You Are The Great Hero!
Just like this tree that grew roots between
the roadblocks of the walkway!
Throughout history, every society has developed stories and myths about the Great Hero. It’s an archetype for us to aspire too. I’ve dwelt with this theme a little bit in the last fews days on my mailing list Positive Change. The stories of the Great Hero are an epic story of a hero who faces great trials in their incessant effort to achieve his/her ultimate goals. It’s actually the story of you and me.
We aren’t a historical story of Hercules, Moses, Rumi, Jesus, Joan of Arc or St. Francis. We are everyday people who face everyday challenges of survival. Whether it be physical or emotional survival, we experience great tribulations in the form of recessions, divorces, job loses and loved ones dying. We endure smaller trials of children’s bad grades, expectations unreached, angry bosses, unhappy spouses (all this before 8 AM). We also experience small travails daily of bad traffic, late payments, missed opportunities and unpleasant people. These triggers sap our strength and joy in living.
I don’t think Hercules dwelt very often with too many chariots on the road and I doubt Jesus worried too much about losing his job. But, I’d argue that when you’re the one feeling the negative emotion, you feel like it’s your whole world that is poisoned against you. It’s an uncomfortable feeling pressure, even if it’s only a minor event. That’s the doubt and angst the Great Hero faces.
Negative emotions are very potent and personal. The Buddhists say that suffering is suffering is suffering. I completely agree. When it’s personal, even the stress of your boss yelling at you is a worse feeling (to you) than your experience of the pain your friend feels from their loved one passing away.
A Great Hero though…?
Most the world’s major religions say you have a special place in the eyes of God or the Universe. You are a one of a kind individual. Interestingly, mathematics and biology say the exact same thing. That alone proves you are the Great Hero! However, when we are totally immersed in some negative emotion, we (at least I) don’t feel like we’re special in the Ultimate Reality or even close to being a Great Hero (I just feel a terrible pressure I want to get away from).
Yet, it goes deeper. Christ said we should love our neighbors as ourselves. I don’t think this means we love our neighbors as we love ourselves but rather, as if they were ourself. Hhmmm…that puts a slightly different spin on things. Hopefully you’re now asking: “What does all this have to do me being a Great Hero and me seeing myself as God does”? It’s time for some lite Blair philosophy.
Let’s start with the very basics.
What is a negative emotion? (I said the basics) This is any emotion or feeling you’re experiencing which you find unpleasant, uncomfortable or just don’t like. Names and descriptions like Anxiety, Stress, Depression, Sadness, Anger, Rage, Darkness, Confusion, Lost, Melancholy, etc. all fit into this realm. There are many more and you are free to send me the names and the descriptions you use. No matter the name, it’s a yucky place to be inside.
Secondly, (this is a little harder to accept) negative emotions are almost always a result of our own thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, memories, reactions and learning. In other words, the vast majority of our negative emotions are our own bad programs. Fr. Thomas Keating says we are 100% responsible for our emotions. I totally agree. However, (also the vast majority of the time) we are rarely aware that we are causing our own hells. SO….
We have bad programs causing us to feel negative emotions.
All the worlds wisdom books say God or the Universe loves us so much that God even knows the number of the hairs on our head (not very many in my case).
We don’t even know ourselves well enough to know why we’re feeling a negative emotion. So we blame someone or something else for how we feel instead of look at our own programs.
Because we don’t know ourselves very well, we can’t we love our neighbor as if he/she was ourself.
How can we ever see ourselves as God does, at least a little bit? There is a lot of noise in the way!
That’s a question that puts you on the path of the most amazing journey!
God loves us inspite of our negative emotions. How we think, feel, believe or behave makes no difference to God. God sees us a perfect and whole.
A simple exercise to start seeing yourself as God does,
as the Great Hero.
It only takes 3 minutes.
Part 1 (two minutes): Do this the next time you feel a negative emotion. Try not to spin up into the emotion. In other words, before all the internal commentary starts berating the situation or other person. Sit for two minutes and just feel the emotion. Yes, just feel it. Try not to talk about it, yell or moan about it. Just feel it. Look at the negative feeling. Sense it. What color is it? Where in your body do you physically feel it? Does it have a taste? Does it have a smell? Does it have a sound? Describe that negative emotion to yourself, in one short sentence. Write the description down if you can. Try not to push reasons justifying why you feel it into the description. Just describe the feeling itself.
Part 2 (one minute): Here’s the last part and the most important part. In the last one minute, ask yourself two questions and answer yourself honestly.
1. Who is looking at and describing the emotion?
2. Is that “who” feeling the emotion also? (Search your heart, be honest here!)
That “who”, if you can sense it, is the one God sees. I think with a bit of observation you’ll find that “who” is peaceful and content. It’s not caught up in the negative emotion. It’s perfect and whole. IT’S YOU! It’s your Christ Center. Your True Self. Your Buddha Nature. Your Brahmin. Your Ultimate Reality.
That’s who God sees! All the time. Perfect and Whole. No matter what you’re body is feeling, you have a special unique place in the Universe. You are perfect and whole. You are made in the image and likeness of God. How can you be anything else except perfect and whole?
This exercise is a small start to the wonder of who you really are. It’s about you getting to know you and, in the process, discovering an Ultimate Mystery that is God and who really loves you.
And this is where it ties back to the Great Hero: You!
Every great hero faces difficult periods. Your daily life is no different. Every great hero faced the weakness in his/her courage and marched forward with awareness of that deficiency. You are no different. Negative emotions leach the joy from your life. Yet, if you look into those dark feelings, sift them out to the programs you have running that cause them, you too can march forward into your ultimate dreams and goals. It can be a scary, painful transition at first. Every great hero faces that too.
When you feel negative emotions, you have a choice. You can react to the feelings themselves or you can march forward into the reality those feelings are trying to shield you from. You may not like that reality at first. However, with some time, you will find the freedom, peace and contentment in that reality infinitely more desirable than the reactive life you left behind. You will discover the wonderful life God intended for you before your programs got in the way. You will discover the Great Hero you already are!
If becoming a Great Hero intrigues you, I offer coaching on life happiness through emotional awareness. Feel free to contact me here.