Intellectual curiosity

Suppose a thought nags your mind, placing itself between you and that darkness, asking you, “What do you want? Who do you seek?” Give this answer: “I want God. I am looking for God, only God.”

And if the thought persists, asking you, “Who is the God you seek?” answer saying, “The God who made me, redeemed me, and led me to this moment.” Speak to your mind, “Thoughts, you cannot contain God. You have limited skill and you offer no assistance. Be silent!” Ignore the activity of your mind by devoutly turning to Jesus, even if your thoughts appear to be holy thoughts.

Quite likely, you will imagine your ideas are helpful. Many excellent and wonderful aspects of Christ’s kindness, graciousness, and mercy spring up in your mind. They appear positive and worthy of your consideration, but as the mental chatter continues, it drags you down lower and lower, diverting your attention. Remember the Passion of Christ. This will lead you to recall your sinful past life. Memories of earlier times and places will flood into your awareness, scattering you in many directions; your concentration will be lost. This happened because you deliberately listened, responded, accepted, and allowed the thought to continue.

Still, these may be good and holy thoughts, essential elements as you begin meditation. You need to ponder frequently your own wretchedness, the Passion of Christ, and the kindness, extraordinary goodness, and dignity of God. Unless you do this, frustration will disturb your contemplation. With experience, you will learn to let distracting thoughts rest under a cloud of forgetting and attempt to penetrate the cloud of unknowing separating you from God.

Therefore, when God leads you to engage in the exercise described here, gently lift up your heart to God with love. Rest your thoughts only on the God who created you, redeemed you, and led you to this moment. Avoid any other thoughts of God. Direct a naked desire toward God.

You may wish to reach out to God with one simple word that expresses your desire. A single syllable is better than a word with two or more. “God” and “love” provide excellent examples of such words. Once you have selected the word you prefer, permanently bind this word to your heart. This word becomes your shield and spear in combat and in peace. Use this word to beat upon the cloudy darkness above you and to force every stray thought down under a cloud of forgetting. If a nagging thought pesters you, strike it with this monosyllabic word. If your mind begins to analyze the intellectual ramifications of your chosen word, remember that the value of this word is its simplicity. Do not allow the word to become fragmented. If you keep it intact, I can assure you distractions will soon diminish.

My Temporary Office

Amazing how much work I get done. Here my setup: iPhone, paper, pen, OneNote, Trello, Slack, Safari, VoiceDream, Instapaper grammarly, tictacs & Starbucks Coffee.

Managing people in Brasil, Berlin & Boulder on an iPhone from a bench. Writing all the website copy with Boulder, while brazil Develops user account to connect to charity selection

Nice! 26% opened in under an hour.

People seem to have liked the Coronavirus free edition of the newsletter. I had a 26% open rate within the first hour. This one was a bitch to write so this feels great that it was well-received.

This is also encouraging that I could the move the newsletter to Fridays. Doing the newsletter on Wednesdays breaks up the week and destroys the momentum that I build on Monday and Tuesday. Think I’ll make this official in the next edition.

Alone time

I took full advantage of being alone while the family stayed in the Black Forrest. Using the regional train system I started exploring the region around Berlin. Who knew you could take a Regio train to Poland from Alexanderplatz?! One of my 26 resolutions this year is to take 6-weekend family vacations. Wait till Mrs. Barba finds out I’m renting a cozy tiny house with a fireplace deep in the forest for us in February.

Photo: Found a quiet spot under a North American tree to be present. I’ve got so much to share in 2020.

We’re having our first likemind event of 2017 next Friday, Jan. 20. If you’re in Berlin why don’t you join us and meet some interesting people.

Likemind is a group of Berliner that meet the 3rd Friday of every month for good conversation & coffee. It started in New York City and now has almost 50 local chapters on every Continent minus Antarctica. You can read more about it in this NY Times article.

If you’re in Berlin why don’t you join us and meet some interesting people. Here is our Facebook Event Page with all the details.