On one occasion, a life coach asked Jesus, ‘How must I live in order to possess, right here right now, the quality of life I long for, not in fleeting moments but as a sustainable daily experience?’
As so often, Jesus replied with a question of his own, ‘What instruction have you embraced—and what do you instruct those who look to you for help?’
The man responded, ‘You have to align kardias and psyche and ischui and dianoia with that of God; and live not only for yourself but for those near you.’
Jesus replied, ‘You are right, and if you live like this, you will truly know that you are alive.’
Our heart—kardias—refers to moral preference, and the ability (and responsibility) to make decisions, to choose for good or evil; to choose for life, or for death. Choose as God chooses.
Our soul—psyche—refers to our breath, to our unique personhood, which is the direct consequence of God breathing God’s life into us. Stay close. Let your breath keep time with God’s breathing.
Our strength—ischui—refers to force, to the ability to overcome resistance. To the ability to act on our decisions. In our case, as humans, by having a physical body, that can do the right thing, even when that requires resisting pressure to do what is not right.
Our mind—dianoia—refers to our imagination, to thoughts and feelings working together in a balanced and harmonious way. Let your imagination, of what the world can be like, be shaped by God, from whom life and creativity in interdependent diversity explode.
When the life coach asked Jesus to expand on how this relates to those near us, Jesus told a story, of a stranger whose imagination was moved with pity for the victim of a violent crime; who went to him, with healing touch, and carried him to safety; who entered into an ethical contract with another person to support full recovery; and whose personhood, initially obscured by a label (Samaritan, other, stranger, enemy), is revealed to be virtuous, expressed in the world through showing mercy.
Mind and strength and heart and soul, aligning with the imagination and force and moral preference and very breath of God. That’s when you know you are alive.
You can read about it in Luke 10:25-37.