Most of us feel we are thinking for ourselves and have a semblance of objectivity, but if we are unaware or in denial of who or what is influencing us, we are standing on shaky ground. Watching a movie, taking in the news, listening to a sermon from pulpit or parent, or reading a blog, the motive to influence is always operating. The appearance of objectivity can be misleading, whether supported by audio, visual, statistical data, convincing reasoning - and just being aware of this is helpful.
How do we tell whether the influence is good or bad? Apparently, it is not easy. Jesus warned that “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many go that way: and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.”
Before GPS, seamen depended on the stars, fixed in the heavens, to guide them. Similarly, we need something less fluid than our human reasoning and what we observe around us to guide us. Again Jesus pointed the way: you will not find the right way to go out there, for the kingdom of God, that which is good and true, is within you.
As I understand it, this is where prayer is essential, to get in touch with what is in our heart, and hone in on that which is reliable, healthy, and wise. This requires entering into the closet, as Jesus instructed, shutting the door on all the babble, the mental arguing and justifying.
“The closet typifies the sanctuary of
Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but
lets in Truth, Life, and Love. Closed to
error, it is open to Truth, and vice versa.
The Father in secret is unseen to the physical senses,
but He knows all things and rewards according to
motives, not according to speech. To enter into the
heart of prayer, the door of the erring senses must be
closed. Lips must be mute and materialism silent,
that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine
Principle, Love, which destroys all error.” *
This cultivated turning away from the bombardment of the world is essential.
“Breaking away from the
mutations of time and sense, you will neither
lose the solid objects and ends of life nor your own identity.
Fixing your gaze on the realities supernal, you will
rise to the spiritual consciousness of being, even as the bird
which has burst from the egg and preens its wings for a skyward flight.” *
This is the only real protection against destructive influences, and is why individualism is the bane of tyranny and the champion of freedom.