Stop Trying to Be Good. Start Trying to Be Whole
The spiritual journey usually starts with a bang. Someone has an epiphany moment or hits rock bottom and realizes that the only way upward is inward.
However, the next step is precarious. We are rarely taught the correct actions or non-actions that will heed the most value.
So…with our righteous morality, we tend to focus on being “good.” Maybe we help out at the local food kitchen or start a blog supporting other (cough, cough) or decide we would much rather devote our 9–5 to saving children in East Africa.
While all of these pursuits are noble, they fail to do us any good if they are not rooted in who we are. If we just pursue these altruistic goals out of a sense that by doing them we may receive some penance down the road, we have completely lost the plot.
I lost the plot.
I had just come around to the notion of God when I started doing things that I believed would bring me divine grace. But I failed to understand the true meaning of Grace.
Grace is not achieved, it is received.
There is nothing we can do to come closer to the Divine aside from humbly realizing that there is nothing we can do or not do that could separate us from God.
The spiritual journey is a naked one. We are forced to realize our helplessness and ruthlessly distinguish our ego. We will never be transformed until we are utterly done with our way of thinking and have given complete control to God.
It is far better to be wholly yourself than to pursue a moral cause. The Divine doesn’t want more MLK Jr’s or Gandhi’s. He wants more Tom’s-from-Idaho and Kim’s-from-Jasper.
Remember, God doesn’t keep score. But exudes love, grace, and peace.
The root (read: radical) story of Jesus is one of full inclusion and love of ALL people. In fact, whenever someone is pushed to the margins by those in power, he rushes to the edges to be with them.
The goal then is not to be “good,” but to be wholly yourself. The Divine wants you to come home to your True Self, as Thomas Merton would call it. That place that is deepest within you.
Being true to who you are is challenging and humbling. It forces you to throw away your aspirations of righteousness and morality.
It can be hard to accept that all of your donations and volunteering isn’t getting you anywhere “faster” or more “noble” than an alternative route.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do these things, but rather that if they are not in your nature to do them than you are only wearing another mask.
Remember that phrase, “lean not on your OWN understanding?”
That right there is the basis of all spiritual and wisdom traditions. That statement when followed will open you up to real humility.
You will never understand God. Period.
But the good news (read: Gospel) is that you don’t need to understand it to have an experience with it.
And the way you experience it is by removing all of the layers upon layers of ego that keep you from your True Self. For when you find your True Self you will find God, and vice versa.
Recently, I had to remove a thick layer of righteous indignation. I was hard to look at myself and realize that I had been trying to help others with the goal of receiving Grace myself. But so goes the path to transformation.
God doesn’t want more Thomas Merton’s or Oprah’s.
He wants more YOU’s.
Be who YOU are. Not who you think you should be and you may just find that person you’ve been searching for all along.
Do you hate the idea of organized religion but can’t help but to feel that there is some purpose to this life that is bigger than just you?
If so, you aren’t alone.
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