How do we put what we know is right into action, especially when we find that there is a difference between what we are thinking and knowing is right versus what we are actually doing?
How We Stop Doing Wrong When We Know Right?
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I imagine this will be really helpful for you if you are like me and you have noticed that in your life there are some disconnections between, “Okay, well I see the right thing to do and what I’m actually doing is something different.”
For example, the last time I drank, which was four and a half years ago, I remember sitting down, I had all the liquor poured and mixed up in a cup and I was sober. I was sitting there, I knew this wasn’t a good idea, I knew I didn’t even want to do this, and I heard this little voice of fear or the devil, self or ego, whatever you want to call it.
It said, and I’m going to put this in nice words because it said it in nasty words.
It said, “You planned to do this. Let’s go. It’s time,” and I acted upon that.
What I find today is that it is the voice of temptation, of fear, the devil or the ego. When I take action on that, I get results I’m not happy with.
The question is, why do I ever listen to that instead of the voice of love, God, in my heart?
Why do I ever listen to anything else?
Today, I’m thinking this will make a huge difference for you in all areas of your life as it has made for me. I’ve learned to listen to that little child voice, God, the wise voice that’s inside and that guides me through love, to service, to connection. It has guided me with so much passion and energy to make this for you today.
I was asking, “Why do we do that? Why do we know the right thing to do and we do something else?”
For example, most of us know how to eat healthy. Most of us realize all we need to do to eat healthy is do the following: eat mostly whole fruits, plants, nuts, grains, and beans or something similar to that where that is probably 90 plus percent of our diet, the actual food we eat.
Therefore, if I give you a breakdown of your day, it will look something like this. You eat five fruits, you eat five vegetables.
For example, that might be a cucumber, a salad, a pepper and that’s probably five servings of fruit, five servings of vegetables. So, you might have a whole cucumber, a salad and maybe a cut-up pepper or something.
Then for fruits, you might have a banana and a couple of small apples, and some blueberries and blackberries. That’s your fruit.
Then the rest of the day you eat some Triscuits with some hummus and then maybe some roasted peanuts, assuming you are not allergic. Then, you could have a little bit extra. You could have a little cupcake or something. You could have a little bit of dessert. You could maybe, at best, in extreme moderation maybe have a tiny little bit of meat or something.
Most of us understand that a healthy diet looks something like that. Most of us already understand that a healthy diet looks something like mostly drinking water or maybe some tea and coffee. Either little or no things like alcohol, little or no things like soda.
For me, I am on and have been for months, a water diet. Water is almost the only thing I drank. It has been a while, maybe a month or two since I’ve drunk anything besides water.
Before that, I drank Matcha tea for years and before that, I was drinking juices and sodas and all kinds of other things.
Now, most of us, these are not like surprising facts or anything.
Why then do so many of us do different things?
We know a recipe for these bodies to keep them healthy.
This body I’m in right now looks 10 years younger than it did five years ago. Five years ago this body was almost 30 years old and it looked like 30 or maybe even to 40. This body now looks like it might just be graduating from high school and college, maybe a little bit after that.
If you look at pictures of me five years ago, I look 10 years younger now. That’s because I’ve simply been doing the things I already knew how to do, that I already maybe just needed a little bit more help on.
I’m simply doing the stuff that I already knew how to do.
The only difference is I’m actually doing it instead of the separation.
Well, almost all of us know that our diet, if we are going to be healthy, is just how I explained it or pretty similar. Maybe some places you might have more meat in the diet. Some places you might have a little less beans or nuts. But most of us have an idea of what it looks like.
Then, why do so many of us not pay any attention to that?
And not only that, the worst thing, why do we know the right thing to do and do the wrong thing, and then we feel bad about it?
We are sitting there eating that third piece of pizza, or for me that sixth, eighth liquor drink and wondering what went wrong, wondering why we can’t do any better.
Or eating the rest of a box of Oreos, and then trying to vomit.
Why do we do that?
These are things I’ve done.
All of it.
And I wonder and I’m sitting there, why am I doing this?
I know better.
I know I’m making myself feel bad.
Do I want to make myself feel bad?
If you look at my actions you could only argue that you do want yourself to feel bad, you do want yourself to be miserable, you do think you deserve to be punished.
Why are you doing this to yourself?
I’m grateful today that on a regular basis I finally actually just do the things I knew were right all along and that’s my habit now, and yet I’m not immune to the voice of temptation.
I know that it’s good for me to call my sponsor. I go to Alcoholics Anonymous every day and I don’t keep my mouth shut about it because it says to carry the message to an alcoholic that still suffers and it doesn’t say that if unless it might impact your reputation or people might think bad of you. I hear about the eleventh tradition and there is no reason I can’t tell you the truth about what I do in my day.
I know it’s a good idea for me to call my sponsor in AA every day. Why haven’t I done it yet today?
It’s 10:13 a.m. and I meant to do it before.
Well, sometimes there is divine timing. I call my sponsor almost every day and sometimes when I don’t get around to it later in the day, that’s a better time to call him. I was just going to the bathroom before this and I had the thought cross my mind, and I was thinking about this, that it might be a good idea to read my literature.
I read the “Twenty-Four Hours A Day” book. Well, I used to read that, now I’m reading the “Daily Reflections” book, an AA approved literature, and I had the thought cross my mind, it would probably be a good idea to read that.
I know it’s a good idea to read a little something every day out of the AA literature, and then guess what the next thought was.
The next thought was, “Oh, you don’t have time for that. You need to go out there and make your next podcast episode and tell everybody what they need to know about why they do stuff that they know is wrong even when they know what’s right. And they know what’s right and they don’t do it and they keep doing wrong and keep feeling bad and victimized, and don’t understand and it’s everyone else’s fault, but they don’t do what they already know is right.”
And then I realized, “Wow, here I am in the middle of it. I’m in the middle of it right now.”
I almost listened to that thought.
“Well, you got to get out there and go to your podcast. You got to go do that. You don’t have time to sit on the couch and read the ‘Daily Reflections’ book for five minutes. Think about it. You don’t have time for that. You’re important. You’ve got things to do. People need to hear from you.”
I spotted that like, that’s why. That’s the exact voice I’m talking about, and listening to that, that’s why we do it. We listen to that voice of fear. A fear that there is not going to be enough time for me to make a podcast episode and stream several hours today, be there for my wife and go to my AA meeting, and feel like I did a decent job today as a human being.
That little voice of fear that we just unconsciously obey and just go right ahead.
“Oh, yeah. You’re right. I don’t have enough time to read my AA literature today.”
Even though I know it’s a good idea. Even though I’ve never drunk on a day I’ve read my AA literature.
“That’s fine. I’ll just do that later. I’ll call my sponsor later. I’ll pray later.”
Thankfully, today I did most of it.
I didn’t call my sponsor yet.
I did most of it though.
I got on my knees after I went into the bathroom.
I said, “Thank God. Thank you, God. I’m grateful for today sober. I’m grateful for the chance to carry a message and do your work today.”
I sat down on the couch, I read my “Twenty-Four Hours A Day” for today. I read it out loud, and then I remembered something else I like to do, but because my routine got disrupted a little this morning I didn’t, by being there and helping, taking my son from my wife as soon as I woke up, by being a dad.
“Average dad stuff, Jerry.”
I realized I hadn’t done any push-ups or sit-ups or stretched as much as I usually do in the morning. Again, almost all of us know that it’s a good idea to do some physical fitness every day. It’s a good idea to stretch every day. These bodies, especially if we sit or do the same kinds of things, get stiff.
My son who is a few months old opens up, stretches his arms out. He stretches almost every day. He kicks and does some physical fitness every day at just six months old.
My daughter runs around. She stretches out every day, and me, “Oh, I don’t have time to do 20 push-ups and 30 sit-ups. I don’t have time to stretch for two minutes. I’m too busy. I got too much important stuff to do. I got too much to do to take care of the body that does everything.”
Even though I know this is a good idea, I’m just going to listen to that voice.
“Yeah. You got too much to do today. You don’t have time for that, Jerry. Go ahead and just skip those stretches today. Skip the push-ups today. You probably skipped them yesterday, didn’t you? Skip them again today. Take a few days off and rest.”
You know what I did?
After I got down on my knees and prayed and read the “Twenty-Four Hours A Day” book, I did my 20 push-ups. I did 30 sit-ups. I stretched and I said, “Thank God,” that I’ve learned today to disregard that voice that says, “Oh, Jerry, you’re too busy to do the things you know that help you out.”
How many of us are in that state today?
We know how to eat, but “Oh well, we just have 30 minutes to eat between lunch and work. We just have ten minutes to eat before picking our kids up.”
Or we are taking care of our kids, “We don’t have time to make a proper meal and eat healthy. We need to have a second cheeseburger today.”
Or here’s how I used to eat.
We need to eat how we already went to the store and bought our food. I used to have a breakfast burrito first thing in the morning with eggs, cheese, hot sauce, almost no whole plant foods in there.
Then next meal I would have something like a cheeseburger or piece of pizza or some hibachi or sushi or something.
Then the meal after that, if I was sober, I might have a halfway decent meal with my wife. If I was drinking, it would be a Papa John’s large pizza or whatever crap I could throw down my throat to go with the drink.
And then I would wake up the next day feeling awful and I would say, “Well, I’ll just have some soup right now and throw down whatever I can all day because I’m sick.”
All of a sudden I would wonder why I was 70 pounds more, which is about 30 to 35 kilograms more than I weigh right now.
I would wonder why I weighed so much. I would try to go on a diet. I would try all these things and I didn’t realize I was listening to and agreeing with that little voice of fear all day every day.
“Oh, Jerry you don’t have time to drive the speed limit. Come on. You’ve got to get home. You don’t want to be late. Come on, Jerry. You got to get to your AA meeting. You’re going to be late. Don’t worry about that stop sign.”
The last time I got pulled over, I realized what I was doing. I was speeding on the way to an AA meeting where no one cared when I got there except me. And if I wanted to leave earlier and get there on time, all I needed to do was leave five or ten minutes earlier instead of pushing things to the limit.
I thought, “Wow, I’m slowing down.”
After getting stopped ten or twelve times in my life, getting a traffic ticket and a whole bunch of warnings and showing my badge several times to get out of it when I was a police officer, it finally hit me, “Just slow down.”
When you get in the car drive the speed limit.
Try to get there safely.
It doesn’t matter what time you get there, as long as you get there in one piece without hurting anyone including yourself, preferably without any traffic tickets, and without the fear of speeding the whole time.
This is such simple stuff.
Why is it so hard for so many of us?
Why do we listen to that voice of fear?
What I find is if I feel like I don’t have a choice, it is time to pray to God. As I’m sitting there eating that fifth spoon of almond butter and chocolate chips and honey, vegan chocolate chips, and I’m praying to God, “All right, please God let me stop now. I said I was going to stop two spoons ago. I’ve already had enough to eat and I know it. I’m just eating to make myself sick now. Please, God, let me stop eating.”
Then, I finish eating that last spoon, put the stuff away, maybe have an extra couple of chocolate chips and a little bit of honey, put the almond butter away and it’s done.
Now, all of a sudden, I feel good because I didn’t overeat, you know, more than the average American with a decently healthy diet.
I’m grateful today that I’ve got these things to share with you because this stuff was really hard before and it still can trip me up very easily. It still does trip me up from time to time, and doing this helps teach me, helps me to learn this lesson that I may be sharp and able to keep teaching you, and able to keep being of service here because I want to get this stuff so that I can teach it.
I want to master life so that I can teach it, and so I can help you build the life of your dreams. I got the life of my dreams today. I’m here to help you build the same. It’s essential to not get tricked and led down by the voice of the devil or fear or whatever you want to call it: ego, distraction, diversion, or sin.
When you hear that voice next time that says, “Come on, you don’t have time to do the things you know are good for you today. Come on, you don’t have time to eat how you know you should eat. Come on, what are other people going to think of you if you try to eat healthy? Come on, you don’t have the money to eat healthy today, you don’t have the time to really pay attention to your family today.”
What are you going to do next time you hear that voice?
Are you just going to silently agree with it and push the shopping cart fast through the store and tell your children to shut up so you can get out of the store and go home on to the next thing?
Or maybe you will slow down and pay attention to them, stop and get them a cookie, and say, “Thank God I’ve got these kids today. You know what? If I’m thirty minutes late to whatever I’m doing next, at least I’m going to get there with some dignity and grace. I’m not going to walk in trying to look perfect and feel horrible inside.”
I’m grateful today that I’ve got this message to share because I love you, I’m grateful for the chance to serve you and because I’ve been through this enough times that I’m very interested in doing something different.
Thank you for making it to the end of this.
I do this out of love and service every day and I trust this is helpful for you.
I imagine I will see you again soon.
Edits from video transcript by Michel Gerard at www.michelgerardonline.com.