Striving for Perfection
One day, I was standing on the porch looking up at the sky, feeling extremely spiritual. I was waiting on my spirit guide so we could go to lunch, and when he approached, we walked together to the car. I asked him directly, “What’s the point of all this?”
I thought it was a profound question. He told me, “I believe the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are meant to help us make better decisions.”
Hal was a very spiritual man, and he saved me from drinking for a long time. People would ask me how he did that, so I would tell them that Hal told me there were many ways to be our Creator. I was fearful because I wanted to choose the right path to God. I didn’t want to choose the wrong one because I might get drunk again if I did. I hated the pain.
Hal told me all the religions pointed to the same thing based on time and culture. Humans are curious; humans want to figure things out. This curiosity brought us to the sciences. In essence, it was all about meaning. We wanted to know why this and why that. The ways of science and philosophy are always pushing for absolute truth–perfection.
We want the meaning of all of this. You see, God put tiny white sparks of energy into these human bodies so we could enjoy ourselves by helping one another find meaning. This is where love comes from; it’s also a place where war becomes inevitable, too. We want to be correct and don’t want to be wrong simultaneously. It’s still a binary world, but we are moving closer to the absolute truth. We used to have many opinions or perspectives, but we are narrowing down the hypotheses through truth-seeking. Always asking why? It’s what academia or knowledge-seeking is all about.
As Chris Hedges discovered during his days as a war correspondent, war can give us meaning, but it doesn’t make us happy. In his famous 2003 interview with PBS, Chris was caught smiling in a photo and asked if he was happy; he replied, “Happy” is not a word I would use to describe it. But I had a sense of purpose, had a sense of meaning. I had a sense of ennoblement. But I think, ultimately, being in a war, while it can give you meaning, probably means it is devoid of happiness. Real happiness only comes through love, not through war. And in wartime, there is hardly any love at all.”
So, what is the meaning of happiness?
The answer is love. Chris was correct. All the great spiritual peoples visiting our planet talk about peace and love.
When I think of love, I think of Rumi. Enjoy this poem:
Love is reckless; not reason.
Reason seeks a profit.
Love comes on strong,
consuming herself, unabashed.
Yet, in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone,
hard surfaced and straightforward.
Having died of self-interest,
she risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.
Without cause God gave us Being;
without cause, give it back again.
Mathnawi VI, 1967-1974
As you can see, love is a choice. We experience choices multiple times every day. Do we choose from a place of love or fear? As Chris Hedges pointed out, war can be addictive for some humans since it gives them purpose/power. These people thrive on fear because it makes them feel alive. We’ll talk more about fear later because it causes all the damage in the world. As AA calls fear, “an evil and corroding thread.” I suspect Bill Wilson was correct; that’s why AA was the most significant contribution to spirituality in the 20th century.
What we need to focus on is love. Every great religion should focus on love as its core. Loving self and others. This is what gives meaning to us, little tiny sparks of energy. Of course, it would; it only makes sense to nurture one another’s true essence – the tiny spark deep inside every man, woman, and child. Any religion that tolerates war is wrong. Any country that tolerates war is wrong. No exceptions.
Therefore, we find purpose when we serve each other, and while serving, we love each other. We recognize God in each other. According to Wikipedia, Namaste means, “In Hinduism, it also has a spiritual import reflecting the belief that “the divine and self (atman, soul) is same in you and me”, and connotes “I bow to the divine in you.”
Christianity’s core is the Great Commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus was right.
Who can forget Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech:
Many Christians in the United States rationalize that all of today’s problems result from taking Christianity out of the schools, or they feel victimized by liberals who want to cancel Christianity. These are irrational fears of the unconscious mind – the stuff Sigmund Freud talked about. Con men are manipulating the people who seek answers through religion. In AA, they have a saying, “All you need to start a new meeting is a coffee pot and resentment.”
In other words, all I need is to believe you’re wrong and convince others that I am more right than you or have more truth to sell. See how that goes on to infinity. I never saw more churches in my life than in the south and midwest. We had one Moses and one Jesus; how many different religions do we need?
Rumi said love is selfless – he fell in love with God, but really he was honoring his own divinity.
Love is when humans honor each other’s divinity – not money and power.
Jesus meant what he said: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”