Unreal/Unreality

October 24, 2019

“How often do we anticipate some really bad things: crosses that may happen in our lives? It is the real 'crosses' in our lives that we have to carry. Unfortunately the human propensity to think irrationally…and have distorted cognitions…make carrying our crosses that much more difficult than it would be in reality. Irrationality and distorted cognitions serve as psychological barriers to our sanctification. Errors in thinking lead humans to create scenarios that may never be. Often these scenarios are linked in a downward cascade or spiral of scenes leading to anticipated events (with no realistic foundation) which by another thinking error is "over-evaluated" as something more that 100% bad, awful, terrible and catastrophic. Needless anxiety and depression of irrationality and distorted thinking processes are frequently the consequences. Instead of carrying the real crosses Our Lord allows us to face in our lives, we end up carrying fictitious crosses we ourselves create by our own 'faulty thinking.' This impedes our deification when we allow these emotional reactions to erode our love of God, dependency on Him and hope for our salvation. Before taking up the real crosses in our lives, followers of Christ should do a mental inventory of the reality base of what are thought of as crosses. Unreal crosses are arrived at by our own faulty thinking. We may be given partial ambiguous information about something and we draw a conclusion (unreal scenario) based on this.” (Fr. George Morelli, Clinical Psychologist)

 

“The imagination is a place where we find ourselves empowered, though the power we have is delusional and only destructive of the self. We may play mental games with the past, imagining that the truth is whatever we think it is, and imagine our own reactions as well. Never mind the fact that our imagination is most often quite wrong and our reactions utterly beside the point. The imaginary past becomes a “new history” which takes its place in the narrative of our lives. As such, our lives become a lie …We experience such imagination as fear or any number of false feelings. What we cannot know cannot be feared (in reality) – it can only be imagined and our fears and expectations become the stuff of our imagination. These things are vitally important to us as Christians. God is not the product of our imagination. Because this is so, and because we rarely experience the present moment in the present moment – the God whom most people think they know is no God at all, only the imagination of past or present, one of many characters that inhabit the unreality of our unstable minds. We should not be shaken by the skepticism of those who question our thoughts and beliefs about God. We should take such skepticism as a sober encounter of the insobriety of our imaginations.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

 

“It is quite possible for our lives to be dominated by things that have no existence. Our dreams and fantasies, our fears and anxieties, take on an existence that overwhelms everything else. Not only can such concerns not be defeated on their own ground (they are the masters of the unreal world) they must be slowly dragged onto the very ground of reality, Christ Himself, so that they can be revealed in their powerlessness and swept away with the dust of non-being.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

 

“Dealing with the unreal is actually simple but difficult at the same time. The problem is that to us in our fallen state and/or in our moment of crisis, the unreal seems real and the real seems unreal. This is because we are actually bound by the ‘strong man’ and may not even know it. We have to overcome the ‘strong man’ not by our own strength, but by relentlessly uniting ourselves to the ‘Stronger Man’ (Luke 14:21-23). The ‘strong man’ tries to deceive us through fears, temptations, and other imagined fantasies and corrupt the ‘simplicity that is in Christ’ (2 Corinthians 11:3). Trying to overcome him by our own strength does not work. We overcome him by continuously (not to be confused with continually) uniting ourselves to Christ through daily prayer, Bible reading with the purpose of knowing Christ, confession, and the Eucharist. These are our weapons in this spiritual warfare. Christ does the fighting for us. We simply have to turn to Him without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

 

“An ungodly man is one who lives contrary to God and his God-given nature. He lives in the unnatural fears of his own imaginations (when no one is pursuing). Thus, he lives in unreality and cowardice. But a righteous man lives in the reality of Wisdom and His virtues, in which he is confident as a lion.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 28:1)

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