What does it mean to “chase” something? Is it something you find positive as an adult? Webster’s dictionary uses several analogies. The Chase for…
- Hunting of wild animals,
- Pursuit of robbers,
- Frenzied seeking or earnest desire for an object or ideal.
Any of these three can ideas present an anticipation of acquiring some pursued affection that we want to possess. Killing that duck or dear maybe bring adoration of fellow hunters or food home to the family. Capturing a thief after a chase will make society safer, restore a sense of justice in society, and perhaps a sense of heroism or gratitude from society. Seeking immense wealth, fame, any number of new shiny objects, abstract accomplishments like increased knowledge, or conquering personal physical limitations can all be chased after as well and lead to immense satisfaction once obtained. Lurking within the chase is the anxiety and possibility of failure making success all that more pleasurable. The greater the risk of failure the more valuable the success.
And yet I advise you to give up the chase? In a more literal sense, I advise you to give up the attachment to the affections and desires for these humanly defined successes. Take the frenzied anxiety and egotism out of the effort. Do your best with intentionality and effort and the results will be what they are meant to be. You may influence a positive outcome and, in most endeavors, will succeed providing you have chosen logical and meaningful goals to pursue. And where you don’t succeed you will be all the better not having carried around undue angst and overstated need for what you pursued. If you sincerely have honestly appraised each affectation for its relative worth and applied sufficient effort for its attainment, the rest is up to fate and not an indictment or a celebration of your individual merit. We came into this world with nothing and we will go out the same way.
An epic election will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. I have done my small part within the immense machinery of the United States electoral process. I am hopeful others that hold the values I have and will vote and bring home victory for the candidates that I believe are the only acceptable choice. I have much angst and some anger where I should have none. I have already done my part with prayer, voting, small donations, and probably pointless social media post. I must let go now. I have no ego to be right or wrong here, only commitment to do my best to support a candidate that will better serve all humanity.
This however, is only the surface chase! If you need to chase these things like when we were kids trying to win hide and seek, enjoy the chase! There is a higher chase that I have been foolish with and find myself time and time again going astray.
I have chased God. What folly. Neither I, nor you, or any of the great spiritual leaders can chase God. If we find ourselves chasing God, we are probably chasing a mirage or a man-made God. God is not something to be chased, but to be experienced.
For many of us our religious education and upbringing was benchmarked by completing a series of sacraments (Catholicism) or religious ceremonies as defined by different faiths of the world. While these are important in and of themselves for communication and customs among mankind, they are meaningless without a personal and contemplative deeper dive within our inner most selves.
This dive is impossible if we are rigidly defined by the religiosity of mankind (with closed ears and eyes the duality of opposing truths) and caught up with the perils of chasing human affections.
God is not to be chased for in books, temples, churches, foreign lands, momentary situational blessings or tragedies, or any other passing temporality. These things may possess momentary transcendental spiritual glimpses, but they are of in and of themselves not God. I am not saying to close the books, turn the temples and churches into shelters, or not visit historical holy places!
I am saying I cannot chase God. I can try to not run from awareness of God and his desire for me and for my actions to be in agreement with his will.
I can be aware of my propensity for many affections: pride, financial success, professional recognition, social status, will for and intentions for those I love, compassion and caring for the oppressed and suffering in the world, health, and most importantly and secretly desired, spiritual consolation. When this propensity takes flight with a chase – I can shut it down and say “God’s will, not mine, be done.”
In that way I can proceed without angst and egotism, with intentionality and effort, to achieve what is right in God’s eyes rather than my eyes. The outcome will be a mystery and I will not necessarily know success from failure in the multiple mysteries that we all play a role in communally as one peoples under one God. I will only be one with love and compassion for others doing what I can without expectation of return, of acknowledgement, or of any humanly defined rewards or avoidance of pain and suffering.
In all things good and bad, my goal is to act intentionally and to not chase with an air of anxiety, madness, or a self-justified air of entitlement. This too is true of my pursuit of God. I can only open my heart and pray for his presence. He will show me the way or the path of enlightenment as measured to what I need to fulfill his purpose.
I surrender my chase and pray for guidance in all that I do, small and large. Above the distractions of everyday life, within each of lies the answers to eternal truths and God’s intentions by whatever name you call him. Look deep inside.