Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Least of These

My life has been crazy lately, stumbling around hoping to find the door to growth (that's part of the problem - I'm looking for a door). Growth is mostly a matter of learning how to think and act differently. Fighting childhood engrained, bible based philosophy while comparing it with "humanistic" philosophy has been a challenge because I see problems in both. Religion has taken good ideas and used them to separate, shame and control people and I cannot abide any religion. Yet many non-religious philosophies are very selfish, another thing I cannot stand. While still trying to be open minded, I have had to admit that there are some good ideas and wisdom in religious scriptures. Now this isn't to say that I think you will find the true Christian God and Jesus if you just look at the bible with a different perspective. Instead I think you can find helpful thoughts for how to better be part of the only thing I believe to exist - the Universe.

Moving On - Hoping For Growth
Recently, my love and I moved into a house relishing the idea of having our own space; however, that wasn't to be, at least for now. We had one person who was supposed to live in the basement but decided they wanted to live upstairs and commandeered the space with seeming disregard to our thoughts and feelings on the matter. This highly angered me because I've felt disrespected and unappreciated most of my life. I thought I had been treated this way because I didn't stand up for myself so I tried to do that now. Being further maligned and called "uncaring, unreasonable" and several other things after refusing to back down against selfish people has been exhausting and further angering.

Attempts were made to try and ameliorate that situation to little avail and the roommate moved out. We found someone else who was willing to live in the basement which was perfect except that in addition to being a friend, he was also my boss for the first time. Because we share a house I was on edge wondering if he was going to think I did a good enough job. Would it create an awkward situation at home? Even if the world is falling apart, at least I still had my little bubble at home: but it wasn't so much a bubble anymore. I really try to do my best at everything but I find it extremely difficult to do a good job when I think what I'm doing is stupid. In my head I know that I need to care because otherwise I'll be fired and develop a bad reputation. Mostly though I've believed that lazy people are useless and I don't want to feel like that - it's too familiar.

As we see ourselves, so is the world. 
Many times when you finally realize that you should be treated differently, you think as I did, that it's because you aren't standing up for yourself. What you fail to see is that you want to be treated differently but still see yourself negatively. I'd never been good enough for myself and I just wanted someone to tell me I was doing "okay" so that I could relax just a little. Eventually the disparity between how I want to be seen and how I felt I was perceived and treated reached a head and I "stood up for myself" by blowing up. As I sat on my couch unemployed, unsure of what to do, staring down into a chasm of depression, self hate willing me to fall in, something in a youtube video spoke to me. It was rather in passing, the man stated "the universe is a reflection of us".  He gave an analogy related to work and that's when something clicked. I began to realize I was perceiving other people's attitudes a certain way because that's how I perceived myself. 

More Roommates and....
While all the roommates were clearing out our old house, I was notified that my SIL and her boyfriend would need to stay with us for "a week or two" until their house renovations were completed. I was slightly put out that I wasn't asked but mentally conceded because hey, it's family and I can't imagine saying no anyway. The two weeks has turned into more without a definite end in sight as most construction projects go which isn't a big deal except that I do like to have my space. I've spent the last two weeks reading and reflecting trying to better understand myself and what I need to do next - how to not blow up again. Last night I was given a situation, a test where I again felt like my opinion didn't matter. 

My SIL was at a wedding in the country that morning where they found a beautiful dog alone in a field. After trying to find owners in the area without much luck, the bride said she wanted it but couldn't take ownership till she gets back from her honeymoon at the end of the week. You guessed it, we have it for the week now bringing our dog total to 4. My attitude was anger at not being asked but also because I knew it was putting more responsibility on me (My name is on the lease, what if it damages something? What if it gets my puppy sick?). Not only was I stressed but also felt imposed upon. I was going to have to deal with this animal during the day because someone has to while my SIL and her boyfriend are at work. When I went to bed I was incredibly stressed out and angry to the point my jaw was hurting from all the internal conflict. Trying to find sleep somehow, I realized I was having trouble respecting myself. Who am I? What am I doing? What is the next step in my path?

Cells in a Body
One of the books I'm reading compares us to cells in a body. If they do their jobs properly, there should be no need of worry for provisions. If that was true, what was my purpose so I don't starve? When I woke up this morning, I was much less stressed because before drifting off to sleep, I finally admitted that I am okay with failing. I don't have the energy to fight the monsters of my own self hatred anymore. I'm totally cool with being me even if it means I starve to death. This morning when I brought my puppy in from going potty I saw the orphan everyone but me was showing love to standing in the hallway wagging her tail. At that same instant the question was still blazing in my mind - what am I supposed to do? I knew the right thing to do in that moment was to treat this dog with love so I started walking her outside as the word "purpose" clanked around my soul. 

That's when some words Jesus had said to his disciples recited themselves in my mind: "if you've done it to the least of these, you've done it to me." Instantly I knew I was wrong for the way I had been feeling. I don't believe that there is a god separate from us anymore but that we are all part of this universe completely interconnected. The "least of these" still applies notwithstanding Christianity: loving and respecting even the smallest thing is doing the same to the whole because it's all one. I've been sitting here looking for a purpose because I want to feel like I have worth other people can recognize and define. How else do we make money and survive if people don't think we are worth anything? But I've been approaching it all wrong. My purpose is in front of me and I've been ignoring it because it doesn't seem to put me any further along to fulfilling my needs. It's selfish which is the core of evil. 

What is Evil?
Evil comes when a person (or cell if you will) decides to try and be something different because it doesn't feel sufficient or has it's perspective warped. They are disconnected mentally and emotionally from the rest of the organism which removes them from sustenance except what they steal. Disconnection brings pain because we are then open to fear and abuse as we look for approval, validation, and comfort that may be taken away at any second. Evil is the actions we take to fulfill those needs without consent. Many people settle for the space right next door to evil - mutual using. You consent to being used because you are getting enough and when you don't, you'll leave and be free to go since they knew what was happening all along.

Convicted
Christians talk about being convicted which most of the time is accompanied by a large amount of guilt and shame. Religious conviction further reinforces you being a piece of shit that can't get things right unless you try harder. I've been missing opportunities to live my purpose because I'm so busy looking for it. Realizing that didn't make me feel guilty - instead I felt sad that I had had it so wrong. I still don't know what I'm doing other than trying to be open to the smallest moments but that brings hope because accepting the basic truth behind this is very freeing. When you show love to the inconveniences, the irritations - the least of these, you are doing something without expecting a return. That is reaching the highest purpose because you cannot reach down in a pure heart until you've completely accepted yourself and place in the Universe.

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