Friday, January 5, 2018

Two paths: the path of the ego or the path of the spirit

Of the six sources articulated for the living tradition of Unitarian Universalism the first is "Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life." Sounds good in theory doesn't it? But are you ready? Are you ready for that "direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder...?" Not everyone is. Most people in our contemparary culture have chosen to go down a different path, the path of the ego. The path of the ego seductively entices us with materialism, power, sex, and illusional drama. Most people in our contemporary culture think the things on this ego path are real when postmodern philosophy has taught us that they simply are "social constructions."

The Dali Lama said that the purpose of human life is happiness. Profound statement. But what does it mean? The next question, of course, is, "what will make me happy?" It is in answering this question that the fun begins and people get lost in the wilderness.

Spiritual teachings tell us over and over and over again that the ego cannot make us happy. The ego promises to and seduces us into all kinds of things and activities and eventually we come up empty handed and in despair.

The spiritual path, though, leads to not only happiness, but joy, and bliss.

The Creator, our Higher Power, God, the Universe, the Ground of our Being, whatever we choose to call the Ultimate is always happy because it is the Ultimate's creation and the Ultimate could not be anything but pleased with the Ultimate's creation which the Ultimate only desires to share because sharing is part of the Creation itself. As part of this Creation we have a choice: to pursue the illusions of our separateness and what we think will make us happy in the kingdom we have created, or to pursue the Kingdom of Our Creator by discerning and following the Creator's will.

Discerning and following Our Creator's will is the narrow gate which Jesus talked about. The saying, "Many are called but few are chosen," at one level makes sense because not everyone chooses to follow the spiritual path of discerning and following God's will initially, but eventually everyone will come around to it. It's only a matter of time.

For those of us who have chosen the spiritual path to discern and follow God's will, it is our purpose to help our brothers and sisters make the same choice when they are ready. For those who follow the ego's path changing to follow the spiritual path can be a big change. It can be for some the easiest most natural thing in the world when they are ready, but becoming ready sometimes is very difficult and painful and entails much suffering because of all the mistakes that are made.

For those of us following the spiritual path, it is our job to forgive ourselves and our brothers and sisters for their mistakes for they know not what they do. Forgiveness is the path to gratitude and gratitude in the moment, the Holy Instant, is the path to the Kingdom of the Ultimate, the"direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder.".


  1. I kind of knew this stuff but it's nice to have the vocabulary to articulate it more clearly. Once I have the words for this, it comes more clearly to my mind what I have been missing and where I have been making so many mistakes. Thank you for your great service. It is greatly appreciated.

  2. The UU path has made a big difference in my life. Before I came upon it and learned more about it I was not so much lost as dead in the water not going any where. Unitarian Univeralism has nurtured a faith which has made my life so much more vibrant and meaningful.

  3. The ego will always lead you astray. The ego is based on a "give to get" mentality. With this premise, things eventually head south, if you know what I mean. Act our of Love and you can never go wrong. Jesus told us bluntly, "Love as I have loved." That's the way to the kingdom. There is the path of the ego or of the spirit. I have been much happier since I realized this and have been reminding myself, especially when tempted, to choose the Spirit's way of Love.

  4. Joy is not in some distant goal because once we achieve it, it gets old, we get used to it, we take it for granted, and people are no longer impressed or excited for our success. In short, it becomes old news. The psychologists call this phenomena "hedonic adaptation." True joy is in the journey, going with the flow, enjoying the next best right thing.


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