Lent: with a little help from our friends
As we move into the season of Lent, I remember way back when going to an Easter mass with my then girlfriend. The homily from the priest really hit home for me. “So this was going to be the Lent when you really were going to get closer to God. You were really going to clean up your act.”
Then he added, “So now it is Easter, and you feel like you’ve blown another season of Lent.” Wow, I thought to myself, that priest is reading my mind. Then he said something that got me: “Maybe you can’t do it. Maybe your ego is not able by itself to do the job. Maybe you need something more.”
In last week’s blog, I said that Lent means a great deal to me and that I believe that Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore, in his book Keep a True Lent, has given us a wonderful way to look at– and use– this time before Easter. Charles suggests that we look at Lent, not as a time where we give up candy, rock-‘n-roll, or fun. Instead, he suggests, that the key part of Lent is giving up error thoughts (i.e., unproductive thoughts that are holding us back). These error thoughts could be such things as fears, scarcity and lack thinking, resentments, etc.
The key is that we use this time of Lent to reduce the hold error thoughts have on our lives. Last week I suggested that we all write down three error thoughts that we would like to surrender and get out of minds. I listed my three: temper, self-negativity, and some fears. What are yours?
Now we come to the wisdom that the priest expressed during that Easter mass from way back when: OUR EGOS CAN’T DO THE JOB! To quote those great spiritual teachers, the Beatles, we need “a little help from our friends.”
After we have written down the error thoughts we want out of our lives, the second step is to realize that even Jesus said, “In and of myself I can do nothing.” (John 5:30). I believe Jesus was speaking about his personal ego. Yes, on the ego-level, even Jesus could do almost nothing. But when we invite something into our lives– something way beyond our egos– then “all things are possible.”
So I suggest that we take our list of error thoughts and realize that our egos won’t be able– in the long run–to clean up our act. But then with joy, faith, love, zeal, and hope we open up to the bright winds of the Spirit. We relax and keep doing the next right thing. Slowly we start to realize that the grip these error thoughts had on us are now diminishing, and we. “do get by with a little help from our friends.”
I suggest that we remember the wise words of the ancient prophet, Zechariah: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” (Zachariah 4:6)
Next week I will make some more suggestions concerning how we can get the most from Lent. Remember, Spring will soon be here!