A Spiritual Selfie Taken in the Wilderness

A Spiritual Selfie Taken in the Wilderness March 5, 2019

Few people care to take a snapshot of what they really look like. If you take a dozen selfies, eleven will be deleted because they don’t reflect what we want others to see. That makes sense.

But there comes a time in every faith tradition and spiritual pursuit when taking an honest appraisal of our own self is mandated or encouraged. In the Jewish faith tradition it is called Yom Kippur. In the Christian faith tradition it is called Lent. In the 12 Step tradition it is called the 4th and 5th Steps.

It is important, of course, to name those and what have harmed you. And it is important to look at what your own possible complicity in any conflict might (and might not) be. Before I began this discipline on a daily basis, I was often blaming others for what I did to myself; and blaming myself for what others did to me. The physical, emotional, mental and spiritual journeys I embark upon in life must be balanced by the journey within. I need to look at my own expectations for myself and others; to ponder my motives; to question my beliefs and attitudes.

Trying to eliminate the injustice and corruption in the world without addressing the injustice and corruption in myself is a fool’s journey.

Part of the human condition is falling short of living in a state of grace, where everything and everyone is blessed, healthy, and balanced. People sometimes make poor choices that result in injury to themselves, others, and the planet. You may find yourself in situations where you stand in need of forgiveness and reconciliation. You may struggle simultaneously with the fear of rejection and the urge to make amends. You may feel the need to pause and reflect on your own role in conflicts with others, and to understand its relation to conflicts you may have within yourself.

But why would someone want to venture on an inward journey that might unearth pain, guilt and shame in our mind and soul? We do it, in part, for selfish reasons, of course! Being unburdened of the muck and mire of mistakes and regrets makes for a lighter journey.

There is a beautiful passage in the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book” commonly referred to as “The Promises.” It states ~ not the dreams, wishes and goals ~ but the promises of a commitment to a few, basic tenets of the journey to the recovery of our soul. It reads,

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. The feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

Now that is a light at the end of the tunnel of introspection that is worth investing in what is required of the journey.

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