But inside me I am aware that underneath this smooth and clean appearance reside messy, complex, entangled beliefs.
And these beliefs tell me that I sometimes feel like a fraud, and that I have many conflicting beliefs that need sorting out.
Being troubled by this knowledge, I scurry around even harder trying to “neaten things up.”
Do you ever feel like this?
Then I stop, and I ask myself what is my real motive — spiritual growth, or looking good on the outside?
“What the soul calls spiritual growth, the ego sees as “one insult after another,” says Lama Trungpa Rinpoche.
“Ouch,” my ego says.
I just don’t like it when my ego gets banged around. It’s insulting. “Life should be easy,” “It should go my way!” old beliefs within me shout. “This shouldn’t be happening!”
I can remember many years ago when I even took the weather personally. When it rained it was out to get me by ruining my picnic!
Yes, it’s all about me! Or so my self-centered ago thinks.
When things seem to go against my wishes and desires, does that mean God doesn’t love me?
Very important question. An auxiliary question is, “What is love?”
Is God the energy of love that connects us all, the very affinity of being with being, as Teilhard de Chardin defines God?
Or is God my personal “fixer” who should make things right for me? What do I believe?
These questions help me sort things out.
As I dig into the “mess” hidden below the surface, more conflicting beliefs raise their ugly little heads.
So, what is my motive right now, this day, this minute?
Is it self preservation? Am I trying to protect my ego? Or am I caring about the greater good?
As I answer these questions I have to go beyond the first three or four responses, for I can so easily deceive myself.
“The pearl of great price is found in the simplicity after the complexity, not in the simplicity before the complexity,” as Rev. Marvin Anderson was fond of saying.
It’s messy to allow conflicting information into our awareness, to sift through it. But if we will activate our patience, the beautiful pearl of wisdom does emerge.
And it’s worth all the waiting. It’s worth all the journaling. It’s truly worth all the threshing and wrestling required.
So, if you decide to tackle this job of digging below the surface of your consciousness, I implore you to be compassionate with yourself.
It’s not easy. It’s messy and it’s so amazingly beautiful, all at the same time.