Question: I have tried to think that I am okay and don't need to change, and that the rest of the world is crazy. Yet, I do use TV, reading, etc. as a distraction from the suffering and pain of my reactions to life -- to my worry, anxiety, fear, and anger. You've said that we can't fix this self that the suffering creates and tries to fix at the same time, and that we need to let God see our suffering. You said it was a simple exercise. How do we do this? What do we do? Are you talking about meditation? How can God not see our suffering already?
Answer: Our work, for those of us who wish to have a Real Life (born of being in conscious relationship with the Light), is not to try and be someone different, but to be willing, moment to moment, to see exactly what we are.
For instance, this effort is one of learning to observe our imagination at work -- instead of identifying with what we imagine will free us. As such, practices such as quiet self-observation and meditation can be a tremendous help. As the mind grows still, it helps us to see what is taking place within us, instead of our usual tendency to be identified with all of the movements of the mind.
As far as the idea of allowing God to "see" our inner life is concerned… of course God knows the content of our hearts and minds. That's not the issue: the issue is that we don't! And until we awake ourselves to what compromises us within us, then God cannot help us change for what we have seen. He will not make us change; we must see the need to change, and want this more than anything else. Then, it happens naturally that we ask for God's help -- which is given to us -- and a transformation takes place as He wills it.
Question: I find your lessons useful. However I have great difficulty in implementing them. My prayers nowadays are to help me live the way God wants me to be -- full of faith, confidence, and a contributor of increased happiness in my family's life. However I am absolutely frustrated with my career, a lack of appreciation for the work I do, my social ineptitude, damage I've done to my family, and the lack of change in my personal situation. I need real help badly.
Answer: You are not your career, you are not your clumsy behavior, you are not your fears or regrets, and you are not your wish to escape the pain that all of these illusions create. But you must know the Truth of these words for yourself -- which can be done -- if you want the freedom they hint of through God's grace. Real change begins with a change within one's heart and mind, not the way they present themselves or hope to be perceived. If this real transformation of self is your sincere wish, then there are tools and real help available to you. You must choose, as must we all. So ask yourself this question: do I complain about life as it is, or do I work to change what is my life? Make the right choice and God (Himself) will work for you, within you, to grant your wish.
Question: This morning I experienced a negative state seeking to justify itself by casting blame outwardly. As I watched it, I recalled the truthful words: "Don't punish someone else with this state...let it die in you." I experienced yielding over to this truth, and as the moments went by, so did the negative state. Peace had dominion within me. I can now see that the words "take up your cross" mean to "bear this lower nature." Truly it is an inward task for me to bear this "flesh," this false self, this lower nature in the process of transformation, or as I experience Truth waking me up to transcend its ways. Isn't this what you are always trying to say? "Swallow it! Bear it quietly! Take up your cross!"?
Answer: The lower nature cries out as it must die to itself by the act of the Light upon it. This is the eternal process of death and rebirth --something that is never not happening, but that the spiritually asleep live outside of due to their perpetual dream life. These dreams, and the self that that gives rise to them, actually serve to insulate those who sleep from knowing Real Life. And Real Life includes the consciousness of -- a willingness to bear -- this crucifixion of negative, divided matter as it is subjected to the Living Light that, in its transformation of the former, mercifully resurrects it.
Question: How can we use the impressions we receive from our experiences in life to change the world for the better?
Answer: It is not enough to just passively receive the lessons life gives us. We must act upon their revelations and further clarify their import. This is why our willingness to teach for the purpose of learning is every bit as important as is our willingness to learn what we must in order to grow.
Following are four ways to teach the truths that transform the world we live in, even as we ourselves are transformed by our own actions. It is vital for us to remember that these suggested practices are designed to help us achieve an enhanced spiritual balance in ourselves, even as, through these same actions, we teach others around us about the possibility of living from a whole new order of self-understanding.
We teach others when we do not react in alarm to some potentially frightening news or event. The world around us receives the lesson that those events -- in themselves -- do not have the power to make or break the awakened soul. Our lesson -- if we will teach it -- is to see that we need not ride along on own three-alarm nature that loves getting set off.
We teach others when they can see us laugh at our own mistakes. The world around us receives the lesson that there is a big difference between making a mistake and thinking of oneself as being a mistake. Our lesson -- if we will teach it -- is to see that any compulsive wish to be seen as perfect in the eyes of the world is a punishment that can never be a part of our true peace and contentment.
We teach others around us when we won't give voice to complaint. The world around us receives the lesson that there are superior ways to handle times of discomfort or disappointment that do not include expressing negative emotions. Our lesson -- if we will teach it -- is to see that we can use passing dark states to awaken to and realize an interior wisdom that knows how to use everything for its own growth.
We teach others whenever we refuse to psychologically defend ourselves -- be this against simple sarcasm or even vicious slander. The world around us receives the lesson that what is true needs no defense and that what is false cannot be defended. Our lesson -- if we will teach it -- is the realization that people only feel the need to attack what frightens them and that we need never live in fear of any frightened person.
Take these suggested exercises and work with them to teach the truths that transform the world around and within you. Make up your own exercises based on the lessons you know that life is asking you to learn. Always strive to remember that anything we work to change in ourselves cannot help but change everything. What can be more promising than that?
Excerpted from Let Go and Live in the Now