One night many years ago – when we were still ‘young people’, Gio, Stacey and myself were hanging out after a 4th Dimension meeting at the crib (I’m glad to have that tradition back again) having some sort of spirited discussion when we had an epiphany; In the Lord’s Prayer it says
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” and it dawned on us that it was only in the act of asking God to forgive others that I’m forgiven – that I am merely conduit for God’s Love to flow through and in the process being cleansed myself. It really is that simple, I believe. If I get out of the way and let God do It’s job (my life) and just go about *my* job (loving others) then I’m set free every day. Forgiveness is a byproduct of Love and I’ve come to believe that it’s only through loving others in a brotherly way that I experience love for myself – that self esteem happens as a result of practicing esteemable acts.
Being perpetually focused on my favorite subject (me) never creates peace within. Indeed it is the root of my problem (I aint much but I’m all I think about) and I watch us practice an insidious version of that same twisted narcissism by trying to Forgive ourselves. I note that most people I see attempting that philosophy are generally unhappy – because it is still essentially self centered. It’s a trap. Thinking of myself more never fixes a damn thing, it’s only through thinking of myself less that I start to think more of myself.
It’s easy to dismiss the Lord’s Prayer since I dont consider myself Christian, but then that’s the beauty of Spiritual prayer. They carry wisdom regardless of messenger.
Many years ago I sat down in a restaurant with a spiritual advisor friend. I was perplexed with choosing a path to follow because for as long as I’ve been alive I’ve been haunted by the age old mind fuck of ‘there are 189 religions in the world. Most refer to themselves as the One way… so which one’s right?’. The odds are daunting at best and usually just left me annoyed and antagonistic toward all of them. (Gotta cover all the bases)
He gives me that wise old mad twinkle and plops a catsup bottle down in front of us and asks me to describe what I see.
“Well, it’s a glass bottle, 3/4 full of red stuff with a white cap. The label says HEINZ 57 VARIETY CATSUP 16fl oz. Not for resale.”
“Great!” he says. “Now what I see is a glass bottle, lotsa red stuff with a couple of spotches of red near the top and a white label with green trim that says “Ingredients: Tomatoes, water, sugar, salt…”.
He looks me dead in the eye and says, “So, who’s right?”
That was such a huge turning point in my search for Truth. Who knew a catsup bottle would be the key to rocketing me into such a Broad Highway?
10 years ago I had a stroke and it scrambled several skills I had that we all take for granted like eye/hand coordination, remembering people’s names, life experiences, what year it is, etc. Over the ensuing year my brain rerouted most of those skills and in the process I got to explore some different terrain that had been struggles for me previously like suddenly having an aptitude for math and formulas. It also gave me the gift of having to re-evaluate what God was to me and how I connected with It. The experience of seeing life differently caused me to see God in a different way and I shed some of the limitations I placed on It. It rattled loose some of my own Dogmatic views of life. Being one who loathes Dogma it’s always funny (or not!) to me to see just how hypocritical I am.
5 years ago I had part of my foot amputated and through some complications with surgery was left in the position of having to let the severed side close and heal on it’s own sans stitches while I packed gauze into it a few times a day. 8 months and 3700mg of percodan a day later the God I knew was gone. I literally had no connection to It and began to doubt all the evidence I’d previously relied on because I could no longer ‘feel’ God. It devastated me. There is nothing worse than losing God once you’ve felt It and known you arent alone.
I never have been able to regain the connection I had during the late nineties, and that’s just fine with me because as with my previous adversities have pushed me to find new paths and new connections. For me, the Principles became my beacons to God. I believe that I will never comprehend Infinite and it’s pretty silly of me to try to know the mind of God – I’m not qualified. But I know that when I practice Courage, Honesty, Hope, Openmindedness, Willingness, Patience, Love, Integrity, Persistence, Humility, Meditation, Tolerance, and give it away for free and for fun that something inside of me hums. It’s a quiet, knowing vibration that tells me that I’m living with the Flow of the Universe. It is never there when I’m afraid, apathetic or angry – only when I’m following God’s Road Signs.
For me, that Hum is God.