God is an ideal. In any religious text, the words spell out an ideal way to live – a peaceful, virtuous spirit that reigns over the heavens.
Unfortunately, religion steps in and tells us to hope and pray for the acceptance of that all-mighty spirit. This is not to what the biblical stories really symbolize. The biblical stories give us an answer to how to live now. Not just now meaning before death, but now meaning right now, in the moment.
It is in the moment, when we aren’t wanting for the future or fearful of what comes next, that we find this peace and that we find happiness. Happiness is available to anyone that chooses happiness. That peace comes from rejecting the fear that religious leaders instill about undesirable afterlife. It comes from rejecting all fears. That peace comes from rejecting the fear our boss instills about meeting deadlines and showing up on time.
The peace comes from within – from understanding that we have everything, because there is almost nothing we really need. Any wants and fears are nearly all externally pushed onto us – whether from teachers, preachers, bosses, or marketing departments. We can reject the wants that all these individuals push onto us, and then we can be free from the burdens that come with chasing those wants.
Rejecting wants from others means risking that we won’t be accepted by others. It means being courageous and risking humiliation from others that judge us based on our ability to satisfy the wants encouraged by others. Having the courage to say no to all these people – many of them our colleagues, family, friends, and potential lovers, means we must reject the ego that holds onto wanting the affection and acceptance of these people. By destroying the ego that holds onto the want of acceptance, we can be free from the need of this acceptance.
Jesus Christ did this. The story of Jesus is an archetypal example of a man who rejected the need to be accepted by his friends, teachers, and potential lovers. He led his loved ones and promoted peace and virtue, and was unwilling to compromise his values when those loved ones did not have the strength to stand by him. The death of Jesus was the extreme example of a man standing by his conviction. He did this by accepting humiliation from the crowd, instead of giving in to the wants of the crowd – wants that Jesus did not agree with.
The death on the cross was the most extreme example of the carrying out of the death of the ego. Even when faced with public execution in a horrific manner, Jesus refused to give in to the people that wanted him to want to fit in. In doing so, Jesus died living out his ideal. It was an ideal that he wanted – one of virtue and determination to never give in to the wants of others.
We can be Jesus like, but the struggles he faced are struggles we must endure if we are going to be free. Freedom comes at the cost of rejecting the wants and ideas that society places on us. We may not need to become martyrs for our freedom, but we must be so strong in our sticking to our values that we would rather face criticism and dislike than to fit in – if it means compromising those values.
To want to fit in is to keep the ego intact and to prioritize acceptance from others over our own free will. We can only understand our free will when we do reject all wants – materially and the expectations of others. By doing this we can become the decision makers of our own fate. We can choose to follow others or we can lead our own life wherever it takes us. We can control the heavens and find beauty and positivity in the world when we choose to look for that everywhere. That beauty and positivity is found in the present moment.
When we reject the need for our ego, when we drop the persona that faces others and start living our own ideal, we can truly be at peace and in control of our lives. And we don’t need God or anyone else telling us what to do. We are ultimately powerful when we are not controlled by others. God is not controlled by others. We are god embodied when we are not controlled by others.
We realize we are god embodied when we live out our ideal and refuse to compromise that ideal for anyone. This takes detaching ourselves from our ego that holds onto the wants and expectations of others. We, like god, are subject to no one’s control when we are able to do this. Jesus Christ demonstrated this when he died on the cross.