Your very life is “scripture.”
Your every thought, word, or deed is a concrete manifestation of either love and faith, or hate and fear. Your every choice and action are “revelation.” They reveal what you truly believe, not what your traditions state, your family told you is right, or what a touted spiritual leader proclaims. Your actions reveal in a tangible way your inner thoughts and genuine motivations. What constitutes your “darkness” is revealed in the light.
It is a wise and honorable thing to read, gain insight, and be empowered by your faith’s scriptures. All devote Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews, and Buddhists have done so for centuries — for millennia. Yet, there is something more; a deep mystic flowing under this surface. There are deeper realms to explore. There is the actualization of scriptural wisdom into our living behaviors, actions, and choices in the real world.
Affirming and reading scripture or attending a house of worship, no more make you a “true” Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jew, or Buddhist, than walking into a garage makes you a car. Does a Mob Boss who attends Catholic Mass a “true” Catholic? Ask those family members who may have had their loved one murdered, extorted, or beaten at his orders. What you truly believe is revealed in the lengthy scrolls of your history of actions. Your life is your real scripture.
Time to Grow Up
Grow up. You are not a child anymore. As Saint Paul says, “Leave childish things behind.” Each passing day of your life is a scripture. Your life is a sign and sacrament of your inner world manifesting into this tangible world. Your life is a work of art, and expression of the dance between the Creator and you — weaving your world together as one. This is so whether you acknowledge it or not.
Behavior is the visible testimony of the unseen. Your history of behavior reveals the unseen truths you live by; your thoughts, choices, and values (all unseen) are revealed in the scripture of your life. It is time for you to take responsibility for that. To live up to the ramifications of that reality.
Your children, your intimates, your colleagues, your friends are all looking at what you actually do. What do they observe? How consistent is your behavior with the pronouncements that drop from your lips?
“I am going to . . .” is the most condemning curse that falls from our lips. We all know people (or are people) who for years have been planning to do “something”: Write that novel or screenplay, finish that degree, move somewhere, or get out of that dysfunctional relationship. It is as if we are lulling ourselves under our own spell of self-delusion every time, “I am going to . . .” carelessly falls from our lips.
Everyone is a Believer
Even if you are atheist or agnostic, your life is still scripture. It is a visible testimony to what your core values are. You may not have settled on some formal dogma, organized religion, or coherent historical philosophy. Yet, you are still operating under some program or programming. You may take pride that you are not a “fool” like those who believe in . . . whatever. But, you do believe in something. Everyone is a believer in something.
You live out those beliefs every day in your simplest actions. Some of the most upright, moral, and conscientious people I have ever met call themselves an atheist. They may not believe in a particular version of a deity or belief system. But, they are operating on a program — some program of ethics, however it was downloaded into their consciousness, or subconscious.
What Kind of Scripture Are You Writing?
Is your scripture epic? Are you leaving an epic story behind you when you move on to the next realm? Think about it, most scriptures follow the pattern of Aristotelian story dynamics. Something happens, which kicks off a journey. Some challenges are encountered on that journey in pursuit of some goals. As the drama unfolds, it winds down to a conclusion. Epics follow the “Hollywood Formula” and Aristotle’s “Poetics.”
Most scriptures have an epic trajectory and have lots of mini-epic stories within them. How epic is the scripture your life is recording? Is it the same dam day, done over and over again, like the movie “Groundhog Day?” Are you making some sort of actual progress with your personal drama? Are you learning the lesson, or moral, that your epic life story seeks to teach you? Or are you walking through your scripture clueless, aimless, and stuck in Act One?
Your life leaves a moral lesson for those who are exposed to it. I have had a dear brother and my dear mother both die in the last few years. They were not conscious of it, but they have left profound moral lessons for me from the trajectory of their life. Their lengthy scroll of the history of their behaviors taught their friends and family something. Whether by positive or negative example. Their lives were a testimony, a scripture to those witnessed it.
We Can Write Beautiful (if not Grandiose) Scripture
As a father of four grown sons, I think a lot about what example and legacy I am writing with my life scriptures. Last year, my family finally visited Ireland. I had longed to see my ancestral homeland for as long as I could remember. There I saw the actual “Book of Kells,” the most legendary illuminated manuscript of the Western World.
I marveled at the years of dedication and training a scholar-monk would endure to create on the vellum a sacred work of art. Each detail was carried out with concern and profound focus on the minutia. I dreamed of myself (as a displaced Irishman) practicing with quill and ink for decades to create such a work of art. Then I caught and stopped myself. No more, “Someday I am going to . . .” anything.
There is no such thing as a “someday” in the distant future. We may not awaken tomorrow. After babies being born, dying is still quite in fashion as a popular activity for us mortal humans. I realize all I have is “the sacred now.”
Each of my words, each of my glances, each of my steps are flowing ink from the quill, dancing upon the vellum, leaving an imprint; a legacy. I write my scripture each day I breathe. We all have one shot at crafting our scriptures well. May your life scripture reveal an inspiring epic for those blessed enough to read it.