the Search

questions

See that fellow sitting in the question mark?  That’s me now, been me 90% of my waking time and often I wonder if my sleeping time is not also consumed with questions.  You are probably the same, are you not?  It’s who we are – inquisitive and always looking for the answer.  A favorite TV commercial from years ago showed a young boy with his father sharing quality time together.  The boy’s response to everything the father did was, “Why?”

Why, why, why? Today’s internet has made answering our questions just a few key strokes away.  Google it, ask the computer assistant, go to the online encyclopedia.  Wikipedia is our guide to every query imaginable.  We have online language translators, quote sources, and 54 versions of the Bible – just a click away.

“Alexa, why am I here?”

That charming voice emanating from your device will list numerous reasons for your physical existence, biological determinants and a bibliography of further research.

“But, Alexa, who put me here?  What is my purpose here?”

Aha!  Let’s play stump Alexa, shall we?  I have asked those two questions of a multitude  of common sense people, scholars, teachers, preachers, parents, friends, lovers, and strangers.  And I have received a million differing answers.  Why?  Because nobody knows.

Theories abound, theologies are a dime a dozen, philosophies chase down bizarre dead ends, experts whimper with possibilities, but nobody knows for sure.  Men of religion profess truth, gurus and yogis sit in lotus position meditating, rabbis quote ancient spiritual wisdom, and Buddha claims he attained enlightenment.  But nobody knows for certain who put Larry Paul Brown on earth and what is his purpose here?

I can only assume my chosen path will be enlightening, that my faith is founded on truth, that my death will find me in a better place than my birth.  I can only assume that my spiritual journey will not result in a train wreck or that my inner GPS has not miscalculated the directions.

We live by faith and experience, don’t we?  Perhaps another important question to entertain is, “Whom do I trust?”

Will I trust all the aforementioned entities or will I look inward to what I have learned to be my honest assessment of me?  Will I follow the indwelling Spirit and my inherent conscience in my decisions and behavior or will I give that responsibility to the man in the pulpit, the professional counselor, my best friend, my spouse or the jolly fat man sitting under the bodhi tree?

Famously, Polonius advises his 18 year-old son, Laertes, in Shakespeare’s HAMLET, ” This above all: to thine own self be true.  And it must follow, as the night the day.  Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

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who am I?

smiley 3“To thine own self be true.”

I could ask ten friends what this famous quote means to them and I would probably receive ten different opinions.  Most would say that a man needs to know what makes him tick and follow that inner energy to self-fulfillment.  I can understand this Shakespeare quote in the realm of self/ego identity.

But, what if I write self and capitalize it, Self?  “To thine own Self be true.”

The ancient mystics referred to the inner dwelling of a God spirit as the Self.  Christians call it the Holy Spirit.  A friend of Bill W. calls it the God hole.  It is the inherent inner emptiness which is intended to be filled and satisfied by an entity greater than myself, a presence which is independent of my physical identification here on earth, a spirit which I call my Higher Power.

Those of us in addiction recoveries, know that this God-hole has not always been filled with Spirit.  We tend to throw everything but God to our inner desires.  Food, drink, drugs, sex, materialism, the list is endless.  Our lives became directed by self rather than Self.

My sobriety anniversary is coming up in January.  It is much more than a date on a calendar.  It commemorates the time in my life when I became “true to Self.”  I became willing to fill that God hole with the intended Spirit rather than alcohol.

Richard Rohr in cac.org says that “Love is our True Self.”

“Love, like prayer, is not so much an action that we do, but a reality that we are. We don’t decide to be loving. Love is our True Self. It is where we came from and where we’re going. All spiritual growth is no more than a matter of becoming who we already are.” Richard Rohr

Am I spiritually grown-up?  No, as stated in my AA literature, “we claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.  We are not saints.”  I still throw selfish desires into my God hole trying to appease that person who is driven by self rather than Self.  I cave to greed, lust for recognition, fear, and anger.  I give ego control of my destiny.

One of the promises of my recovery fellowship is, “We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”  It is a revelation that through proper tannenbaumspiritual nourishment in humility and communion with a Higher Power, the innate human desire for fulfilment will focus on receiving eternal blessing.  The drive for earthly satisfaction will diminish.  It encourages me to be true to Self instead of self.

Namaste.namaste rainbow