Thursday, January 1, 2015
Stephen Daily - Vulnerability undermines worth and dignity
Perhaps the greatest impediment to miracle readiness or the appreciation of the first principle of the inherent worth and dignity of every person is the unconscious fear of our own deep seated, innate defectiveness and inadequacy. This unconscious sense of unworthiness gives rise to a chronic anxiety of being vulnerable to shaming. This fear of being shamed leads to repression or what we have more colloquially called "denial". This repression and denial gives rise to lying, pretense, hypocrisy, arrogance, and "control issues". The "need to be right" leads to power struggles with ourselves and others contributing to a psychological, biological, and spiritual toxic brew of emotions which are conscious and largely unconscious. The sad observation is that none of this anxiety and hell on earth is necessary because we are all okay as we are if only we could develop the cosmic consciousness to become aware of this spiritual reality.
Unitarian Universalism's first principle which directly states that each person has worth and dignity is amazing in our culture where the myth of scarcity and defectiveness is the air we breath. It seems that the denial and repression of our feared inadequacies and defectiveness block our awareness of first, the worth and dignity of ourselves, and then our fellow human beings. Being in a capitalist society where the marketing of products and services is based on advertising depicting needs, often needs we didn't even know we have, is based on a competitive comparison with others leaving us feeling unworthy, with lesser dignity, which can only be ameliorated by the purchase of the advertised products or services.
Our capitalist materialistic system of economics is based on a deficiency model of scarcity. Perhaps, Unitarian Universalists have not recognized before or if so, often enough, that the whole economic system of our society which is killing us because of its toxic impact on our physical environment is based on a deficiency model constantly telling us that we are inadequate in some way as compared to other people and therefore must spend money on the advertisers goods.
In more traditional religions, those with a religious vocation often take vows of voluntary poverty. There are many reasons and influences in this spiritual practice, but perhaps one of the most important reason is the recognition that on a spiritual level a person's worth and dignity does not depend on material wealth to repair cultural stimulated deficicences. If we would have true peace and joy it will require the recognition of our intrinsic beauty as the creation of the Spirit Of Life, not only our own beauty but that of all our fellow human beings. Rejecting the myths of scarcity, and recognizing the fears of vulnerability precipitated by shaming is liberating for us and for all human beings.
Stephen Daily is a psychotherapist and will be writing regularly in 2015 on UU A Way Of Life about the emotional and psychological influence of UU values and understandings on our lives as individuals and as a human family.