Letters to Jesus (Contrary Spiritual Notions) - 11
I heard in a homily recently the phrase “counter-intuitive.” The homily was based on the gospel about turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, and giving the shirt off your back. It made me think of two things: first, the dynamics of intuition in my life and, second, how essential to living in the spirit of God is not only ignoring intuition frequently but actually choosing what goes against it.
It strikes me that intuition often runs counter to obedience and obedience is central in the story of man’s fall from grace. My intuition surely can be wrong but my counter-intuition may not always be right either. However, since it seems that, for the most part, my intuition is concerned with my self-preservation and pleasure, whatever runs counter to it stands a better chance of being more selfless and loving.
Contained in the dynamic of intuition in my life is the notion of self-righteousness. How often I say, ‘I just have the feeling that this or that is right for me.’ How often too do I project this notion on others as if their feelings and intuitions were exactly the same as mine.
The “self-instinct” in intuition was at the heart of man’s fall from grace. Intuition tells me to strike back, to keep what I have for myself, to not inconvenience myself. It is counter-intuitive to silently bear hurt and shame, to put myself out, to make myself uncomfortable for the sake of another, or to give things I possess to others who do not have them. In this light one might even say the central messages of Christianity are counter-intuitive in the sense that they are meant to influence human intuitions away from themselves in a direction pointed elsewhere. Indeed, Christianity and the spiritual life in general are, foremost, counter-intuitive.