During an informal discussion group, Laura stated that she wished to spend the rest of her life discovering the truth about herself and the secret self. But, she went on to tell the class, she feared she had postponed her search for too long; that given her present set of circumstances, the outlook for breaking free of herself was bleak...
Q: I always thought my right intention of waiting for a certain condition to improve -- and then going to work on myself -- was proof that I treasured truth above all else. But recent events and insights have shown me that I don't really understand what it means to put the truth first.
A: To put the truth first means just that. Thinking that we must wait for an improvement in our personal circumstances before we can let go and contact the secret self is not putting the truth first. This approach is putting our wish to succeed first.
Q: What is wrong with wanting to succeed? Isn't that the point?
A: Yes. But your inner success is truth's responsibility, not yours. Your task is to understand this -- and then to let truth do for you what you have been unable to do for yourself.
Q: Now that you point it out, there are a number of areas in my life, such as dealing with relationships and other priorities, where I suspect I've been less than truthful with myself. What do I do?
A: Just start over -- and then start over again. These two words, start over, exemplify one of the most essential elements of the higher life, which is why we would all do well to never forget this eternal instruction. There will be many, many times in our journey beyond ourselves where to put the truth first means we must see and admit where we haven't been truthful with ourselves. Here is where we begin to understand some of Christ's higher intimations about the relationship between humiliation and salvation. "Blessed are the poor in spirit" begins to take on new meaning when we start to see just how "rich" our imagination has been concerning our truthfulness. Only after the truth has taken the wind out of our self-made sails do the celestial currents of the secret self carry us safely home.
Q: I find myself being sorry all the time -- sorry for what I have done and sorry for myself -- but nothing seems to change, no matter how badly I feel. Is there no power for self-change in repentance?
A: Yes, there is. But when we do something wrong or hurtful to another, we are mostly sorry only for what we think our misplaced action may have cost us. Our sadness is over what we fear we have lost, including precious flattering self-images. The sorrow that leads to letting go and to true change of being is never over what we have lost, but that we are lost.
Q: Sometimes it feels like there is such a long way to go, and more and more I am not even sure which way that is. How can I be sure I am headed in the right direction?
A: There is no wasted effort if your aim is to walk away from yourself. Detecting a step in the wrong direction and then refusing to go that way is taking the next step in the right direction. Proceed positively in this way.