(Mike DePung —Feb. 10, 2018)
When I wrote my “Morning Pages” post today, I was thinking about several ideas, ones I see as connected. Making connections constitutes the ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize conclusions, opinions, and all that stems from those. We can use Ego or Heart; if we don’t call on Heart, Ego is the default processor and filter. Awakening to spiritual consciousness brings us to sense and engage Heart — in anything dealing with us as a human mind-body-soul unit.
As I consider living in Heart-energy, walking firm in the Purpose I created with Heart, and doing the work for which there are no promises of anything except my personal happiness, I recall a Bible passage when Jesus spoke to crowds who came to hear him. I’m not going formal religion here, but in Luke 14: 28–33 Jesus says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?…“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?…In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples” (New International Version http://biblehub.com/niv/luke/14.htm). Hence, I have focused today on counting the cost of commitment, commitment to create and follow Heart-based work.
Ego will chime in to fulfill it’s purpose to protect, many times with “common sense” prods and pleas: “Hey, you’re not making enough money; you’re only helping a few; you’re causing problems; you need to quit now.” I wrote that this morning and then added a Heart-message because Heart would simply say something like this: “All in!” This doesn’t mean questions, doubts, fears, ridicule, persecution, or hosts of other challenges won’t appear. They will. Counting the cost means we are all in, we will face challenges, and we will enthusiastically, passionately, and intelligently engage life — on our own terms; no one else’s matters. All in means we move onward and upward.
As I have moved forward with examining Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from the Birmingham City Jail,” I wonder how often he was faced with his own Ego-energy to just quit for his own safety, well-being, and peace of mind. None of that can be fully known by those who do not engage Heart. Dr. King did. He counted the cost of living his Heart-truth.
We can and may do the same, whether in the spotlight of the nation and world or simply in the soft, subtle light of our own friends, family, and acquaintances. The end is the same: happiness, fulfillment, significance, and freedom from judgment by our own and others’ Ego. Dr. King knows the value of freedom which he experienced in his soul but lacked in an Ego-soaked society of white-controlled power, wealth, and superiority over minorities.
Therefore, Dr. King, knowing the fellowship and way of the Heart, engaged in a four-step process of nonviolent campaigns. I cannot do this justice, so I will highlight the steps of collection of the facts, in this case of injustice, attempts at negotiation, self-purification — and this brought me to the concept of counting the cost because that is exactly what this step is about — and finally, direct action.
The facts of injustice had been collected in plain sight: “Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States…police brutality…unjust treatment…in the courts…unsolved bombings.” Make no mistake here, please. Many would not then and do not even now call this injustice. Know why? Their judging Ego that isolates from others to create barriers that are mistakenly believed to be safety would prompt them to say African Americans suffered because of their own choices and actions.
They could go to their white laws, to Supreme Court decisions like Plessy vs. Ferguson, and even Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education and say they had been given freedoms. However, the fact that the above practices — not exceptions — of injustice remained show that Ego reigned. Legislation cannot change Ego-perceptions to Heart, nor can it even create morality. It can and should, though, protect from Ego actions that contradict the rights Jefferson and others outlined in founding documents — no matter how different minority cultures appear to be. Only Ego takes differences as threats, and I would add, Ego on the part of minorities perpetuates such perceptions. Heart actions, though, work toward resolution and true soul peace.
Dr. King’s policy and practice of nonviolent direct action catalyzed Heart-energized souls to be able to claim and live in freedom to pursue happiness. His Heart led him to attend to the step of negotiation extensively, because he knew direct action would expose Ego-energies and mean even greater challenge for his people. He and other leaders decided on several occasions to postpone protests to see if white power players would keep their word. They didn’t.
Do you know the simple requests they negotiated for? To remove the “Whites Only” type signs. When I was young, I witnessed these for myself in rural southeast Missouri, and I remember my confusion and subsequent disgust at people who thought that way. I don’t think I’m disgusted by them now, such people, because I know what Ego is capable of, what I have felt at times. However, when faced with a clear Ego or Heart choice, no one wins if Ego is enacted and favored. And law and order should exist to open the way to overthrow Ego bullshit. Let me make something clear here, my opinion: law and order does not mean to force everyone to live up to the standards of a white, egoic power structure. Whites do not get to say how protests should occur — when, where, what actions are acceptable or not. And if you think I’m referring to 1963 only, I’m not; it happens today in St. Louis, Missouri.
To end this post, I bring back the idea of counting the cost of awakening to Heart, creating purpose, and living it in vision, mission, and daily goals. Dr. King did it, as well as hosts of others. If they hadn’t, segregation would still be more the norm than it is now. The step of self-purification meant that protestors of Dr. King’s time had to face the questions of “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeals of jail?” If they couldn’t, they were discouraged from being followers. If they were like those listening to Jesus in Luke 14, those who couldn’t face Ego challenges would be those who stopped short of all-in Heart work, those who counted the cost and wouldn’t finish the tower or wouldn’t enter battle in the face of bad odds. Stopping short is Ego-work. It’s not wrong; it’s just deficit in terms of personal happiness. In terms of society, Ego-rule is wrong and unjust.
Dr. King makes it clear “that we did not move irresponsibly into direct action.” However, many would say they were irresponsible because many judged via Ego instead of Heart. The results of the direct action? They are well-known in the big picture, but Dr. King had Heart-insight into the effects such work would have on society, and it is exciting to me, exciting enough to continue later.
In the meantime, counting the cost is an integral component of awakening to spiritual consciousness. The most powerful, moving, searching movement impacts us internally, and only then will we know the outworking of Heart purpose in love, light, and happiness. It’s an internal job, and the cost is greatest to Ego. That’s not an easy challenge, and it’s never finished. It always produces a creative tension to move onward and upward.
Blessings in that, my friend!
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Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!