“We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain.”—Annie Dillard
I recently heard an interview with Kenya Barris. He’s the creator of Black-ish, a wildly popular, Emmy-winning TV comedy.
He talked about a spiritual realization that rocked his world. Like most of us, he was led to believe that if you want the goodies—success, acclaim, God’s blessings, etc.—you have to abide by a list of “good people” rules.
And he followed them. And his career kept growing. But finally, the weight of all these beliefs on how to reap God’s favor became too much to bear. He broke the rules. He divorced his wife. He left the conventional path. And guess what?
The blessings kept right on coming. His career took off. Black-ish was nominated for Emmy’s and People Choice and Critic’s Choice and NAACP Image awards. He couldn’t keep up with all the acclaim.
He said it was a stunning realization. Grace comes because grace comes.
He did not have to earn it.
And once the weight of “what he should do” was gone, he was free to do what he wanted to do which was reunite with his wife.
Not because he needed to to earn God’s favor. But because that’s what he wanted.
Despite what the churches preach, despite what our families and our cultures have pounded into our heads, there are no “good people rules.“
That’s why my favorite mantra is this: I need do nothing.
The Course in Miracles says it like this: “It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this (I need do nothing) than to consider what you should do. It is the ultimate release which everyone will one day find in his own way at his own time.”
The Course says we can save time by using but this one practice. “I need do nothing,” it says, is a statement of allegiance, a truly undivided loyalty.”
When we’re not all stressed about earning the goodies, unhappily following arbitrary rules, the riches of the kingdom can’t help but pour in.
Because here’s the thing. We are already good people. We are already given God’s grace.
The only thing that can keep it away is our guilt (because we think we’re not doing it right) or our belief that we have to earn it.
We do not have to earn anything. It’s given to all of us. It’s our natural state.
Once we surrender the “good people rules.”
Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the just-released, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.