I've been tossing around the idea for this blog post for quite some time now, but I've finally been able to tie everything together on the morning of Good Friday, the 2nd most sacred of Christian holidays (after Easter). It is the day in which Christians world wide celebrate the death of the Christ for the redemption of humanity. A quote that has been attributed to Him goes as follows: "A greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends."
As a young Christian that verse spoke to me on a few levels. First of all, what touched me was the tremendous love of the Christ in willingly laying down His life for the sake of humanity. The second part was the last two words: "his friends." I was touched that the Christ saw us as his friends while making His sacrifice.
But that's not what this blog post is all about. My intended audience is not only people of the Christian faith, but truth seekers of all spiritual beliefs. I may seem to ramble and wander a bit in this post, but bear with me. I will touch upon a few points but it's really one central theme.
In recent months that quote from the Bible resonated with me in a different way. Because Christians believe the Christ physically died for mankind, the verse is often interpreted as choosing to physically die for our friends. But I'm not so sure that's all that was being said in that quote. Dying for one's friends doesn't have to be a physical death. We can die to self at any given point of any day. Laying down one's life for one's friends is a simple matter of laying down the ego out of love for others. Just as the Christ said, "If any man shall follow me he must carry his cross daily."
Selfish self-love vs. Selfless self-love
It is very important that I make clear what is meant by "death of ego", from a perspective of self-love. How can one be practicing self-love by denying ego? It's very simple. It's simply a matter of being aware of our role as an intricate piece of the whole of the universe. By setting aside selfishness, we are acknowledging that while we are important, no one of us is any more important than anyone else. We are actually loving ourselves by loving the whole
When we are being selfish (and choosing not to forgive is one example of a very harmful selfishness) we are not in harmony with the natural flow of the universe. The natural flow is love. If a cherry tree is planted in bad soil and not in harmony with nature, it will not bear fruit. The very purpose of the cherry tree is to produce cherries. That is its unique role in the universe. Apple trees cannot produce cherries. Only cherry trees can do so. Just so, each and every single one of us has something unique to offer to the whole of the universe. If we are not aligned properly, in good, nutrient-rich soil, we are not fulfilling our role in the whole.
We live in a symbiotic universe. No one person is an island. We are all deeply interconnected.
That being said, we must pursue our dreams. We are given dreams as part of our purpose in the whole. Do not deny yourself of your dreams, so long as your dreams are pursued in a loving way, respectful of the role of others along our path. Place yourself in good soil, surrounded by those who will nurture you in your pursuit of bearing your unique fruit. Those who would discourage us are toxic (usually because they, themselves, are not living in harmony with the flow of the universe at that particular moment).
To pursue our dreams is the highest form of worship and dedication. To focus our intent and energy on manifesting into reality the vision we have been given. And just as with all forms of worship, it is simply a matter of the attitude of our heart while performing the act. Lay down the ego, embrace your integral role in the universe. A greater love has no man than this.