Beyond Idolatry

Most people in relationships find the people they have chosen to be with have “issues” as it is said.  Many of us entered into relationships with some goals, hidden of course, that we could change our “perfect” subject, albeit with a few imperfections.  It doesn’t work.  Even after months and years of counseling, reading, talking, people can be left discouraged and disheartened.  Some give up and try another, and another; a new spouse, job, location, but it’s all the same cycle, SSDD, as I’ve read on bumper stickers.

To seek a relationship built upon the body or matter will always be faulty and disappointing.  “Relationships are built on seeing the Eternal in another, not in the body,” as the A Course in Miracles puts it.  (T.20.VI)  The Bible calls the body a “Temple of the Holy Spirit,” (1 Cor. 6:19) but if we see only the body, we have missed it.  It would be like worshipping a religious building as the Eternal rather than seeing or understanding it is only a place to experience the holy within.

Just as people then worship a holy structure rather than the inward Eternal so we tend to worship bodies, ours and others.  Notice how much attention we give to how they look, feel, and operate.  It’s an endless battle and project to keep them going, and most of us forget they are just the outward temporary covering, not the Real Thing.

One can know he or she is missing the Real by feelings of anger, judgment, sorrow, disappointment and joylessness.  In Buddhism, it is often called “false attachment” to that which is illusion or temporary.   When we meet our partners, children, colleagues and neighbors and we become disappointed, judgmental, and angry, we can know we have lost our vision.  It happens so often to all of us.  But we can return and through self forgiveness, we can extend it to the others around us.

So I ask myself daily, “Am I looking at my loved ones, my wife, my children, my relatives (OMG, them too?), my friends as idols or as extensions of the same Eternal Presence I have?”  To focus on the outward can only bring sorrow, disappointment, short-lived happiness, and death.  See yourself then as God’s Eternal Child, part of that Eternal Word, and you will begin to see it in others, even when they are completely ignorant towards it.  Every encounter then becomes a holy one, another opportunity to learn, share, and deepen joy and happiness.

May this way of looking and living be yours today.  Use every encounter as a reminder of Who you and he/she are.  It’s a much deeper understanding and experience of Jesus’ summary of the whole law when he said, “We are to love God with our whole being, mind, soul, and spirit, and our neighbor (anyone) as ourselves.” 

Blessings upon you.  Good luck, and God’s peace.

About David Persons

Retired minister who still writes, speaks some, hikes less, and golfs.
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