by Robb Munger, US Army Retired
There is a saying I heard a while back while I was still serving, and it goes something like this.
“You will never pray to God more than when you’re in a fire fight.”
Or maybe it goes like; “You will never believe in God more than when the bullets are flying overhead.”
Regardless of the verbiage, the content always resonated with me. Preparing for this article, I researched online to find where this quote originated. However, there were no results found in how I phrased it. Odd, because I have heard it a few different times in different contexts. The beauty of the saying though, is the hidden message:
We take our relationship with God, or Source, the eternal Creator or Universal Energy for granted until we assume our mortality is in grave danger; albeit given a diagnosis, in a firefight or going down with the Titanic.
So why does it have to be that way? Why do we live our daily lives separate from the entity that designed this beautiful but challenging universe? Everything we can sense had to come from somewhere and modern science is starting to prove in different ways how we are all made up of the same source energy; never beginning and never dying- only changing in form.
This is a question I contemplate a lot while in meditation practice. As I settle into stillness, intentionally minding my breath, watching needless thoughts go by, I put my focus on “Why do we take our personal spirituality and connection with our Creator for granted?” Then, I wait for answers to be revealed.
The grateful thing about spirituality is that there are no right or wrong answers. Unfortunately, it’s usually viewed in one of three ways: It doesn’t exist at all, it’s a fundamentalist view steeped in dogmatic principles and fear, or it exists in the heretical mystic and esoteric teachings- the woo woo stuff!
Either way it’s all personal choice that leads to developing one’s faith. It is the level of effectiveness of one’s faith that can build something to be believed yet can’t be proved, seen, heard, touched, tasted, felt, or understood, but only be sensed by oneself. This is what makes spirituality so unique to each and every one of us. It is the center point of the unique journey we blaze forward on every day after we wake up.
All the lessons, during the day, significant or not, result in the leveling up or stagnation of your developing faith in something bigger and better than what we physically experience in this 3D world. If you are curious and have made it this far, I invite you to read on. The following are some answers and metaphors that have been revealed from a higher source that teach us about what life here on Earth is really all about.
“Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash” – Captain Tom “Stinger” Jordan: Top Gun
Ahh yes, the ego. The addiction we all seem not to be able to kick. The outdated spamware, running in the background of our internal operating system, constantly hijacking, and interrupting our efficiently designed internal processor. If you ever recognized bliss-state consciousness, it was short-lived because of this obnoxious, selfish activity.
Everyone of us has an ego. The ego represents the self-protection voice in your mind, designed to identify indicators and warnings in a suspicious world. During the caveman days, when we as a homo-sapiens collective new to this Earth and all its dangers that hid around each corner, the ego came online through evolution to serve as the protective software that alerted us to look outside the cave for the sabertoothed lion that lay in wait for us before we ventured out to catch the evening meal. It’s only when we became societal creatures, the ego transformed from a useful tool into an activity of competition.
Evolution Psychology explains it this way:
The ego served a woman to desire a healthy male to procreate with to further the species and perfect the bloodline. In order for her to lure an attractive and capable male partner, her ego developed a competitive nature to become attractive and capable in the eyes of her male pursuers.
And likewise, the ego assisted the man in this example to strive for greatness; to bring home the provisions, provide protection, facilitate procreation, and preserve a secure way of life for the family and the greater societal collective.
Acting in harmony in this capacity, the ego served man and womankind well. That is until lavish desires, selfishness and greed were introduced. The neighbors next door with this year’s many buffalo hides or the tribe down the way with access to the best fishing hole created lust, desire, and jealousy. Some religions refer to these as “Sins.”
Regardless, it was man’s (and woman’s) desires that led to “The Fall” and we’ve been in the abyss ever since. With more and more desires, led to more and more suffering. The root of all evil is not money. The root of all evil is the ego. The devil, as taught in Christianity, is not some tall, red, hoofed beast with horns and a pitchfork roaming the Earth in a game of “Gotcha!” It’s the ego in all of us, left unchecked, causing massive pain and suffering to our already perfect souls.
Through all of the fear-based doctrine utilized by the Roman Catholic Church, we intentionally separated ourselves from the pure love of the One Creator out of our own shame and guilt. We fell into the notion that an ego-based stance allows us to do it all on our own since we were damned anyway. God didn’t abandon us, we abandon God.
That is, until the bullets started flying, ehhh?
We don’t have to look far to see the results of suffering around every corner. And yet “As above, so below” or “As within, so without.” In the Western world, we were never taught or encouraged in our most impressionable younger years to look within and see our own suffering from our desires or feelings of lack. We were taught to blame the red horned guy for tricking us into sin. Then we were told we were going to hell to be punished for all eternity anyways.
Left unchecked or properly managed, we let the ego do our daily work from the moment we roll out of bed to when we return. We get so caught up in the distractions of life that we leave ourselves on autopilot; lacking awareness. We spend too much of our day dwelling in the past, ruminating about something we cannot fix, or we act like hysterical maniacs anxious about a future that isn’t promised or has even come to be yet.
This is as far from being in the present, Godly, I AM state as one can exist. As a global collective we are overwhelmingly “consciously checked out” and “asleep at our own wheel”; lost in meaningless thoughts. This is why meditation seems so difficult for most people. We can’t sit still and observe our thoughts while remaining unattached to still our mind. We are addicted to thinking, and then over-thinking!
And just like everything in this existence, there comes a time when there is a disturbance in the force that awakens us from years and years of unconscious slumber. This can be in the form of a death of a loved one, a car accident, a missed career opportunity or a relationship break up. Something viewed as a negative to one’s current, comfy state of being malfunctions the auto-pilot function and usually serves as the catalyst we need for positive growth and development.
Usually, the ego consciousness is so overwhelmed that this is where defensiveness, nervous breakdowns and bouts of depression appear. It can’t cope, it’s taken on more than it can handle. Error 404 message keeps appearing and the system is finally compromised. But ahhh, what a gift! This is when the Spirit is ready to reveal itself as the hero and says it’s time for the Self to finally step in and take control.
This is the decisive point we’ve been waiting for; the choice the Universe gives each one of use to either keep following the dark path that leads to nowhere but suffering or to change the azimuth and start heading towards the next land nav marker on the Enlightenment Star Course. This is where “The Work” begins and it becomes apparent that it is inherent upon all of us to explore and resolve during our remaining time. It’s finally time for the ego to surrender. We call this, “an awakening.” Not all of us get here, but most do if there is finally acceptance and surrender to all past conditioning.
Unfortunately, the ego is crafty and does not want to become irrelevant. It goes on the defensive and begins to spar with your divinely higher Self every step of the way by inserting guilt, shame, regret, and doubt. It is the voice that questions whether you should be pursuing something so outlandish as to transcend itself.
It will try to convince you that it has been there all your life and it’s the only thing you can trust to keep you alive, in battle, in a job or in a relationship with a loved one. It will put on a disguise to look like intuition; the voice you can always trust. It will question your reality, though it can only dwell in illusion. It will do everything it can to stay alive. It sets up a deliberate ambush and waits for you to patrol through.
This is what is referred to as “Spiritual Warfare.” But as it does, it backfires every time because it comes from a position of lack, a desire to control and an expectation of outcomes. If not steadfast and with an aware point man, you become its slave again, pushed to the back of the mind by the big bully and watch helplessly as things near and dear to you become thrashed and torn. The ego is self-serving. Again, it is a self-preservation and greatness activity.
Just ask General George Custer about the ego.
But let’s talk about that for a minute. The ego is not something you can see, reason with or yet is even alive. Again, the ego is an activity the mind uses to ensure self-preservation and position for greatness. Think about that in your own life in modern times. Have you ever cut someone off on purpose, either in conversation or traffic. Well, that wasn’t you, that was the ego working to position you for greatness.
Have you ever posted a selfie in hopes for likes and subscribes? That’s ego’s activity to show you in a light that everyone will adore and try to emulate; again, pedestalizing you for greatness. Have you ever looked at an attractive celebrity or the latest lottery winner in jealousy? That’s the ego manipulating and gaslighting you to doubt yourself in an attempt to make you work harder for greatness. Have you ever volunteered for a school or assignment just for the shiny badge or the NCOER bullet? Was your heart really in it or was it just for an advancement opportunity? It all still goes back to the primal programming and conditioning of the caveman days. To ensure success of the species; by all means necessary.
But the thing is, in today’s technological and abundant opportunities, the things the ego assisted us with for survival in centuries past are no longer relevant. For example, instead of rolling back the stone slowly to watch and wait for signs of the sabretooth lion, we now use a cell phone to access an app to tap into our Blink wireless camera, installed at the front door doorbell, to watch for our neighborhood Doordash deliveryman.
We use a garage door opener to open a door for us while we are already loaded up in an automobile to drive us to a building that has fresh meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. When we get home, we store these provisions in a refrigerator that helps it last for days. No longer do we need to fear being caught outside at night without a fire torch because again, the flashlight installed on our phone lights up the path in front of us, while following the GPS back to our home. We innovatively created luxuries and tools to keep us alive; essentially replacing the ego.
What I am getting at is that the ego is an outdated piece of pre-installed software that unfortunately we can’t get rid of, since we don’t have “Admin rights.” But we can learn to turn off or reduce the “Push notifications” and take back control of our own lives.
The byproduct of the ego is the endless desire it creates. The ego processes desire and ambition which left ungoverned ultimately leads to suffering. These desires can be internally pumped up so loud that it literally makes you do things to people you love that you later regret once left in the aftermath. It will make you do dumb things and take chances you wouldn’t normally do. It makes you and your processing system unstable in an already unstable world run by ego. Try connecting these two dots; ego and command climate toxicity. Enough said.
So, this really leads to the overall point. The ego has no room for God, your higher self, your intuition and certainly not a life without it. That’s actually quite sad. These greater things work against the ego from the ego’s perspective. The ego creates doubt that any of these truly exist. Yet, we know the Creator obviously exists in some fashion. How else did any and all of this get here? Faith is created and developed on the things you cannot even point to and see. Paradoxly, the ego and God cannot be physically seen with our senses, yet one works for our expansion, and one works for our contraction. The ego loves to say, “It’s just you and me kiddo, and no one is coming to save us so sit back; I got this!”
And that’s what everyone’s ego is saying. We are all trying to do it ourselves instead of collectively and not inviting God to be a part of it. If you had the powers of the One, True Ultimate Creator blessed to you, why wouldn’t you use them. By faith, you can transcend the ego and expand into a life of service to others rather that service to self. You can be in alignment with giving and receiving versus taking and keeping. But yet here we all are. To fix a broken world, you are given the choice everyday- to switch off the auto pilot and take the stick back like Maverick after losing Goose!
So as the bullets are flying overhead and one determines these might be the final moments in a temporal world, one may finally resort to find God in those moments of peril. And as Christ reminds us, it’s never too late. This is true Ego death. Are you here to serve yourself or serve others? If you are reading this in The Havok Journal, the audience is overwhelmingly aligned with a Service to Others category.
So where do you fit in? Don’t let your time here and the opportunity to serve pass without building your own unique relationship with the one that designed it all! It’s your highest mission.
Robb is a retired active Army veteran of 21 years, primarily serving as a Cavalry Scout. Having accomplished multiple combat tours, diverse global assignments and leadership roles, Robb retired as a First Sergeant of Shadow Troop, 1-33 CAV (Rakassans). From there, Robb went on to attempt his luck in the civilian sector as a Reliability Engineer at an international paper processing company during the pandemic. Not quite satisfied and feeling the draw to serve once again, Robb made his way back behind the gate working with some of the nation’s tip of spear warfighters on Fort Liberty, NC.
It was during this time that he was drawn into an esoteric spiritual journey of self-discovery and began peeling back the onion of how vanquishing spiritual warfare can serve as a personal force multiplier. Dropping all ties to dogmatic religious principles, Robb solely embarked into studies of the mystical and metaphysical for the answers of life. Now forged with this newfound purpose, Robb blends his current path of spiritual ascension along with his past experience of the rigors of military service in order to uplift the future of his brothers and sisters in arms.
“The answers we all seek lie in potential.”
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.