I’ve been reading Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love and have some thoughts this morning about bullying and ego since she speaks about the ego being an opposing force to the Holy Spirit within.
People who bully or constantly criticize others are openly projecting their fragile and inferior egos. They think that by pointing out the weaknesses and faults of others, no one will notice their own glaring sense of insecurity. It makes me think of the images of violence where six people are beating up on one person lying on the ground. Each is trying to get their kick in on a hapless, defenseless person. Is this a show of dominance and power? No. It’s a show of hidden fear and insecurity.
A healthy, strong inner spirit has no need to prove its superiority over anyone. A holy spirit knows that no person has the power or ability to diminish its value or worth. Therefore it has no need or desire to diminish the value of anyone else.
It also makes me think of the theology of original sin and how I was taught that I was born a poor, miserable sinner. Thanks a lot St. Augustine – and my confirmation teacher (who was my father, a faithful man and pure in heart—as a child you trust your father would never tell you something that isn’t true.) I think I could convince him otherwise today if I had the chance.
To endorse a theology of no inherent worth in people promotes a psychology that fosters bullying. If you are unable to believe you are worthy of respect by the mere fact that the Creator of the universe designed every part of you, you will need to criticize others so that you can raise your poor self-image above any image you hold for them. If you think little of them, you can think better of yourself.
No one wants to feel like they possess less worth than others. Yet what many were told as children by parents, siblings, and insecure friends – you’re stupid, you’re not worth anything, you’re no good, you’re a miserable sinner, (whether it’s because of the color of your skin, your nationality, your economic status, your unacceptable religious beliefs) this fosters a poor sense of self-worth and plants the seeds of need to criticize and devalue others. Bullies or people with highly critical natures say more about themselves than their target: “I have to point out your faults, real or imagined, so that I can feel better about myself…and I suck.”
How do you get rid of this sense of feeling less than others? You guessed it…centering prayer. You saw in my last post how disciplining yourself to set aside the twenty minutes every day (and if you want to triple the effect, you do it twice a day) for centering prayer accomplishes the first step of bringing the false ego to its knees. As you saw, a large false ego remains in the backyard.
Centering prayer must continue if you’re going to get rid of that hidden fear and insecurity and allow a Holy spirit to arise within you…a spirit that knows its true worth. Coming next is a video showing how centering prayer gets rid of the junk.