“We have met the enemy, and he is us”

Many of you think that the Loud Mouth sits in the balcony alone. Actually, I have plenty of company. Your souls are here, watching all your dramas with me. In fact, some of them are putting on quite a show themselves: They are screaming frantically, arms flailing, trying to grab your attention and warn you to make better choices. But they’re invisible, so you can’t see them. Their voices—even at top volume—are barely above a whisper, so you can’t hear. And you rarely leave the stage to hang out with them a bit and simply enjoy their presence. Poor dears.

We don’t have a clue how frustrating it is for our Higher Selves to watch our egos amass years of karmic debts that they will have to repay in full—an eye for an eye, as they say. Myopically, we buzz around the stage, focusing on stockpiling earthly profits, no matter what the ultimate cost: We treat others in ways that we would not want to be treated; engage in disrespectful, dehumanizing behavior and crabs-in-a-barrel antics; bear false witness against others and covet others’ position or property. On occasion, we outright abscond with it. Ouch!

This win-the-battle, lose-the-war drama is not very entertaining, inspiring or evolutionary to those who share your stage or watch from the audience. I’m sure that Pogo and the other philosophical animals in the fabled Okefenokee Swamp would probably say, “You’re stinking up the place, Dude.”

Those old enough to remember the Pogo cartoon strip might recall the lead character’s most famous line: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Thousands of years earlier, the Jew who later became known as Jesus, said something similar: “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you also do to me.”

What were they talking about? There is only one Life in the Universe and we are it. We can’t help others without helping ourselves. We can’t hurt others without hurting ourselves. We are One.

I know it’s difficult to remember that, especially when we’re pointing fingers at someone else. Add all the tempting gotta-have-it-now props, the material stuff littering our stages that distracts us from achieving our soul’s higher mission and you have a formula for missed growth opportunities.

Preventing ourselves from sinking to the lower levels of consciousness requires the fortitude of Job. According to the ancient scribes, God diabolically made a bet with Satan, inhumanely killed Job’s children, servants and animals; heinously tortured Job; refused to explain why He was so cruel; then gave Job new children and more money.

While those of us who believe that God is Love can’t quite wrap our heads around this story as illustrative of divine behavior or literal truth, the premise is unequivocally inspiring: No matter what happened to him on the physical plane, Job maintained his belief and trust in almighty God.

Over the centuries, we seem to have lost sight of the meaning of almighty. Somewhere along the way, it was diluted from All-mighty to “Some-mighty,” meaning that God has some of the power and Satan has some. Basic math dictates that if God has ALL the power, that leaves zip, nada, zilch for Satan or anyone else. But I’m open to the possibility that I might have made an error in that complex calculation.

I also could be wrong about my take-away from Job’s story. For me, it’s not about suffering. It’s about trusting—trusting that everything is in Divine Order always, no matter what it looks like on the surface.

Throughout the ages there have been many souls who have maintained Job-like belief and trust in an Almighty God, and they have been willing to teach us so that we can speed along our evolutionary path without succumbing to our egos, which like to detour frequently and wrestle with the Darkness.

Thanks to social networking in the Beliefnet community, I was blessed to meet one of these teachers. I’ve mentioned him before: Melvin Forrester is an American who has lived in Germany since World War II. Melvin had an out-of-body experience while serving in the war that not only gave him a balcony view of Life on Planet Earth; it fortified his trust in God. He knows what it feels like to be consciously aware that we are eternal spirit, not bodies.

On May 9, Melvin and his wife, Gabrielle, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. There was no champagne or hoopla. It was a quiet celebration with a glass of mineral water. The reason: Last year, Melvin was diagnosed with a debilitating illness that is slowly rendering him motionless.

Melvin has a very strong relationship with God. Under normal circumstances, he might be expected to pray or petition for total healing or a different diagnosis. He didn’t. Instead, he trusted that God knows what God is doing, and furthermore, could do it without Melvin’s guidance.

Since God is not cruel, no matter where it is written, if this illness had appeared, Melvin concluded that it must be there to benefit him (and consequently, others) in some way. If his mortal body was going to slowly shut down, he decided that he was going to teach others how to fearlessly let go of things that are not eternal.

Periodically Melvin emails an update, which always provides insight on how real faith works. True to his evolutionary soul mission, he is allowing me to share his story so that it might bless you, too. Here is an excerpt from his latest update:

“I sometimes think that this philosophical stuff is getting too much for me. I want to give up sometimes and end this experiment. Also I recently have severe problems with swallowing and side effects from the medicine, therefore I have begun reducing the doses of medicine, especially when I cannot breath and have pain.

“I always thought that I could master a two-minute struggle for air, but recently it went on for hours. But that’s the “Exit Plan” of my spirit. I will bow to his better judgment. When it seems too much to bear, I go into a mental state that I learned through meditation, which allows me to see and communicate with my spirit. I ask him if he really wants to have this experience, and ask him how I am doing with my part in this little drama.

“You know that about 40 years ago I had a special experience, and I know what awaits me on the other side. I am going joyfully and without regrets and fear.”

What would you do if this happened to you or a loved one? Could you be so focused on the divine, so undistracted by the physical circumstances that you could unwaveringly trust and unflinchingly embrace God’s will? Are you willing to lose to win?