Today, I’m inviting you to read this message as a metaphor.
Read on and you’ll see what I mean.
The greatest gift you can give the people that you love, your friends, your family and the world is…
YOUR OWN HAPPINESS
It seems obvious, but it’s not.
Most of us are programmed to believe that the greatest gift we can give others is our suffering.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
This idea that somehow your suffering more proves your love for someone else is an old Anglo-Christian idea.
You see, Jesus Christ was not a martyr.
Even if you aren’t Christian, this is important for you.
Western Culture is highly influenced by Anglo-Christian thinking.
And, one of the predominate thoughts of Anglo-Christian thinking is that if I suffer (like Jesus), then I prove my love to you.
But, this idea is skewed.
Webster’s defines the word martyr as
A victim; especially: a great or constant sufferer.
But, you see, that is not what Jesus was.
And, your constant suffering does not prove your life.
The Anglo-Christian idea that suffering = Love is not an idea that Jesus believed in.
The idea that suffering = Love is an idea that institutions have propagated and promoted for centuries as a way to control the masses, not inspire them.
This idea affects you whether you are Christian or not, because you are influenced by the notion that suffering = Love – because of this a predominantly Western thought.
And this thought transcends religious or spiritual preferences and has become a cultural norm.
And it manifests in ideas like… I can’t be happy if people I love aren’t happy.
I can’t be at peace when there is so much suffering in the world.
I’m not allowed to feel joy when there is so much sorrow in the world.
These ideas are actually contrary to the teachings of Christ and all other religious and spiritual teachers.
Spiritual teachings exist to end suffering, not promote it.
Perhaps the greatest idea on what to do when you see suffering and sorrow in the world is to remember the words of the late and great Joseph Campbell, who said…
“Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”
Making a choice to participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world is literally being the Light.
It’s common to say something like this about the people that you love…
“I would die for them.”
My father used to say this about my mother as a way to profess his Love for her.
And, it’s a noble thing to say.
However… dying is easy.
You know what’s harder?
I asked him, “are you willing to live for her?”
That was the moment he decided to quit smoking, lose the weight and let go of the habits that were holding him back.
Quitting smoking and losing weight is waaaaay harder than staying the course.
So, if you are willing to “die” for someone… are you also willing to “live” for them?
Not just exist. Live.
Are you willing to face your fears, to become more, to grow, to admit when you’re wrong, to become more than your current circumstances?
You see, Jesus was not a victim.
Jesus decided to participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
When Jesus came upon sick people, He saw them as well. In the end, he was not a victim.
Jesus made a conscious choice in the Garden of Gethsemane to surrender His will to Divine will.
This is actually the opposite of being a victim.
Because when you are a victim, you are powerless over what happens to you.
Jesus could have decided to flee, but he didn’t.
And, he was crucified.
But, the crucifixion didn’t last long.
Life went on.
And, soon after He was born again.
Remember, I asked you to read this blog as a metaphor.
Here’s the correct cycle:
1. Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world (Be the Light).
2. Make a conscious choice to be “crucified” or to go through a tough experience.
3. Experience the “death” of your crucifixion.
4. Experience a re-birth and growth.
You see, most people don’t do this.
They do this:
1. Participate sorrowfully in the sorrows of the world.
2. Allow circumstances and other people to take away all power of choice and meaning. Feel victimized by the world.
3. Experience the “death” and dwell on it forever.
4. Never get to the re-birth because they are so focused on the crucifixion.
The life is Jesus is a metaphor for how we should live.
The reason His story resonates throughout the ages is because it represents the Universal Cycles we must all go through.
Our lives are a constant cycle of bring born, aging, dying and being re-born.
Instead of feeling victimized by this cycle, we can embrace it.
Don’t miss the message…
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
Be the Light of the world.
Know that your happiness is the greatest gift you can give others.
Know that the world is not made better by your needless suffering.
Know that when you are in darkness, the world has less light.
Know that you are allowed, right now, to be free, to be happy and to choose a life that lights you up.
Do not play small or needlessly suffer because you believe that your bigness, your Light will make others uncomfortable.
Instead, play big, shine your Light and make choices that lead to your happiness.
The main message of Christianity is not..
Suffer along with the rest of us.
The main message of Christianity is…
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Which means… you’ve got to Love yourself, first.
If you aren’t Loving yourself, you aren’t Loving your neighbor.
If you are suffering, then you aren’t Loving yourself or your neighbor.
As you start to participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world, as you start to make Loving choices for yourself….
you will start to free others to make the same choice.
And that is how you become the Light of the world.
Remember to get out there, take action and make it real!