Saturday, April 26, 2014

Comprehending The Force Of My Ego

From: Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island, Harper Torch / HarperCollins Publishers, 2003, pp. 278-9.
Speaking of a hurricane that had really devastated Shutter Island, the home of an institution for the criminally insane, the warden said to a U.S. Marshal investigating a missing inmate: “Did you enjoy God’s latest gift?” the warden said. Teddy [the Marshal] looked at the man … “I’m sorry?”
“God’s gift,” the warden said and his arm swept the torn grounds. “His violence. When I first came downstairs in my home [on the island] and saw the tree in my living room, it reached toward me like a divine hand. Not literally, of course. But figuratively, it stretched. God loves violence. You understand that, don’t you?”
“No,” Teddy said. “I don’t.”
“Why else would there be so much of it? It comes out of us. It is what we do more naturally than we breathe. We wage war. We burn sacrifices. We pillage and tear at the flesh of our brothers. We fill great fields with our stinking dead. And why? To show Him that we’ve learned from His example….”
Teddy watched the man’s hand stroking the binding of the small book he pressed to his abdomen. [The warden] smiled and his teeth were yellow.
“God gives us earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes. He gives us mountains that spew fire onto our heads. Oceans that swallow ships. He gives us nature, and in nature is a smiling killer. He gives us disease so that in our death we believe He gave us orifices only so that we could feel our life bleed out of them. He gave us lust and fury and greed and our filthy hearts. So that we could wage violence in His honor. There is no moral order as pure as this storm we’ve seen. There is no moral order at all. There is only this – can my violence conquer yours?”
“…I’m not violent,” Teddy said.
The warden spit on the ground near their feet. “You’re as violent as they come. I know, because I’m as violent as they come. Don’t embarrass me. If the constraints of society were removed, and I was all that stood between you and a meal, you’d crack my skull with a rock and eat my meaty parts.”
What a grizzly description of life on earth! Yet, that is what I’ve been taught; what you’ve been taught; what the whole human race has been taught; what we’ve all been taught for so many thousands of generations that we believe this to be a terribly awful – but real – description of our “dog-eat-dog” world.
Now, I don’t think many of us would describe this world the way the warden did. It’s truly gruesome.  But the overall “picture” he presents is a portrait of what we’ve been taught – it’s a dangerous world, filled with dangerous people, just waiting to pounce on us for some possession of ours, or to get some advantage over us, or to get theirs before we do, or to satisfy some desire to get even with us, or to remove us as a potential threat to them.
Regardless of how mild or heinous we describe it, that’s the world of our ego: A world of fear, anger, hate, lust, resentment, revenge, envy, and greed.
But it’s all a dream – albeit a very bad dream. Perhaps it’s better described as a nightmare. It is a world each of us create by the way we look at it. It’s simply our perception. Change our perception and the world changes. I’ve experienced this at times, and it’s an amazing miracle. As I’ve learned – and shared in these messages – if we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. 
But it seems so daunting. The world seems so violent and fearful. That attitude makes me want to quit before I begin. But that’s my perception again – my ego raising its head presenting me with this task to change the world. My “task” is not to fix the world by simply changing the way I look at it. I am simply to be willing to NOT listen to what I think and to be willing to let the Holy Spirit give me another way of looking at things or people. I need to keep the focus only on me and my thoughts. I need to be willing to think differently. I need to be willing to ask for a different way of perceiving. That’s all. He’ll take it from there.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#4 April, 2014

Copyright, 2014

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