Sunday, October 17, 2010

Are we telling stories?

I am wrestling with something in my life right now...

Acknowledge what IS and Adjust if needed... As easy as that sounds, it seems too seldom be the common practice. Nope...instead, we quickly become authors and tell ourselves stories to solidify and validate our own position... Are these stories told from a logical and unbiased position? Quite doubtful that they are, since it's only natural to narrate a story from a "pro-self" position. Filled with validations, justifications, filters from one's own past, and most of all...filled with our own EGO. How hard do we all try, in the end, to tell ourselves that we are "right"? There are so many situations in which we tend to tell these stories. Maybe it's something someone did or said to you that caused you to feel unloved or even caused you pain? I was reading in a book called "A New Earth" (by Eckhart Tolle) about the word "grievance"... It's a strong negative emotion connected to an event in the past that is being kept alive by compulsive thinking. One strong grievance is enough to contaminate even your perception of other areas of your life, and (worse) keep you in the grips of YOUR OWN EGO! "The past (itself) has no power to stop you from being present now. Only YOUR grievance about the past can do that. And what is a grievance? The baggage of old thoughts and emotions"...

The inability or rather unwillingness of the human mind to let go of the past is beautifully illustrated in the story of two Zen monks, Tanzan and
Ekido, who were walking along a country road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side.
The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekido couldn't restrain himself any longer. “Why did you carry that girl across the road?” he asked. “We monks are not supposed to do things like that.”
“I put the girl down hours ago,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying
(Extracted from A New Earth... Eckhart Tolle)

Let it go! Stop carrying unneeded baggage...blaming and complaining..."poor me". "I was wronged in this way or that way". "I am/was right, and you are/were wrong". There is nothing that strengthens the ego more than "being right". Being right, therefore making someone or something else wrong. You need to make others wrong on order to get a stronger sense of who you are. Being "right", is placing you in a position of imagined moral superiority in relation to the person or situation being judged. It is in that sense of superiority that the ego loves to exist and thrive.

What's the solution..? Be more conscious of the ego. It lives only if we feed it and allow it to live. We must allow others to live,..even if it's in a different way than we would live. Forgive if you were wronged. Yet don't try to just "forgive"... It doesn't work! Forgiveness happens naturally when you see that 'not forgiving' is simply your egos' effort to live. Consciously become aware of your ego and what it feeds on, and forgiveness (therefore) happens. You no longer NEED to feel "right" or superior to others. We are all of the same worth in God's eyes. Allow others to live and learn and wish them hope and goodness. Sometimes things hurt, but how much more we continue to hurt ourselves ten fold.... by retelling the story called "I'm right, and you're wrong"...
End that story...! For the ego is the only author.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Old Friends... Renewed Perspective

A missionary off the coast of northern Africa, on a little island that is still considered Portuguese territory called Madeira... once wrote:
"To register one's spiritual impressions and experiences in books and records, while 'Yet still in the spirit', is not to deny the reminding influence of the Holy Spirit, but to ENHANCE it."
He wrote that in the front cover of a book that he left with me, as he departed his mission, to go home. I have done just what he said and recorded my life in books and journals... My life has been blessed because of it, and now my kids are doing the same. Elder John P. McLay wrote that... He taught me so much, in such a short amount of time... I was 19 years old at the time... 16 years ago.
Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to see him once again and meet his sweet wife (Brooke), and feel closer to God simply by being in his presence. This is a man, that has remained constant in his course, and kept the faith. He is an example to us all of what it means to know and serve the Lord.
It's interesting to reflect on the times that he and I shared as we walked the streets of that little island town called Funchal... We read together, prayed together, and taught the gospel of Jesus together. A time when all there was to do is get lost in the service of others and forget all that was part of "the self". How easily I forget that wonderful promise that when we lose our lives in the service of other, it is there that we find true life and happiness. How easily I am beset with the pride of self, and give way to selfish desires. How much I get in my own way of really living happily as I seem to chaise the superficial.
When you are around someone that is so filled with love and the light of The Lord, it has such an undeniable impact. It's not a feeling of "I'm no good" or "Look how flawed I am"... NO!! People that have that light don't make us feel less of a person at all. They make us feel inspired and so loved, that we just want to be and do better. To reach higher and be stronger in every part of our lives. I have only met a few people that have that type of an impact. John McLay is one of them. When one walks with The Master every day, they begin to emulate the very love and spirit of their Master. Loved, accepted, and understood... Don't we all want to feel those feelings? When I feel that way, I seem to want to give that person everything that I have, and everything that I am. On the other hand... when people make me feel flawed, broken, and unforgivable..? I repel that person, and withhold my very soul from them.
Isn't that what the Atonement is all about? Acceptance... The acceptance of where someone is (flaws and all), never judging, but lifting them to higher ground.

Makes me think about how I want to make others feel when they are around me... Accepted and loved... no matter what. I want to be like John McLay... I really have been so blessed lately with such positive people that have come into my life lately. For this.. I am grateful!
Thank you John, for the reminding influence of your spirit, that make me want to reach higher! I mean it.


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