Deuteronomy 8:1–10, Carefully Observe

Verse 1: “You must carefully observe everything that I command you this day so that you may live and increase and may enter and occupy the land which the Lord promised to your forefathers upon oath.”

We live in a culture of “it’s not my fault; it’s (you fill in the blank)’s fault.” The Judeo-Christian creation story highlights the prevalence of “passing the buck” even in Paradise. Adam declared, “Eve gave me the apple!”, meaning “she made me do it.” Eve threw responsibility back to the snake. Like Adam and Eve, we may deny what we have done and refuse to accept responsibility for what our choices and actions have created.

We may resist seeing our selves—our thoughts, our emotional states, our actions, and the outcome they yield. We avoid feeling the discomfort of how our choices and actions, intended and unintended, conscious or unconscious, shape us, our relationships, and our environments (home, office, social groups, churches, nature, etc.) Unfortunately, not seeing ensures we will continue to recreate the same states of internal consciousness and the same types of relationships with other people and our environments.

This scripture instructs us to “carefully observe everything” God has set in motion. Our ego/self often wants to impose its ideas of how things work without first observing the way things are working. Natural/spiritual laws or principles govern and create our personalities and bodies as well as nature and the environment. The key to changing anything, whether it’s an internal thought process or feeling state, or an external relationship exchange or environmental situation, is starting with what is.

Sometimes, we say, “but I already know what’s happening, and nothing is changing.” We may feel victimized or stuck. We can drop into the paralysis of shame, hopelessness, and despair. We can rage at the injustice we feel and displace the “not yet owned” guilt of knowing we have a part. In the process, we often blame God. Psychologically, we blame our unconscious or the Self/God Within.

Yet, the scripture quoted above states the Divine has made an oath to bring us into greater life. It is up to us to carefully observe how we work, how others work, how nature works, etc. Our observation must have an eye to what we need to see so our choices and actions may work within the natural/spiritual laws and move us towards greater life. (I believe greater life means an expanding consciousness that allows our lives to be in a perpetual state of improvement.)

Inner Reflection
Observe more carefully and attentively the processes at work within and around you. When you find yourself blaming another, or denying responsibility for any area or situation in your life, have courage and look to see your part. Identify the accompanying sensations, emotions, images, memories, etc. that set in motion the affect and behaviors in which you engage. Let this information empower you to make different choices and create different outcomes for yourself.

Return to list of meditations.