Three major themes come to me as I sit with today's class: one is that we are not being asked to separate from our humanness; in reality the acceptance and sanctification of our humanness is a huge part of this journey.
Two: the goal/object of our stay on planet Earth is to learn and practice how to love unconditionally.
Three best to see all being as love, and if we cannot to be willing to sit with our feelings, our life situation or our perceptions until the Love that is already there reveals itself to us.
I began this morning by reflecting on that marvelous musical line that states “Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't already have.”
Each day we are confronted with the paradoxical learning that reflection contains. You do not become divine, you do not create the kingdom of heaven. Our divine nature is already here; we are already in the Kingdom. However, we do not always remain with that truth or that awareness. It is within our nature, our human nature, to be drawn into forgetfulness again and again and then to awaken again and again. Now to the personality, to the thinking mind this seemingly endless cycle of sleeping and awakening, of unawareness to awareness, seems useless and yet here we are.
In the cycle of awareness and unawareness in our study and work with ourselves and Spirit, we discover that one of the fruits of our labor is that the time between with the measurable time between sleeping and awakening becomes shorter and shorter as we allow ourselves to be drawn more and more into the Truth of Who We Are. Not only that, but in the moments of Awakening we become more loving towards ourselves rather than critical. “Yes I am falling asleep; yes I have gone into unawareness and yet today, now, in this moment, I am gratefully aware of my consciousness, of the Divine within me and all beings.”
This theme has been explored quite often: I either accept that the light of Divine truth is the essence of Love, is manifested in all beings. If I put one person or one being out of the Light then I cannot realize that in myself either. It is similar to being aware that when my heart is closed to you, for whatever reasons, then I have allowed myself to be shut off from the consciousness of Love. If I cannot love you, I csnnot love me either. (Or as the book suggests, “If I kinda/sorta love you; then I will kinda/sorta love myself.—-Kinda/sorta is not even closed to unconditional!)
In embracing my humanness, my body, mind, spirit and emotions, I am releasing it all from judgment. There are no good feelings or bad feelings, there are simply feelings and there are emotions. They can all be teachers; they can all be recognized as responses to the world in the circumstances I find myself in. We do not have to judge ourselves or others for our response to the world. I can use each and every expression within me as a teacher.
With my feelings, my emotional response to myself or to you or to a circumstance, I find in myself, they can allow me to be aware of an attachment that needs to be healed or can be a reflection that I continue to be a spiritual being having a human experience.
The shortest verse in Christian scripture is “Jesus wept.” Jesus was saddened by the death of his friend Lazarus, and even though he might have known that in the next moment or so he would raise Lazarus from the dead, he could still experience human anguish and the anguish of the family and those around him for the loss of this loved one. There are no apologies made, “I am simply being who I am.”
We were encouraged to make a list of all of those things that we perceive keep us away or prevent us from embracing the truth of our divine nature, the unconditional love that we are and that we are blessed by. I would encourage each one of us to do this. It is not an exercise in judgment or blame it is an exercise in awareness. One of the things I discovered for myself is that there are many many tiny, seemingly inconsequential, things in my life that can separate me or separate my perception from the love of God or the love that I am.
“If you wish now, take a piece of paper and write a list of all the things that you would keep outside of God, that you feel too good for, that you blame for this or that, that can never be forgiven or condoned. When you make this list, please ask yourself why you believe the things you do, who taught you these things, and why you create from them.”
A very simple and yet profound example came into my mind as we were working together this morning. It is within my nature and within my limited understanding of myself that I hold onto the need for a certain amount of perfectionism. “This is the way things need to be,” and so my obsessive neatness is not simply a desire to be organized, it is connected to a number of “shoulds” or “have tos” all of which are learned behaviors from times past. Boiled down, very simply it might say, “Well if your room is not neat there is something wrong or disrespectful about you.”
Now, of course, if we were to look at that at face value, it would seem ridiculous and yet why is it that my socks should be folded this way or this is how my closet should look or wherever else are compulsiveness might take us.
I mentioned that one of the themes in my life and probably one of my deepest ingrained lessons is to realize that I am unconditionally loved no matter what. I have spent so much time and effort in wanting or trying to get people to like me. Now again, I do not use that as a point of judgement, but you will notice that this (being liked) is a value that comes from the ego or personality consciousness and has nothing to do with the deeper reality of unconditional love. When I forget this, then I put my “okayness” into your hands and think to myself in a rather hidden kind of way that “If you think I'm okay then I guess I am.” The biggest difficulty with this is that today's sense of “okayness” does not translate into tomorrow. Tomorrow I must start all over again to gain your approval to be okay.
All of what goes on within my personality in my ego consciousness is a reflection of a deeper truth but so often that becomes lost. From the ego’s perspective, from the personality’s perspective, being liked or accepted is a primary value. Even if I were to say, “I do not give a damn about what you think about me,” I still find myself reaping the benefits having you think that I am strong and unique.
The reflection here on a deeper level is being aligned to the truth as Paul said, “Nothing can separate me from the love of God.”
“...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It is the realization that my sense of “okayness” comes from outside of me whereas the reality of knowing that I am an aspect of unconditional love comes from a Truth that already exists within myself. it cannot be created; it can only be reinforced because the truth never disappears.
Who would I be without my limitations on unconditional love?
Thank you for your Presence.
Here’s another secret--you are always a beloved child of God even if you are not acting like one, and even if you don’t feel like one.