We all have a rudimentary concept of morality worked out. We have these cute little moral codes we share on our social media. You know the ones. They sound really good and paint the picture we want the world to see when they look at us. They are also usually a lie. We have a tendency to hide those really nasty bits in life. We try and write it off as private matters but chances are it’s not because it’s ”nobodies business” but rather because we’re embarrassed by it. Nobody wants their dirty laundry hung out for the world to see. Of course not. We despise being judged.
We can all shoot those bits of scripture from our walks of faith with the quickness-“Judge not and you will not be judged”- but have you ever wondered why most spiritual paths warn against judging others? I’ll give you a hint. It’s the same reason modern psychologists like to seek out those things that really upset us when they’re forming their analysis. “If you spot it you got it,” they say. Oh yes. The things that really dig under our skin and piss us off tend to be parts of our behavior that we can’t stand, moments where we break our own moral codes. So naturally, we fly off the handle when other people exhibit those same qualities. I mean, how dare they do that thing we can’t seem to stop doing ourselves.
We hate it when society is a reflection of our worst traits. We hate seeing how morally depraved we are all capable of being. From the #metoo movement to Kevin Hart cheating on his spouse, we get all up in arms over moral issues. We get filled with this self righteous anger and condemn people like we’re just this paragon of civility 24/7. We forget our own failures and miss the lessons. How come?
I think this stems from our intellectualizing morality as opposed to actually learning from what we go through. I could read every holy scripture from the Bhagavad-Gita to Gospel of Thomas 300 times over and never gain as much wisdom as I could from analyzing my own mistakes.
As a convict I actually have read the Holy Scriptures and various works of philosophy dozens of times. I’ve crossed referenced Heraclitus with the Gospel of John and compared the book of Genesis to chakra meditations. There’s at least three different complete book ideas dancing around in my head as a result. It’s great stuff. However, none of that knowledge will ever save me and bring me peace of mind. None of it will ever make a moral person.
On the other hand, all my failings as a father, as a son, and as a human being in general has helped me transform a great deal over the years. From the regrets that kept me angry to the pain I numbed through a needle it’s all lead me to take a good look at myself. To look at how I have sabotaged my own life. All of those failures were meant to teach me humility and make me grateful for what I do have. Failures create the necessary space needed for compassion to grow within us. It gives us the ability to see past the worst in other people and help them through their transitions because we’ve been there.
Humility works wonders for our spiritual development, if we allow it to. There are also instances where people who suffer horrible abuses grow up to inflict those same abuses on others. So why does one person allow an experience to transform them into a nurturer while another suffers the same circumstances and becomes a monster? We can argue down the nature vs. nurture argument and never really define why this happens.
Personally, I feel it’s what we choose to do with what we go through that matters the most. If I choose to lick my wounds and develop a defeatist attitude I could easily justify allowing my personal demons to tear me apart. That would clearly be a poor choice to make but it is a choice all the same. Obviously, if I had chosen more misery there wouldn’t be a mystical mindstate and none of these posts would exist. I’d undoubtedly still be an outlaw causing more of the same trauma to arise in the lives of my loved ones. I’d still have a chip on my shoulder and probably wouldn’t be too pleasant to be around either.
This choice arises because everyone has both the best of the best and the worst of the worst within them. Every person is capable of building beautiful things that enrich the lives of others just as they are capable of being a destructive force that tears the world apart. Some people carry pride with no visible reason for the rest of us to see. We don’t understand how they can be so daft and blind to their ignorance. That exists entirely because each of us has to decide, for ourselves, when enough is enough. When we stop being defiant, accept our weaknesses and choose to do something better with our failings than blaming others is when we grow. Some of you may have heard this one, but we find our rock bottom when we finally stop digging.
You know my story. I stopped digging and prayed out to God. I begged God to comfort my family and to use me to reach others. While my faith sustains me it doesn’t do much for a non-believer. So, I’ve broken this down as crystal clear as I can in psychological terms. What happened in my life is I shifted my perspective away from myself and started focusing on helping other people. I chose to do something different. Urrybody got choices.