For that’s what it is…either by a slow, subtle decline or a wild ride towards a blazing, noteworthy denouement.
To your eternal soul the idea of death is an illusion, a fantasy to go along with the dream of this three dimensional world of time and space. But to your ego, death is not only a possibility but an absolute certainty. In its terror of contemplating its own end your ego does its best to convince you he’s the only game in town. If she goes down you’re going down with her. Thus the near constant vacillation between the two extremes: the manic high to be found in: “Live for today for tomorrow we die” and the depressing lows to wallow in from: “Why bother trying at all? What meaning is there to anything in life? We’re all going to be dead soon anyway.”
The problem to this way of thinking is that while the current you defined by the ego will pass in time, the eternal you will never die. Doesn’t it make more sense to allow your eternal self with its much longer and hopefully, wiser perspective to be the one directing the course of your life? Rather than let your temper-tantrum throwing, no thought to anyone or anything but its own narrow, short-sighted self- interest side of you to run things.
Your eternal self recognizes that you have an infinite amount of time to conquer your current limitations. So what if you don’t manage to achieve perfection over the course of this single, limited life-time? Does that make striving toward perfection the foolish endeavor your ego tries to convince you it is? No. All striving to overcome our existing limits has value because whatever progress we make along the path towards bettering ourselves in this lifetime leaves us that much closer to our ultimate goal when we leave this world.
We don’t start over from scratch when we shed this physical shell. At any point in time we are the culmination of all of our thoughts, words and deeds leading up to that moment from the instant we were given life by our creator. Just because we made poor decisions in the past, doesn’t mean we have to live with the consequences of those decisions forever. There is hope for all of us. All that is required to move beyond our past is to take that first step in the direction of the new vision we hold for ourselves. Whether that first step is tentative or bold is irrelevant. What matters most is that we take some small stride, even if it’s only on our hands and knees, in the direction of our dreams.
On the other hand, just because we made good decisions in the past doesn’t forever provide us with a free pass to rest on our laurels and pass judgment over those who didn’t.
In every moment we are either in a state of decline or ascension. It is impossible to stand still. Life does not stop. Life does not end. So even if you’re nearing the end of this life don’t let yourself fall into your ego’s trap of believing this is it for you. Each moment has meaning. Each day has new potential. This day is no less precious than yesterday, or your dreams of what tomorrow will hold.
Of course escaping the ego’s hold over your life is no easy task. Speaking from personal experience it is a constant battle to balance the very real needs and responsibilities inherent in this physical world, while at the same time trying to focus on moving my eternal self forward along the path of enlightenment. The tools of success are similar for both endeavors. You have to first commit to work towards your goals and then set aside the necessary time and be willing to put forth the required effort to move yourself forward. Sometimes it feels as though you’re progressing so rapidly you can’t keep up with yourself. At others, even the most miniscule step towards advancing the realization of your vision is such a painful, miserable endeavor all you want to do is close in on yourself and give up. Both experiences have value. Each has lessons to be gained from going through them.
God sets our feet on the path that will lead us most quickly to heaven and our reunion with Him. He doesn’t mind when we dilly dally along the way or when we take a wrong turn now and then. He’s happy when we’re happy. He enjoys our successes, our failures, our loves, our losses, our missteps, and our awe at nature’s gifts. But when we lose our sense of our souls, when we fear our ego’s end is our end, he gently brushes away our tears, and sets us back on the path leading home to Him.
So today why not take a little step to free your spirit from the tyranny of your ego? Have a good laugh at your follies. Try something new. Read that book that’s been calling to you. Start a new hobby. Forgive. Move forward. Call a friend. Pick the flowers growing in your yard or buy a bouquet from the grocery store. Do anything that shakes up the old, tired vision of yourself you’ve been clinging to for too long.
Each day is a challenge to re-create ourselves anew ….to move forward…to take a step towards the perfect vision God holds in His heart of each of us. Our goal, our purpose, is to become closer to manifesting that vision a little bit more each day.