Archive for the ‘Ryan’s Rants’ Category

There Is No Freedom In Selfishness

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Dear Friends,

It is during times of deep pain that I learn the greatest lessons.

Sometimes life has to give us a heavy dose of pain in order for us to be motivated to grow. 

Pain is the strongest change agent – it fuels us to do something better, to seek the root causes of pain and to uproot them. In that way, pain is our greatest teacher, and we should listen to it when it speaks.

When the pain fades, we all too often forget the lessons, and life has to give us another dose of it until we finally choose to evolve. I often write letters to myself during those times so that I remember the lessons that I’ve learned, lest I forget them once the pain fades.

However, this time, pain has taught me a lesson too rich to keep to myself, and I feel compelled to share it, in hopes that it will inspire you, and thus make the world more free.

Throughout my life, I have enjoyed immeasurable amounts of freedom that has allowed me to see the world, meet incredible people, and enjoy very unique experiences. It has allowed me to explore self discovery, learn about other cultures, and cultivate a highly evolved view of the world.

While I have experienced a lifestyle that few in history have ever had access to, I have also met my share of demons. Most notably, I have fought a deep and devastating sense of loneliness that lingers no matter how hard I attempt to fill it.

Because of a recent encounter with pain, I now understand the root of this loneliness.

I have spent the greater part of my life exploring what would make me happy, using my freedom to discover what fills me up, what makes me feel alive, and what makes me want to leap out of bed in the morning. I am completely driven by freedom.

Even as a kid, I fantastized about the idea of being financially free. I did not want to answer to someone above me, because I wanted to be free. This core desire impacts my political views, the way I approach relationships, and how I pursue happiness.

I realize now that I have completely missed the mark until now. I have had freedom backwards for twenty-six years.

My quest for freedom has been completely centered around myself. Everything around me, from the friends that I keep to the businesses that I pursue, have been with selfish intent.

I have always argued that a certain amount of selfishness was healthy, especially from an economic sense. I still believe this to be the case. 

But I have also discovered that there is no freedom in selfishness.

The thing about selfishness is that it’s never satisfied. The ego always wants more. Selfishness can feel good, yes, but it cannot feel free, because there is always more required.

We all have different ways of expressing our selfishness. There is always another dollar to be made, another girl to be kissed, another level to be reached, depending on your vice.

Some people are selfish in their quest for security, or for happiness. In their desire to feel secure, they become slaves to it, and security flees them. In their desire for happiness, they look for others to fill them, and they have self destructive relationships. Each of these are rooted in selfishness.

When I was a devout Christian, I learned much about the concept of sin. The original meaning of sin is “to miss the mark.” I now understand this to be opearting from a place of selfishness, or ego. I only know this because I have missed the mark so badly.

I can’t help but wonder if the story of Jesus is so compelling because it is a tale of a pure act of selfless love. We humans have been wandering around selflessly for so long that it took a pure act of selflessness to show us that we’ve missed the mark – to show us that we have sin in us… that we have selfishness in us.

I have now learned that as long as one is self-focused, he will never be free, because he is serving a master that is never satisfied.

Even though I’ve never had a “boss,” I have been a slave… I’ve been a slave to myself, which is never satisfied as long as it is trying to satisfy itself. 

The only true path to freedom, fulfillment, and happiness is to give.

The only happy relationships are those that are completely focused on filling the other person up, without need to receive in return.

The only truly successful businesses are those that are focused on giving more value than they receive in monetary dollars.

When we attempt to “get” something, we approach it with lack, because we are in the mindset of not having. But when we give, we create abundance that fills up everyone.

Seeking to fill yourself is slavery. Filling up others makes you free.

It took a great deal of pain to arrive at this conclusion. It was one of the most humbling moments of my life to realize that the source of my dissatisfaction was not anything outside of myself, it was simply my own selfish focus.

I have created a world that serves me, and I too rarely have stepped outside of it. No fucking wonder that I feel lonely.

We so often look to others to make us feel fulfilled, and then blame them when we don’t feel that way. I now believe that every area of dissatisfaction in our lives is actually self created by the ego.

TO THOSE OF YOU IN RELATIONSHIPS: serve the other person. Let go of the idea that each of you should give 50% to the relationship – both of you need to give 120%, and then you’ll have a match. Your relationship is not about you, so if you have needs that aren’t being met, GIVE MORE.

TO THOSE OF YOU IN BUSINESS: People give you money because of the value that you provide. If your business relies on trickery or purely selfish gain, you are going to burn out. I promise. If you are not making the kind of money that you want, GIVE MORE VALUE. Money is an exchange, not a right.

If YOU don’t feel filled up, then fill up someone else. You need to get out of the “you” focus. Please do not take as long as I did to realize that I’m right.

The most humbling thing of my life was to sit in front of the person that I claimed to care about the most and realize that my dissatisfaction was not rooted in anything outside myself, but instead in my own selfishness.

Because of that, I have had more spontaneous emotional outbursts in the last few days than I am comfortable to admit, and I question what my life and my relationship with that person would have been like if I had stopped being so selfish and instead focused on others.

And then I rephrase the question, “What COULD life be like if I focused more on others than I did on myself?”

When I ask that question, I feel free.

Not free in the sense that I previously saw – as a route to please myself – but free to give and serve. Free to be fulfilled.

And if we all asked that question and got outside of oursevles… then we may have hope after all.

I love you,
Ryan Daniel Moran

A Musing About God’s Love

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

I once fell head over heels for a girl with a less than perfect past.

While no one’s past is spotless, it was clear that she and I came from completely different worlds. Until we met, it had never occurred to me just how sheltered I had been by my churchy upbringing, alcohol-free private college, and my mostly Christian friends.

My unexpected falling for her resulted in a bit of culture shock, perhaps even a challenge to my own identity.

At first, I felt a strong sense of entitlement; I felt gypped. I had carried myself in a certain way my entire life in hopes of one day meeting my wife. But the girl that had my affection had not done the same for me, and it pissed me off. It was unfair that she had gotten to experience what I perceived to be ‘fun’ while I had chosen to abstain.

This anger (to my surprise) faded rather quickly, as humility set in and reminded me of my own shortcomings. Holding her past against her was selfish, and if nothing else, meeting her was the best thing that could have happened to me in order to learn humility in that aspect of my life. I learned to let go and to experience the joy of not being in control. Very soon, the sense of entitlement melted and gave way to forgiveness, and this opened a deeper affection and a deep longing to win her heart.

This ravenous desire to win her affection put me in full pursuit of her… perhaps too much so. And for the next few months, time stood still, the sky was bluer, the clouds were prettier, and the stars shown brighter every time that I was with her, and she felt the same. I was falling for this girl, and it gave me great joy to love her in a way that she had never been loved.

This courtship gave me insight into the benefits of living a pure life. Prior to this, I always thought that I had been “missing out” by restricting some of my behaviors. This was truly the first time that I began to grasp that my naivety was beneficial to not only myself, but to someone else as well, because I was the sole ‘suitor’ who was after more than just her body.

She confessed that she had broken pieces and that she had deep seeded hurts and wounds. And I wanted nothing more than to pick up the broken pieces, put my arms around her, and to let her know that her brokenness was enough for me.

I can honestly say that I reached a point at which it did not matter what she did or did not do, it did not matter if she considered me her boyfriend or not, and it did not matter what her past was – I loved her regardless.

Loving her helped me to quickly identify and get over my deep seeded need to judge other people. For the first time in my life, I experienced a love inside myself that was nearly free of judgment, free of selfishness, and free of ego. It was not dependent upon who she used to be or would someday be, and it did not change based on her inability to love me in return, I simply loved her for who she was, warts and all.

It wasn’t long, however, that she began to pull away. As feelings began to deepen, she felt unworthy, and she shut me out by putting up walls. She expressed that she had a hard time accepting my love because she did not deserve it.

She admitted her feelings of unworthiness, told me that I deserved better, and thus ended my blissful pursuit of her heart. She was deeply flawed, she said, and she was not prepared for someone like me. She was doing me a favor in letting me go.

She stopped returning my phone calls and started resisting my advances. It was not because she didn’t desire me, it was because she did not want to be reminded of the love that she was unable to accept.

And in that moment, for the first time in my life, I understood God’s love.

It wasn’t that my love was unconditional. That part of God’s love was never a mystery to me. Instead, this was the first time that I ever understood the idea of ‘accepting’ God’s love.

God does not need human interaction – He is complete in and of Himself. Our ability to accept or reject His love has no effect upon Him – it only affects us. It is ever present and unconditional regardless of who we are or what we do. It simply ‘is.’

For the first time, I understood that I too was loved in spite of all of my flaws and regardless of my behavior. Just like my love for this girl, which existed regardless of how she saw me, I understood that there is also a love for me, and it existed regardless of if I recognized it, believed in it, or understood it. It simple ‘was.’ All I had to do was accept it.

The hardest part, however, is indeed accepting it.

Much like my friend, we do not deserve this type of love, which makes it evermore difficult to accept. It is easier to ignore it, to cast it off, and to be apathetic. The thought of being loved in spite of ourselves is often too much to accept.

I also discovered that there is no point in trying to earn this love, because my past is imperfect, and I am prone to wander in the future. Yet in that moment, I chose to accept it, and a warm feeling of intense joy filled my body.

God is not a man in the sky waiting for us to mess up. He is not a bearded dude who threatens to torture you if you do not find him. God is the ever present love that is unconditional, completely perfect, nonjudgmental, all forgiving, and more pure than you could ever deserve.

There is nothing we can do to deserve it or earn it – we can only choose to accept it or to reject it. And it remains, regardless of what we choose to do with it.

Although I wanted to love this girl, she chose to reject it because she felt undeserving of it. It wasn’t long after that she experienced a time of deep pain and regret over her past; she felt unworthy of anyone’s love, and she turned to self destructive behavior. This hurt my feelings, but ultimately she punished herself. Her own pain and sense of worthlessness prevented her from experiencing a love that knew no judgment, a love that needed nothing in return, and a love that overcame any of her past failures. She missed out on so much good.

How much greater is the suffering we experience when rejecting a love more perfect than any human can provide.

I can’t help but wonder if hell is not some place of eternal punishment, but the simple rejection of God’s love here on earth. I wonder if the ultimate punishment for rejecting a perfect love is not the physical flames of hell, but the lifelong torment of never feeling God’s perfect love for us. To live a life without experiencing this love? That sounds like hell. And oh, the self destructive behavior we turn to in order to try to fill that void.

We all know that we are undeserving of perfect love, so we attempt to earn it instead. We frustrate ourselves by trying to make ourselves worthy, as if our good deeds will outdo our shortcomings.

This is an impossible task. But His love is not waiting upon us to be deserving or to earn it, it only waits to be accepted and then experienced.

Here I stood, willing and desiring to love this girl in spite of her flaws, insecurities, and imperfections, and all I wanted was for her to accept it and love me in return. She could not earn it, she needed only to accept it.

She could not do it, and she experienced a little bit of hell as a result.

So it is with a love far more perfect that my own.

By rejecting God’s love, by attempting to earn it, by ignoring it, and by pretending that it is not there, we do not change the nature of God’s love – we only limit our ability to experience it.

Under this microscope, the idea of being “eternally separated from God” brings new meaning and a new reality. It is not a place of flames and hunger and torment and worms, it is the inability to experience a love more perfect than we can understand.

Without it, there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

There is no substitute for experiencing a love that knows no judgment. One can try to fill the void with a variety of activities, but they all are artificial and temporary. None can bring the wholeness of a perfect love that comes only from the Source.

It’s a shame that most church people don’t understand this. They instead fill the void with judgment, because they’ve never experienced a love that truly had no judgment.

Most view God as a judgmental dude in the sky, and their actions reflect it. If they had experienced a true love from the Source that knows no judgment, they would have no reason to judge their fellow man, because there is no shortage of love.

I think Jesus came to show us this. He healed people who did not deserve it, and he spent time with people who were cast out or unworthy. The ones that Jesus did condemn were the ones teaching of a God who’s love appeared to be conditional – the religious elite.

Jesus reflected perfect love that was completely selfless and free of judgment. He loved without expecting anything in return, even to the point of laying his life down for those who rejected him.

His love ‘is,’ regardless of one’s ability to see or feel it.

…and that’s the Jesus that I want to follow.

Raw Gutbuster Man Guacamole

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

It was Friday night. There was a pink apron. And we were hungry. It just made sense to put on the pink apron and make a delicious man meal. Because that’s what you do when you’re a man.

On a serious note, this is the most delicious guacamole you’ll ever have, and it’s 100% raw and healthy for you. Not just okay, but actually VERY good for you, especially for vegetarians like me who have a hard time getting enough calories without gorging themselves.

And remember, always use the self checkout line, because it puts people out of jobs.