Posted on 4+000008. Filed under: 20/20 Vision: Changing Your Life by Changing the Way You See Things, Books by Bishop Jim Swilley, vision | Tags: , , , , |

big_idea_Claustrophobia is the abnormal fear of confined spaces, and it is a very negative and debilitating thing that can greatly disrupt the lives of people who suffer from it. But there is a type of this phobia that is actually quite positive and useful – a mental claustrophobia, if you will – that manifests itself as the absolute aversion and revulsion to small, confined ways of thinking. To break out of the restrictions of a mindset that continues to put limitations on your life, you actually have to develop a phobic repugnance for any line of thought that doesn’t allow your brain to breathe. Mental claustrophobia will cause you to avoid such thinking.

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5 Responses to “WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?!”

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How true. I agree and believe that is why some people who attach the term Cristian to themselves need to question everything they think they know about God. For too long people have believed this or that because their momma said or someone else in their life they trusted said. It is so important to strech the boundaries that have been placed on our understanding and discernment. “You have heard it said… but now I say to you…”


This door was open, a light was on & it seemeth good to the Holy Ghost and moi.

“…absolute aversion and revulsion to small, confined ways of thinking…”
Ahhh… wish I’d said that. No, wait. I’m reading it aloud. There. I said it.

As a youth, I often heard, “What are you doing? Arguing with the TV, again?” I had no “proof” that my opinions were valid. But, something inside me instinctively “knew” that what was being reported wasn’t a balanced account.

Please, please, please hear my spirit. I understand the value of agreement. If necessary, put this over in the Prayer Request, room. Here’s the thing (if there was one, I mean) : I often find myself disagreeing. Not out of spite or malice. It’s just that, other than saying, “God” & “God is love”, I know few absolutes.

I’ve received a few well-meaning admonitions along my way, “Better watch that. That’s how a “critical spirit” gets on you.” (I don’t know how much more transparent I need to be, so claustrophobia actually works for me.)

Sanctuary much, Bish!

I totally understand, and completely agree with, the distinction made between claustrophobia and ‘mental’ claustrophobia. As you stated, text book claustrophobia is abnormal and negative, while the mental version is positive and definitely normal for the simple reason our brain and it’s capacity for change is ongoing. Stiffeling that natural process is extremely harmful to our evolution as a society, culture, and species.
Consider this, though: what if our inability or refusal to expand mentally was a root for the outward manifestation of what is described as claustrophobia? What if the fear of confinement was somehow the abnormal child of the fear of thinking big?
I know these questions are, psychologically speaking, superficial, but I also know this: for most of my life I considered myself claustrophobic. Even to the point I felt a sense of panic when stuck in a traffic jam. I never thought it severe enough to seek professional help; I would just wipe the sweat off my forehead and make a joke about it. I accepted it as a way of life.
But here is something I failed to notice until I read this post: It’s been some time, perhaps a few years, since I can remember feeling that way. Over the past several years, I have allowed myself to journey into mental (and spiritual) lands that before would have never been considered. As fearsome and uncomfortable as the path has been at times, it has allowed me to expand my world-view and broken down most walls that for so long I thought were impenetrable. I have become “open-minded”.
Could my refusal to stay mentally “closed-up” be the therapy that released me from the fear of being “closed-up” physically? Now, when I my body is confined, is relief just a thought away?

Hey…even it I’m way off, it still sounds pretty good.


I love the thoughts expressed here. Yes we do need to test the limits of what we believe not only about the Creator but also the created. The more we as collective humanity go there the greater our ability to create becomes. The thoughts of one become the actions of another and so on. Actually it seems to be more real to me now that there are no absolutes than it has ever been in the past. We all are changing in many different ways so that what we have been is only a vague memory sometimes as it should be. The memory serves us to progress and when we do progress the memory should be stored away in the attic of our soul. A point made by Bishop in last night’s teaching was that we can not make our past be any different than what it was. What we can do is think bigger about the way we see the same things that we have seen in the past though. PM, your comment about relief being just a thought away is a bullseye shot at the target we aim for when overcoming almost any adversity. Most of what we percieve to be fearful really is within our control. As a child I was burned while playing with fire and became quite fearful of it yet I became a firefighter for about thirty years. That could not have happened without a relief of fear. I’ve experienced fear of many other things including confined space and overcame them as well. I’m not sure there is anything that someone else could get from my experience that would help them with these things though. It seems to be a type of acceptance for me like I just surrender to the idea of life as I have related to it outside the current situation as being over, a sort of death experience. When I find myself still conscious and breathing without difficulty, everything is OK.

I agree. I love the thoughts expressed here, too, Johnny.

Particularly, “the memory should be stored up in the attic of our soul.” I didn’t become pro-active about my accident after being burned when I was young ( (20 – yrs. old – 2nd and 3rd degree burns on both arms, chunks of hair fell out in clumps, singed brows – took awhile for the lashes to grow back). While weeks of physical therapy weren’t a picnic, the mental claustrophobia was almost comparable. (embarrassed others would see the scars that were only visible to myself)

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