Our eyes look outward for a reason
I think that our eyes were designed to face outward for a reason. They’re not directed inward. They don’t point toward our navel.
They look... Outward.
For the longest time, my spirituality was about me. It was a practice to make me a ‘better person’ (whatever that meant). I wanted to become more peaceful, focused, successful, etc.
This is all well and good.
This, I’ve found, is spiritual idealism. It never works out the way I envision it.
Whenever my spirituality is about me, it becomes more and more about... me.
The self is like a bottomless well that I can never fill up. It’s vast enough to consume all of my spiritual energies and more.
A spirituality of self is an endless project. When our eyes are directed inward, it becomes harder and harder to return them to their proper position - outward towards the world around us and our neighbor in need.
This is a built-in aspect of the Jesus Way. To turn us from self-centeredness to self-forgetfulness.
And it is so…
Slowly but surely, I’m starting to see the daunting nature of the endless project of self. The ‘me’ that I’ve been trying so hard to shape is a void. It’s a void because I have very limited access to it. I am not my own creator or shaper. That work is impossible for me to truly do. It is God’s. I am merely the branch and God is the vine.
Yes, I can keep myself quite busy doing it. I can work on my non-existent six-pack, dial in my sleep routine, and check the box of daily prayer and meditation. It can feel quite gratifying and give my ego a temporary boost. It might provide cosmetic short-term improvements. And there’s a virtue to a certain level of self-awareness and having some sense of what’s swirling around in us.
But ultimately, it doesn’t do anything. Because there is no ‘me’ without a ‘you’ or a ‘them’. Just as there is no ‘Father’ without the ‘Son’.
God, I pray that you can soothe my yearning for self-perfection and turn my eyes outward to the beautiful and miraculous world around me and the beloved people in my life. Because without a ‘you’ or a ‘them’ or an ‘it,’ there is no ‘me’.