Sunday Reflection VI

In terms of soul work, we dare not get rid of the pain before we have learned what it has to teach us.
— Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

Brothers & Sisters,

Last week you were challenged with resetting how you start your mornings and more importantly you were learning that there is actually a world around you that exists that does not involve the screen of your phone, tv or computer. How did you do?

If you keep up with my daily letters, you most likely have noticed a theme towards the end of the week that revolves around ego. I'd like to visit that a bit today and make it a part of your challenge and something to meditate on this coming week. What if I were to tell you that the larger your ego becomes, the emptier you become. Why do we have this desire to fill ourselves up with all of these things that we can never take with us when we die? Why do we have a need to know everything and anything? What if actually knowing was that we can never really know everything? And if that's the truth why do we still desire to know everything? Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. I'm not saying intellect isn't essential, because it is, but I am saying that instead of striving for the impossibility of having all the knowledge we should strive to understand that knowing is really that we don't know.

If we can agree that God is all-knowing, then we should also be prepared to acknowledge that He will never lead us astray and we should trust in Him entirely. It is in this circumstance that we begin to fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit and empty ourselves of the ego that rots within us. What if we can be convinced that ego is the start of evil within us and will drive us to all the wrong things that God doesn't want from us? Think of someone in your life that might have an enormous ego. I'd argue that one or more of the following things are true of this person:

  1. They have a vast swathe of things that they are ignorant about but tend to try and sound knowledgeable about.

  2. They speak far more than they listen.

  3. They often don't think before they speak.

  4. Their life is filled with material items that seem to prop them up.

Did you identify that person? Was it you? It's ok if it was, in fact, it takes a lot of guts and mental acuity to figure out that the person in your life with the ego is yourself. So what can you do this week to take a step further in shedding your ego and filling yourself up with love and humility?

Over the course of this week, we'll all find ourselves meeting with a friend, coworkers or family. During these conversations make an honest attempt to just listen and observe. When and if you feel the urge to speak think about the words that are about to fall from your lips and make sure that you understand them before you say them.

This might sound easy, but I'd argue that the days of people thinking before they speak are gone. We often just talk to hear our own voices, and that doesn't serve anyone or help you at all. However, if you take a few seconds the words that you speak might have a much better impact on those conversations than that of your former rambling self.

Finally, my friends, at the end of each day take a few minutes to acknowledge your shortcomings and make an effort to be more mindful of them the following day. Doing these things each day for the week will start to develop the good habits that we and those around us deserve to have in our lives.

Yours,
Jeff

Photo by Andrew Charney on Unsplash