SANDERS: Finding my own center

By RUFUS G.W. SANDERS, Register columnist This is now February and I have not officially adopted a n
Sandusky Register Staff
May 13, 2010

 

By RUFUS G.W. SANDERS, Register columnist

This is now February and I have not officially adopted a new year's resolution. Like so many others, I, too, am forced to take a look at the past year and reluctantly attempt an honest assessment of my foibles and successes. Then I try to make the New Year better.

Usually my resolves are directed toward better health and stopping behaviors that are self-defeating. But because I tend to take extreme measures, at least in the first month of the New Year, the resolution usually becomes unobtainable from the start. And after about a month or so, my resolution goes the way of all the resolutions that have been made in the past. They become nothing but figments of my imagination and attempts at the improbable, cornered somewhere in my memory,adding to the frustration, angst, and pain of my ongoing mundane state of mediocrity and regularity.

While that might not be all that bad given that it's probably human normalcy, it does very little for my need for self-inspiration, or the enhancement of my ego, which can be oh so fragile on any given day.

So this year I decided to spend January just thinking seriously and pragmatically about a resolution before actually making one. I decided to now resolve myself this year to searching for balance and I hope this column will inspire others to do the same. I was moved by a series of articles in the most recent Harvard Divinity Bulletin which talks about the search for balance. Of course the concept is nothing new. Being a therapist in another part of my life, I spend hours upon end trying to convince and direct others toward such a goal. But I think after years of presenting this information in an academic format there comes a time when it must be made personal and real. I decided that for me that time has come.

After the poetic stuff flowed from my veins like most of the other useless stuff constantly dripping off us, I realized that this time I must be a little more disciplined, directed and focused. If life lived from the center is indeed a life of unhurried peace and personal power that brings serenity, we must pursue and overtake this.

I know it sounds like "touchy-feely-preachy" stuff, but the more we look at this balance thing, we realize it's really not. It might be the way life should to be lived. At my age I have come to realize that we spend much of our earthly pilgrimage trying to be relevant, as opposed to seeking our true identity, which becomes so much more meaningful than our relevancy or our popularity.

The famed Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe talks about being fascinated by the middle ground: it is "neither the origin of things nor the last things; it is aware of a future to head into and a past to fall back on; it is the home of doubt and indecision, of suspension of disbelief, or make-believe, of playfulness, of the unpredictable, of irony."

The idea of a center is actually a soothing thought. It does violence in the most peaceful of ways to the cult of extremes. The extremes consist of deep entrenched beliefs, thoughts, philosophies - usually socially constructed in the first place, but psychologically, emotionally and socially disruptive, divisive, destructive, debilitating and damaging. Achebe takes his concepts of the middle ground from the African Igbo people who, like other African people, see life as something that is " not singularity but duality," cyclical, not linear. It must be lived from the core.

From that core, one finds a true and valid presence that includes and allows for the equality and respect and the presence of others. It stimulates toleration, compromise, mutuality and the universality of mankind. Centering of self embraces more balance and calls for harmony as well as an ongoing assessment of who we are and where we are at any given time.

It calls for new considerations at all time and it seeks for a unity of diversity, which in turn results in greater relationships -- religious, racial and cultural.

What might be able to happen is that histories, peoples and beliefs might intermingle, forming close human bonds while maintaining individual identity, dignity and integrity.

Because we must know by now that the fate of our own lives depends on how we measure the humanity of others.

I am convinced if we can work with this resolution for the entire year our insides will change, which in turn will change our outside.

The Igbo concept of the middle ground goes on to say, "There's no inside without an outside."

Comments

mkb

mime.......there is something that you are missing....or you might just being the contarian.....but he is not talking apart from God....for him god is the center.....he is talking getting into the proper relationship with God which is the center of life.....stop trying to be so critical of the Dr.......

goofus

If the man wants to find his middle I feel we should let him comtemplate his navel. This is America and he has a right to play with his belly button whether an innie or an outie!

goofus

This blog reminds me of a "Frasier" rerun. I think therefore I am. Descartes I yam what I yam. Popeye the Sailor

Duhast

Mime,
We created god before he created us…

Duhast

Libertarian,
What “natural rights” are you referring to and how do you think Rufus is violating them? Please explain.

BTW Ayn Rand is the L. Ron Hubbard of the libertarian world. An atheist fiction writer that a cult of personality has sprung up around.

Mime Bloggling

Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee. St. Confessions of St.Augustine 397 AD.

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

The reason why it can never succeed is this. God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity

mkb

libertarian......wow......a thug....come on.....move to the center

libertarian

Aristotle said moderation in all things, a good summation of centrism-and in the majority of situations it is a pretty decent guide.

In moral issues, however, (and political philosophy addresses that issue of when it is moral for one individual to use or threaten to use coercion, force or violence against another individual)any compromise between good and evil, only evil can win.

While Sanders comments give us all a warm fuzzy, let us not forget that at his political core Sanders is a racist collectivist thug. He has no qualms about advocating the violation of a person's natural rights to advance his beliefs, especially if that person is a member of a race that some of it's now dead members have violated the rights of some now dead members of his race.

So if by centrism Sanders means that there should be a compromise to determine who's natural rights are violated to achieve a part of his goals, it is the type of moderation that all moral people should abhor. This type of moderation and compromise represents what Ayn Rand called the "cult of moral grayness".

All moral people should reject the bloody cult of collectivism that Sanders represents. We should all shame and ostracize collectivist/government thugs.

mkb

so nice that every one is being so nice......no name calling ......I knew we could do it.....but it is a different kind of article......

6079 Smith W

Mr. Sanders writes:

‘Being a therapist in another part of my life,’ and

‘…there comes a time when it must be made personal and real. I decided that for me that time has come.’

I remember once reading that the majority of students who go into psychology, go into the field not so much to help others learn who they are, but instead go into it attempting to learn who they themselves are.

6079 Smith W

Mr. Sanders writes:

'The Igbo concept of the middle ground goes on to say, "There's no inside without an outside.'

Interesting quote. Thank you.

You're quoting of the above reminded me of the following passage from the Tao Te Ching:

'Thirty spokes meet at a nave;
Because of the hole we may use the wheel.

Clay is moulded into a vessel;
Because of the hollow we may use the cup.

Walls are built around a hearth;
Because of the doors we may use the house.

Thus tools come from what exists,
But use from what does not.'

Different cultures, similar metaphysical observations.

My New Years resolution? A severe reduction in the use of verbal profanity; so far so good.

mkb

good to have Dr. Sanders back. For whatever the reason the paper has not allowed his column to read more than a couple of days and that is a shame given the fact that his column is the most read of all columns in the paper. I wonder what does this mean...

Richard Bebb

Good for you Rufus - I give it a month before you are back to blaming the "white devil" for all of the world's problem again.