Taking Back My Potential, Part II

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.

Communication Breakdown

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

14 responses

    • I like the qoute by Harvey Cox. It sure seems like it’s true. You sound so Unitarian. When you look at things according to what you’ve written in your second paragraph, it makes sense to treat the world well. I’d add that what you put out there you get back. Another reason to treat the world well. Sometime, take a look what unitarians beleive. It’s so like what you’ve expressed in your religion. I’m not trying to proselytize, I was just struck by the similarities.

  1. Thanks Deborah. I’m a smidge Unitarian, a smidge Jew, and a smidge Buddhist, I suppose. My “ah ha” moment came years ago taking flying lessons. I was flying over a mall in suburban Phoenix at a fairly low altitude. I saw the center — the mall building itself — the place where everyone was trying to get to, and I was struck by all the roads– all the paths that lead to the same place. People coming from all directions, taking all different paths to get to the same place. That has resonated in me for 20 years now.

    • That’s an interesting analogy. Made me laugh a bit that it was a mall that helped you see that but it’s true anyway. You gotta see the irony there though. Still some paths are better, I think, than others. I guess it’s for each individual to decide which one to follow. I like the one I’m on.

      • As you stated in your first comment Deb, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

        Some prefer the group tour to the mall, others like to go it alone. As with religion.

  2. This is all well and good Roy. I would merely like to add this self evaluation list I encountered while doing research for the recent columns I have been writing.

    1. Have you had an honest change of personality that will be sufficient for recovery?
    2. Are you emotionally stable?
    3. Have you begun to replace self-centeredness with a genuine consideration of others?
    4. Do you have a realistic view of your situation?
    5. Do you have other problems that are evident?
    6. Do you demonstrate humility, willingness, honesty, discipline, forgiveness, compassion
    and other spiritual qualities in your behavior?
    7. Are you living in the solution, letting go of control, not in a clash of wills with direction?
    8 Is your change real?
    9. Have you addressed the wreckage of your past?
    10. Are you handling confrontations in the proper manner?

    • Those questions are “well and good” Dr. J., but their answers, like the foundations of all formative changes, don’t trump: A) The choice, and B) Discipline. No road map, no blueprint, no plan whatsoever is as useful as discipline. Historically, I have that on my side — and I’ll take that and a bag of chips to go please…

      • Roy, don’t for get the Albert Einstein quote about insanity: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting a different result”. So hopefully there is change there. I think the questions from Dr. J are things to think about… discipline is good but it has to come with a lot of other things as well.

        We all only want the best for you!

  3. Words to live by, Roy but:
    “Most days I violate 97% of it by the time I’m done with my morning coffee.”
    Don’t take this as criticism but rather an honest question: HOW do you live in accordance to your mission statement? I would love to see a part four of this series addressing this because what I see here is you were telling yourself do deadlifts without explaining how. Oh, wait you know how to do deadlifts :), maybe some of us don’t.
    Seriously, I truly believe people do not live according to ten commandments (or such) because they don’t know how.
    Lots of more other thoughts, little time to write them down now.

    • Thanks Ewa. It really does come down to an acceptance and pursuit of inherent morality. That is, perfection is attainable. If everything we do is a choice formed within the conscience, then how hard can it be to make the right choice…? I have been battling this since the 3rd grade. I belive the answer is simply rooted in discipline, and there are no instructions needed for discipline — only awareness and commitment.

  4. It is tough to understand that I AM where I am meant to be at this moment, though I truly believe it is so. Accepting my lot is not the same as giving up as long as I continue to strive for that perfection, as you.
    The inter-connectedness and cohesiveness of every being is absolute with varying levels of intensity. That said, it is still so very difficult to live life with that knowledge…to focus on others happiness ultimately brings our own happiness but my own selfish humanity seems to get in the way too many times.
    One day you and I must have some insightful discourse over coffee…wait…make that over a few shots ;D

  5. Pingback: Taking Back My Potential, Part IV… | Roy Cohen's Contemplative Fitness

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