A Selfish Life Context

Welcome! Today I’m writing the third article in my series on “Being impeccable with my word!”, and also responding to a blog prompt from my friend Sreejit — “Going to Church”.

When I was seven to nine years old I believed very strongly that there was some change or transformation I needed to make. I needed to change something about myself so that God would love and care for me. I was pretty sure that it all started from there. If I had God on my side all the people in my life would just follow suit. They would never treat me badly. I was desperate to reach into myself and do whatever needed to make it so God would make me “one of his.”

I prayed very hard; made many trips to the Altar at church; told people whatever I thought was the right thing to say.

In my pursuit of this transformation I looked for outside indications from other people on how I was doing about becoming “one of his.” It didn’t matter what I thought, it mattered what others did.

By looking outward into the world for signs of change in myself, I felt no transition, no acceptance into “the hands of God.”

Even in those earlier years, my perceptions were based on a mental framework of how the world worked. The assumptions, judgments, and expectations I put on top of the world defined my Life Context. My Life Context was based on the belief that something was wrong with me, and God could and would fix it, if I was willing to have him. What I failed to realize was that as a young lad I was already habitually breaking the agreement to “Be impeccable with my word!” I already told myself and others that I was not enough. In my desperation for this to be changed I put my belief that I was not enough on to God to solve.

In doing so I forgot that I had free will and that God would not change my mind for me. So even though I tried to be “good”, I still didn’t believe I was worthy. In this Life Context, no matter how hard I tried, I always fell short. I fell short because I was seeking an outside solution to an inside problem. For things to change though, the changes had to start within me. It had to start with me developing a positive, selfish Life Context.

My “experience” then, as viewed through my Life Context, was that no matter how hard I tried, I never seemed to be able to measure up. Eventually I just gave up trying to measure up to “God”.  I could not believe that God loved me because I was inherently unworthy. I eventually stopped trying to get him to make me “one of his”. I gave up on the idea that “God” was going to fix me.

Maybe you have had this experience. Maybe you kept trying to be perfect. Maybe you always felt less-than. Perhaps you can never seem to be “good enough”. Maybe you have blamed yourself for all your problems, fears, and unhappiness. If so, you might be like I was, using a roadmap you have made to try to find your way on a road you have never traveled. It was a lonely and cold time for me.

That was until one day when I was twelve years old and in an Alateen meeting. Through the fog of my perceptions, one message got through to me. I heard loud and clear “Your thinking has been affected by living with an alcoholic. You can’t trust that thinking process”. Finally, I had something I could change in myself. I could change my thinking.

This started changing my Life Context. I started to realize that I was the one who would change myself. I was not going to be fixed, I was going to change. For the first time in my life I consciously changed my mind about my mind.

The changes in my self-concept continued for years, but my relationship with my higher self and God were still not resolved. I could not and would not willingly “Go to Church.” Until one night when I was seventeen, I walked down a dark road on my way home. I was praying as I walked along in the dark of night. There were no streetlights on the road to our house. It was just me, the dirt road, and the stars.

I had come to the realization that my thinking about God needed to be changed. I was honestly letting go of old stories about who God was. I was seeking a belief in God that would fit in my life.

That night, while at an American football game, my bicycle had been stolen. Without that bike, I had no way to get around other than walking, and no idea on how I would replace it. Yet, in the starlight, I felt as one who walked beside himself, watching the part of me that was upset by the loss, but looking up into the heavens and realizing that this was not a problem for me to solve.

So, I stopped in the road and looked up into the night sky. There in the dark, I turned the problem over to God:  “This one is yours. I am not sure why my bike was stolen. I am not sure what purpose it served. But it’s up to you. I’m only going to believe that it serves a higher purpose.”

There, on that dark dirt road, I Went To Church.

It was a small thing to turn over to God. It was only a small problem, really, but it was my first real surrender to God. In that moment, I changed my Life Context. I stopped expecting myself to have the answers. I gave myself just the smallest break from having everything in my life be my fault.

The next day the police called, they had my bike, and it was not damaged.

My realization later was that when I stopped blaming myself or others for what I thought of as problems, I was much happier. I didn’t understand then that I was changing my Life Context.

It is, of course, obvious, now as I sit and write this article, that I was changing. Now that I have the words for what the transition was, I can see it. However, that was the beginning of something profound. I was making changes to my Life Context in a way that I continue to do today.

What struck me at that time was that my observations and changes were entirely within myself. Things got much clearer, and I was much happier when I used my words or thoughts in positivity instead of fear and anger. Through realizations then and over the years, I have come to understand that I must put myself first, meaning that I must adopt a selfish view of life. If I am to realize my potential and draw upon the source of love and life, I must start with a firm belief in my own inherent worth. I must believe that I am worthy. This is what Don Miguel Ruiz is telling me. Nothing about me is to be talked or thought about as bad, missing, or damaged. I am that I am. I am the source of my own perceptions, and thus the definer of my reality.

Through selfish adherence that the word or belief of others about who I am will not define me, I find freedom to seek out my own truth. By “Being impeccable with my Word!” I do not override the voice of God in my life.

When I tell God “Make me one of yours”, it doesn’t work. When I tell God “I am one of yours”, it does.

When faced with the truth of my inner worthiness, my need to hide, sneak, convince, win over, harm, defeat, judge, and destroy disappears. I have no need to act out of fear that I am not enough because there is no one I need to convince that I am. I simply am. My positive, selfish word is the truth. The power of the truth is obvious when I see it and do not hold in reserve my negative word or thought to the contrary.

To bring this home: When I take a selfish perspective with my word, I find myself saying, “God, you are in me, and I am in you, and together we are Love”. I need make no internal transformation or commitment to know and belong to God. This is the inherent state. Any adherence to a belief in separation is based on a context where I am not enough.

When I lack a positive self-image I always want to be rescued, fixed, or changed. It is because I think I am broken.

When I look at myself from a place of “I am enough” I need nothing to make me complete. I am no longer seeking to be made “one of His”. Instead, I know that I am one with the source of love and life.

When I use my word and thought to create love instead of fear, I am saved.

I think this was the reason my family took me to church.  At 46 I am now realizing the vision of my seven-year-old self.

Go with my love and caring. You are awesome and I adhere to the belief that you and I are here by purpose and mission to realize we are all loved and loving.

The Series:



  • Shared spiritual practices
  • The power of the Dark Side (Darth Vader’s Primer on the Lack of Faith)

5 thoughts on “A Selfish Life Context

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