The hope for my experiment of not using money for a year was that I would find greater value in myself in order to help us all find greater value in one another. As money is simply a construct that we have fashioned, it has not proven to be a very good barometer for a person’s actual worth. Yet in my attempts to lift others up, I frequently let them down.
While many see my endeavors as noble pursuits and praise me for being a person who walks his talk, the truth is that I am still often very aloof with my integrity and feel as if I let myself down even more often than I let down others. And often, as I passionately move toward the reality I know is possible, I can come off as arrogant, boisterous, self-important, and disrespectful to the opinions of others. As much as I pride myself on being a good writer, I am not always very good at interpersonal communications, and tend to piss off just about everybody eventually.
Nevertheless, in spite of my fallibilities and shortcomings, I know that I still have some wonderful gifts to offer and virtues that should not be overlooked. And if that is true for me, I imagine that it is true for everyone. All too often, when we cling to the memories of ourselves and others at our worst, we are unable to celebrate them at their best.
If we are able to recognize that all humans succumb to lower levels of consciousness, that we all, as the Bible puts it, “fall short of the glory of God,” we should be able to recognize that we can all reach higher levels of consciousness as well. Yet while we hold ideas of ourselves and others that reflect only the moments where we have not risen to whatever expectations were anticipated, we miss out on the possibilities that exist for our potential evolution. Each of us has a lifelong opportunity for change from the cradle to the grave, and it is our duty to not only guide our own evolution, but to help one another in their growth as well.
Every spiritual teacher I have looked to that is worth their salt speaks to the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness not only releases those who have let us down or caused us pain, but it also frees us from the burden of carrying grudges, ill feelings, and other emotional baggage that keep us from gracefully moving forward in our own spiritual journey. When all is said and done, forgiveness may just be the most powerful practice anyone can achieve.
For those of us who have problems with the status quo and our reliance on Old World thinking, it would do us well to forgive the leaders of the past and for those who continue to carry those banners. Although many decisions in the cultivation of our civilization have been made out of selfishness and short-term thinking, and still do, every human being throughout history has done the best they could with what they had. While some have been ignorant of the knowledge we now possess, and some have been emotionally stunted, and many still are, in this time, we have the ability to forgive the mistakes of the past and the echoes of them that still reverberate throughout our society, and guide one another forward into a better way of living.
We are each worth so much more than the money we earn, the debts we accumulate, or the grudges that we carry. May we open up to our greater values and be more aware of them in others.