Sacrifice Your Self
Let's get right to the brass tacks of this post: most of us in the me-first world do not know what sacrifice is. Many of us experience it and yet still do not understand the experience beyond the pain and turmoil it can cause.
To sacrifice, in its most rooted and true sense, is to do and perform that which is sacred. But what is the root of sacred?
Isn't it amazing how sacrifice is derived from sacred and yet in our modern world it is associated with pain? I suppose we have the Jesus myth (and Buddha and the Moses/Jews narrative) to "thank" for that co-opt.
And I say myth not because I don't believe Jesus or any of the others were real persons (I wasn't there, how would I know, really?), but because the suffering and pain associated with their image(s) was projected and imposed on them by later peoples who were in turmoil over their circumstances and conditions. With the exception of Buddha, who may or may not have actually said that life is suffering. And who may or may not have meant it in the way his followers accepted that message.
And hey, that's understandable. Much has been lost to the decay of history. Furthermore, humans have been fukhing with each other for a loooooong time. You apply enough pressure to something, and that pressure creates peak tension, that thing will snap. Turmoil is a natural consequence of suppression, repression, self-loathing and hatred. And we have taken on those things with a fervency that I can only describe as overzealous.
But sacred, and thereby sacrifice, speaks to the act of binding, restricting and enclosing someone or something in order to protect. But protect what tho? Well, according to another word embedded and thereby deeply rooted in the word "sacred," to protect what is holy.
Now, the word holy has largely (and successfully) been co-opted by Latin and thereby Catholicism. However, it is a proto-Germanic word that is much older than when Christianity was first physically documented. So old, in fact, that its original meaning has been lost to history.
That being acknowledged, its sense—and what the word itself conveys—remains intact.
So as we dive deeper into sacrifice, we see that all the way deep down inside it means to restrict ourselves and/or our way of being in order to protect that which "must be preserved whole or intact" and "that which cannot be transgressed or violated."
Ya'll, the root is connected to the word HEALTH and happiness, okay? Now we are really getting to the bottom of this amazing meaning!!
But let's also be real. I don't think there is a thing on this Earth that humans have not violated. And that's a shame but, largely and thus far, it's been the angle our species has been working. For good or ill.
And we humans are ill, aren't we?
By our standards some of the people with the most advantages, things and successes in the world who, by extension, should theoretically be the most healthy and the most happy, have actually been rather miserable and unhappy. Does this not speak to our perception of health and happiness missing the mark and not being true to the words? How worthy and strong are our values? Do they stand the test of time of making people feel happy, whole, fulfilled and valued?
Too many of some of the most inspiring people in life have either committed suicide or killed themselves in other ways. Or been murdered. I don't even have to name names. I know you can think of at least one.
Now, what we aspire to and what we accomplish are typically not mirror images of each other. (If they were, what would we have to learn?) And while that has to do with perception and perspective, it also speaks to a world we wish to create beyond the one into which we were born. And that, in and of itself, is admirable and natural.
But by God, or by Star, or by Lotus, how on this Earth do we get there? How do we get to all that we wish to achieve through what the circumstances are at this time? (In case you're curious, this happens to be the meaning of the 3rd card in the Celtic Cross tarot spread and it is a card about duality and how we can/do reconcile disparities and thereby embrace and absolve the anxiety created by paradox).
The answer to "how on this Earth do we get there?" is in where we began, isn't it?
REAL AND TRUE SACRIFICE.
The problem with the reconciliation of this concept is that people say it, people talk about it, but they're not out here doing it in a real and actual manner.
Humans ain't been about that life in a haaaaawt minute. And therein lies the problem. We aren't out here trying to protect each other in order to preserve one another's wholeness. And that leaves nearly all of us bare ass and out in the open of the infinite wilderness without a light to guide us or a fire to warm us.
And ya'll, our lack of effort to protect ourselves against the unknown and unhelpful aspects of our characters, and of nature itself, is driving the species insane.
The fact of the matter is—of matter is—there's always gonna be some shite we don't know and we're not in control of. The reason that should not paralyze us in fear is because WE HAVE EACH OTHER TO RELY UPON IN THIS VAST AND UNKNOWABLE EXPERIENCE. And that should provide us with security, not fear. But that means we all have to strive to be reliable. To everybody. Yes, everybody.
That doesn't require catering to everyone. It just requires being generally and broadly relied upon to not go buck-wild and not to assault or offend others. It requires restraint and regard.
So what can we do about bringing the reality of our collective circumstances closer to the dream of what we wish was the "is going on"? For one, we can each really and truly account for ourselves. We can each be reliable.
Each of us can be a mirror that reflects not only what we are to ourselves, but what we wish to receive from others. For example . . .
You want romantic love?
You better learn how to be that for your self. First and foremost. To be clear, sacrifice is a greater work. It means more than you and it is intended for more than your individual needs and wants. Beyond that, it's meant to protect others from that which is not yet holy/whole in you.
What's sacrificial about that type of behavior? You restrict yourself in a healthy way (remember holy and health are born from the same root concept). You enclose/embrace your loneliness WITH THE INTENT of becoming better for your self through both sacrifice and—wait for it—UNRELENTING EFFORT. And with the consideration to not burrow yourself and your loneliness into another person who is probably attempting to cope with those same feelings.
Be a mirror to others by reflecting a better (more awesome and more expansive) way of life. Don't just indulge yourself. Indulging yourself isn't a protective way of going about surviving. That doesn't make it terrible, but it also means it's not a necessity to "making it." The more of us that thrive, the greater our chances are to survive this unfathomable expansiveness we call being alive.
This is merely one example in a long and never ending list of how to better ourselves. But we must be willing. Not only to want to be better, but to cultivate our betterness. To tend to the garden of our lives. Diligently, regularly, lovingly and with the utmost regard.
Rest assured, sacrifice is not made easy for us in this world. But it is also not meant for the individual to begin with. Sacrifice is not for the self, nor is it for the selfish. Sacrifice is intended to improve an entire world and its population's manner of existence. And as a member of this world, you will benefit from it. Just not the you that you are currently living as.
In sacrificing our self, we ensure that a future us will benefit. An us that we have not become yet. An us that we have not allowed for with our past behavior and social circumstances. A future us that needs to rely upon the current us to illuminate and guide it.