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To Put Away Childish Things

From the first letter of Paul of Tarsus to the school at Corinth:
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Chapter 13, verse 11

Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
Chapter 14, verse 20

Paul is not talking about dolls and games, he is talking about anger, jealousy, cruelty, spite, judgment and all these childish emotions in which we lose ourselves, forget ourselves—hurt ourselves and others for no gain and much loss.

But suppose one really likes those sad country songs, or enjoys rooting against a disliked football team, watches a negative TV show, and so on? Must we give it up? To my mind, to judge these things and so attempt to purge them from our interests is to miss the point entirely. Judging ourselves or others for something we now call childish, is simply substituting one childish emotion for another. In addition, these interests of ours are a big part of what we are, and that is not something we are trying to avoid; in fact, it is just the kind of thing we are trying to see, to penetrate.

Much better to begin to apply our understanding of system ideas to our life, our interests. The point is, there are reasons for putting away childish things, and when we understand these reasons, both theoretically and personally, practically nothing will be able to stop us from putting away those things that are delaying our evolution, interfering with our deepest intents.

Only apparent change comes from without—whether that "without" is society, or our false personality. Real change comes from within.

So when I find myself identifying with the music or the game, I try to see "who" is identifying. Which "I"s are these, what do they want? The point is to observe me acting them, to watch me, for example, watch the television. Watch the "I"s, observe them with interest, but don't get stuck on any observation. No preconceived judgment—our own or others—has any real power to change us. It is just another way to avoid seeing ourselves, a buffer, a way to avoid work. We have to learn our machinery by watching what it does. Again and again and again until we separate from it, like a seedling separates from its empty husk in the sunlight. And slowly we learn how to loosen a screw here, tighten a valve there, and begin to conserve energies, and refine them. Ultimately, to store and consciously deploy fine hydrogens as we intend.

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