I hope you are having a wonderful new year. I have exciting new things coming up for 2022. I finished filming the Think and Grow Rich Series. Took a lot longer than I expected (I was hoping to have it out by October). But it should be out in January (if not, then February). So be excited!!
About the speed bump...As Chez Eric grew, I needed to delegate various tasks to someone else who was far more qualified than me. Tasks that I personally suck at. I ended up connecting with a very talented designer in the Philippines. We hit it off and we've been working well ever since. He works on all the design elements and I just focus on Psychiatry and Religion part. Needless to say, he makes me look good.
Unfortunately, the Philippines was hit with a giant Typhoon (Typhoon Rai). Don't worry, my designer is still alive but he won't be back online for a while.
I've been growing a small team in the past month so I can share my insights on Psychiatry and Religion efficiently and effectively. I wanted to focus on creating new insights while delegating every other task to someone else. We all originally planned for a big launch of the Think and Grow Rich series. Typhoon Rai had other plans.
Nevertheless, I will be moving forward. However, my e-mails, social media, and other regularly scheduled content will need to pause for a while until my designer gets back on his feet. He was managing the logistics of all of that in the background.
Thanks for understanding! Looking forward to getting things back on track in 2022!
For the Holiday Season, we’ve been talking about the transition from God as a provider to God as a wish-maker. But we left off with the curious idea of going further, with God as an entity you have a relationship with. The key is understanding Love.
When you have all of your needs provided, what is next? You begin to dream about your wants. However, when you have all of your wants provided, what’s next? I hear it’s a state of mind also known as ABSOLUTE MISERY!
You feel connected to the people in this world and your presence improves the lives of others. You begin to transition from thinking of self-preservation to thinking about society at large. Your meaning is no longer with your personal advancement, but rather, the collective advancement and security of those around you, those that you love.
Have you ever loved someone very much? So much so that when they suffer, you suffer? Have you ever tried everything in the world to stop their suffering but couldn’t? How did you feel when you couldn’t? Powerless?
Do miracles happen?
It’s fairly easy to be the master of your own destiny. But it is near impossible to be the master of someone else’s. You can advise them, you can support them, you can love them, but you can’t live their life for them. Sometimes, the people we love go through suffering and hard times and we’re powerless to help. Sometimes, the people we love make bad decisions, have negative mindsets, or destructive influences. What do we do then?
But can God provide needs that people refuse? Should God provide wants that are destructive? What exactly are you praying for when you pray for someone else?
It sounds like after your needs and wants are satisfied, you have something in common with God. You both love the person who needs help but cannot receive it. Sounds like you’re going to need to brainstorm with God for a solution. Might involve weekly meetings, discussions, feedback, etc. Sounds like the start of a beautiful relationship.
That’s what a High Performer with a close connection to a Higher Power looks like.
Last week, I told you a story of how I believed in Santa Claus until I was 11 years old. Before you make fun of me, remember 2 things: (1) I had evidence; (2) Believing provided me with presents.
Why would anyone do anything else?
By the time I was 12, (1) I had evidence to the contrary; and (2) Believing no longer provided me with presents.
How is this different from believing in God?
It’s not. And that’s okay.
My relationship with Santa Claus evolved as I grew older. However, it did not disappear. Rather, it transitioned to it’s true form which is my relationship with my parents. Although I stopped getting presents every Christmas, my parents still supported me. It just didn’t come in the form of a magical event once a year. It became a relationship with someone who was by my side from birth to adulthood.
When we start out, we see God as a provider, as an entity to alleviate the anxiety of the unknown (according to Freud at the very least). Thus, God protects us from bad things and provides us with good things. Why not believe?
However, once we get our basic needs, God transitions to the wish-maker God, buying us cars, giving us promotions, getting our love interest to be interested in us, etc. if we ask, we shall receive. This is at the heart of the Health, Wealth, Prosperity Gospel.
So is that it? Are we done? Is God just a magic genie that only privileged people have the ability to believe in? (Largely because they have “evidence” of God’s providence while underprivileged people would not).
The only way to transition out of a needs-wants-based version of God is to enter into a relationship with him. This sounds vague and abstract, but it really boils down to one thing: Love.
When your heart transitions from basic wants-needs into love for the people around you, the relationship you have with a higher power takes a new form. This new form is the foundation of being a High Performer with a close connection to a Higher Power.
Let’s chat more next week…
When I was 11 years old, I still “believed” in Santa Claus. Sure, I heard rumors that he didn’t exist and it was just my parents buying the toys. But there was a lot of evidence in my favor!
For one thing, he always came after my family and I went to midnight mass. When I left the house, there were no presents. But sure enough, when I returned, BOOM! The presents were in the house. My parents were with me the whole entire time. How could they have put the presents there?
Another piece of evidence was that the gift wrapping was totally different from the ones my family used for everyone else. It was Santa Claus themed. Why would my family purchase an entire roll of gift wrap just for one present? That would be wasteful.
Another piece of evidence was that the card that came with the present had someone else’s handwriting. It was all fancy as if it was written by someone who was magical.
Another piece of evidence was fact that the presents were never things that I specifically asked for. Rather it was always something I enjoyed far more than I had hoped. I would tell my parents over and over again what I wanted for Christmas. Never got it. I always ended up getting something better. It felt like Magic! Santa Claus had to be real.
On top of that, all my friends were getting presents from Santa Claus. What more evidence would you want!!
By the time I was approaching 11, I began wondering if Santa Claus was actually real. But there was a problem. If I believed, I would get a present. If I didn’t, there would be no present. What incentive did I have to not believe? I had my suspicions, but I was not particularly motivated to find out the truth.
One day, on my 12th Christmas, Santa Claus didn’t come. It did not come as a shock and I did not confront my parents about it. I just didn’t get a present from Santa Claus that year. That’s when I knew what I always knew. I wasn’t disappointed per se. The magic was lost. But I still remember the feeling of getting something beyond what you ever knew existed.
What’s the difference between my childhood belief in Santa Claus and my adult belief in God? Aren’t I just believing in God to get the “presents”? William James in “The Varieties of Religious Experience” would say yes…And it’s okay.
But, as usual, there’s more to discuss…next time.
Thanksgiving passed along with Black Friday. Cyber Monday should be expected tomorrow.
I just wanted to take the time to thank you for reading my content.
“Chez Eric: Psychiatry, Religion, and Life” is a space to share my love for Religion through the lens of my expertise in Psychiatry. I had an idea of what it would look like when I first started but now, it’s completely different from what I could have ever imagined (in a good way).
There’s something beautiful that happens when Psychiatry and Religion collide. But I don’t think I’ve done it justice. These e-mails are my way of sorting out my observations and insights.
Thank you for taking the time to consume the most experimental portions of my content. Thank you also for your e-mail responses. They’ve always been very well thought out and intentional.
Happy Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. I wish you the best this coming holiday Season. I hope to fill your e-mails with even more surprises and wonder for a very long time.
“What happens to our relationship with God as we gain more wealth?”
I was told “God Does not Change” but let’s go deeper…
God is often seen as our provider. We see countless prayers for money, for basic needs, or cures for ailments and diseases. But on top of that, we often see prayers for promotions, or a new home, or even a pony.
From a psychological standpoint (Freud’s view), God reduces our anxiety of uncertainty to satisfy our childhood needs for parents who could take care of us. William James’ view is that God is useful, so let’s make use of this and live good lives.
It would make sense that as our needs change, our pleadings to God would change as well. Mother Theresa often prayed for more food to provide for the poor and, sure enough, it came. You can imagine a devout individual working in middle management praying to God for a promotion. Finally, Millionaires and Billionaires pray for all sorts of things. But they are unlikely to pray for food on the table tomorrow.
There’s a trend.
For as long as Society’s relationship with God remains in the provider mindset, it will never be able to grow in wealth beyond a certain point. More wealth means less needs which leads to less desire to have a close connection to a Higher Power. When people are not interacting with a foundation of love, society declines.
In the early stages, God is a provider to help you grow towards Him. But once you’ve got what you need, God asks you to do something special for the world, to share what you’ve received.
A society made up of people who are doing what God called them to do is one where wealth distribution has a moral center. A society where God is a wish-granter or anxiety reliever is one where wealth distribution is based on dreams and fears. Where do you want to live? How about your children?
There’s nothing wrong with God being a provider. But what happens when it’s time and God asks you to do something for your fellow person? Are you open to hearing it? Will you answer the call?
If you are a High Performer you will. And if you are not, you won’t.
Last week, I shared a story about how my question “What happens to our relationship with God when we gain more wealth?” was met with resistance. The final answer was, “God does not change” which did not quite address the actual question.
There are a lot of moving parts. However, I believe this experience addresses a fundamental aspect of the relationship between Religiosity and High Performance.
Religion is good for the ego. You believe you are going to heaven, that you are superior to those who are not Religious and that the world before you is in control of an entity that is on your side.
Certainty is good for the ego. Certainty leads to action. Action allows us to move towards our goals.
Morality is bad for the ego. You’re never sure if you’re in the right. You spend a lot of exhaustive brain energy trying to do the right thing. Sometimes you have to swallow your pride. Sometimes you have to do something you don’t want to do even though it’s the right thing to do.
Uncertainty is bad for the ego. It causes you to doubt yourself. It makes you anxious. It inhibits action and you’re never sure if you’re moving towards your goals.
There are two ways where Moral Uncertainty can become Religious Certainty.
What happens to our relationship with God when we gain more wealth? I am morally uncertain and would like to explore this relationship. The dogmatic answer is “God does not change” but is it satisfying?
Critical thinking is an attempt to understand reality in the context of our biases. Our biases protect our ego. Sometimes, reality is against our ego. But if we embrace reality, we can perform at a higher level compared to those with a biased perspective.
So Let’s explore “What happens to our Relationship with God when we gain more wealth?” next week.
One day, I asked in a group, “What happens to our relationship with God when we gain wealth?”
The group appeared confused at first so I clarified. I described that when people are poor, they tend to pray for their daily bread. However, when people begin to gain wealth, they no longer need to pray for their daily bread and, therefore, begin to pray for other things. As we gain more wealth and are less reliant on outside sources for our basic needs, how does our relationship with God change?
I must have struck a chord because one person in the group immediately retorted, “Does God change?”
It was a fairly interrogational tone but I remained open-minded. I replied, “No” understanding the implication. He then replied, “God does not change, therefore our relationship does not change.”
At that point, it appeared there was a misunderstanding. I clarified, “God might not change, but we might change and, thus, our relationship can change. Much like when you are a boy, you have one relationship with your parents, but when you are an adult, that relationship is different.”
I was expecting a Eureka moment but perhaps I was unable to get my point across. The reply was, “Does God change in the Bible?”
I replied, “The way we understand God has shifted over the year.”
I was then encouraged to go back to the Bible to see that God does not change and, therefore, this question was moot. The moderator then commented that this was a Finance and Religion group, not a philosophy group. The group subsequently discussed whether getting a mortgage was biblical.
I respect people’s differing points of view. However, I’m surprised that it was not a disagreement on views, but rather, an explicit inability to understand the nature of the question.
So what was going on in this group? And what is our relationship with God as it relates to Wealth? And what does Wealth have to do with High Performance?
Let’s talk about that next week.
Intuition and Piety, what’s the relationship?
In my past e-mails, we’ve journeyed from Overthinking to Deeply Thinking to Intuition. Is Intuition the pinnacle of thought and achievement? No. But it’s an integral part of being a High Performer with a close connection to a Higher Power.
I spoke about emotions in a previous post (see here). As a re-cap, emotions close the gap between what you know and what you don’t know to induce an action for your survival.
Similarly, intuition helps the most once we’ve identified the core issues of a problem and can’t go further. Intuition bridges the gap to allow you to take action. Whether or not the action was the right one depends on the “quality” of your intuition. Unfortunately, we can’t quite measure the “quality” of intuition.
But something else is going on.
Imagine you only consume Disney Films and other Disney Media your entire life. You don’t watch any other media. Your worldview, your culture will have a certain set of characteristics. You will develop various biases for better or for worse. You will react to the world in a particular way based on your worldview that is entirely based on Disney.
In this scenario, when you face a problem, you will eventually run into a situation where there’s nothing left to “think” about. There is only a decision to be made. Your ultimate “intuition” will be based on the collective experience of your life. These are powerful subconscious dynamics that will ultimately cause you to lean one way versus another. If the only exposure you have is Disney Films and Media, your intuition will mimic that.
Of course, we’re far more diverse than just Disney films. But what happens if we consume religious content instead? What if we make that the bulk of our subconscious dynamics? What if we pray a lot more than the average person? What if we spend time cultivating a connection to a Higher Power such that all of our intuition is guided by that Higher Power?
If you want to be a High Performer with a close connection to a Higher Power, you will need to spend time connecting with this Higher Power such that your intuition is biased towards the perspective of an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful entity. This often comes in the form of prayer, worship, loving others, etc.
And if every decision with imperfect information that needs to be made is intuitively made with a bias towards this Higher Power, what happens to the quality of those decisions?
Something worth thinking about. But not too much. You have things to do. Haha.
Overthinking, Deeply thinking, intuition, how does it all fit?
Last week, I introduced the concept of “overthinking” vs “deeply thinking”. “Overthinking” is when you’re thinking about something but there are no new thoughts and ideas, just increasing anxiety and frustration. In contrast, “deeply thinking” is when you’re learning more and more about the problem to hopefully get to a solution.
I never liked the term “overthinking” as I’ve found it to be a lazy way to critique an idea or a concept. It doesn’t offer any insight into what has already been said. And the solution appears to be “start underthinking.”
I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to imagine a high performer that is “underthinking.”
However, you will have people who base their decisions more on intuition and emotions. They say, “I follow my gut.” They may have successful careers and lives.
So what is the relationship between overthinking, deeply thinking, thoughts, intuition, and action? How do we get this hodgepodge of things we do every day to work for us?
Life can be viewed as a series of repeated thoughts, decisions, and actions. You have a thought, you make a decision, you take action. This action interacts with the environment which inspires new thoughts, creates new decisions, and new actions.
Creating a positive loop of thoughts, decisions, and actions will lead to a better life. I hope that is obvious.
Overthinking implies that the thoughts you are having isn’t helping you make a better decision. Deeply thinking means the more time and energy you put into the issue, the closer you are to a solution.
So what is intuition?
Sometimes, there are problems in the world that do not have a clear solution but a decision needs to be made right now. You COULD flip a coin but that doesn’t feel very reassuring. Instead, you follow “your gut” or “your intuition”.
Intuition is the last step towards an action if the problem has been understood from every possible angle. Sometimes, intuition is a good guide on what to do. Sometimes, people use it to be lazy because they don’t actually want to do the hard work of understanding all the consequences of a decision.
But sometimes…intuition is a proxy for guidance from a Higher Power. What happens then?
Chez Eric Media