Friday, 2 October 2009

On Repairing the World

In yesterday’s blog I spoke about the overwhelming influence of the Ego in our everyday life and how its negative effects bring so much pain and suffering into the world. That being so, I recall asking a therapist once “why can’t we then just kill the ego?” His immediate response was simply this “would you kill your own brother?” Thankfully there is a more compassionate solution to the problem. In Christian circles it is better known as Atonement and for our Hebrew brothers and sisters it is called Tikkun (meaning: to repair the world).

It is interesting to note that both of these religious terms basically mean the same thing. For example, each time we surrender to our reactive behaviour and fail to take responsibility for our negative behaviour we need to make a correction. When we are prepared to make a correction, with the Creator’s input, we are accessing ‘atonement’ or ‘tikkun’. Since our predilection for negative behaviour will probably remain with us until we die; this healing option (thank God) will be always be available to us throughout our lifetime.

But now here is more good news. Our negative behaviour or garbage can actually become a stepping stone for discovering our True Self. It is the True Self that will set us free from our addictions, pain and suffering and allow us to live a life lived to the full and thereby learning to repair the world! All it requires is for us to become more aware of the role the Ego plays in our lives. To overcome the Ego we simply need to learn to control our selfish tendencies and share our blessings whatever they are. All it takes is 'awareness, awareness, and more awareness' as my favourite mystic Fr. Anthony de Mello, used to say.

It may surprise some readers that another name for the Ego is Satan, the Adversary or whatever other name you may have for the devil. Don’t be afraid of that awful rascal but rather learn how to deal with him/her and unmask it. In addition to the book I recommended yesterday ‘The Monster Is Real’ you might want to order ‘Satan: An Autobiography’ again by the same author- Yehuda Berg. It is readily available on line and will complete surprise you regarding Satan’s role in your life. Here’s a little hint based on the description on the back dust cover:

Do you know me? I am the adversary, and this is my story. I am that little voice within you that makes you doubt, including my existence. I am depression, anger, jealousy, worry, fear, false pride, and selfish behaviour. I thrive on neediness and disappointment, negativity and cynicism. But here’s a secret I’m revealing for the very first time: No matter how low I have caused you to go, you have the power to turn it around.

Other wonderful examples of atonement or Tikkun, are 'the Secrets' (2008) film by Ari Nesher, a Jewish perspective, and 'Groundhog Day' (1993) starring Bill Murray from the Christian point of view.

Still some religions today teach that to combat sin punishment is the best form of ‘correction’. This cannot be from God. In fact any religion that promotes punishment is a religion that has failed! In the words of a wise teacher “God does not punish, command, reward or make demands – God is only love!”

Credits: the incredible image shown above was created by Rabbi Billy Dreskin in honour of his son Jonah, becoming a Bar Mitzvah. You can visit his website at

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