One activity that we all participate in each year is our annual bean bag toss tournament. It's usually the one and only time that I play each year. Now I'll tell you a little secret...I hate doing things that I'm not good at. I'm a fairly competitive person and I usually avoid playing things if I don't feel that I'll be good at, or have a better than average chance of winning. I play in the bean bag tournament each year because it's tradition and my dad loved it, not because I am good at it.
This year, in round one, I was paired against my niece (my adult niece :)). Before we started she said, "Don't worry Aunt Tracy, I am not very good." Well, at least I didn't get completely slaughtered, but I lost. I stopped myself several times during the game, as I have a lot lately, and noticed my language that I was saying out loud and in my head. I was saying things like, "I am not good at this game", "I am never going to be good at this game", "I am not trying hard enough", "I am not focused", "I am going to lose", "I am pathetic". Does this sound at all familiar to you? Now this was just a silly, light-hearted game, but how many times each day/week do we speak to ourselves this way? How about when there is more at stake, what language do we use then?
I recently watched a video by Dr. Wayne Dyer where he discussed the phrase "I am". It was an intriguing piece that I have been reflecting on a lot and noticing my own usage of the phrase. Dr. Dyer discusses his interpretation of the phrase as it is used in Exodus 3 where God reveals himself to Moses through the sign of a burning bush. Moses asks God what his name is and God responds, "I am who I am". Dr. Dyer interprets this to mean that God resides in all things. He is ever present in all things, in you, in me, in everything.
I am means the self-existent one or literally “I am that I am.” God's existence doesn't depend on anything nor anyone else. He is self-sustaining, and the source of all energy in the universe.
Joseph Benner, author of The Impersonal Life, writes of his understanding this way, "I AM You, that part of you who IS and KNOWS; WHO KNOWS ALL THINGS, And always knew, and always was. Yes, I AM You, Your SELF; that part of you who says I AM and is I AM;". Joseph Benner also writes, "I AM not your human mind, nor its child, the intellect. They are but the expression of your Being, as you are the expression of My Being; they are but phases of your human personality, as You are a phase of My Divine Impersonality." Reread it a few times and let it soak in, this is some good stuff, some important stuff.
So, what does it mean when we speak to others or to ourselves using language like " I am pathetic", "I am stupid", "I am a loser", "I am not smart enough, pretty enough, fast enough, rich enough, disciplined enough, focused enough, strong enough"? What are we really saying? When you look at the words "I am" through the lens of it referring to God, it changes our view of whether we should be saying/thinking like that doesn't it? Well, at least for me it does, it pretty much stops me in my tracks and makes me instantly rethink what I am saying and thinking. For most of us it's fairly easy to engage in self-loathing language quite frequently. I have caught myself numerous times since studying this topic.
I believe that we are all one, that we are all an expression of God. If I am so casually willing to damage myself with self-limiting and destructive words and thoughts, then I am damaging not only myself, but everyone in turn. I prefer to substitute my language to include more phrases such as, "I am light", "I am love", "I am grateful", "I am powerful", "I am forgiving", which are much more in line with who and what I desire my expression to emanate. And, if I really desired to, and if I practiced, I am confident that I could say, "I am awesome at playing the bean bag game!"
This week, let's pay attention to what follows the words "I am" in our spoken language and in our thoughts. As always, I would love to hear your comments and feedback on this post. Did you find it to be useful? What follows the words "I am" in your life?