A beginning. . .
Deeper than that, my raw, honest, 21-year-old thoughts would have been something like, "Finally I'll be able to lose weight and fix my relationship (or find a better one), find the career of my dreams, be a famous writer, and have it all." Awakening from the dream of the world was the furthest thought in my mind. I wanted a better life in the world.
It didn't work out that way. The joke was on me, and it, seriously, wasn't funny, because I had taken this life -- and myself -- very SERIOUSLY!
From the first, the text of ACIM resonated deeply. I knew it was coming from some Authority. I could feel my whole self nodding "yes" as I read it, even if I didn't really understand what it was saying. Practicing it was a different story.
Over the years, I had a love/hate relationship with the darn "blue book" (as I call A Course in Miracles because of its deep blue cover.) Intermingled with times of anger, boredom, and struggle, and feelings that ACIM "didn't work" -- along with a lot of tasting at the spiritual buffet line -- there were forgiveness lessons learned. My opening mind went in fits and starts. In dire times, I'd have great willingness and this would allow miracles to stream through the density of what seemed to be going on. These were moments of insight where my thoughts were reversed, and sometimes they were witnessed by effects such as time collapse, the healing of bodies, the solving of all kinds of "problems" etc. These miracles rocked my ideas about my identity and truth and the world... to the degree I would allow them more belief, and the "reality" I lived in (with all its linear, Newtonian rules) less. These experiences were often disorienting, but bit by bit, they were flipping my perceptions and building trust and peace within me.
The flipping continues...
Perhaps you can relate to feeling "on the fence" with your spiritual practice. Looking back, I can see I've tumbled through events like a stone that becomes more round, more polished, as it is thrown about. Even with times of great insight, my fear of truth/forgiveness/innocence choreographed the "come-here-come-here, go-away-go-away" two-step that I have danced along the Path. Yet my Teacher always waits patiently for me to return...and I always, eventually --sometimes kicking-and-tail-draggingly-- do.
Why all the resistance? The Course (or any good spiritual discipline) asks us to look at our ego, and it's not a pretty sight. The ego contains all our erroneous beliefs...in sacrifice, in reciprocity, in ownership, in sickness, in anger, in scarcity, in guilt, in fear, in separate bodies, in time.
It's radical. "Not for sissies," I like to say. When we're committed to our path and we've developed a certain amount of mastery over the how-to's and why's, then the ego becomes like the Jack-in-the-box, popping up to scare us back into the illusion. Just when we start really "getting" what it says, things often seem to fall apart. Maybe we lose our jobs, our relationships get rockier, life seems scarier, we seem meaner. We think, "damn, I am not becoming more peaceful!"
But if we can just remember that anything that feels bad is part of the illusion coming from our thoughts - and that there is great Purpose in our facing the fear/guilt/pain -- we can keep our faith...even it is by a shoestring. Sometimes I ask for a "lifeline"...just give me any little thought/symbol/reminder to get me through this ego shit storm. My willingness to open (or to ask for Help which is really the same letting go) is always Answered.
The ego can't exist in Truth, and above all it wants to live in us. It thinks it killed God to live, in fact. So when it senses that the fragile underpinnings of fear and guilt are being undone, there's a backlash. The ego ranges from "viciousness to suspiciousness". It is perfectly willing to scare the hell out of us to keep us feeling fearful and guilty. That's how it preserves its own pseudo existence.
Of course, the ego is really nothing...nothing but a shadow that will dissipate like mist in the Light. It is an erroneous thought system that needs belief to give it "life." So eventually we learn to welcome the "problems" and other scary, frustrating, anger-producing things that seem to happen "out there." We welcome them, eventually, because eventually we see that there really is no "out there." Everything is coming from our minds.
The worst thing we can do is try to be perfect at this and beat ourselves up when we aren't. Only the ego thinks that way...in fact, the ego loves a good spiritual struggle! The Holy Spirit or inner Teacher is recognized by the quiet that surrounds them. They meet us with gentleness...and even light humor. Really, the ego is something to ultimately laugh at when we're ready.
We're living in the Matrix. We're in a program loop, disguised by the smoke and mirrors of time, space, and bodies to look like it's going somewhere. Once we're on to the fact that we're in a loop of meaninglessness, we need to actually identify the code that has caused it. This is when we stop seeking for our completion outside, and begin our inward journey in earnest.
I finally committed my life to knowing God, and I'm finally not ashamed to say it. :) This could also be said as knowing the Truth through undoing the ego. It's also the same as saying that I'm committed to seeing the Truth in my brothers (sisters are included, of course, but in Truth there are no bodies or distinctions) who are all part of me.
We can't make this journey without each other - I've tried, and it doesn't work! We are "all in the soup together" as a CIO of mine once used to say. We need the expression and extension of the gifts we each bring as we slowly and gently awaken from the dream.
I'm so grateful that there have been brothers whom my Teacher has used to teach me. And based on guidance I've felt and my gratitude to all those who have been in service to me, I'm offering to share here on this blog...so that I can perhaps help you and in doing so, continue to learn and help myself return to my Self.
And that's the beginning....