The adversaries to a good life are many. They sneak into our personal thoughts, feelings and behaviors and oppose our healing, our liberation and our empowerment – the good life. They are internal and external forces that distract, disturb, delay or destroy our attention and intention. When we seek to learn or express truth, beauty or goodness, they confuse us and cause us to doubt. They work to get us stuck, when we need to move. They demand we resent, when we need to forgive. They seduce. They inflate. They arouse selfish desires. And so much more.
The adversaries know how to hide in the shadows of our consciousness and circumstances while they play with us. They are masters at “smoke and mirrors.” They create illusions and delusions as they convince us they are good, supportive, comfortable or essential. They will appear of little consequence in the long run of life and convince us to ignore them or they will appear so large, so dramatic, so powerful, so threatening, so beyond our little selves that we could never, ever grasp them, tame them, or vanquish them.
We need to meet the adversaries in the full light of consciousness, our own individual consciousness. We each need our own awareness of these opposers of the good life.
Procrastination – put it off. Cras is Latin for tomorrow. Crastinus is Latin for belonging to tomorrow. Life is a verb. You are a verb. Your actions express who you are. Your actions reveal your meaning and significance. Procrastination is a resistance and failure to act in the right time. Do you initiate action and fail to complete it? Or do you fail to initiate and begin the deed? I struggle with completion for the most, putting off the logical steps and trying to leap to a miracle. But when it comes to initiating, here are a few little demons: I put off asking for help. I put off celebrating my life. I put off cleaning up my messes. I put off telling my truth. I put off having fun. I put off managing my money.
Do you sleep better because you have so much to do tomorrow or because you got so much done today? Like me, you probably get more done in a day than you realize. There is a reason to review your day – but the adversaries of procrastination don’t want you to do it.
What do I do with all the time I have today because I put off doing everything until the tomorrow that never comes? I think or, to use a better word, I perseverate. Perseverate is to repetitively think a thought long beyond the need to think it. I avoid doing by thinking and thinking and thinking. Others do and do and do to avoid thinking or feeling. Which leads to the next adversary I want to write about.
Habit – an addictive or automatic way of thinking, feeling or acting. Habits dull us, our minds, our hearts, our will. Sharp minds, sensitive hearts, and skilled will keep us strong against other adversaries and capable of many good deeds. We all proudly list our good habits but I will take the risk of asking what is good about any habit? What is good about any action that does not have thought living in it? Do I do a better job brushing my teeth if I think about what I am doing, how I am doing it and why I am doing it while I am doing it? In our crazy world of multi-tasking there is less and less attention and more and more reliance on habit. Does this make for a good life? Habit leads to conformity and the denial of our individuality. We become thoughtlessly obedient to convenience and automaticity. We risk becoming a machine. How great for the adversaries of freedom.
Minimalization – making something small, insignificant, meaningless and unreal.
We take a view of something and determine it is not worthy of attention. We take something in our lives that is significant in its impact and we pretend it is insignificant. We experience something that is bad and convince ourselves that it is okay, normal, even good. Or we look at something that is quite wonderful and dismiss it as ordinary.
How can we express or recognize truth, beauty or goodness in a minimized reality? How can we confront lies, distortion, and harm in a minimized reality?
A good life only exists in the reality of reality.
What are you minimizing in your life? Your loneliness, your anger, your talents, your joy? Look at pretense in your life. What do you pretend is okay, when it is not? Why do you do this? What is really cool and fabulous in your life that you pretend is flawed or insignificant? Why do you do this?
Procrastination, habit and minimalization are adversaries. They are forms of evil. Not doing something in a timely way, not doing something with full consciousness, not seeing the true reality of something will keep us from the good life.
As you look at procrastination, habit and minimalization in your life, observe, don’t judge. Evil wants you to judge yourself. Through self-judgment, we identify with and strengthen the adversarial forces. Compassionate self-awareness is our empowerment and redemption.
As you pay attention to “the adversaries,” as you learn the subtle manipulations of evil, you will discover in yourself the following benefits, the elements of a good life:
- Stable Balance
- Capacity to take a stand based on moral imagination
- Evolution – growing the wise heart.
Where do we engage with the questions of forces of opposition, of evil? When do we become aware of the role of evil in our personal lives? What are the benefits of meeting evil?
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October 11,18, 25 please go to
Please comment and share your experiences with these three adversaries.