The Importance of Knowing What Happened
I confess that, having suffered and been delivered of a compulsion, I have oriented the Stage 1 essays around the suppression of them. I wanted to share the capability of being a victor so that others who have agonized over their inability to control their thought life could enjoy the benefits that I have experienced. However, in doing so, I was aware that the discussion would not benefit those fortunate enough to have been in a blessed home environment and who had the spiritual strength to avoid falling into situations conducive to forming a compulsion. This posed a bit of a dilemma: Stage 1 is Stage >>1<< because suppression of core feelings and desires is, technically, the easiest thing to do.
Still, despite being the easiest thing to do, I continue to have the occasional stumble into the old sins. For sure, the magnitude of the temptations have been greatly reduced, as well as the number of stumbles, as well as the "seriousness" of those stumbles. However, zero tolerance requires 100% success, not 99% or 98%. I have done failure analyses and came up with specific solutions that, again, reduced the failure rates, but 100% effectiveness still eluded me.
Finally, in the process of writing this essay, the Spirit eventually got me to realize that applying specific solutions with partial success was a symptom of not really understanding the underlying process. In a sense, I needed a better "natural history" of temptation so that I could leverage that knowledge into better prevention, in the same way that Major Walter Reed leveraged knowledge of the life cycle of the mosquito to come up with preventative measures against Yellow Fever during the building of the Panama Canal. And Pakistan didn't develop their Atomic Weapons solely from the Encylopedia Britannica description of how they are put together.
In short, this initial view of the work of the Holy Spirit was mistaken, not because I was wrong about the role or location of the Holy Spirit who does the suppresson, but because I was mistaken about how the Holy Spirit does the suppression. Some would say that "the devil is in the details", but in this case, "the divine is in the details".
Perform the following thought experiment: Recall the experience of recalling an unpleasant experience, or recall how you reacted when, in the past, you started thinking about an upcoming unpleasant happening. Do you remember how your abdomen twisted almost the moment that memory came to mind? Perhaps while reading this sentence your mind and body began reacting. How does that happen?
It happens because of the structure of the Human Heart. Recall that the heart of man generates thoughts and presents them to the eye of the Inner Man. This is the working of the natural man, which means that some neurons fired, emitting neurotransmitters. If you remember your biology, recall that the neuron has many branches coming in from other neurons and one main branch going out that, at the end, branches itself to touch the inputs to other neurons. The "idea" represented by the thought is manifested as a sequence of firings of neurons. However, only a small fraction of those neuronal firings are interpreted as the actual thought being presented to the eye of the Inner Man. The remainder of the neuronal firings prepares the rest of the brain to begin acting upon the thought in case the Inner Man approves.
What this means is that "suppressing" the thought not only requires that the Holy Spirit "suppress" the neuronal firings that produce the imaged thought, but He also must "suppress" the auxiliary preparatory side-firings as well. In a sense, the word "suppression" is the wrong word to use for this initial thought that constitutes a temptation: the temptation was already thought, so no thought was really suppressed at that time. What the Holy Spirit has to do initially is counteraction, with suppression later taking place to prevent re-presentation.
It is this pre-anticipatory preparation happening elsewhere in the brain in parallel to the thought-temptation being presented that makes a habit or compulsion so hard to break: the more often you say "yes" to a specific temptation, the more likely the Heart is (reasonably) going to presume that you would say "yes" the next time it is presented, so it will take the liberty of generating the preparatory side-thoughts to "get a jump on things". People talk about "giving in to temptation" before they even realize that a temptation was presented. They are not being self-deceptive or lying, but are merely reporting that their Hearts have been deeply trained and programmed through many sessions of "stimulus and response". Their Heart has become Pavlov's Dog.
In doing that preparatory side-thought generation, the heart is not being deliberately perverse, as if it was "loading the deck". Rather, there are processing time lags that can affect the success of any responses we make to stimuli, so the heart attempts to "predict the future" to compensate for neuronal processing times. The phenomenon of "reflexes", in which brain cells within the spinal column make decisions to move arms or legs in response to pain stimuli, reflects a design decision of "local delegation" to overcome the time lag that would occur if the brain was required to make a decision about what to do about minimizing damage from whatever is causing the pain. I vividly recall, while soldering an S-100 connector to an Altair 8800 motherboard (I date myself), that I accidentally laid hold upon the "business end" of the soldiering iron I was using, and heard the sizzle of my fingers even before my reflexes took over and jerked my hand off of it. It is conjectured that optical illusions are side-effects of the heart attempting to "predict the future".
Here's another thought experiment: Obey the sentence in the next page, then go to the page afterwards.
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