In America, the days leading up to July 4 grow in frenzy, ending in marvelous displays of fireworks, which seem to grow more complex every year. Not gonna lie here: I love professional pyrotechnics. However, the celebration of America’s Declaration of Independence from Great Britain is, in my opinion, romanticized, amalgamated from bits and pieces to create a canvas of America that never existed in quite the way many imagine it.
Yes, just like Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration, “a decent respect to” others opinions makes it incumbent upon me to declare why I say this. America’s greatness today as touted by moral conservatives seems to be based on the religious Great Awakenings, especially the first one in which Jonathan Edwards was prominent, especially through his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”
How does this get idealized? “What has become of America? Look what we used to be: righteous, upstanding, a bastion of democracy, a light of the world. Not any more, though. God is angry with us and will punish us if we don’t get it right. We better vote for the right candidate. We better get back to ‘moral’ principles.” Yeah, I get the sentiment, but it is mostly ego bullshit.
The irony of it is that most religions and eras and movements associated with them make individual choice the means of initiation, especially the Protestant brand. I in no way wish to belittle that or any particular religion because many honest-hearted people are involved, but when organization supersedes heart, I don’t buy it. However, such offers that include personal peace, contentment, and purpose if one willingly enters almost immediately remove any heart impulses, motivation, or filter. The organization, the religion, becomes the corporate heart, and once a person is “in,” conformity is required in order to be “right.” Again, I call ego bullshit because so many have been tormented by then having to deny their own hearts and accept others’ “counsel” instead of being in the fellowship of their own heart, which links them to eternal Spirit, God.
Now, true counsel of others, when it is sought, can be vitally valuable; however, when rules, guidelines, commandments, whatever they want to call them, are imposed on people, along with the attendant guilt for not keeping them, then they create a mass of people who “lead lives of quiet desperation” because their hearts have been ignored. However, the stolid appearance of “moral” organizations lead to an idealized view of America.
When people don’t conform, then leaders of these groups start calling for the great America of the past when everybody believed in God and when everybody was unified. They want the government to fix things by reflecting their corporate beliefs through legislation and judicial decisions being forced on the whole, making all conform. Again, ego to the nth power of bullshit.
Why? I will go to the words of the document that started this whole wonderful thing called America. The government wasn’t instituted to force conformity; it was set in motion to “secure these rights” of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” These are individual rights, clearly reinforced in the Constitution of the United States’ first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights. Yes, the corporate idea is an overlay because the limits to rights are those things that destroy people or things — and any actions that do that are egoic. Many people, because they do not know their own hearts (Unified Theory of Humanity!), fear non-conformity as evil, aberrant, threatening. They like to have their brand of liberty, but are threatened by those who aren’t the same as them.
Some folks, though, don’t like the religious right, the moral conservatives, so their solution to the ills of America is that government must become the conscience and savior of the nation through increasingly vast structures of bureaucracy and socialization. Irony — no different, just a heart substitute of government for each individual.
That Second Continental Congress in 1776 voted to declare independence on July 2, formally signing the document on July 4. They were men of differing convictions; they had to hash things out, but when many individuals are on a percentage basis, critical mass basis, working through their hearts, accord will be reached one way or another. And that is why I get excited about July 4, because that Declaration expresses my heart belief in living true to Self, and that is what should govern a people. I see hope — oh, immense obstacles, but hope.
Those who don’t, who grasp after an idealized version of America, live in fear, really; they fear that their brand of belief that they hold dear, that system or organization which has become their heart substitute and is based on ego, will be replaced. They are willing to trade individual rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness for a mediocre conformity. And, hey, if we need conformity, it damn well better be our brand of it or we will be patently unhappy.
I will live my heart, no matter who is in power or what the government says. Do I fear others not believing my truth? No. Do I fear that I may run afoul of the government like some rebel militia group? No. Why? Because if I live my heart, I will be living the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” No fear — challenges, but no fear.
Benjamin Franklin — now there was a man who lived his heart, was at the Second Continental Congress, and offered his wisdom there. He signed the document as one of the Pennsylvania representatives. I don’t believe he made the following statement there, but it applies to not only then but also today, and in a very powerful, cogent way: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” He understood the spirit and intent of what was being formed, and it was based on the Self-Awakening of many to the voice of their own hearts living their own liberties!
Bring on the fireworks!
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!