Ever since man has taken breath, there has been idol worship. Some see this as a “sin” and others don’t even realize they’re worshipping something.
The effects of idol-worship can be seen in a variety of illnesses, both mental and physical. That which you idolize becomes a source of your wellbeing. Therefore if what you idolize is limited in any way, your experience will be that of lack.
By removing the cause, you render their effects ineffective.
Let’s talk about the cause.
What Are Idols & What Is Idol Worship?
By idols, I mean people or things that you consider greater than yourself and/or God. Worship is just the practice of giving honor and glory to your idol.
The word worship is a combination of “worth” and “ship”. It’s the complete body of worth you give a thing.
Within you, you have the power to appreciate. You can give value to many things that are seemingly worthless. Through repetition, it can be confusing to tell the two apart. You start to believe that what you have given worth to is now worth more than yourself, especially if others have given value to the same thing.
Below are 7 idols that you may be worshipping without even realizing it and how they are affecting your life.
1. The Body
The people of the world seem to be fascinated with the human body. The shapes, structure, and feel of it are all beloved by many. Having a body is of course what all people seem to have in common.
People love the body so much that when their idea of the perfect body is not in line with the body they seem to possess, the body then becomes a source of pain and struggle.
By possession, I’m referring to the body that you’re currently operating and the ones you feel are yours through special relationships (ie “my” partner’s body, “my” kid’s body, etc).
This can also appear true to those that have what’s considered a great body. They could create fear around losing it and exhausting great effort to maintain such a body.
In all of the above cases, the body is no longer considered a safe dwelling place, but a symbol of pain.
Even though your mind controls your body, you allow your body to dictate your thoughts. This is clearly backward behavior.
How can one ever find peace & joy, when they seek comfort in an entity that is symbolic for causing and receiving pain?
Withdraw belief in your body as a source of wellness. Recognize it for what it is. Your body is an extension of your awareness. Use it only for what you would have in return.
Use it for love and not attack and you will receive love, not attack.
2. Your Identity
Are you your identity?
Your identity is who you think you are. It’s the thoughts and beliefs you carry into situations.
A lot about your identity is even unknown to you. It could be the way you pronounce words, your word choice, how you feel about wealth, your thoughts against voting, etc.
A couple of years ago I was in London walking down the street at a touristy spot and a drunk guy looked at me and shouted, “Americaaaaannnn…hahahaha!” There were many people from different cultures and races that were in the vicinity. I had not spoken a word, but something about the way I carried myself led him to believe I was American, well United Stadian. 😁 He’s was right. The same can be said for the judgment I made of him in thinking that he was drunk.
Identity itself is not a problem. It’s only when you give tremendous value to who you think you are, that it becomes the problem. You have attached yourself to something that isn’t real and it hinders your abilities.
The reason I say that your identity isn’t real is that it’s constantly changing. How can something that changes have any real substance? It’s here one second and gone the next.
Yet some of your biggest worries come from holding on to this identity. It can prevent you from quitting a job that you hate, dating a person you find extremely attractive, taking on a new hobby that interests you, and more.
Your identity plays tricks on you causing you to question everything like:
- I’ve succeeded at everything, what if I fail at this?
- Am I a hypocrite for wanting something different?
- Will my spouse not like me when I change?
- Will my culture think I’m not real?
- What will my family think?
How can you ever find peace & joy in an identity when the idea of holding on to it, stops you from fully living and expressing yourself in every moment?
Again, your identity is who you think you are. It’s the thoughts and beliefs you carry into situations. But these can change depending on your preferences at any moment. Because of this change, then your identity can never be you. You exist beyond your identity.
Don’t be afraid to shed your limited identity for your unlimited nature.
3. Special Relationships
This one right here, special relationships, is one idol we seemed to be born into. Special relationships are those we put over any other (ie “my” spouse, “my” best friend, “my” parent, “my” teammate, etc.)
Let’s say you considered all 600 people “special”, that’s less than 1% of the population. In fact, that’s less than 1% of 1% of the population.
The reason I point this out is that by identifying certain individuals as special, you are limiting yourself greatly. You are limiting who you are willing to share with and who can share with you. As a result, you may even fear those that you don’t have a relationship with.
In addition, you may fear the loss of special relationships because you think that it will leave a void within you. Since relationships don’t seem to last past major disagreements or death, you are again placing your value in something that will run out.
Family is just people you are familiar (family-ar) with. Relatives are just people relative to your point of birth. They are not more valuable or special than anyone else. This is not to say that you should not love your family, it’s the opposite. This is to say that you should love everyone as much as you love your family.
This concept explains why it was so easy for you to make friends as a child. You didn’t devalue potential friends by judging them.
How you act towards a person affects how they react toward you. By leading with love, you welcome love.
In this way, your sense of happiness is never tied to a special relationship. If you are apart from another, it won’t be as noticeable because you will always be surrounded by many other loved ones.
The identity in you (ego) is probably saying, “This is sad news for the ones we’re apart from that don’t share this view.” Although this may be true, your identity is not as concerned with that person as it would have you believe. The ego is more concerned with protecting itself and its individuality. I won’t go into that topic in this article. However, I will say that as long as you teach and show others how awesome it is to lead with love, they will never be in a lonely-type situation ever again.
Release your created identity and reassume your natural one.
You knew money was going to be on the list. People like to claim that they don’t worship money, but that’s only because they are not taking an objective view of their relationship to it.
If you didn’t put money above yourself, you would never work a job that you didn’t like. The next logical thought is, “Well if I don’t make money, I’ll be homeless.” Will you? According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, 0.17% of the US population were experiencing homelessness. Is this voluntary? We don’t know.
My point is when you make decisions based on money, you are at the mercy of it. No one is happy being controlled 100% of the time.
From the perspective of being unhappy because you have no money, you believe that having money will make you happy. The truth is, money was never your issue. Your issue is that you placed faith in something outside yourself, leaving yourself without faith.
Money is just a tool for cooperation. By being love and seeing all as loving, you will be a very cooperative person.
You won’t be controlled and you won’t seek control. This will lead to all of your needs being met. But this takes the same faith in yourself that you’ve placed in other things.
Who values conflict? Certainly not you. Or do you?
- When someone says either Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter, are you ready to write that person off in an instant?
- When someone says they voted for Trump or they voted for Obama, are you ready to call this person ignorant?
- Are you drawn to television shows that have massive amounts of drama?
If you’ve answered yes to any one of these questions, you may worship conflict. This idol is tied closely to the egoic identity. You believe in wrongdoings and that punishment is the only way to atone. Not only do you seek to punish others, you expect punishment for yourself. As a result, you feel a sense of satisfaction when others are punished. This increases your faith in it causing you to worship it even more.
As you can see, conflict is the source of so much pain in your life. In many ways, conflict is pain and vice versa.
When you aren’t so tied to your identity, other’s opinions won’t matter. You’ll know that the truth needs no validation so there’s no point in arguing for it.
6. The World
As much as you would say things against the world, you love it! You wouldn’t change a thing. You would still want all of the corruption and scandalousness, you would just want to be above it.
This could never be because everything that is real comes from the same source. The rest comes from illusion.
This means that what one can do, all can do. What can affect another, can affect you. But it would be more accurate to say that what you cause seems to affect you and everyone.
You see only what you’ve placed your value in.
By placing value in a world that exists outside of yourself, you are thus investing in hiding from yourself.
You are projecting your beliefs outward to rid yourself of the ones you no longer want. But a projection is but a mirror to the slides within.
To truly be rid of guilt, pain, and shame, you must let these things go, not project them onto others. To project them is to keep them.
To give any attention to any illusion is to attempt to keep it alive. To keep it alive you must idolize it. Without your constant appreciation of it, the world you created would one day lose its value. You would then be free to return to reality, which many have referred to as heaven.
You can’t trust time. It’s not always the same. A second is not a second and a day is not a day.
Try being in a place you don’t want to be for an hour while staring at the clock. It will take a lifetime just to complete that hour.
On the other hand (pun intended), try being in a place you want to be for an hour while staring at the clock. You will probably forget to look at the clock because time at this point is meaningless.
Don’t let time dictate where you should be in life. But as long as you believe in time, you might as well make it useful to you.
The more times you perform a specific behavior or set of behaviors, the behaviors become automatic. Use time to forgive and love all. Before you know it, nothing will ever bother you again and time will cease to exist.
You will be above all littleness and ready to accept your abundances.
All idols are false. They are symbols of symbols. Symbols are never as good as the real thing. If so, seeing the word chocolate would be as satisfying as eating it.
Place your faith and value in something that never fades. Place it where your faith in it will always be returned in greater amounts.
This “thing” has many names: Love, God, All.
Love is formless. God is eternal. All is well.
How easy it is to let go of the false idols depends on how focused & committed you are.
When you recognize yourself straying, take “time” to place your faith where it could never leave.