Friday, February 27, 2009

Why Am I Giving Anything Up?

As I continue on my spiritual journey, I have to give other people a shorthand description of what I believe. At first I tried the Eckhart Tolle approach of not labeling at all, but those who are curious prefer classification so they can compartmentalize. That's what the egoic tendency is so I thought up the term "Christian Plus." I grew up Roman Catholic so I'm familiar of the teaching of Jesus and follow them in my daily life. I am also open to other spirituality because we're all looking for the "Great Spirit" or "Universal Truth" or whatever you see it as.

My daughter likes to think of me as a deist (this entry), a person that believes in a higher power but does not interfere with it's normal function. We go back and forth over that because elements of that are right and wrong in what she says. For the average person, Christian Plus gives them a thumbnail. From that standpoint, as we are in the season of Lent, I am pelted with the things that people are giving up. This springs from the idea of sacrifice, mirroring the 40 days Christ spent in the desert where, according to the Biblical tale, he endured temptations by Satan.

The part where people say they're giving up something is tied to the idea of self sacrifice which along with prayer, penitence and almsgiving are part of the Lenten tradition. In the last few days I've heard people are giving up chocolate, red meat, alcohol and any number of things they consider important. In the past, before my current spiritual journey, I participated. I gave up red meat (and ended up giving it up for nearly 10 years), sweets (a weakness) and more.

But my thinking these days has evolved. Does sacrifice mean I have to do without something? Would a better way to think about it be discipline? Would this be a time to improve what I consider important? And does that mean I've decided to give up procrastination or laziness? Even as I write I don't know the answers to the questions, but that's rather the point of most of my posts. Let's explore to find the answers.

To that end, I have decided to follow the traditional Lenten fast, which limits me to one meal a day or two small ones if the sum total is not more than one meal. I consider this a test of my discipline and also have the side benefit of therapeutic intervention which could lead to the expulsion of various toxins. It is a custom followed from ancient times until recently. So the question I put to myself is, can I limit myself to one meal a day for 40 days? I am interested in finding the answer.

The other thing I'm doing, again as a test of discipline, is to shift my creative urges into overdrive. I have felt stifled for any number of reasons in my quest to create. That fire to make photos, or write blogs, or write short stories burns within and circumstances have from time to time, put out the flame. For me, this Lenten season is a chance for me to rededicate that urge and harness it in a positive direction. As we know, the Law of Attraction says the universe will conform to what we want if it is truly what we want. By using the law and adding self control, I feel grateful that this will happen for me.

So in the end, am I giving anything up for Lent? I think so. I'm giving up excuses.

No comments: