Posts Tagged ‘chopra’

Ok, so I’ve been gone for awhile. I’d say it’s been hard getting back on the horse after so long, but I just haven’t felt much like blogging. I’ve been a little busy I guess. It seems like getting things rolling with my job after the holidays is a bit like pushing a freight train up a hill. So I’ve been focused on work but still feel like I haven’t gotten back in my groove yet.

I haven’t been reading at all for a couple months. I am very excited about the arrival of Deepak Chopra’s newest book, The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore. It will be released February 19th. Mine is pre-ordered with Amazon. The basic premise of the book, as I understand Deepak’s description from his Sirius Stars radio show, is that the first Jesus was the historical Jesus who actually lived, which is fairly elusive to our grasp. Then there is the second Jesus, the one who has grown out of centuries of tradition and cultural bias and perhaps a largely mythical persona. The third Jesus would be the one we try to return to that speaks to us in our present reality with truths and grace that transcend dogma and religion. Let’s be honest folks, the church has effectively hijacked Jesus and twisted his words and intentions into a convaluted mess to promote an agenda of control through fear. Anyway, I’ll be blogging about the book quite a bit once I get started.

The bulk of my time has been spent at home with my family. The kids are growing and have been a lot of fun, all in all. I’ve enjoyed spending more time with my wife. We had a good Christmas. We came away with the resolve that next year it will not be about everyone else and will focus on our own little nuclear family. Things just seemed to get out of hand with buying stuff for everyone. By the time you get a ‘little something’ for everyone, it turns out to be a ‘big something’ in the wallet. It’s not reciprocated, and I seriously question that grown adults need someone to buy them something that they may not want that they could not better buy for themselves. Anyway, that’s my rant on Christmas gift-giving.

I have spent an inordinary amount of time on my newest addiction, World of Warcraft. It’s one of those Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) you may have heard about. No doubt the most popular one. A high school friend of mine has been playing since 1999 and told me about it on more than occasion. I was always intimidated and never checked it out. My friend and I were working in North Mississippi in December, when a WoW South Park episode came on. It was hysterically funny and inspired me to try the free trial version of the game. Like I said, I’m hooked. That’s why I haven’t been reading or blogging. LOL. I’ve learned a lot and had a lot of fun. My six year old loves to watch me play and could probably take over my character should something happen to me. For you WoW buffs I’m playing as a Night Elf Druid and have made it up to level 55 since mid-December. Yah! It’s a definate indulgence, but it keeps me out of mischief.

The other passion that I’ve been enthralled with is presidential politics. I am a news junkie. Until recently I haven’t liked any of the candidates, but I love the process. It’s the Ultimate Fighting Championship. I’ll probably be blogging more about presidential politics in the future. I just didn’t want my first blog of 2008 to be a political one. Talk to you soon.

“All relationship is a mirror to the self. Those whom you are deeply attracted to or repelled by are both mirrors of you. You are attracted to those in whom you find traits that you already have but want more of, and you are repelled by those in whom you find traits that you deny in yourself.”Deepak Chopra, Power, Freedom, and Grace

I didn’t agree with this when I first read it. I thought about the people who “repel” me, to be polite. No way, I’m not like them. After I continued reading and began thinking about specific traits in people that attract and repel me, I think he’s right.

  • What are some of those traits in people that attract me to them?  I enjoy being around people who are inquisitive, creative, independent, humble, selfless, positive, and enjoyable.
  • Those traits in others that repel me? I loathe people who are judgemental, narrow-minded, critical, elitist, negative, and sour in disposition.

I would like to think that I find some of those positive qualities in myself. I certainly hope that they increase, but I have a hard time confronting those darker qualities in me, “my shadow,” as Chopra calls it. Truthfully, while I have come a long way, I can look back and see many of those darker elements in my life history, and from time to time they try to raise their head and have their way with me again.

How does recognizing these familiar traits in others impact your relationship with them? First of all, it goes a long way to breaking down the walls in “us vs. them.” He may be a sorry, terrible, no good son of a bitch, but he’s really not all that different from me. When I was still pastoring churches, the phrase I used often to keep from judging others was “there for the grace of God go I.” Especially, when I worked with inmates for years in the state prison, I recognized that there was only one wrong decision between where they were and myself. Strangely, I often felt more in common with some of those inmates than the people in the churches that I pastored. That’s the subject for a whole other post, but mostly I identified with the inmates because their weaknesses were on display. There was no pretense about perfection, as there was on Sunday morning at church.

If I recognize those “repulsive” traits in others as being similar to those tendencies in me, I am less likely to judge and more likely to empathize with them. In doing so I come closer to accepting myself with all of my faults and shortcomings. I shared this other quote from Chopra’s book as a comment to a friend’s post earlier today: “Self-acceptance, total self-acceptance, means self-forgiveness. When you forgive yourself and stop judging yourself, then you won’t judge others, and there will be less conflict in the world.”

Now it seems we are digging close to the heart of the matter and must tread softly. Our ego’s are a many fragile thing, to turn a phrase. One of the compulsive reasons we have for judging others is that we do not accept ourselves. Chopra urges us to “embrace your shadow, understand your shadow, forgive your shadow.” I have come to believe that the driving force behind dogmatists that are bent on making everyone agree with them is that they are very insecure and need the agreement of others to reinforce their own shallow ego’s.

If we enlightened moderate types can be honest with ourselves, we too crave the agreement of others. We all need and want affirmation from others. I’d love to have ten comments to this post from people telling me that they relate to what I’m saying and support my opinion, but self-acceptance means that I am at peace within myself whether or not people agree or disagree with me. It means that my self-worth is no longer dependent on winning others over to my side. Dialogue and debate can be good and healthy. There’s nothing wrong with having different opinions, sharing them, or defending them, but there is a huge difference in conceding a point versus picking up a gun and killing your neighbor over it.

The greatest battles today rage inside the heart of man. The secret to peace in the world isn’t that everyone relinquish their positions and embrace uniformity. Perhaps the secret to peace in the world is that we learn to embrace ourselves.

“Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment, are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution.” ~ Deepak Chopra 

Life has taught me again and again both the immeasurable value and incredible frailty of relationships. Flipping through the scrapbook of our memories there are fading photographs that grow more precious with every turning page. Our hearts are warmed with thankfulness for each life who has touched our own.

People enter our stage and dance a while, some for a song and some for a night. Today we take a picture of this moment and see new faces and familiar friends. The company of lovers and the laughter of children are sweet. This is a day unto itself not to be enjoyed the same again. For each soul who touches mine today, for each soul my own might touch, I give thanks and listen.