nothing to prove, nothing to protect

“When you can become little enough, naked enough, and honest enough, then you will ironically find that you are more than enough. At this place of poverty and freedom, you have nothing to prove and nothing to protect. Here you can connect with everything and everyone.”  RICHARD ROHR @ CAC.ORG

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness   

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”  Janis Joplin ME AND BOBBY MCGEE

Same message, different messengers.  Fr. Richard is speaking to our sense of spirituality, Dave Ramsey is addressing rampant consumerism, and Janis….well, we’re not quite sure which drummer Janis was following but all three of them speak of freedom from ourselves, from that inherent, squeaky, little voice which tells us that who and what we are is just not good enough.  It’s the voice that enslaves us to religious doctrine, to consumerism and to self-doubt.

Fr. Richard is of the Franciscan order and a proponent of the ancient mystics including Jesus of Nazareth.  He teaches that rather than climbing the ladder to heightened spiritual awareness, we need to descend, to strip ourselves of ourselves, and recognize our Oneness with all of humanity.  When we lower and join into the world of poverty and oppression with the masses we then become One.  When we earnestly harbor compassion and good will for all of God’s creatures, when we strip of worldly desires, we have nothing more to lose and thereby become free.

Like most of you,  for me to grasp this concept of our reality is difficult.  It requires a revolutionary definition of self which is totally alien to modern Christian orthodoxy and absolutely anathema to today’s popular “prosperity Gospel”.  Mother Teresa, of course, would be an excellent role model.  But, we cannot all give up jobs, families, commitments to go work in the slums of a 3rd world country.  However, we can make a conscious effort to eschew the trappings and trap of wealth and consumerism by recognizing the wisdom and truth of the ancients and by living lives which uphold and honor the rights of all of God’s creation.

“…..nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too…” John Lennon IMAGINE” 

rainbow-solidarity

 

live simply

gandhi

Our world today seems overwhelmingly complicated for most of us, especially when we are trying to balance sobriety and its demand for spiritual growth with our social needs in an ego-driven society.  At some point all of us have experienced ‘burn-out’ with our lives.  It happened to me many years ago when my burnout coincided with chairing an AA meeting.  I suggested that very issue as the meeting’s topic of discussion.  Not many in the group participated and I soon realized it was a negativity which was not good fodder for a spiritual conversation.

Living simply, of course, applies to our physical presence on this earth in many ways.  Our consumer habits, our use of natural resources, our food preferences all contribute to the footprint we leave behind as humans.  We are urged by ad councils and corporate America to buy, buy, buy.  Buy this item and you will be beautiful.  Buy our brand and you will be keeping up with the Joneses.  Buy a shiny, new automobile and, baby, you have arrived.

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”  A PROVEN PLAN FOR FINANCIAL FITNESS by Dave Ramsey

As important as these issues are, it is the inner application of “live simply, so that others may simply live” that is extremely challenging.  How do I bring my mind to a place which embraces all humanity as a brotherhood?  How do I simplify and refine my ethics code to a common denominator of tolerance and inclusion?  My inner simplicity determines my outward display of compassion and acceptance.  When my mind analyzes and rationalizes it is not maintaining a core of simplicity.  I am my best self when I become one with you and with all humanity, when I am in solidarity with brothers and sisters worldwide.

rainbow-solidarity