“Tell us you idols, what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear…..I look but there is no one-no one among the gods to give us counsel, no one to give answer when I ask them. See, they are all false! Their deeds amount to nothing; their images are but wind and confusion? Isaiah 41:22-23, 28-29.
Wealth, Vanity, Material Possessions and SELF have all appeared as characters in my book. They thankfully are not the main characters but make occasional appearances thinking they might make the story more appealing. They can be beautiful and exciting in different ways. They are also false idols that can cage me.
Wealth creates a life of ease for Vanity who sits on the beach with a margarita reading great novels, her toes in the warm sand. Vanity is slender and tan in a sleek black bathing suit, skin smooth and young. She heads up to the house where Material Possessions lives in a quaint summer cottage on the shoreline. Right off the pages of House Beautiful each room decorated with crisp blues and greens, bright white gauze curtains wave in the breeze around a small porch facing the sea. Vanity pads barefoot into the house, as Self whispers, “no worry about the sand, the housekeeper will sweep that up”. SELF turns on the news and disgusted with the stories of others suffering, shuts it off and gets a sandwich prepared by her chef with fresh arugula salad. Ahhhh and Lust for a life like this! I forgot about her. She is a control freak and tends to be the ringleader. Fiction, nice to read but eventually I reach “The End”. Time to get up and clean the house, put some dinner on and throw a load of laundry in before I sit down to some TV.
In reality, wealth puts food on my table, clothing on my body, a roof over my head and material possessions that I can’t even keep track of under that roof (and in the shed, the barn and the garage). Too much stuff! Vanity creates stress with worry about weight and ability in my yoga practice, she revels in the idea that she doesn’t look her age and often devotes her time to an unrealistic goal for her body. SELF is constantly poking her head up and saying “what about what I want?” and “why can’t others live the way I think they should.?” SELF can tend to be lazy and does not use her time well.
These are the idols (false gods) that I turn away from daily as I pray, practice yoga and meditate on God’s word. They have proven as scripture says to amount to nothing but wind and confusion. In Yogic scripture Patanjali identifies five causes of pain one of which is raga which is attachment or passion and another abhinivesa –love of or thirst for life, fearing death. Yoga helps me to still my mind and listen . I hear that to live life to its fullness is to find my self as God created me, not as the world sees me (or I in turn identify with the world). I seek to follow, learn, serve others and live in peace with all. So I Pray, Practice and in doing so hear the still small voice of Love encouraging me to Worship God, creator and redeemer who provides for all that we need. Gratitude is fostered for all blessings of home, family and friends. My heart opens to love others and release the grip on earthly things. There is where true freedom lies.
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” 2 Corinthians 3:16-18