Monday, August 21, 2017

Our biased views give us such a limited perspective of life and reality.

I have been convalescing from my Core Decompression procedure in the confines of my private quarters in the parish for slightly over a week now, with about 5 more weeks to go.  The doctor has given me strict instructions that I am to put no more than toe pressure on my operated leg, and this has resulted in me being heavily reliant on the use of two things – crutches and a wheelchair.  I have been told that for an Asian, I am taller than the average man, and sitting in a wheelchair, I have realized this in so many ways.  Sitting in a wheelchair brings me much closer down to the ground level, and just wheeling myself around in my residence, I see things that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen, like cobwebs under book shelves which are usually hidden from my vista when I am on my feet.

As I went about cleaning and dusting these shelves, I realized that this is just as true of our spiritual lives.  Aren’t most people so used to seeing things and people from their view and position in life?  This causes us to be either fixed or stuck in the way that we look at life and others, often preventing us from truly being empathetic and sympathetic.  While we know that we should always strive to enter into the world of others in order to understand their viewpoint and struggles, we don’t do this with enough conviction that allows us to truly enter into their experience. 

I am appreciating anew the necessity of a downward movement that the spiritual masters have long advocated.  This includes and is not limited to the need to embrace humility, the losing of the ego, the necessity of dying to self, to sin and the very painful experience of failure in various aspects.  We naturally resist and desist these when they show up on the doorsteps of our lives, and do everything that we can to prevent them from ever happening.  One reason for this is that we believe with all sincerity that as human beings, we are not only meant to fly, but to soar; not just to exist, but to flourish. 

While this is true, we are so often blindsided in our pursuit of greatness.  If we are out of touch with our deepest identity that is our divine filiation, we will end up only thinking rather narrowly that flourishing in life is only about what fills our bank accounts, what keeps us entertained and distracted and busy.  While these in themselves are not bad, they cannot be the yardstick by which we measure contentment, fulfillment and happiness, simply because they do not last. 

The paths of descent that we shun, however, are really the paths of enlightenment, illumination and awakening.  We don’t often take them on our own accord.  We are led there, and often also find ourselves fighting to get out of them.  But just as it takes our eyes a considerable time to get used to the darkness after it has been in the daylight for a prolonged period of time, we will begin to adjust to the dimmed environment that we are put in and see things anew.  Now, no longer only from a perspective of advantage and entitlement, but one that has brought us down several notches, giving us a different view of the same things that we have been seeing all the while. 


  1. Dear Fr. Luke,

    I am sure all readers of your blog will join me in praying for your full recovery from your Core Decompression procedure.

    God Bless

  2. When I read about the cobwebs I couldn't help wondering whether you were more fascinated or consternated by the gossamer threads. For in the story of King Bruce of Scotland the spider defied failure after failure and taught the fugitive king a lesson in hope. But I like what you said about having a different take at reality and life from a different /lower perspective.......

    It reminds me somehow of what GK Chesterton said in Orthodoxy - that sometimes...."our perennial spiritual and psychological task is to look at things familiar until they become unfamiliar again...." and his proposal to look at our surrounding (and people) with eyes unfamiliar and a willingness to challenge ourselves to " an active and imaginative life, picturesque and full of poetical curiousity...." perhaps this will help us to be "truly emphatic and sympathetic " like you said.

    God bless u,Fr


  3. Dear Fr. Luke,
    Recently, i went to a conference and bumped into 2 special women in my life. My former lecturer who taught me how to listen to the soul's heart..... skill of communication. Another woman who is a Hospice volunteer and is teaching the family members to connect with the loved one who is unable to communicate.
    I believe only the person is full of passion and love for others will have the grace to receive the gift. I knew a spiritual director who had both gifts. Sadly.... he was not around anymore. Praying that one day, he will be a great Saint.

    God loves us unconditionally