“The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth.”
~ Albert Einstein
Another great post by Brad Stanton at Give Me 5 Minutes. I felt my comment would be too long so I decided to post about it.
The interesting thing is that it’s much easier to have faith in a “force” that is outside of ourselves, than to have faith that the “force” is within. Most of us continue to believe in a God that is somehow separate from ourselves, or that we are separate entities from God. That is what we have been taught, isn’t it?
Theology may have taught us that, but Jesus was trying to teach something more when he said to the Jews who wished to stone him, “Is it not written in your own Law, ‘I said: You are God’s'?” (John 10:34) He was referring to Psalm 82:6 which reads, “This is my sentence: God’s you may be, sons all of you of a high God,…” Through out the Gospels Jesus tries to get his disciples and the Jews to understand that God dwells within, and that only our perverse or divided thoughts and feelings prevent God from manifesting in our lives.
Believing that there is a God, a creator, a force out there, is easy and requires little responsibility. Believing that God the creator, “the force” dwells within us requires taking responsibility for what that means: cleaning up the temple. As Jesus said, “There must be no limit to your goodness, as your Heavenly Father’s goodness knows no bounds.” (Matt. 5:48)*
You won’t often hear me quoting the Bible, not because of lack of belief, but because I feel it’s too often misunderstood and misused. I studied the Bible a lot in my 20′s, and I have referred to it often for guidance, or a reminder and refresher when I’ve become distracted by the illusions of this world. It is so easy to forget who we are and where the power comes from, to lose faith in ourselves and the indwelling of that which is holy.
I really appreciate this post by Brad Stanton as it reminds me once again that “the Force” of creation dwells within, that we exist as co-creators of our lives, and that “faith” has as much to do with belief in ourselves as it has to do with belief in the Original Creator.
* All quotes taken from the Oxford Study Edition of The New English Bible.
Everyone needs a little help now and then. If someone were to say, “I don’t need any help, ever, from anyone”, well they would just be lying – to their self as well as to whomever they were saying this too. It’s just a fact of life that human existence is dependent on helping one another.
Don’t believe me? Think about it, were you able to give birth to yourself and fully care for yourself as soon as you were born? Of course not, and I’m sure your mom appreciated the help she got while giving birth to you. Oh, I know, there are some women who have given birth without assistance, but I’m sure they would have gladly received help if it was available. Although there is a lot of instinct, and natural bodily processes, that move the birthing process along, the mother has to help the baby enter the world through pushing a little. Then the mother helps the baby find her breast, and she keeps helping that baby through all the processes of growth and development until it becomes an adult. That’s at least 18 years worth of all different kinds of help.
Helping one another is a form of love. We are created in love and are meant to exist in loving relationships – at least that’s the ideal even though it may not always be the reality. Human beings are meant to exist in inter-dependent relationships, not co-dependent, that’s something else altogether. We are also not meant to be as independent as we think we want to be. As a matter of fact, if we could achieve absolute independence we would be alone and miserable. Living is about loving and loving takes two.
There are as many ways to help someone as there are to care about another persons well being. We have no shortage of ability to help because even a kind word or a smile might help to make someone’s day brighter. We can help in big ways or small ways, it’s not really something that needs to be measured because it is simply the way life is designed; to give according to your ability and to receive according to your need. No I’m not a raging Communist, but I’ll prove this point.
The entire Universe exists on the basis of inter-dependent relationships, giving and receiving in cycles that support all life. A simple example can be seen in the trees that give us oxygen and we breathe back carbon dioxide. Trees help us in a multitude of other useful ways as well, so wise people fight to preserve the existence and reproduction of trees (and other plants as well). That is not only helpful to the trees but helpful to the preservation of the planet and all life. Oh there are endless examples I could give of how all living things are dependent upon one another to thrive and prosper, but I think you get the point. All life is inter-dependent.
I often wonder why it is that humans are so insistent upon being independent, and often not helping each other. We find it easy to help when it is convenient, or to our advantage, but we don’t often stretch ourselves to help as much as we are capable of helping. We create reasons for not helping and wrap ourselves up in doing what we think we need to do to take care of ourselves and those closest to us. By doing this we limit our capacity to love, which is also limiting our capacity to experience the full value of life.
Striving for independence is something we do as we are growing up and the purpose of this is to become fully functional and capable according to our individual potential. Once we become a fully functional and capable adult, if we are really mature, we realize we received a lot of help along the way and we begin to look for ways that we can give back. We also realize that although we may be very capable and independent, we are not really complete or happy alone, we want someone to love and be loved by.
If we could just take this simple process a step further and project it onto a global scale, I think we might find solutions to the worlds problems. There are enough fully functional and capable adults in the world to help those in need, but we have been focused on our own perceived needs and limitations for so long that we have forgotten our purpose. We have confused wants with needs and created a really ugly system of taking as much as we can get and still wanting more. The world is in a mess because we are looking for fulfillment through “getting what I want, because I want” instead of “giving what I can, because I can”.
Sometimes we need to receive or ask for help, it is natural and there is no shame in it as long as we are doing our best to also give what we can according to our capacity. There will always be times and places and possibilities for giving and receiving because it is the natural design of life, inter-dependence. Unfortunately, the world is very out of balance with it’s own natural design because of human greed, lust, resentment and generally self-indulgent thinking – the world needs a lot of help. You and I can help, by creatively using our time, abilities, knowledge or resources to help those who have serious needs, in your community or someplace else in the world. Join me in striving to live in balance with our natural design, by creating each day with a helping hand toward others.
“Here is a rule to remember in the future when anything tempts you to be bitter: not ‘this is a misfortune’ but ‘ To bear this worthily is good fortune’.”
Marcus Aurelius, 121-180 AD
Roman Emperor and Philosopher
God does not work by only one method, paint in only one color, play in only one key, nor does He make only one star shine onto the earth.
“Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience.”
Road Less Traveled – pg. 89
M. Scott Peck, M.D.
Opportunities happen in spits and spurts for me. I spontaneously went out of town with friends two weeks in a row to two different places. My life has always been that way, an opportunity comes and away I go. In my heart I crave movement, excitement and travel.
But most of life is not like that, is it? We go to work or school day in and day out and that becomes the rhythm of life. We wake up, we eat 3 meals and in between the meals we work or sleep. Sometimes we might find a few minutes to do something we like, to spend time with friends, or to lend a helping hand.
Do you remember ever feeling like there was something not quite right about this way of life? Maybe it’s just me, my personality issues, or maybe I just have the ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’. Nah, I’m a grown up for sure, but I can’t lose that nagging feeling that the routine of life is lacking something, something important.
I loved having young children because I enjoyed showing them the wonders and beauty of life. As they grow older the demands for money become greater, not their demands, but the cost of living, supporting a family, sending them to college & helping them prepare for their future. Still, something seems a little unbalanced about this to me. What am I preparing them for? The routine of eat, work, eat, work, eat, sleep?
I’ve tried to be different. I’ve lived a life focused on nurturing my spirit, learning to love others fully, and working to better my community and the world in some way. I’ve tried to raise my kids to have integrity and values, and to live for the sake of loving life and loving others. Unfortunately, it seems like the routine of supporting ourselves and our family keeps beating us down and telling us there’s nothing else you can do, you’re just losers.
I keep fighting back though, I will never admit defeat. Call me idealistic if you will, call me naive, but I will fight for a truer way of life till I die. I envision a life where the routine doesn’t dominate, but functions as a support system for truly enjoying life and loving others, not just for me but for everyone. Every human being on the face of the planet should have the resources to live a purposeful, productive, positive and loving life.
If you’ve been blessed with financial prosperity I hope you find a way to share your success with others who struggle to know how to make ends meet. If you’re a doctor or nurse I hope you share your wealth of knowledge with those who suffer around the world. If you’re a lawyer I hope you fight for human rights and true justice for all. If you’re a religious person I hope you open your heart to all faiths for the goodness they offer. Whatever type of work you do, I hope it has meaning to you, and I hope you also find a way to contribute to making the world a better place for everyone.
Movement, excitement and even travel happens because of love. Everything good comes from truly loving others.
“The heavens endure; the earth is very old. Why? Because they do not exist for themselves, they therefor have long life. The truly wise are content to be last; they are therefor first. They are indifferent to themselves; they are therefore self-confident. Perhaps it is because they do not exist for themselves that they find complete fulfillment.”
“If you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or could it be the same thing under another mask?”
Grahm Greene, 1904-1991
“I define love thus: the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”
M. Scott Peck, b. 1936
American psychiatrist and writer.
“God has given many doors opening into truth which He opens to all who knock upon them with the hands of faith”
Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931
Lebanese poet, artist and mystic
“The ideals that have lighted my way and, time after time, have given me new courage to face life cheerfully have been kindness, beauty and truth.”
Albert Einstein, 1879-1955