Saturday, June 21, 2008

sin and ego

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Monarch butterfly at Guadalupe River State Park, Texas.
(c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

Blech, disgusting! I returned from spending the day working all day on shark research at a local spot with Wifi to poop. Yes, poop. No, I do not mean my own. I mean that the cats had somehow dragged their poop, or it plopped out of their behinds, onto the carpet. Not only that, one of the cats had thrown up on my son’s floor. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled. But maybe this is payback for the fact that HE left the toilet clogged with totally disgusting poop of his own! And I know he’ll love me for announcing this fact on my blog but sheesh!

Other than that, I’m actually quite happy. Besides a great sadness and empathy I feel toward some of my friends going through some really tough struggles, I feel really good about things at the moment. I’m trying to live in the now, and I am. I love my life, actually, and things are pretty darn good. I came home halfway through the day and took a nap, then went back out to work. I can’t seem to focus too well at home these days so getting away seems to help!

So I am really digging A New Earth. I also am still grooving on that new Alanis CD. That song Underneath actually touches on a point that Tolle makes in his first chapter, which is the parallel between the way that we are in our personal lives and the problems around the world – whether hate or greed or war or other social ills. They all start in our hearts, and though we may say “I would never do that” like I would never murder, for example, even Jesus says that if you hate your brother (not necessarily sibling brother) you are just as guilty of murder as a murderer. If you say “I would never cheat on my partner” (or "I have never cheated") but you have lusted after someone in your heart, or had feelings for someone in a relationship with another person, you’ve committed the same sin. It’s one of those spiritual paradoxes, because you can easily say that actual murder is “certainly” worse than just hating someone, or cheating is certainly worse than merely lusting in one’s mind or heart, right? Sure. But only in this world. In spiritual terms, no, they’re the same. But so we’ve all done something like one of these things, right. Exactly the point. We are all guilty, and so we may as well just stop judging others for the sins they make that appear “worse” but really are not in God’s eyes.

Tolle says that translated from Greek, to sin means to miss the mark. “It means to live unskillfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering.” Well again, of course, we ALL sin and we all miss the mark. But the conscious life and the spiritual life is to become increasingly aware of one’s sin and hence to be transformed and stop judging ourselves and others harshly, and to become more and more like God in terms of “God is love.” Tolle also writes that “Fear, greed, and the desire for power are the psychological motivating forces not only behind warfare and violence between nations, tribes, religions, and ideologies, but also the cause of incessant conflict in personal relationships.” His solution (though I’m only on Chapter 2) is not necessarily to let go of fear and greed and the desire for power, but to recognize and become conscious of the workings of the ego, which cause these things, and recognize the ego as separate from the “I” that we each believe ourselves to be from the self that we truly are, which is more than the ego - and includes the spirit. We are more than our ego, more than the collective memories, thoughts, beliefs, traits and so on that we use and the things we associate with “I am….” More to come. Interesting stuff.

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