I love you. And, I know that you love me too. Now I know that may sound silly or even obvious, but then again, you and I have gone some time without really talking, and I felt I should write to you and make a conscious step towards rebuilding our communication. You’ve tried speaking to me nearly every moment of every day my entire life…it took me many years to learn how to listen, and I recognize there are still times when I may fail to, and for that, I am sorry.
Some call it “being saved” or “finding God.” I just called it waking up.
Sometimes the human incarnations of your divinity become far too clouded with what I truly believe to be your antithesis: the human ego. Over the millennia, theologians and self-proclaimed prophets have boiled the great battle of existence down to two forces – good and evil, affixing personifications and names to each category. Of course, you and I both know there is no such thing as evil in this world – that such a wholly negative and destructive energy would not and could not exist, because what purpose would that serve in the grand scheme of this whole big, beautiful, infinite mess we call existence? Ego – the sense of the Self as an independent and disjointed unit floating through life in isolation – yields concepts of ‘rational’ self-interest that fuel actions and behaviors that attempt to elevate Self over the Other. Acts of evil are merely acts of ego taken to their extreme.
Ego is a human fallacy. It is not found elsewhere in the natural world. Ego drove greedy men in power to draft holy texts that they could forever use to oppress those they viewed as subordinate – namely women – under the unquestioned notion that a single male God created man in His image and then created women to accompany him in his journey through life (despite the laughable irony that women are the creators of life, as are the females of every non hermaphroditic species). It is that same ego that has led extremists – from the Crusades of the 11th Century, to the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th to the rise of the Islamic State in the 21st – to wreak havoc on innocent people in the name of their gods.
Maybe I’m just thinking about this because I was recently asked by a younger and equally inquisitive mind – one ostensibly not quite as jaded by the detrimental will of so many men in this world – whether I ascribe to any particular religion. The conversation was laced with clichés (“I’m not like, religious, I’m like, spiritual; I believe in like, energy maaaaaan; etc.), clichés which in my mind are always proclaimed in the voice of a California surfer turned Mohave desert mystic, or that of the sort of individual that declares their love for the Great Spirit and all things ‘new-age’ and then turns around to fuel blatantly capitalist paradigms by buying $200 yoga pants made in sweatshops in some forgotten corner of this world.
The question, however, served as a reminder that my loosely woven but nonetheless abundant system of belief is what pushes me to connect with the fabric of existence in a way that my angsty, goth-rock, “God”-loathing former self was never able to. I walked away from religiosity a lifetime ago, but have since bypassed atheism and agnosticism and found my place within the matter-of-fact connections that unify all of existence, and feel much more comfortable articulating my infinite love for you through that language. To each their own, right?
Ego, sadly, takes other more subtle forms. All too often, regardless of what faith one practices, we find ourselves losing our vision or losing our way, and we fail to communicate with our own concept of the Divine. For some, they stop praying or going to church. Many claim that their god has abandoned them. In times of despair or hardship, those that do not turn to their god for help will often claim they have been forgotten.
When my ego takes over, it’s as simple as just not listening anymore.
Depression, anxiety, fear, doubt, self-deprecation…these states are the work of the ego, and sometimes they just make me a poor listener. So here, now, today, I want to apologize, and let you know that I am back. I hear you. I am not here on this earth to watch the minutes melt away while dwelling on chemical imbalances, or lamenting the hyper-emotionality through which I experience life, or feeling sorry for myself. I am here to help make the world a better place for my future daughters to live and love, and to help build a world where my future sons will be proud to call themselves men.
In the words of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “life is a festival of disruption.” It is up to us to make sure we are joining in on the festivities and disrupting archaic mindsets and ego-fueled fear of one another to join the world together towards a common goal of coexistence, peace, and love.
I’m not saying I won’t lose my way again, we all do. Ego is a powerful thing, and the propensity for human beings to separate themselves from one another and not reach out, whether to help or to seek help. We all have unique abilities and gifts, ways in which you are living and loving through each and every one of us, and it is our responsibility in life – perhaps even our purpose – to discover and nurture those abilities and use them towards a greater good. Our efforts combined formulate the very higher power that for thousands upon thousands of years we have relegated to an unattainable, external state of being – whether taking the form of heaven, jannah, God, Allah, Nirvana, devas, saints, or Enlightenment.
Paradise exists right here on Earth. It is all around us. All we have to do is let go of our ego and listen.
As for me, I promise to dedicate more time to writing what I hear.