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On saying no to some things in order to say yes to others.

When I was a Christian, I spent a lot of time and effort trying to chip away things that might stand between me and God. Drugs. Excessive belongings. Harmful or clunky ideas.

One day--after receiving inspiration while reading a passage from 'Of Human Bondage'-- I prayed something to this effect:

"Lord, I don't want anything to stand between us. Not even my belief. If my belief limits my ability to be in communication with you in anyway, please remove it from me."

It was a tough prayer, and I talked it over with a Christian friend at work later that evening. I told him that the prayer brought a certain calmness with it, and a mild feeling of elation. I wanted to be as close to the big thing as I possibly could be, and if my conception of what the big thing was stood in the way, I was willing to chuck it.

I'm a non-believer now, but many of the old ideas that animated my Christian life are finding a resurgence in my new life. Again and again I learn (and re-learn) that the more I make life about Me, the more I suffer. The more I make Me about life, the more I succeed. The idea of  stripping away unneeded attachments and vices is more pertinent than ever, really, especially when you factor in the understanding that this life is the only life you get. You have to do it right this time, and it's no good traveling with too much baggage.

The ego is a cumbersome thing. It is always hungry, and always expanding wherever you let your guard down. It makes you think that feeding it is the only way to be happy, when in reality, happiness is only found in denying it. The pleasure you get from feeding the ego--or will--is a sugar buzz.

So the only thing standing between me and peace is me.

And what a beastly thing that is.



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