The 100 Day Reality Challenge

S1 ~ D5 Wrestling with Religion and then Discovering Awareness

It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and I’m feeling pretty good so far. It’s also Day 5 of the 100 Day Challenge and I’m feeling like this challenge has helped me live more deliberately up to this point. That’s the biggest difference between last year and the beginning of this year—living more deliberately. Yesterday was a good day and I set myself up to have another great day today. I’m reading Revolutionary Road this week by Richard Yates before the movie comes out this Friday. Katie and I are planning on seeing the movie this weekend and I don’t know why but I just feel like reading the book first will give me a deeper sense of what’s going on in the film. Based on what I have seen so far in the previews, I feel like this movie is really going to speak to me in one way or another. I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

I have been given a HUGE golden nugget of wisdom today. While in the shower, my mind was meandering about this whole personal religious struggle I have been wrapped up in for the last couple years. While I was washing my hair, I was deep in thought about the Israelites and how they were supposedly God’s chosen people. They were told by God (really by Moses who was passing along what God supposedly told him) to destroy anyone that stood in their way from entering the Promised Land. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember exactly which people I’m referring to here but one particular group of people were supposed to be annihilated—wiped off the face of the earth. I got thinking about that and the logic behind that. Us vs. Them. Me vs. You. I’m right vs. You’re wrong. My way or the highway.

If we were to take the time to look at this from the other perspective, what would we find? Just imagine being a little girl born into the wrong family. What should we tell her about her hopes and dreams? Does God not love her? Was she not created by the same God as the Israelites’? So, if she was created by the same God as the Israelites’ then why would that God command that she be killed? It just doesn’t add up for me. I simply cannot accept this story as truth. I know this goes against everything I was taught growing up about the Bible and about God but I’m an adult now. I make up my own mind and my mind tells me this is wrong.

So where do I go from here? I feel this strong urge to rush out and prove everyone wrong—to brilliantly write a novel that shows modern-day capitalistic Christianity as this phony system that is only set up to serve our voracious egos. To prove that our ideals have nothing in common with what Jesus was talking about. But then I realize that it’s not my job to tell people what to believe. If I rush out to prove everyone that their way is wrong and my way is right, then I’m no different than the Israelites who destroyed anybody that was different than them on their way to possessing a land. And then, I just so happen to pick up The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz which I read a long time ago and turned to a page in the chapter on The Storyteller. Halfway down page 71 was a paragraph I had previously underlined that said, “If one hundred people perceive the same event, you hear one hundred different stories, and everybody claims that his or her story is the true story. Of course, it’s on true for that person, and your story is only true for you. But the voice of knowledge starts searching for everything in your mind to make yourself right. You even look for allies from the outside to join you in your crusade to be right and to make the other person wrong. Why try to justify what you believe? You don’t need to make others wrong because you already know that in their story they are right. In your story, you are right. Then being right or wrong is over; you no longer have to defend what you believe. When we reach this level of awareness, it is easier not to take what other people say personally. We know that every human around us is a storyteller, and that everyone distorts the truth. What we share with one another is just our perception; it is just our point of view. And it’s completely normal because the only thing we have is our point of view. This is how we describe whatever we witness.”

I am so thankful that I’m paying attention today. What are the chances of me picking up a book I’ve already read on the exact same day I’m wrestling with a deep thought about something? It’s as if the universe sent me exactly what I needed at the precise time I needed it. Isn’t that the whole point? We are given exactly what we need when we need it. It’s such an astonishing process—co-creating with the universe! It makes me realize that living in a rut is no place to be! Settling into a comfort zone is the most dangerous thing I can do with my life! I have a story to write—a life to create! And I’m eager to co-create that story.

I’m learning the difference between living with awareness instead of living without it. Ruiz said later in the chapter, “Once we have the awareness to see our own story, we discover there is another way of creating the main character. Without awareness, there is nothing we can do, because the story is so powerful that the story writes itself. We create the story, we give our personal power to the story, and then the story is living our lives. But with awareness, we recover the control of the story. That is the good news. If we don’t like our story, we are the authors; we can change it.” This is exactly what we are doing as co-creators. We are writing our own stories.

So as I make this transition out of modern-day, capitalistic, ego-driven Christianity, I will remember that my opinion is coming from my point of view. I am writing my own story and they are writing their own story. I will always lead with love. I will also attempt to listen first without taking anything personal—understanding that they are coming from their point of view.

Thank you Universe for allowing me to be a co-creator with you!!

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Comment by Mary Beth on February 1, 2009 at 2:45am
Awesome post. I commented on one of your other posts about the whole religion thing before. The GOD/Universe is speaking your truth for you, to you. Travis, please don't doubt your self again. The GOD of the Universe has opened your eyes to the real truth just like he did ours (me & my husband) Everything you said about Christianity, I totally agree with it. It's funny that my husband had the exact thought process you had in the shower. For me it took a long time, 5 years after him.That's half of our marriage. For me it was that the bible as I feel it has so many contradictions and so much corruption. Jesus is not a big contradiction, as he is LOVE and does not select and choose who he LOVES. When I was in it I was constantly being judged even though I was a Christian. I lived in that confined box for some 15+ years. I never had peace and I lived for heaven and in this life I was a wretched sinner and did not deserve to live in this life. I have changed 180 degrees. I feel at peace in my truth and I feel free. I am learning and growing in my new Spirituality everyday. God is putting people, places and things to confirm this truth. One thing that is difficult is having friends that are still either completly in the box or still have one foot in and one foot out. I am prepared that I may lose friends. But God in his infinite abundance will bring more like minded people in my life. I will not try to be who I am not. I am thankful to God everyday for my new found truth. Blessings, Peace and Light to YOU!

Disclaimer: I do not judge anyone (I do get frustrated. Maybe you should write a book), each person has their beliefs and it is between them and God. In my new world it is not Me vs Them. All are children of God and are on the exact path they are supposed to be on. My goal is to show love and be love.
Comment by Lil Miss Starlight on January 19, 2009 at 5:52pm
Oh wow, that is amazing! Good point to remember, thank-you!
Comment by Lisa on January 19, 2009 at 4:39pm
Wow Travis, this blog is very existential. Great!

I love your last sentence of the blog "I will always lead with love. I will also attempt to listen first withour taking anything personal-understanding that they are coming from their point of view." Powerful statement!

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