On humility

Image: John Moore

I know a guy — a very old friend — who thinks, because he’s accepted Jesus in a certain way, that he has a sort of cosmic entitlement that will get him into some ‘other’ place called ‘Heaven’ after he dies. He also thinks that if you don’t live just like he lives, you’ll rot in a place called ‘Hell’ after you die.

My old friend carries a strong sense of entitlement. Religion, to him, has answered all the questions. It’s a model for the world that enables one to ‘be in the know’ while the others ‘just don’t get it’.

He declares that this earth is full of sinners and derelicts. That we are born as rebels who hate God. And unless we follow some very defined rules, we’re in for eternal damnation.

He believes that, when we die…

Some are in.
And some are out.

I used to get angry at this brand of psuedo-entitlement that’s unfortunately rampant in the Evangelist Christian tradition. But now I see that it doesn’t effect me nearly as much as those who’ve adopted it. I can’t imagine how limited life is when this kind of filter is placed over one’s life. I can’t imagine waking up to my daughter every day and seeing her as a flawed, sinful, wretched soul who needs to be ‘saved’. Or my wife. Or my work.

I think he should question just where ‘Hell’ really is, because the way I see it, he’s already living there.

This is somehow someone’s view of ‘spirituality’. This is the belief system that he thinks will get him what he wants — some cosmic afterparty where he can point down on all of us heathens and say, “I told you so.”

Spirituality (er, religion, I guess) is about getting for this guy.

I can’t relate…

I don’t know about you, but when I get spiritually aligned, I’m overcome by a deep sense of gratitude. I have to fight back the tears from how beautiful and perfect this world — right here, right now, in the flesh and dirt and blood —truly is, even when my lizard brain might be screaming to me that it’s all headed for the shitcan.

I see that this very life is a divine gift. I fall into the deep knowing that it’s an utter sin waiting for some afterlife before I can commune with God and start enjoying the world I live in.

Right now, as I write this, I breathe it in and receive it.

The infinite gift that is your very life — when you begin to receive it — moves you beyond pseudo-entitlement where you believe that you should just get what you want.

When you’re in the divine flow of life, you realize the gift of life is much greater than this. When you’re in tune with how grand life is, you snap out of psuedo-entitlement and sink into a deep humility. You see that you’re not ‘entitled’ to anything because you’ve already received something greater than anything you can imagine getting on the physical plane.

The greatest gift of Life itself is animating your awareness right now.

You see how much you have to give.
You see how much you have to share.
You see how much life you have to live.

The touch of the divine births humility, not entitlement.

Entitlement seeks to get.
The Divine seeks to give.

Polar opposites, right there. Which one works better for you?

Jonas Ellison is a spiritual writer, teacher, practitioner, and an interfaith minister-in-training. He helps people deepen their lives through applied spirituality while documenting his journey along the way.

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