Chameleon: 1. a type of lizard that can change the color of its skin to look like the colors that are around it 2. a person who often changes his or her beliefs or behavior in order to please others or to succeed (Merriam Webster)
In the first post of this series I suggested that we are a complex composition of persons or identities or even realities. We have parts of us that are very attached to the temporal nature of things. In our innermost being there is something deeper and richer and eternal. Many very smart thinkers have wrestled with these multiple dimensions to the human condition. Some have used terms like the “Ego” and the “Id.” We all have been taught about the conscious and the subconscious. Merton and other contemplative writers speak of the false self and the true self. Merton says we are the product of the animus and animas and spiritus. Even the Christian bible says we are spirit and flesh, temporal and eternal, zoe and psyche. For the purpose of this journey and these posts, I want to suggest a very simple but very powerful way of seeing ourselves and understanding our purpose. I believe we can break down our nature into a Trudy and Judy and Lena.
In previous post I described Trudy as our innermost being. She is our divine connection. She is the spiritus or spirit of us. She is a wave in an ocean where the ocean is God. Judy is our judge. Judy’s proper role is discernment to keep us safe in a world that can be dangerous but in a fallen state Judy is something else altogether. When Judy is feasting on the forbidden fruit she is the source of guilt and shame and condemnation. She is quick to judge and inject opinion. Fallen Judy often doubts Trudy and her “too good to be true” outlook because Judy “knows” it is never that good.
Lena is our newest character. Lena is our learned personality or identity. Lena is a chameleon. Judy is constantly telling Lena “the way things are.” Lena learns from Judy and the world how to adapt so that she feels wanted and included and appreciated. Lena wants to be accepted by others because her identity is found in other’s opinion of her. Lena does what it takes to survive. She knows how to get stuff and maneuver in relationships and situations to find safety or pleasure or satisfaction. Lena has learned well in her years of interacting with a world of other Lenas.
Lena and Judy aren’t “bad.” They just are a product of what made them. Lena is created by the world and adapts to the world. Lena is necessary because there is a world. What she is made of is what is important. When Lena is loved by Trudy, then Lena loves like Trudy. When Judy is loved by Trudy, then Judy doesn’t judge anymore. She discerns instead. When Lena is not judged by Judy, then Lena doesn’t judge. When we are healthy and whole in our person we are in union with our intended reality. When we live as one with the divine, then we are healthy and whole. Lena then becomes Trudy to the world. Judy then becomes a discerner that benefits us and the world. When Lena’s colors are those of Trudy then Lena is a chameleon that reveals God.
The problem we face is in our false perception of internal separation. When we think there is a separation between “spirit and flesh” then we believe there is a separation between man and God. The truth is we are one with the divine and in union with the creator and a child of our Abba Father. We are not apart or separate from Him in any way. We have never been apart or separate from Him in any way. We are three in one as Trudy and Lena and Judy.
The Lena chameleon of the world is a chameleon of shadows. The spirit is not separate from the flesh and the world is not separate from the divine. The flesh is a product of the spirit. The world is a manifestation of the divine. Our insistence on separation is our fallen mindset and our original sin. Our broken thinking that projects separation into a reality that has no separation is what the Bible calls darkness. When we see ourselves as independent creatures living independent realities we have moved from light to dark. We are in the shadows and are missing the Kingdom of Heaven. When Lena lives from the false reality of separation, she is a non-being. She is based on shadows. She has no substance. She is not eternal.
Our purpose in this life is to live from a resurrected Trudy with her love bringing wholeness and light to our Lena and Judy. The shocking reality of a God who loves all of us and is willing to die to prove it, that kind of defibrillator brings our Trudy to life and removes the condemnation from Judy and brings healing to Lena. This is our walk. This is our spiritual awakening. This is our contemplation. This is our Kingdom reality. This is our eternal life.
More about LJT in the next post…stay tuned.