As I was digging into Pseudo-Dionysius I went to Chicago for business. I met with Cress who is a good friend from Denver and we chatted over lunch. We shared stories and I told him some of my immediate impressions of Pseudo-Dionysius’ work. As we discussed the Divine Pattern that each of us can choose to follow or choose to ignore in favor of our individual egos, he shared the analogy that many Christians have come to associate with the term ‘sin’.
For most of human beings, we don’t roll out of bed in the morning with a daily plan to wreak havoc and destroy others.
We all want to run around fixing other people. We want them to be happy by our definition and expectation. As we get older, we see our friends and family make the same mistakes over and over, repeating the same patterns of behavior again and again. We hear them tell us their dreams and hopes yet when the rubber meets the road, they fail over and over with the same problems. We celebrate when we see them escape a terrible relationship and then watch them as months go by and they dive right back into a similar relationship. It is as if they are damned to repeat their mistakes and as good friends we want to help them…
Words are cheap. Nobody likes a salesman. Be happy, generous, and healthy.
Obama has become my daily inspiration for how the ego drives otherwise good men to incredibly wicked and morally corrupt deeds. I read articles that described his intense concern for his legacy and how it would be perceived by history. This subscription to the whims of history blinded him from doing the right thing. My wife always mentions that the White House photographer is incredible and I have to agree. The historical capital by which the photographer continues to capture candid moments of the president standing with a small African-American child in front a portrait of Lincoln is a wonderfully emotionally trigger that tugs on my heart strings. Now, six years later I feel ashamed. I was played. The American people were played. We were marks in the biggest con in our country’s history.
I’ll be honest. I voted for change. I believed the hype. And then I discovered a harsh truth about politics. Republican, Democrat, or Tea Party nutcase they don’t live in the same America I do. They allowed their egos to get the better of them. Money and power corrupted their souls and corroded their values. The party that I held up as the moral compass of America was as dark as anything in my worst nightmare. It is a chilling wake-up call. I can’t make excuses for them anymore.
I believe American’s try hard. Yes, some citizens game the system and others live in a world of entitlements. However, most Americans just work hard and try to get by.
I watched the recent debate over the firing of the West Point football coach. Alumni rose to defend him claiming it isn’t his fault the players fumble the ball every year.
The news outlets tell me that the millennials are failing in everything they do. Well, they aren’t failing. Young Americans are second guesses themselves. Someone moved the goal posts.
At the end of the day, the coach is the only one we can ultimately hold responsible on a football team. Likewise, a president for a country.
An interesting outcome of my dream was the inspiration to return to the Jesus Prayer as a personal mantra and meditation. I had been in my new job for a couple weeks and my monkey mind had gotten worse. Although I focused on deep breathing exercises during my commute and at stressful times, it did not help quiet my mind.
After the dream, I decided to give the Jesus Prayer another chance. Just a simple meditation over and over again to blank my mind of earthly concerns. Although the first day was a little awkward, by the third day I was in a Zen state of calm. I discovered that the prayer cleared my mind in ways I did not expect. Some days I still enjoy listening to the radio in my car but most days I turn off the radio, focus on the prayer, and just appreciate the moment. I have seen more beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the last month than in the previous year.
I am a minister to lost souls and those overcome by their demons. I show them the path to salvation. That it is not too late and they are not beyond His Grace. That it is a choice they make with their free will. They are not beyond salvation. Take their greatest temptation and turn it back on itself.
Remember the saying, “You are your own worst enemy?” Well, that phrase basically sums up many of the poor decisions I have made in my life. The root of this enemy was my ego. When I reflect, most of my life and my unhappiness was the result of trying to either satisfy or protect my ego.
The ego, without boundaries, is insatiable. After all those years of blood, sweat, and tears I was left with a permanent sense of dissatisfaction in my life. The ego is also, by its very nature, a liar that crafts a web of deception as to its fragility. The ego becomes the manacles and chains that enslave each of us. We are each responsible for our own salvation. You cannot save another except by the example you set. Until we slip those chains, we are blind to the real world and cannot begin to reach true happiness. We each holds the key to our chains yet we voluntarily put them on each day. For me, the ego is the stain on human perfection. It is the original sin.
My wake-up call was the epiphany during the Night of the Wave. That dream shook loose everything I had built upon the false foundation of my ego. After that night, nothing would ever be the same for me. I keep a wallpaper on my laptop’s desktop. It says, “The death of your ego will be the beginning of your real life”. It has become the axiom I live my life by.
Setting priorities in one’s life is important. It is no different than prioritizing goals you want to achieve for yourself. Recently, I had an epiphany about my own life and how I evaluated success.
There are wonderful and fascinating discussions on the concept of our universe being a simulation. Pondering this, they question of God obviously comes to mind. I love game theory and simulations but integrating the concept of God as a game master was a fun exercise.
Regardless of your religious affiliation or non-affiliation, if we imagine life as a grand simulation we might see the game for what it is.