I had an insight this week that I wanted to share. It struck me as both simple and profound.
“Unless someone is beating me with a rubber hose or a whip, then nobody is really doing anything to me. Everything that is happening is happening within my mind."
There were a couple of questions that we're a bit outside our reading this morning so I would like to address those first.
Many people, although not all of us, have found ourselves on this particular path of delving deeper into our spiritual consciousness as being a natural outgrowth or a natural evolution of what we have learned earlier in our lives. We do not necessarily leave we have learned behind nor do we have to take it with us has a dogma or something that is stuck in a particular moralistic point of view. What we are aware of now does no have to be in conflict with what we have learned previously. We can be aware of our “newer” knowing as a deeper understanding.
I’ll use myself as an example. Many people would ask me, “Are you still Catholic?” and I would respond by saying, “That is like asking me if I am still Irish.”
Growing up in an environment of Catholicism is part of my heritage, it is part of my story. Although it is not a definition of who I am, it is certainly a part of this personality self that can also be an expression of the Christ consciousness.
Perhaps an even better example would be Thomas Merton. He did not reject his Catholicism nor his vocation to the Trappists, yet he also expanded his belief system beyond the norms that would ordinarily be dictated by his faith.
You see, we are not getting rid of the ego or the personality. When we reach a particular point of awareness in our spiritual growth, we can begin to use the ego and the personality self as an instrument through which the Divine consciousness flows through. That is an aspect of its uniqueness.
Noticed there is a difference between using your ego or personality consciousness as a vehicle for expression of the Divine as compared to identifying yourself with your ego or personality consciousness. Do you get a feel for the difference here?
Another question involved in the difference between judgment and discernment. I realize this is one that many of us struggle with. In fact, for a long time it seemed to me the difference was more in semantics rather than truth. What I have come to realize is, first of all, judgment is always a projection of the ego. Although we are not fully aware of it, it is a fearful response to external stimuli. Judgment by its very nature allows us to categorize people, places and situations in order for us to better control them. What judgment is always going to be is a reflection of duality–
right/wrong; good\bad; black/white, etc. This is the way the mind works, and it is a marvelous tool and is also an awful master.
Discernment does not come from the mind, the intellect. Discernment comes from your internal awareness. You could call it your heart consciousness or your higher self, your intuitive self. Years ago we might have called that a hunch or a gut feeling. We do not wish to deny those, but discernment is a deeper way of knowing. The end product of discernment is not a duality but direction. It is the knowing of what is right or best for you at this moment. It is not a comparison or a judgment about anyone else. It is simply a knowing of what the next best thought to hold or the next best action for you to take right now. It takes time and practice to be able to listen to this Inner Voice, this inner awareness and to filter through some of the static and silliness that might be projected by the thinking mind.
We ended last week with:
“Who you are, we say, is who you say you are. Understand this please. Who you are is what you say you are. “I am an aspect of the Creator in form” is a claim of worth and truth.”
I often find myself in the place or the state of mind where I can say that and I want to believe it but I'm not quite sure whether I do are not. There is a step that I add that is helpful to me. It is a way to bypassing my thinking mind and all of the doubts that it projects and move into a deeper form of knowing and awareness. For instance, I might say to myself, “I see through the eyes of the Christ.” And that sounds very wonderful, but I still seem to be seeing's bodies and life situations that are filled with my judgments and my own values.
What I need to do then instead of judging or condemning myself is to ask myself the question, “What would it be like if I were seeing with the eyes of the Christ.?” All of a sudden, even if it is only for a brief moment, I begin to get a sense of what that is like. That reminds me that the truth of who I am is always here even though it sometimes gets covered up by my wants and my needs and my desires and my fears.
Asking yourself a question like the above opens the door to a deeper way of knowing. We do this all the time with our imagination, but too often we think of the imagination is being that part of ourselves that lives in fantasyland. That can be true, however, a deeper use of the imagination is to go beyond of the thinking mind into a creative aspect of ourselves that does not get stuck in the limitations of the mind.
“When you know who you are in truth, your life will change because it cannot not change. Do you understand this, yes?”
Now the book gave what I considered to be a rather silly answer regarding buying peas at the store, but the message is clear. Did you ever buy one of those Little plastic raincoats that coming this tiny little envelope and then after you have used the raincoat, try to put it back in the envelope. The toothpaste does not go back in the tube. The cat is out of the bag. Once you open to accepting the truth, even if you are in it for a brief instant, there is no going back. When you come out of denial, in this case the denial of who you truly are, you can never go back into denial. You can pretend, you can even forget who you are, but that does not change the truth of it.
We are reminded again of a very profound truth–you are not your history. This is not a denial of your story or your history but it is reminding you it is not who you are. Your story and your history along with your body and your personality self can be an aspect or the lens or the filter that the divine shines through. Each one of us is a unique expression of the Divine and that uniqueness flows from our story, our body and our history.
Let me conclude with a question that was asked concerning the expression “I know who I am; I know what I am; I know how I serve.”
What came to me as someone asked about that was “Who I am” is a divine child of God a manifestation of the divine; that is true for all of us. “What I am” is a unique expression of the divine through history and personality. Do you get the difference between the two?
We did not delve into the last piece “I know how I serve.” Perhaps that will be where we begin next week.
Someone also asked after class was over about the passage:
“We bring on each page a teaching that may be known by the spirit. We bring on each page a teaching that may be known by the soul as the personality transitions into this new level of awareness: “I know who I am, I know what I am, I know how I serve.”
What is the difference between spirit and soul?
I have heard this question asked many times and quite often I have thought that there is no distinction between the two; my understanding of that is changed somewhat.
What we call spirit is the essence of God, the divine consciousness in which we all participate. Soul is my unique participation and expression of that divine consciousness.
So let us close with the truth “I know how I serve and let us explore that as the week unfolds.