Overcome the World

Es liebt die Welt, das Strahlende zu schwärzen
Und das Erhabne in den Staub zu ziehn.

The world delights to tarnish shining names,
And to trample the sublime in the dust.
-Schiller, Das Mädchen von Orleans

If this is true of the world, then it is true of the men and women who compose it. I imagine most would agree that the habit of snuffing out radiance is well established, despite it being an irrational approach to living. Progress favors the fit, and radiance is the evidence of the presence of fitness, but few there are who are willing to let brilliance shine on uncontested.

Consider the great prophets to whom so many look for answers in our day. Their lights and lives were typically violently and publicly extinguished with haste by the selfish and fearful proponents of mediocrity, almost as if their despatch was sign to anyone else who might wish to rise above the common herd.

Or consider how you’ve acted when momentum was building in your life, or when success in a particular endeavor was imminent. I cannot tell you how many people I’ve seen sink themselves in the 11th hour, regardless of how many people were pulling for them. The forces at work in the world, which is the sum total of the forces at work in the hearts and minds of individuals, loves to “trample the sublime in he dust.”

Think of talented children, moreover, whose musical, athletic or theatrical talents thrust them onto the world stage. The stage is lit by radiance, but wolves wait at the doors. Rare is the child who escapes being chewed up and spit out by their adoring fans, opinionated critics and loyal retinue.

This habit, once poetically described as a dragon standing before a woman waiting to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born, is well entrenched in humanity. That said, anything well established in humanity can be changed, but such changes always begin with an individual, or at the individual level.

If one can overcome, then many can overcome. So rather than bemoan humanity’s foolishness, take a close look at your personal habits. Ask yourself questions such as: “Do I tend to tarnish and trample the wonderful things in myself and in others when they appear?” Or perhaps, “Do others’ successes intimidate me or pique my shame?” Look at the pattern of your living and see if you’ve had a habit of belittling the shining moments of others or conversely, of disparaging yourself or scrambling for cover when the radiance coming from others shines brightly on your bad side.

Love the light. Seek the light. Share the light. Don’t fear the repercussions, but know that the dragon will seek you out. Stand tall. Stand strong. Eschew mediocrity and embrace excellence. Be radiant. Be yourself. And for God’s sake, live every day as if it were your first day and your last!

8 thoughts on “Overcome the World

  1. April

    Many things to consider and look at in your words. The self awareness of these important points is so vital for each of us. I am grateful for the prophets in our day, they have been willing to accept their responsibility, now it is time we accept our responsibility. Thank you!


  2. Steve V

    Alleluia! Your words are exquisitely excellent. I take note of your words to see how we have been interfering with the expression of radiance through ourselves and others. A patient of mine tells me of how chick-fil-a employees are trained to say my pleasure in response to filling a request rather than saying no problem. Observing such seemingly little things and changing our expression allows for a greater release of radiance and for playing our part in overcoming the world!


  3. David R

    This iconic image is poignant and yet so descriptive of the reason for the nullification of heavenly things on earth. There are those who are either willingly or unconsciously consumed, others who rail against the smugness and deceptiveness of the serpent. but it seems to me the Divine solution to the problem saw the woman lifted out of immediate danger on the wings of an eagle, to be nourished and protected for a specific time in the wilderness.

    Anything sacred is also initially delicate and vulnerable. More than anything, it would seem, those who would see a different world must protect and nourish the delicate things, that they may mature and grow in strength, in stature and in grace. If we are to overcome the world, we must absolutely depart from the tendency to spoil, compromise, ruin and defile sacred things. From that starting point will come much more, but without that starting point there is literally nothing to be done.


  4. Ernest

    Your post today is incredible Gregg and I deeply appreciate it. It never ceases to amaze me how so many get so close and then sort of give up right as they are about to cross the threshold into genuine greatness. We need to learn to finish things and I believe that there are a few keys to that such as deep and genuine appreciation, deep humility, and an ever present desire to be of value to others. The moment that we start thinking that it is all about us or develop a feeling of entitlement is when we start going down the wrong hole. And it is interesting and saddening to see one when they start going in the wrong direction attempt to pull others down with them. When we see that happening we need to hold steady to our own compass and heart.


  5. Lady Leo

    I believe the fit are those whose hearts are continually available to the impulses from heaven and are not weighed down with the judgements of this world.
    It does appear the prophets are always dragon fodder; perhaps because by eliminating the messenger they feel they have proven that the one who sent the prophet is untrustworthy and weak; as if being indestructible was somehow proof of virtue.
    It does seem the habit of self destruction is common. The enemy from within seems more threatening then the forces outside.
    I agree if one can overcome this world then more can. If we look at what it took, it seems humility was one of the primary attitudes and an unwavering trust in his creator. Adopting these attitudes alone would position us to live each day to its fullest. What that would look like is not ours to construct but to let it be revealed.
    Lots to consider, thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  6. Carmen

    Your writing today is beautiful beyond words for me, thank you! All changes within this world will begin in my own heart first, for the lifting of humankind or its detriment! I hold the seed yet unformed. Which light and which rain falls upon it springs from the depth of my own being, waiting to be revealed.


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