* to encourage a reasoned awareness of how our beliefs impact the way we interact with the world around us
* to foster intelligent and open dialogue
* to inspire a sense of spirituality that has real meaning in day-to-day life

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Letting Go of Shame: Genesis 4 Revisited

In response to a great suggestion about last week's entry, here is Genesis 4, which is primarily the story of Cain and Abel.  You can read it in whatever translation you prefer.  This may help to draw some lines of comparison between the original message and my revision, should you so desire.  I hope the spiritual truth I convey here stands on its own, but I also understand the value of tracing the train of thought back to the original text. 

One of the results of the fear that keeps us from honoring the truth and beauty and creativity within ourselves and other people is envy.  It may be that we fear that we won’t be taken care of, that we’ll miss out on some important experience, or that we won’t get a satisfying amount of respect and adoration.  Our fear may even seem justified when we see other people getting what we deem to be better results than we are.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of measuring people’s value by how much they own, the car they drive, the clothing they wear, the food they eat, or the house they inhabit.  These trappings don’t impact a person’s value one iota.  People have intrinsic value because of the truth, beauty, and creativity within them, not their bank account or lifestyle.  When we have wealth, we fear losing it; when we see other people with more than we have, we fear that we will not have enough.  And of course, there are plenty of other fears about wealth and lifestyle.

The frightening thing is that we sometimes do atrocious things to one another out of fears that are based on misguided nonsense.  Our fears lead us to insult, steal, and even kill.  Our fears create conflict where none needs to exist.  Once again, shame often springs up in the wake of our fear-based actions, and instead of seeing the truth and beauty and creativity in ourselves and others, instead of being inspired by the world around us, we seal ourselves off from it and suffocate our own souls from the connection upon which we thrive.

We can recover from our misdeeds.  Other people can recover from our misdeeds (and their own).  The world can recover from our misdeeds.  It may not be pleasant, and it may take time, but the possibility always exists for true connection with the natural world, with other people, and with ourselves.  It is up to us to break the spiral of fear and shame which stifles connection, and to embrace the truth and beauty and creativity that can bring us back around to satisfying relationship.  This requires being boldly honest with ourselves.

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