN
Tolerate, even enjoy ambiguity

3. ACCEPT THEMSELVES AND OTHERS
Self - A relative lack of overriding guilt, crippling shame and severe anxiety
They accept their own human nature in stoic style, their shortcomings and discrepancies.
Others - They also accept others with their shortcomings and discrepancies.

4. ENJOY THEMSELVES WITHOUT SHAME

5. LACK DEFENSIVENESS AND POSE
Distaste for guile, hypocrisy, front, face

6. EXPRESS SPONTANEITY - SIMPLICITY - NATURALNESS

7. ARE MOTIVATED BY AN URGE TO GROW (Versus deficiency motivation)
Living vs. preparing to live
They don’t strive, they develop
They attempt to grow to perfection - to develop more and more fully their own style.

8. FOCUS ON PROBLEMS OUTSIDE THEMSELVES
They are problem-centered rather than ego-centered.
They usually have some mission in life.

9. HAVE THE QUALITY OF DETACHMENT
They remain unruffled, undisturbed by that which produces turmoil in others.
They find it easy to be aloof, reserved, calm, serene.
They take personal misfortune without reacting violently.
They are more objective and therefore can concentrate better.
They don’t need others in the ordinary sense.
They are self-governing, self-disciplined.
They are the deciding agent rather than a pawn.
They have more free will.

10. HAVE A GREATER NEED FOR PRIVACY

11. ARE MORE INDEPENDENT OF CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT

12. HAVE A CONTINUED FRESHNESS OF APPRECIATION
They count their blessings.

13. HAVE HAD A MYSTIC EXPERIENCE (a peak experience)
These are experiences, usually brief, of limitless horizons opening up to the vision.
The feeling of being simultaneously more powerful and more helpless than ever.
The feeling of great ecstasy, wonder, awe.
The loss of placing in time and space.
The conviction that something extremely important and valuable has happened so that
One is to some extent transformed and strengthened.

14. HAVE DEEPER FEELINGS OF IDENTIFICATION, SYMPATHY AND AFFECTION.
Despite occasional anger, impatience, disgust.

15. DESIRE TO HELP THE HUMAN RACE.

16. HAVE DEEPER, MORE PROFOUND INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS.
Capable of more fusion, greater love, more perfect identification.
Especially deep ties with fewer people
Circle of friends rather small

17. ARE DEMOCRATIC
Are friendly with anyone with suitable character, regardless of class, education, or race

18. CAN DISCRIMINATE BETWEEN MEANS AND ENDS, GOOD AND EVIL
They are clear in themselves though often their notions of right and wrong are not the
conventional ones.

19. ARE PHILOSOPHICAL

20. HAVE A NON-HOSTILE SENSE OF HUMOR

21. ARE CREATIVE

22. ARE RESISTANT TO ENCULTURATION
They transcend any particular culture.

I let them scan these 22 points for a bit---till they got the gist of what I meant by Whole personality.--then speculated that most people in this room would possess most of these characteristics.
Indeed, a roomful of Unitarians usually represents the "cream" of their town:  Better educated, more mature personalities---representing the best humanity has to offer---as voiced by shakespeare:

What a piece of work is man!
How noble in reason;
How infinite in faculty;
In form and moving--how express and admirable.
In action--how like an angel;
In apprehension--how like a God.
The beauty of the world;
The paragon of animal.

I asked:  Who we might know in history that embodied these characteristics? A few came to my mind:
Buddha, Socrates, Voltaire, Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Ben Franklin 

I asked who--in the movies--demonstrated an enlightened personality?  Three came to mind:
Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek
Russel Crow in Master and Commander
Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln

Then I asked how these "super" personalities are made?  I speculated:
1. That they are self-made by personal resolve. (Franklin made a list of qualities he aspired to and consciously focused on one of them till he was satisfied he had mastered it)
2. That interacting with their circle of close and worthy friends created a FEEDBACK LOOP wherein enlightened behavior elicited a rewarding response---which stimulated even more enlightened behavior and even more rewarding responses. (A feedback loop is like compounding interest on money---it builds at an ever accelerating rate ) Franklin called his circle of close friends
his Junto.  They met at a tavern on Friday nights--drank beer and had great conversations. (and they did more than talk---this terrific group of men improved their town--creating the first fire department in America--the first street lights--the first lending library and even founded the University of Pennsylvania.
Buddha's circle of friends were his forest buddies that supported his development.

Apparently it is true what Teilard De Chardin says:  "Isolation is a dead end---the self is fulfilled in community."

Precisely how interaction promotes personal growth may not be known, but I speculate that when friendly personalities engage for a period---one will see in the other some quality that they admire---and slowly (or quickly) that quality is appropriated by the other.  That is how personalities are grown.
That is why it serves us well to associate with the best of our friends.

When we engage with our friends--we do so at one of 4 levels: Ritual--(Hello how are you etc) Pastime (sports, gossip, hobbies etc) Work talk or Authenticity (what we really think, want, feel, have done)
It is at the level of Authenticity that personal growth occurs.

I closed my speech with a parable:  Verily I say unto you--your circle of friends is like unto rocks in a tumbler---each makes the others more beautiful as they tumble.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the church i visited growing up was more like this, i might have stuck around.

Anonymous said...

Randy, Your post are always interesting and I want to Thank You for always inspiring me to read and research the subjects you entertain us with. Having been raised Baptist, I wasn't real sure what Unitarian was, and after reading about it, I'd say that is more in line with my beliefs. Also, I just had to look up Thomas Jefferson, and enjoyed at least an hour reading up on him. In high school I was not particularly interested in this, but now I found it so absorbing. So, Thanks again for inspiring an 'old dog" to keep learning. Linda

Anonymous said...

wow, this represents a lot of thought and work on your part! thank you very much; haven't seen this body of work for lots of years. will review it again soon.Unitarians always peaceful, deep-thinking, open-hearted people, imho.

Jason Collins said...

Your list is great. I can relate to many of the traits and see them in myself. I am advanced on some, empathy, disassociation, but still get frustrated and impatient. It is nice to read an article that puts some of this in perspective. Good for personal growth.

Anonymous said...

A fine sermon!
I like those 7 principles, and that's why I joined up and support UUs.
We are in a dynamic of of life & death, and the UUs here are choosing life of course, but they call it "love".
They break the equilibrium symmetry like the human heart does by favoring the left side.
I can't fault that, so I follow along.
Bushhman

Gayle Maria said...

Have you considered posting your responses to our Comments? It would make a good blog even better, much more lively. This is social media, which is all about dialog. Love to hear others views on your latest post.But if I keep returning back to your Comments and they are "dead," then I guess I should just read the book.