For the longest time, I had this feeling of lack from a personal development perspective. Despite whatever accomplishment or success I might achieve in whatever endeavor, it kind of rang hollow with me. I had a chip on my shoulder, not caused by those around me, but that came from within myself.
I can and will do better. I can and will be proficient. This is not my best effort. I am not enough.
Early in life, to compensate for this feeling, I really got into self improvement or self help. I wanted to be “the best”.
Regardless of whatever interest I was pursuing or activity I was in involved with, whether personally or professionally, I took it upon myself to self educate and improve my proficiency. Golf; golf books, video tapes and lessons. Sales; sales training books and seminars. Whatever I was involved in, I took it as my personal responsibility to learn as much as possible or, in my mind, I wasn’t all in.
After a while, it kind of dawned on me as being repetitious and I wasn’t getting any real satisfaction from these excursions into obsessive compulsive improvement. I wasn’t improving in a way that felt rewarding. It was a kind of a parlor trick. There was no fulfillment; it was empty. Knowledge and skills were cheap.
So here I am with this imagined chip on my shoulder and no real dissipation of the sensation. Just a nagging, kind of so what?
As fate would have it, I eventually went through a divorce and my ego was shattered. BOOM! What’s wrong with me? Why would God allow this to happen? I obviously didn’t know the answers to these questions, but I set forth to try and understand the meaning of it all.
I was drawn to read the complete Old and New Testaments of the Bible, something I had never done previously. The Old Testament is a tough, heavy read; lot’s of metaphors and parables. You really have to think to kind of grasp it. I loved the New Testament. Jesus is not only Our Savior and worthy, beyond a doubt, of worship, but, more personally, he was a role model to be emulated.
This is not to say I hadn’t previously been exposed to the Bible. I was a regular churchgoer and Sunday schooler in my youth; I just hadn’t read the Bible from cover to cover. I had been exposed to different pieces over time.
I thoroughly enjoyed my Bible reading experience and it lead me to read and study the works of notable Bible scholars and Christian writers. I read one book, I can’t remember the name, that was given to my children as they prepared for their confirmation. This book convinced me intellectually and logically that Christ was real. More importantly, the Grace of God is real.
The second book, that blew me away, was The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. Lee Strobel was an atheist who set about to debunk scientifically and historically that the story of Christ was pure fiction. As Strobel conducts his research, the exact opposite thing happens. He actually proves the opposite. Jesus Christ was real and at the end of his research, Lee Strobel goes from being an atheist to being a Christian. The book was made into a really fantastic documentary.
As I continued down the rabbit hole, I inadvertently got off the straight and narrow path and came across books on spirituality and not pure Christianity. These were not necessarily New Age, as some might dismissively categorize them, but I found them incredibly in line with formal Christian teachings. The words may have been slightly different, but the underlying message, at least for me, was the same.
This was an interesting development. I strayed from the path some more. I researched other “religions”, ancient and new, other beliefs and in the end, when you open your mind, the same message was underneath them all.
God, the Universe, Love are all the same essence. Our purpose in this life is to get back to that pure, original essence. I prefer to call it Love. You are on this journey of distraction, misguided programming, false starts and setbacks, to eventually realize we all are One. You and me, we are the same at the core despite appearances to the contrary. We might be at different places on the path to understanding but eventually we all end up at the same place, pure consciousness or loving awareness.
Jesus was a super conscious being and he said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”; John 14:12.
We all are incomplete until we move beyond belief and into knowing. The knowing is within you. It’s what is called the Holy Spirit. It is the still small voice within you everyday, it’s your instinct, it’s your intuition. Every once in a while, when in quiet contemplation you can hear it as loud as thunder and it says, I love you, you are more than good enough. Love they neighbor(everyone) and don’t be so judgemental; “there, but for the Grace of God, go I”. Relax, this is just a test. Do the best you can and nothing more. This too shall pass.
The bottom line for me is I don’t feel this negative lack within me anymore; its a just a yearning for the Divine. It’s a normal thirst within us all. No money, no possessions, no power, no authority, no notoriety or fame, can ever quench this thirst. We will always be incomplete as we take this journey to awakening together and I find that more than comforting.