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Overcoming

by Niánn Emerson Chase


There are so many challenges we human beings have to face and resolve in order to have a life of dignity, purpose, fulfillment, and happiness. In many places on the planet millions of people have much to overcome in order to merely stay alive; they don't even consider improving the quality of their lives, just that they physically survive another hour or another day.

One of the most notable characters in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien is Gollum. Frodo recognized that at one time Gollum had been a more comely, kinder, lovable personality. What circumstances and choices led to Gollum's monstrous physical appearance and his pitifully devious and deadly ways?

As the story of the battle between good and evil forces unfolds in the Lord of the Rings stories, we not only observe the rise and fall of well-intentioned persons, but the perseverance and steadfastness in the stronger, more godly ones. We observe the continuous challenges that the characters (heroes or villains) have to face, the choices that they have to continually make—for good or for evil. Individuals have to overcome many temptations that tantalize with the promise of power, glory, fame, riches, beauty, acceptance, ease, and so on. Some are able to overcome the temptations to give in to error, sin, and iniquity, and some buckle under.

A long, long time ago Gollum gave in to his desire for something that belonged to someone else. He succumbed to covetousness and envy and spent the rest of his life fleeing from the voice of his higher self. Each time Gollum made a choice for the lower way out of divine pattern, he became a little uglier, inside and out.

After years of living in filth, Gollum meets Frodo, who is able to see that glimmer of what is left of Gollum's higher self, of what he had been before in a higher world of friendship, meaningful labor, laughter, and beauty.

The Smeagol-Gollum syndrome, this struggle between the higher and lower self, is something each one of us experiences on this fallen world. For some it is more intense than for others. For some the Smeagol part is stronger, more dominant; for others it is the Gollum part. Sometimes we may have a week of being Gollum-like, and then regain our higher selves, and Smeagol dominates.

Note that Smeagol is first in naming the Smeagol-Gollum syndrome. In reality, the higher self is the real identity, the connection to the personality circuitry of the Universal Father. In this adjudication where each of us must realign with that broken circuitry, the good in us that we once had, as well as our potential greatness, is more real than the false identities that we have acquired in our brokenness.

All of us have to overcome the Gollum within us, on a daily basis. I am sure you are all familiar with the saying, "Your greatest enemy is yourself."

Gollum felt unjustly treated, attacked, and even violated when Frodo gave him an opportunity for a new identity, one that he had before on a higher world—Smeagol. And yet, there were times when the Smeagol in him felt gratitude and a sense of loyalty to the strong love that Frodo extended to him.

Can’t all of us relate to the back-and-forth of the Smeagol-Gollum syndrome? Haven't we all had similar Gollum-like responses to our elders? Admonishment and counsel often feel "bad," at least initially. I have experienced (and continue to experience God) in so many ways, but always divinely loving, merciful, and just.

At times we dislike strong fathers for following through with consequences to disobedience, but we never doubt their steady love for us. Many people have mixed feelings about parents. Our lower selves want them to let us slide and get away with shenanigans, but our higher selves appreciate parents' discipline and tight reign, for we feel protected.

Remember how pitiful, and at times amusing, Gollum seemed in his shenanigans, in his back-and-forth routine between his higher and lower selves? I think we probably present similar scenarios to elders in our fluctuations between levels of understanding and responding.

All of us ascending human beings need time to process difficult realizations, situations, and messages that confront us, for it does feel like confrontation when we encounter something that does not gel with our plans or beliefs or expectations.

We do not have to choose Gollum's outcome. Our destiny is much greater and nobler. As you give yourselves time to grow into a higher understanding of the counsel of your elders (human and celestial), overcome moment to moment the Gollum-like whinings and snivelings that try to overtake your minds and hearts. Remember who you really are.


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