Cardinal sin four: Separation and enhancement of the ego.
The mission of UU A Way Of Life is to improve spiritual health, reduce immoral and sinful behavior, and work across systems for positive societal change. This article is another in a series of articles on reducing immoral and sinful behavior. “Sinful” in the context of the UU A Way Of Life mission statement is defined as mistaken. The mission statement could read, “reducing immoral and mistaken behavior” but the mistakes being referred to are ones that cause spiritual injury and so we use the word “sinful.”.
The fourth component of spiritual health is attunement to the non dualistic Oneness. What is the opposite of attunement to the non dualistic Oneness? It is separation and enhancement of the ego. When we separated ourselves from the non dualistic Oneness, it is written in A Course In Miracles, we forgot to laugh. The idea that we are the author of our own existence is ludicrous. It is a cosmic absurdity. It is the biggest mistake of all.
In religious theologies of the major world religions this denial of the ground of our being is called by many names such as pride, arrogance, hubris, vanity. In everyday language we call it bragging, being puffed up, having to be right, thinking one is “big stuff,” being pretentious, showing off, hogging the spotlight, etc.
Further, the sins of separation and enhancement of the ego manifest in racism, xenophobia, misogyny, bullying, oppression, subjugation, domination, enslavement, exploitation, and what, these days, we are calling implicit bias.
Whenever we put others down, see them as less than, dehumanize them by seeing and treating them as “the other” we are separating ourselves from the non dualistic Oneness of creation. To think that we know better, deserve more, can do things alone individually, we perpetuate the primordial sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden who made the decision to go it alone without God. They thought, “We have everything. Who needs God?” And a wise person, witnessing this act of separation from the non dualistic Oneness might ask, “How is that working for you?”
In Alcoholic Anonymous, one of the greatest spiritual development programs of all time, asks its participants, in step one of the twelve step program, to admit that their lives have become unmanageable. In step two program participants are asked to come to the realization that a Power greater than themselves can restore them to sanity. In step three, participants are asked to turn their will and lives over to the care of the non dualistic Oneness however they understand it whether as God, as Tao, as the Universe, as the Ground of Being, as the Great Spirit, as the Spirit of Life. It is in this surrender of our will, and willfulness, to the will of the non dualistic Oneness that this willingness to surrender our own will attunes us to the non dualistic Oneness and decreases the separation and the preservation of our individual ego.
This surrender of our own will to the Tao takes mindfulness and repeated decisions throughout our day. We have to ask ourselves many times throughout the day, “What would love have me do?”
Meditation, centering, helps one escape the ego and its multitudinous demands for our attention, time, energy, and efforts to make us happy. The famous Christian prayer, the Our Father, has a phrase which reads, “....and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” The temptation being referred to is the demands of the ego for separation and the eschewing of the attunement with the Oneness.
The choice is very simple, the ego or the Higher Power? The ego promises us conditional love and happiness while our Higher Power offers us Unconditional Love and bliss? Give up the things of the ego which are barriers and obstacles to awareness of unconditional love which is our natural inheritance. Put your faith in your Higher Power and leave your ego in the dust.