By Mark Antony Rossi
We have all had one of those weeks when you honestly wonder if God is watching. If you are asking for something earnestly (through prayer) we question if He or She is listening. God, can you pick up your cell phone? That’s usually my modern approach.
Yet these are normal reactions of the human condition and I always push back on the religiously strident who expect believers to put on a cape and leap tall buildings. When you short circuit your humanity you don’t become more holy you become less human. Contrary to convenient philosophies this is not a good thing. Less humanity historically is proven to be more atrocity.
If we are seeking to connect to our better angels (to borrow from Abe Lincoln) it’s important to realize that doesn’t demand leaving your body or learning a secret spiritual language or transforming into Mister or Misses Perfect. Improving the human condition is simply about figuring out how to consistently respect yourself and your neighbor.
Imagine laboring, stressing, literally killing your focus by making sure you obey the Ten Commandments. And imagine your surprise when you discover if you can just dig inside yourself for a bit you can start respecting yourself more and starting respecting your neighbors more and then suddenly—you have fulfilled the Ten Commandments. It requires self respect and general respect. That is all.
I truly think we don’t need elaborate rules and rituals to attain happiness, to improve the world or to commune with God more consistently. We need to start at the mirror in the morning. The everyday morning. Don’t wait for special days. Don’t wait for weekly services. Don’t wait.
Start respecting yourself in small steps. If you feel you have a few more pounds on your frame. Either accept it and live with it without any change. Overeating is usually stress-related. Less stress than eating. You might lose weight just from getting rid of stress. If you feel you need faster results ditch the junk foods and run a distance early in the morn or later in the evening. Running helps with better focus as well as speeding your metabolism for weight loss. Respecting yourself can also be as simple as saying “I’m not going to put myself down publicly or privately”
Respecting your neighbors can be achieved by ignoring past rude behaviors, or gaudy exterior decorations, or dogs going to the bathroom on your lawn. A sincere “hello, have a good day, be safe” goes a long way. Some people are positively shocked that those statements start changing the neighbors behavior. The frowning faces, noise levels, horrible lighting decorations and dog feces suddenly decrease and stop. Respect is not friendship but it opens a road that can lead to conscious connection and a change in behavior. This is how the human condition improves and this is how the world changes.