Life’s Two Major Tasks
My friend summarized Franciscan priest Richard Rohr’s week-long Seminar about “Life’s Two Major tasks”. The 1st task is to build a “container”, or identity. The 2nd task is to find the contents to fill that container.
We need to identify and clarify the needs between the 2 halves of our lives. The 1st half is about DOING. The 2nd half is about BEING. The agenda of the 1st half is social, meeting the demands and expectations of our Milieu. The 2nd half’s agenda is spiritual., addressing the issues of meaning. The ego’s hardest task, during the 2nd half, is to go beyond itself into service. “Service is what is desired by the soul.” – James Hollis. Religion in the 2nd half is NOT a Moral Matter. It’s a Mystical Matter.
As Ken Webber suggests, “We need to transcend and include as we grow. We need to recognize the value of what came before, while shedding old skins and identities that no longer fit us.” That process requires noticing the different priorities we valued, the different measures of right & wrong, and the different sources of meaning & belonging.
Objectively, we were made in the image & likeness of God, as children of God, destined to be heirs of heaven. We need a healthy ego to believe that. Thus, the 1st part of our spiritual journey is about: Externals, Formulas. Rituals. Scriptural Quotes – Substitutes for an authentic spiritual experience. (Matthew 23: 13-32) Those sentiments and styles are necessary as long as we don’t devote our entire life to them.
They are not the totality of the Spiritual Experience. By definition, an authentic God Experience is too much for us to process all at once. It consoles our True Self, while it devastates our False Self. Early stage spiritual experience prepares us for the immense gift of the awesome awareness of the presence of God within us. Many people get preoccupied with their “stable” into which Christ will be born. They wonder if their stable is better than other stables. Or worse, whether their stable is the “One and Only True” stable. They never get to the birth of God in their soul.
The Above YouTube Music Video Best Describes Our Life’s 1st Major Task
Thus, those concerned with superficial performance keep doing the “Survival Dance”. They never get to the “Sacred Dance”. They never make the transformation of Consciousness to the 2nd half of life. They merely keep repeating a few doctrines or performing some rituals, with passionate intensity, while missing the Mystical Vision.
In Romans 9:16, Paul says, “The only thing that counts is the mercy of God, and NOT what humans try to do.” The 1st half of life is spent trying, achieving, and self-promoting – some version of the performance principle. In the 2nd half, we learn it’s not about DOING. It’s about BEING. The 2nd half hears voices of wisdom that sound like: Risk. Trust. Surrender. Counter-intuitive. Destiny. Love. It’s the still, small voice that Elijah heard. (Kings 19:11-13)
The 2nd half of life presents the rich possibility of Spiritual Enlargement. It’s what God intended – not parents, or the tribe, or the fragile, inflated ego. It asks us to surrender the ego’s agenda for security and emotional reinforcement, in favor of humbly serving the soul’s intent: to live a life that comes from within. Rather than a life tuned into the noisy clamor of the outside world. No wonder so few feel connected to their soul. (They are obtuse to the astute observation of C. S. Lewis: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”)
Accordingly, during the 2nd half of life, we jettison the futility of our desires, the fragility of cultural values, the seduction of ambition, and the illusion of security. We jettison the spiritual insecurity of cobbling together some scriptural passages as if they capture the essence the Word of God. That’s as foolish & fruitless as blind men clinging to the tail, leg and side of an elephant proclaiming that the totality of its essence is reduced to those particular parts. Many Christians miss the totality of the Trinity of God by reducing the incomprehensible, infinite God to the capability of finite minds, using selective translations of words with multiple meanings, to define the “Word of God”.
Perhaps, if we accepted that God is a Magnificent Mystery beyond all human understanding, that doesn’t need to be defined, but simply experienced. Perhaps, if we understood that we don’t need to prove ourselves worthy of God, by what we know or what we do (The Performance Principle). And that it’s ALL about what God has done for us (His Redemption). Then, we can switch from trying to love God, and just letting God love us, like He did on Good Friday & Easter, and does every day through His Gift of Grace. Hence, we are no longer afraid of God. (Fear is to expect punishment.) Instead we fall in love with God, as He loves us. It’s a Mystical Experience.
It’s a relationship of the Spirit of God born within us connecting to the Majestic, Infinite God outside of ourselves. It’s God’s Gift we just need to accept, enjoy, and share with one another. The hardest thing to do is accept that God accepts us, “As is”. We need to empty the container of our ego, and fill it with the mystical experience of God. We need to stop DOING, and start BEING. (BEING: “We were created in the image & likeness of God, as children of God, and heirs to heaven. And that God so loves us that He sent His only Son to reconcile His creation back to Him.”)
The Above YouTube Music Video Captures the Essence of Life’s 2nd Major Task – Being in Love with God
We need to stop trying to improve what God created and re-grafted.
We just need to let God Love us, and in turn, BE IN LOVE WITH GOD.