|Big Trees State Park-Arnold, CA|
One of the first concepts Ms. Silf describes is how to learn about your own inner landscape by identifying its three parts: Where am I? How am I? and Who Am I? The first outer ring consists of your own personal history. These are things that you cannot change (or are hard to change) such as your place of birth or where you work or where you live. We do most of our everyday living here. The second ring consists of your reactions to things. This is the place where we can exercise some choice. It's also where we can impact others the most with those choices. The third ring is where you are yourself before God. No pretenses, just yourself. Her point is that most people come into conflict when the outermost circle clashes with the innermost circle. How you are living is at odds with how you would like to be (and how God knows that you can be, given the opportunity). The middle circle is where the changes can occur; changes that will bring you closer to the innermost circle and closer to God.
I have gone around and around on this idea and the above paragraph is the best way that I can describe it. Ms. Silf's writing is just fine but she uses some terms that I just don't quite relate to very well. In thinking about things though, what she was suggesting sounded an awful lot like something I learned in college. It's called cognitive dissonance. It's a psychological construct that describes what happens when a belief that you hold to be true is at odds with something that you hear or see or do. It's uncomfortable and we work to rectify that discomfort in any number of ways. I think what she is advocating is resolution through action; changing your behavior through active examination and prayer in order to bring it in line with how you want to be-how God wants you to be. It's how you find your vocation or your calling. And how you move closer to God each and every day.