Friday, 1 April 2016

Unconditional Positive Regard

Here's a secret. I learned it this past Lent. If you want to change your life, meditate for an hour a day. The changes won't happen immediately but they will happen.

Sit still.
Stop trying.
Don't just do something, sit there.
Be quiet for a change.

The psychologist Carl Rogers coined a phrase, Unconditional Positive Regard, to express the attitude required of a counsellor towards the one who comes for counsel. By it he meant that no matter what was said or done, the counsellor offers support and acceptance. The extension of this regard gives an environment in which the vast resources within the client can be mobilised for their own healing.

I don't know where the humanist Carl Rogers got his phrase from, but it seems that great minds think alike, for this is the attitude God extends towards us. Jesus said, Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  I think he meant this: get out of your own way. All that stuff you have been trying all your life; the stuff that has never quite worked: why do you persist with it?

So, sit still, and let go, as far as you can, the old life; that is,  the insulating layers you have so carefully erected between you and God; and God's unconditional positive regard for you, which is always there, will be revealed. And will be allowed  to work for your good.


3 comments:

Kathryn said...

Be still..... and know.....

Father Ron said...

Thanks for this Kelvin. I have recently discovered an America Jesuit web-site that suggests even 3 minutes a day can make a difference. They offer a 3-minute retreat beginning with words like: "Sit still, relax, take two or three deep breaths, and be open to the fact that God loves you....". Infinitely worthwhile!

Kelvin Wright said...

Yes. 3 minutes a day will change things. I think there is a very close parallel with physical exercise. If you're doing nothing right now, taking 3 minutes a day and consciously moving will bring benefit. Walking 10 or 15 minutes will do you more good; but actually what transforms you is doing it regularly and over a period of time.

There is an upper limit too of course. With physical exercise if you are doing hours at a time several days of the week, you should have the advice of a coach and you should periodically consult your GP. Meditating an hour a day or more is going to shake things loose, no question about it, and you need to have some good advice handy.