I will likely be writing about this topic (values) for some time to come. It is an important one, and one I am needing to do some deep work on in my own life, as well as figure out myriad external details of what God wants me to do. In the meantime, I hope from these writings, if anyone reads them, some help or insight can be gained as I know these are struggles that each and every one of us goes through. It is because of this that the work that people do to promote and protect real value is so important.
Steven Stosny, PhD, is a psychologist who works with clients using a concept he calls core value. This is the idea that the most important things about us as people are values such as basic humanity, compassion, service, spirituality, and community. When we become disconnected from our real values, we can get lost in devaluing things and people as a way to try and feel valuable, but because this behavior is in opposition to our real values, it makes us more miserable. The way, then, to heal resentment, emotional abuse, trauma, or any other negative experience, is to do things, to take actions, that connect us to our core value, thus making ourselves into the kind of people that have value. This is how each of us feel valuable–by being true to what is really valuable to us.
Four of the techniques used to connect us to our core value are finding ways to improve, connect, appreciate, and protect. Automatically making these actions will make us feel better because it connects us to real values. For example, protecting someone we care for–rather than doing something that hurts them–will increase our own feeling of adequacy and lovableness.
Today I was reading one of my author friend Bryan Davis‘s novels. I deeply appreciate Mr. Davis’ service to the world in his Christian fantasy books–he very intentionally writes exciting fantasy stories full of dragons, legends, other worlds, characters that strive to act on and represent real eternal values, and thought-provoking moral dilemmas.
One of the reasons he does this is to take a stand against the very prevalent mood in fantasy these days where it’s not good vs evil anymore, the way it was in The Lord of the Rings, it’s just evil vs evil vs evil. Various factions and conditions of characters all similarly lusty, angry, and greedy, biting into each other, trying to get some pleasure and security out of the world.
“We’re all just doing our best.” “We’re all just trying to be happy.” “I’m trying to get my own life in order.” “Everyone is going to hurt you: you can’t expect anyone to act on higher morals, you just have to pick who is worth suffering for.”
I maintain that this is a deception and a lie. It is what the Bhagavad Gita describes as demoniac philosophy.
Bhagavad Gita 16.10-12
“Taking shelter of insatiable lust and absorbed in the conceit of pride and false prestige, the demoniac, thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.
They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus until the end of life their anxiety is immeasurable. Bound by a network of hundreds of thousands of desires and absorbed in lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.”
Their end is also described in Bhagavad Gita 16.16:
“Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, they become too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and fall down into hell.”
There is NO peace for those who order their lives in this way. So what is the alternative to this unfortunate end, then?
Well… let’s look at John 14:27 from the Bible.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
The peace which the world–the demoniac world of lust, anger, and greed–cannot give. What is the source of it and how do we escape the network of pride and desire to get to it?
John 16:33 says:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
In ME you may have peace! The Lord and Creator of all that is, the creator of the world, has overcome the world, and nothing else on heaven and earth will free one from the suffering and anxiety that pervades the pursuit of power and pleasure for one’s own self.
It is in relationship to Him that we find peace, that we find the repose of our eternal souls who hanker and lament in this temporary world. A great soul is one who knows his identity as the servant of God… he accepts no other identity, and no tribulation or the inevitable ups and downs of the temporary world can faze him any longer.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Bhagavad Gita says the same in chapter 9.13-14:
“O son of Pṛthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.
Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.”
All things are not equal. As human beings with free will and the power and consciousness to ask “who am I really?” and make choices and take action according to our answer, we will pay the price or reap the reward for what we choose to align our lives with. Demoniac values, or eternal ones? Values according to the world (and an identity as the flesh or bodily concept), or according to the laws of God (and identity as a soul, made for Him)?
That is why true good, vs true evil, presented concretely in character choices and moral decisions, in engaging fiction and media, can so powerfully affect our consciousness, our knowledge and understanding, and awaken our true identity as a soul.
What we feed ourselves with, what books, music, movies, friends, authorities we take in to our minds, makes a huge difference.
Thank you, Bryan Davis, and all those who see any glimmer of the real truth that the human soul MATTERS, that our choices and actions MATTER, and do the service to the world of showing others, by their own lives and endeavor, a possibility that can lead to real satisfaction, happiness… and peace.