What a great post Anna, thanks. There is something beautiful about your post here.
As you often do you move to the real conversation in a given subject. I appreciate your answer to my question where you very clearly lay out your methodology, you criteriology. In terms of the "how-to" aspect of this thread you have provided a very good answer I think in terms of Eastern Orthodoxy. I think you know I am fond of sayings like 'each as appropriate for oneself' and 'one size doesn't always fit all,' and I think you know I like to mix my metaphors, but I think you covered a lot of ground with one brush stroke there.
But, the real beauty in your post is the way you move to the "heart of the matter" in
your last sentence or two where you speak of:
1.) The necessity of a commitment to this path
2.) The necessity of faith that we are on the right path
3.) The necessity to not question/doubt that we are on the right path
The title of this thread is "How-to" convert the intellect. Again, your last post which speaks of you criteria and method addresses this very plainly and very well. But, anyone who is really in the game at all knows these methods and techniques provide only an instrumentality for the one who desires a new mindset.
As Owen says, in his follow-up, agreeing with you I think, we cannot be a walking civil war once on the path. Owen says we need to put confusion behind us in order to find conversion of the intellect.
This is really the crux of the issue here. We can all tell our own personal stories, we can all talk about our methods that we have and do employ, we can all talk about our own baggage that we have, and so on . . . and this might be helpful in terms of bringing awareness to some that did not have this awareness before.
But, this is really just all a colossal waste of time if the subject of commitment is not addressed, or as you say Anna, a commitment in faith to one's path. This is something that I don't think is understood by many here based on the writing in these threads. You know? We can say, "What you need to do son is to just put that confusion behind you." But, really this is less helpful then telling an addict or a drunk, "What you need to do son is to stop doing those drugs or stop drinking that whiskey."
We can consider all day long the "How-to" in terms of this is what you need to do in order to be on the right path, in order to walk the Orthodox way . . . we can make it easy and make a list of methods and label them 1-2-3:
We can do this. Some folks are fond of saying Orthodoxy is not methodical or systematic in any way, but it can be outlined and presented this way (although some do not appreciate the outline once it is complete).
There are common phrases presented to newbies in Orthodoxy like "Welcome home!" and "Taste and See." And, when we are newbies these sound very-very good to use. We smile our heart is warmed (and fuzzy) and we are excited about the prospects of what lies ahead in our new environment.
And, then to varying degrees, things kind of start to "funnel down." And, we who have lived any length of time, receive yet another 'welcome to the real world.' And, then we choose to acquiesce to what seems right to us, or what most of the folks we know believe and teach, or not.
Some acquiesce whole-heartedly, some acquiesce half-heartedly, some refuse to acquiesce at all until a genuine and sincere commitment to a way can be made.
I'm not very awake right now, and we are just now stumbling towards the real heart of this thread . . .
As it relates to a somewhat informed authentic commitment, that does include a degree of certainty in our decision, this is what must be addressed in this thread to have any hope of speaking to the subject in a real way.
Just as the Buddhist proclaims to its prospective converts that they must "come and see" we do the same. Some things can only be experienced to be understood. So, this is a real part of the process, but in the real world so is an authentic commitment. Unless there is an authentic commitment, we are like the new Buddhist convert who is told not to look back and he believes this, but he looks back. Unless there is an authentic commitment, we are like the drunk who tells people he wants to quit drinking, but inside he really isn't sure. Possibly, the answer is to preach "obedience"? Or, maybe not.
I hope such things as an authentic commitment can be addressed in this "how-to" thread. Otherwise, "how-can" any not be a walking civil war inside?
There is peace and contentment and assurance to be found by means of some Buddhist practices for some, these things can be found also through the insturmentality of prescription drugs and/or substance abuse for some. We can make an authentic commitment to various things, and as we progress through them we can think we are on the right path based on what we are experiencing . . . but, our intellect is not converted yet as we make any decision or commitment initially, is it? Hmm . . .
Edited by Rick H., 28 September 2011 - 11:52 AM.