I never disappointed when I spend a Sunday afternoon Livestreaming Agape International. I used to watch every Sunday and Wednesday until I started having to work on Sundays. Lately I've just been watching when I felt particularly in need of a good message, but today's service just BLEW ME AWAY.
First off it blew me away because of the timeliness of the topic -- "Compare and Despair: Be Great if You Dare". I have been dealing with the "demon" of comparison a lot lately, and especially this weekend. I guess it could seem like a trivial coincidence.
If I can't pick up on the little signs I'm definitely going to miss the big ones.
Right before I sat down to meditate and chant, a still small voice told me to livestream. Even though I initially didn't listen, and started googling about other stuff after my session(which I will be blogging about later), I kept getting this urge to tune in and I eventually did. Somehow I had waited the perfect amount of time for Dr. Beckwith's sermon, and it could not have been more clear that the universe was speaking to me this morning! But even more than that, I'm glad that I listened.
One of the most enduring things he said was that if I am not "me", then what I have to contribute gets lost to the universe and it isn't whole. As I sit and think about that, it is a curious phenomenon that I can watch a documentary about bees disappearing and see the importance and connectedness of one bee "doing its thing" and pollinating flowers while looking for nectar, but the importance and connectedness of one human life (namely mine) gets lost.
I feel most disconnected from my dream when I get lost in comparison, and then bury my despair with some numbing activity (ie...facebook, youtube, reality tv, or entanglement in friends' drama; which often leads to more comparison). Comparison truly is what I think I battle the most. I look at Oprah, or Mandela and get so inspired with what one person can do with their life coming from very meager circumstances. If the deep urge or message that spoke to me were anything but to make music, then I may not be as terrified, but for me, the thing that requires the biggest battle and discipline is the thing I can't let go of.
I used to want to do nothing else in life but make music. I practiced hours and hours, and learned to play the trumpet, clarinet, and even the bassoon (albeit briefly because it drove my mother crazy). Music felt like it was a part of my soul, like I couldn't express or understand an emotion fully unless I had a musical soundtrack with it. I knew I wanted to make music then. I was such a creative child. I designed clothes, made paper dolls with full interchangeable wardrobes, I wrote songs, made clothes for my dolls out of old clothes. (Thank God I grew up before the Internet!) Where did all of that go?
Even as I type, the shadow that comparison casts on my life has become more apparent. We live in a society that doesn't value art, and in the most benevolent way, people steered me, and many of my schoolmates towards things that would actually get us a job. I was in a Math, Science, Technology magnet school, and comparison and competition was the name of the game. We magnet kids were made to feel better than the neighborhood kids that went there, and within the magnet program it was an all out competition to be on top so that you could get into the best high school and beyond.
Maybe I feel entitled to always feel successful at what I do because of that experience. Comparison in the past has crippled me by always expecting to be successful, and comparison has been crippling me lately because I see people who are ahead of me, and how I got behind and lost along the way.
The best thing about the sermon is that it breaks down the pitfalls and faulty logic of comparison. For me, it doesn't matter who is singing and promoting themselves on facebook or social media, they are fighting their own battles that I know nothing about. If they haven't done their own soul's work, they may attack and jeer, despairing in their own abyss of comparison.
I have to do my own soul's work, so that when people see me doing my thing and shining my light, they can see and feel The Presence.
But I have one goal now...and that is to reclaim my divine inheritance.