Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth are among the most common daily practices of the modern American. We are consumed by these practices as much as we are our own dramas. We equate it to a passing habit that we will correct tomorrow and yet tomorrow never arrives always daring you to put off what you should have done today. We are killing ourselves with our choices. Though antiquated and somewhat corporal in nature the 7 deadly sins are alive and well in your own bedrooms and bathrooms and kitchens.
Social media is the subtle emotional death of us all as people stop liking our posts and comments. We fill ourselves with these false senses of pride over what we ate or who liked this or how many times this was shared. I find myself struggling with this in music on a daily basis. I love my music! I can’t help it. The art work that I have created in my lifetime is the culmination of all of the pain and lust and love and lore that has painted my character for the last four decades. I am PROUD! It is difficult to restrain the excitement and pride I feel for my own works because the energy vibrates in my bones.
Recently I read an article by one of the scientist that participates in the Human Genome Project and they theorized that our very DNA is coded with music and frequencies that mimic songs. Literally we are our own soundtrack. I remember that so many other incredible people have this same challenge of self pride. In my impetuous youth I would run over people with my words and beat my head against invisible walls I could never understand. It was as if I was speaking a different language than other children. A little sponge of information and ideas that didn’t allow for team work and could only see my own perspective. I was what I like to call blinded by my own giftedness. My pride has cost me relationships, close friendships, jobs, and the very intimacy that binds us together as a biological organism.
Yet this pride is not isolated to me. I see it in almost everyone in this confounded country. It is bred into corporations and executives as if it were a trait to be coveted. Being proud of your accomplishments is in itself not negative, however the line is thin and not far from the start. Ego is only a few “Atta Boy’s” away from ruining a colleague relationship. This emotion is by far the one that is the hardest to keep in check, because it leads to frustration, anger, and resentment. In addition our default setting as a human is to be right. Learning to analyze ourselves in the moment is a difficult skill that few master over a lifetime. Slowing down and understanding that multiple perspectives make-up reality is the key to combating EGO. That selfish little feeling that gives us a greater sense of importance than we have any right to have in the moment.
Most of my natural strengths were passed onto me from my parents and with that comes the most important practice to help avoid false pride: GRATITUDE. I attempt to find gratitude for each experience and each person positive or negative. Even the truly nasty ones provide me with a sense of gratitude, if nothing other than my own positivity. Thank you is a lost phrase that was replaced by expectation and with each passing generation it has become more and more absent from vocabulary. Gratitude has become a mystical practice for those actively practicing the latest process from a self-help guru. Rather than a list of things I am grateful for I have modified this to only include people, the life blood of a community. I challenge each of you to begin each morning with a list of the people you are grateful for regardless of whether you have chosen a new path or you are wallowing in your victimhood. This solitary activity will slowly break your chains of selfish focus toward a fuller awareness of the world around you. It will challenge your Pride!
Next week: GREED