Like most of us, as I abide in this realm of perception I have spent much of a lifetime looking out through the filters and limitations of a perspective that tells me I am separate and ultimately alone, that the world is a place filled with dangers where a sense of scarcity and competition rules and where everything that I have, even life itself, can be taken from me in an instant.
I too have tried to buy some sense of security in this world in countless ways: relationships (or in the avoidance of them!), jobs, roles, and possessions to name but a few. I have built up a certain sense of who I am and what “reality” is. Never mind that this sense of self and reality is so very malleable over time and from person to person. Never mind that this way of being would have me imbedded firmly in this world, identified with a physical form called a body, subject to all of the body’s limitations, vulnerabilities and its inevitable end in death.
It is such a fearful perspective from which suffering is inevitable and always seems caused by outside events. It is part of my human experience, one we all share, to identify myself as body and define myself in terms of that form, by how it looks or what it does. Maintaining such an illusory self-concept requires constant vigilance and vigorous defense. A sure way to trigger upset is to have self-concepts challenged or questioned. Even one that causes so much pain, such as a sense of victimization, can be defended and held onto as if it were something essential.
From this thought system of separation, the EGO, my prospects can seem very bleak indeed, a life of constant struggle, one problem after another. The best I can hope for is some compromise in which I might manage my life to avoid pain as well as possible and get what enjoyment I can. But even in moments of pleasure there is always lurking a fear that it can be taken away in an instant.
According to A Course in Miracles, our tolerance for pain may be great, but it is not without limit and eventually each one of us realizes that “there must be a better way.” This is a crucial step, because until we are willing to see that our suffering comes from within through our own thought system we will continue to play out our ego-based self concepts, feel helpless, betrayed, angry and in pain. It is through our willingness for “a better way” and our willingness to take responsibility for our own experience that we can begin our Journey to true healing – a healing of the perception that we are beings separate unto ourselves.
If this ego perspective of the world is not all there is, then what else is there? And how can I see that world instead of this world that seems so real? Whatever this other perspective is it is not one that I can see with my eyes in the usual fashion.
Beyond this world of form there is a world of Spirit. It cannot be perceived with the senses, but it can be experienced when I am willing to question and let go of all that stands in the way of it. The defining emotional state of the world of form and separation is fear while that of Spirit is love. The path of awakening then is one of letting go of all of the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence
I am here today having an experience of being in this body, in this world. But I also have a growing awareness of a sense of Self, not at all confined to this body, this place, or this time. My, and our, awareness may be limited only to our bodily experience but we are having a spiritual experience nonetheless.
There is in each of us a part of our mind that does remember our true nature as Spirit, our Oneness with all that is. It is called by many names: Higher Power, Higher Self, Holy Spirit, Christ Consciousness, Buddha Nature, Atman. The words themselves are not important except as symbols that point toward an experience of a Oneness and Love that does exist within each of us no matter how deeply it can seem to be buried at times.
It is that realization, that yearning, that calls to us and guides us along our path and helps us to release our blocks to awareness love’s presence – our grievances, resentments, guilts, hurts, wounds and perceived need to be separate and special. In those sweet instants of deeper awareness, perhaps in special moments with a loved one or child, with nature, in prayer or meditation, or with scripture that connects us with the sacred in us, we notice the contrast between the quiet inner peace of Spirit and the noisy clamor of the ego world. A deep, long hidden desire to return home, to reconnect with our true essence, our Source, awakens within us.
The Journey home now becomes more intentional, more directed to that one purpose. We find that we can use every situation as a means to help realize our goal, to awaken from the dream of sickness and separation. We become more willing to take responsibility for our ego thoughts, look honestly at them and their results, and realize we have another choice. We learn that we can offer them to our Higher Self perspective to be transformed and healed.
In our confusion and pain we have all said and done unloving things. This does not change the essence of who we are, but it does greatly affect how we feel about ourselves. Our attack thoughts and actions do affect us. They lead us to feel anxious, depressed, guilty, exhausted, alone, separate and physically ill. The belief in guilt in our minds is mostly kept unconscious and projected onto other persons or situations. This keeps the sense of guilt out of our awareness, but does not protect us from its effects. On the contrary, by keeping it unconscious we guarantee that it will continue to produce effects in the form of physical and emotional symptoms. Undoing the unconscious guilt in our minds by first bringing it into our awareness, releasing the emotional energy of it and then being willing to allow a new understanding from our Higher Self perspective is an essential part of real healing. This process of healing we call forgiveness.
With each forgiveness I experience a sense of peace, of healing. I see that forgiveness is really not something I am doing for someone else, but something that offers healing to both, that brings me peace and frees me more and more from my own limited perceptions. As I forgive others, I free myself. As I see the innocence in others, I know it in myself. As I extend the Peace of God to others, I experience it for myself. In offering healing, I receive it.
There is joy in learning to see this world through the eyes of Spirit, recognizing that we are all on a Journey together despite the myriad forms it may take. In forgiving we feel less angry, fearful and alone. Instead we see the love, peace and joy that we extend out into the world reflected back to us. Feeling more complete within ourselves we are more at peace and less in need. Recognizing that our real home lies within we need not fear its being taken away. And that is a gift I truly treasure and am profoundly grateful for.
Peace, love, blessings to all,