This is a condensed and clarified transcript of a video Bob made three years ago.
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Today, we’re going to have a quote from Abraham Lincoln. When I think back at Abraham Lincoln and his life and what he has accomplished, I just have the most profound admiration. If he said it, I pay real close attention.
So, this is a quote about the dark night of the soul, about suffering, and more than anything else, it’s about the humility that we can learn from the dark night of the soul. In fact, I think humility is the single most important thing we can have because it tempers the ego. The ego is important; we need egos. But a runaway wild ego is extremely destructive, and I’m afraid most of us fall into it quite easily.
Anything that helps us temper our ego is a good thing, and nothing does it as well as humility. Abraham Lincoln said this:
“I’ve been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all those about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
— Abraham Lincoln
And you know, folks, that is a pattern of life that I have established for myself. What I have discovered is that life is too hard for me to figure out. Think of what was going on in his life, and it’s incomprehensible, taking us through the Civil War and death, so much. But in my life, my simple life, I have learned that life is too hard for me to figure out and that I have been driven to my knees often enough to know that on my knees is where I find the very best life.
In all my efforts to live my very best life, I have discovered that the way to do it is to live a life on my knees, to live like my goal in life is not to direct my own life, to control my own life. I’m simply not smart enough, wise enough, and I don’t have the whole picture enough to drive my own life, to direct and control my own life.
What I always endeavor to do is to turn my will and my life over to a greater power, and I think that’s exactly what Abraham Lincoln was talking about. He went to a greater power that was way beyond his capacity. So I have to find some way to find guidance through this terrible minefield, this dark night of the soul, this horrible suffering that I’m going through. And he did; he found a way through. So, that is how I guide my life. It’s how I would encourage you to guide your life.
Out of this humble attitude of “I don’t have the perspective, I don’t have the power, I don’t have the wisdom to direct and guide my own life,” I need a greater power at all times to help me direct my life. Then you have to be careful that you don’t think of yourself as an idiot or an automaton. That I can’t direct my life at all. The way I like to think of it is putting one foot in front of the other, leaving the results up to a higher power.
So, I always use my own best thinking, my own best brain, but ultimately, I endeavor to have a higher power direct me. It’s very important for me that going to my knees is not the last resort; it is a way of life. And I guess that’s exactly what I’m trying to say to you in this quote. Going to my knees and living on my knees is never a last resort; it’s the way I try to live my life.
I know there’s a lot of ways that you’re going to just reject that advice. It’s too difficult; it’s crazy. That’s just crazy thinking. It works for me; it’s something for you to consider that instead of being the very last resort, seeking the advice and counsel of a greater way of living is a good thing. Take it and leave it; you know, I know it sounds crazy. I know many of you will automatically reject that. See if there isn’t something in there you can make use of. If there is, take it; if there isn’t, leave it. It just isn’t for you. Maybe it will be for you some other time.