The expression ‘throwing out the baby with the bath water’ is an effective illustration of the tendency to confuse important principles and issues.
Imagine for a moment giving the baby a bath and then throwing out the baby with the discarded bath water into the veldt outside! Many of our mistakes in life are caused by our inability or unwillingness to discern the different elements of a situation. Our natural inclination to judge situations without understanding the bigger context can generate considerable anxiety, pain and wastage.
Independence and self-reliance
The concept of being independent is a prime example of easily misunderstood principles. On the one hand we are commended for being as self reliant and independent as possible. The advantages and merit of this teaching is considerable. It may be closely associated with accountability, good character and good citizenship. Few burdens are as severe as being dependent on others for anything and everything.
Yet on the other hand we are also taught by wise people to resist the natural tendency to be arrogant, prideful and to consider ourselves independent of others. Many of our great religions teach us to be humble and to rely fully on God and on spiritual principles that are unseen by the physical eye.
I suppose it depends on how we understand the concept of self-reliance. In practice full self-reliance can only be achieved if in fact we are fully reliant on spiritual realities and universal laws and principles that are vested in a higher power than the physical around us.
The power of our foundational life skills
The power given to humankind to think, feel, desire, believe and choose is remarkable, way beyond my power as an Old Man to describe. On the one hand these life skills enable us to choose our way to the highest and the greatest. On the other hand, the same gifts enable us to choose directions that ultimately lead to landing in the mud of life and even to various depths of hell. Choice is a remarkable gift!
‘I did it my way’
An amazing manifestation of choice is the tendency to believe that we ‘can do it my way’ and be independent of others or even of divine power. Whether the believer in personal independence is an adult or an old person, the mindset of adopting ‘independence’ is like the tantrum of a child – only longer lasting and generally far more serious.
The truth is…..
The truth is that we are totally dependent (every living second!) on the pulse of our heart, on the shining light of the sun, on water and energy and choice and on a billion other things of the creation around us.
Arrogant pride has immense power to destroy our common sense.
The big enemy
Arrogant pride can be considered to be our only real enemy! Pride is the source of our arrogance and also of our denial of our divine attributes and self-worth in the sight of God. Ultimately pride is the source of our lack of faith in light and truth. Arrogant pride is also often the prime source of mule-like stubbornness as well as of our depressions of spirit. Pride is the opposite of inner peace. Arrogant pride appeals to mortal perceptions and standards of the physical self. Pride in this sense is the big liar and deceiver.
Obedience is said to be the first law of heaven.
Whether we like it or not, everything we do is a form of obedience to something or other. We cannot live without obedience to some moving instinct, desire or value. The big question is not ‘Is obedience necessary?’ but ‘What am I obedient to? To be alive is to be obedient to something or other. To blink is a form of obedience. To think, feel, desire, believe and to choose are all acts of obedience to some influence or value, whether we like to admit it or not!.
The idea that we don’t need anybody or anything is an act of obedience to arrogant pride. Ultimately this kind of pride is the greatest and saddest form of ignorance. The great souls of this world are driven by reliance on spiritual values that are beyond the claims of arrogant pride.
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