Saturday, June 21, 2014

Getting outside oneself

I enjoyed the Fault in our stars

and one of the points was that the depressed protagonist needed to get back into life, which she does by meeting friends at a support group "meeting in the heart of Jesus" (a phrase at which the kids all shrug).

Yet this is why support groups work: And why family and friends and societies that stress interrelationships and family ties are more flexible than isolated individuals who think they are the master of their fate.

from Rabbi Sacks:

 modern therapies tend to seek a solution within the self. It began with Rousseau, who thought that individuals were good and society bad, and it has continued unchecked ever since. Nowadays we are led to believe that it is we alone who are masters of our fate, we who preserve our freedom by steering clear of the entanglements of commitment and community. Hence the idea of self-help. But sometimes staying within the self is not a cure but the problem itself.One of the great blessings of religion is that it moves us beyond the self. It bonds us to others and to God. It trains us in the habits of loving kindness. It teaches us relational intelligence. It sustains oases of community in the desert of the lonely crowd. It supports the kind of friendships that can heal broken hearts. Sometimes, along with self-help, we need a little help from our friends.
a good religion is both going up and down to the deity (Jacob's ladder) and going out to those around us. The two great commandments...

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