Here’s part II of my 3-part series on building my own religion. Please check back in 2 weeks for Part III; Why We Applaud Self-Taught Guitar Players, But Not Self-Taught Religion
You may read this and think I’m talking out of my ass this week, and for good reason; my ass has always had persuasive oratory skills, and a fair bit of charm. But today, I write from another place.
“Everywhere you look, there’s a kind of a religion on the horizon, which is, for many people, ominous and threatening, but not promising.” Harvey Cox
Inside My Head; Searching For Substance In The Mind Of A Chia Pet
I have said for a long time that I believe the world would be a better place if people spent more time writing bibles than reading them. That for all the scripture and holy literature which has been cast over the souls and minds of man through the ages, for all of its power, its utility, and all its repetition, how much of it has come from within…?
I believe that everyone and everything is interconnected – that we are not just the stuff of stars, but that stars are the stuff of us. I believe that time is both cyclical and eternal. In an eternal universe, anything that can happen probably will. A person I may wish to spit upon or give the finger to today, might be a part of me tomorrow and thus, I choose not to spit, and not to flip off. Of course, like you, I don’t really live this way. I regularly spit upon, curse at, and hurt people, and on some occasions I stretch the truth a bit, while on other occasions I blow the truth to pieces.
The Selfish Genie
The world outside me interests me far less than the world within me. This is not to say that I’m grossly enamored with the world within me, but what’s bottled up inside me is just foremost in my thoughts. Richard Dawkins says this is okay. The world within me has been pretty disappointing when weighed against the potential within me. I am hoping to steer my life in a better direction – to let the good genie out of the bottle to do good things in this world. In the coming months and years, while there is still time, I hope to adjust my course.
Below is the cornerstone scripture that I hope will (help) guide me toward better thoughts, better choices, and better actions and contributions. I wrote what follows years ago while sitting on a jetty after an inspired beach run in Oceanside, CA.
Aiming The Canon At Me
I’m keenly aware that this is derivative of every common religious doctrine, but in this incarnation, it is my personal mission statement:
I accept that this is my place, and this is my time.
I am grateful for life, for each new day, and each new chance to walk on the right path.
I forgive myself for mistakes made and sins committed. I will seek to learn from those mistakes and from those sins, that they not become repeated.
I am grateful for the blessings and opportunities which surround me. I will seek to recognize and appreciate those blessings, and to fulfill those opportunities for the betterment of this world, the people in it, and the people in my life.
I will remember that it is not my place to judge; that what somebody looks like, or what they don’t look like, is not a reflection of who they are. I will remember that behind every pair of eyes is a heart, a soul, and circumstances of which I know nothing about.
I will actively embrace the tasks of the day, demonstrating achievement on behalf of my family, my friends, my associates, and my community.
I will live by example.
I will be relentlessly positive in the face of adversity, seeking a higher meaning from difficult circumstances.
I will maintain the highest level of honesty with myself as well as those about me, recognizing that honest thoughts and honest actions are the foundation on which all other virtues can grow.
I have recited this, from memory, every morning of my life since the day I wrote it in 2003 – and it has not done me a bit of good. Most days I violate 97% of it by the time I’m done with my morning coffee. Still, I remain observant to the task if not to the doctrine. But I want it – this time I really want it. I want to live like this – more within my conscience, and less within the ease of lesser choices and the excuse that, I’m only human.
Nearly two years ago I said I would give my car away and become a bicycle commuter. Through wind, rain, and tonsillitis, I have not been broken, nor have I turned back. I gave up television, and have never looked back. I gave up all news and information media; print and electronic – I have not heard, seen, or read the news in months, and have no intention of ever doing so again. Celebrity death or national debt, my only news source is word of mouth – and I take that with grain. So when I announce what structure – what changes I might superimpose on way of living, in an attempt to better myself, my history is one of fulfillment, not of talking out of my ass. Be well. rc
Please check back in 2 weeks for Part III of this series;Why We Applaud Self-Taught Guitar Players, But Not Self-Taught Religion.
Oh, and there’s this from Pops Staples. Why this has less the 7.8 billion “views” is beyond me. Enjoy