Life of Meaning

Mirrors of Goodness

November 21, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton

When I was in the business of performing weddings, I always took the opportunity to remind couples that, in a very real sense, each was a mirror for the other. Whenever a wife gazed at her husband, it is often not the husband she sees but rather the wonder of herself. The same is true for a husband encountering his wife. Each spouse in tasked with a profound power, the power to make or break the self-worth of your partner.
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Losing Our Soul

November 14, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

In George Orwell’s book 1984, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Huxley’s Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us; Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. I fear that Huxley may have been right.” Thoughts from Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

Neil Postman, in a book written in 1985, prognosticated exactly the state of the America in 2020 when he foresaw our fondness for distraction and the pleasure associated with it.
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The Discomfort of Creativity

November 7, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

The purpose of art actually is, in many cases, to make you feel quite uncomfortable. Or at least to go to that place that’s already of discomfort inside of you and tap into that.”  Michael Moore

One sure way to secure disapproval is to create. Although “creatives” are often lauded for some enviable talent of making or doing something new, creatives are nevertheless often buoyed to a tether-less anchor. For, to create is to incite change and change is most often a fearful destination.
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Out of My Mind

October 31, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves… And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.” Etty Hillesum

I write this post “dazed and confused” on the Eve of the National Election 2020. (Well, not “Eve” precisely as it is still three days away.) And I find myself so regrettably distracted from what matters most: my soul. It’s almost as if my inner life has ceased to exist.
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Born to Imitate

October 24, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

From the very moment of birth, humans learn how to imitate others… In a sense, what we become is shaped by whom we imitate.
Ilia Delio

It’s funny. I have always thought it a bit arrogant of St. Paul to suggest that his followers “imitate” him. After all, it seems that it would take a pretty heavy dose of “I’ve got my act togetherness” to make such a bold statement. But after further consideration I realize he was merely stating obvious human nature.
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Returning to Eden

October 17, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“With “the failure in Eden,” humans became anxious seekers, desperately seeking what they lost.” Ilia Delio, Simply Bonaventure

Upon graduation from a most conservative seminary my advisor told me how much he appreciated my work, but that he was fearful for me because I seemed to possess what he called, “a proclivity for the novel.” Haha. What he feared, I considered a virtue.
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Humility Begins with the Death of the Ego

October 3, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“To be humble is to subdue our ego so that things are no longer all about us.” Neel Burton

It is easy to think that life revolves around you. Everywhere you go, guess who is always there, you are! Indeed you are, in a sense, the center of your universe. Everyone you encounter and every thought you ponder occurs either in your presence or in your mind. You are truly the master of your internal universe… or are you?

These days I am in deep meditations considering the oft times overwhelming power of my needy and selfish ego, an ego with a driving desire to make all things “about me.” My feelings, my desires, and my life seem to matter most and take priority.

Self-Centered or Other-Centered

In the U.S. we live in a time begging for an “other-centeredness.” After decades of pop psychology in which notions of Self have dominated social discourse, topics like self-esteem and the establishment of personal boundaries have been the rave.

Please know that I am indeed an advocate of healthy self-regard and some kind of emotional / psychological protection from the invasion of domineering and selfish people. However, necessary these attributes may be, they are not to be exercised at the expense of sacrificial love.

As a result, we seem to be in need of the radical virtue of humility—to think less of our own needs as we pay heed to the needs of others.

Annihilation

Humility asks for a diminishment of our irrational need to create a finely armored exterior by means of power, possessions, and prestige.

It is my belief that self-centeredness (read “ego”) is found at the heart of most of our personal and social troubles today. And it is the fear of loss—loss of power or possessions or prestige—that drives our somewhat makeshift and misdirected motives.

The early Christian mystics fervently called for “the annihilation of the ego.” In the beginning it was misdirected ego that tempted humans to choose self-rule over the comfort of divine orchestration. And it this needy, selfish ego that continues to rule in our lonely hearts today.

Humility: The Great Equalizer

Humility is not about considering yourself as lower than anyone else. In my mind, humility is the great equalizer—the raising up of the physically and emotionally poor and the lowering of those overly content with power and prestige. All meeting at middle ground.

Such humility is most evident in the person of the Christ, who thought divinity was not a position to be held on to, but instead emptied himself of that divinity to become fully human: to live and die as one of us, showing us the power found in a life of love and self-sacrifice.

Yes, “less of me and more of you” provide a mysterious connection with living fully and with immense pleasure. Humility, therefore, is oddly enough the most self-replenishing act we can opt for.

To Gain Life in Its Fullness

Is to Lose Life in Its Selfishness

Photo courtesy of Madrolly at istockphoto

Feeding the Beast

September 26, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Our ego was never meant to die, only to be tamed so that its wild energies could be put to better use.” David Richo

Let’s begin today with a familiar story…
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Fearless Love: Makes You Cross the Border

September 19, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“In your heart the choice was clear / You didn’t join the other side / The battle lines just disappeared.” From “Fearless Love” by David Wilcox

In the raucous and polarizing dialogue of our day it has become all too easy to categorize and therefore assign value. Many readers find themselves avid supporters of neither Trump nor Biden, but most certainly feel some responsibility to maintain affection for left or right.
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