Sacrifice

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The unwillingness of many to eliminate harmful vices, habits, & crutches in their lives often perplexes me. You can flat out ask them, “Are you aware that this habit that you have is harmful to you? Are you aware that this habit that you have is creating an obstacle, deterring you from making the change in your life that you desire?” Nine times out of ten, the person will respond, “Yes, & yes.” Yet only about five out of ten will actually awaken to the reality of this hard truth, and decide to change.
What causes one to rely on a crutch? Whether it is food, alcohol, cigarettes, or worse, what is the common central factor in the reliance on a particular vice? There are usually some underlying emotional factors that have not been resolved, or some emotional trauma that has had a lasting effect on the person’s psyche. Could there also be a physical gene, something on a cellular level, or is it 100% behavioral? I believe it to be the latter.
Emotions are part of human nature. We all experience moments differently. We see things from different points of view. We process both emotional trauma & stimuli differently. At what point do our emotions overtake our rational thinking? I have recently been reading the works of Ancestor Lu, who lived approximately between 618-905. He speaks of “Removing Emotion.” He says, “What does the self cleave to? There is self, and you cling to it as yourself…But try to think of the self before the self existed. The self is transient, like a fleeting shadow, like the morning dew–in a moment, the self is gone.” He goes on to speak of “Nurturing The Seed,” & “Removing Falsehood And Pollution.” He says, “Nurturing and quelling means to get rid of the false and purify the polluted….Where do you start? From pure desire-lessness. When you have no desire, there is reality. Reality is without fabrication… The attainment of pure reality illumines everything.”
I believe that Ancestor Lu is suggesting that clinging to the self, (our habits, vices, & desires,) will always cloud our better judgment. Emotions are the main arteries that feed the false, polluted elements that exist between us and the reality that we would like to create. To see this reality through, we must abandon the falseness, the pettiness of life, and nurture the dreams of bettering ourselves. We cannot abandon emotions. We can use our rational thinking to direct these emotions to bring us to the place where we will not rely on vices & habits, but will choose to enter a better reality.
I would like to reflect on David Cassidy’s last words before he recently passed away. He said, “SO MUCH WASTED TIME…”
Our world is wasting time with checking e-mails, sending texts, dabbling on social media, disappearing into technology…lost in unchanging habits and falseness of purpose. As this year comes to a close, I encourage everyone to focus on bettering ourselves in the new year by facing & examining our emotional attachments & any emotional trauma that hinders our ability to overcome unhealthy behavior and may be preventing us from seeing our reality come to fruition. It is when we become aware of something, that we can rationally think about the underlying causes, and correct it.
Remember, saying no to one thing can allow you to say yes to a great thing! We must be willing to sacrifice something in order to change, physically, mentally, intellectually, spiritually, & of course, emotionally. So, let’s let go of some of the things that are clouding our true selves, and set a new course for a better us in 2018. It’s worth the sacrifice!
A very Merry Christmas to all, a Happy Hanukah to our Jewish friends, & a Happy, Healthy, & Prosperous New Year! God bless you all!!!
Until next month, (& next year,)
~ John D.

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