Sunday, November 14, 2010

Growing Commitment To Our Spiritual Path: Three Steps

Dearest All,

The last couple of weeks in class, we have been talking about how important it really is to be ever-more committed to our spiritual path.

You can feel the growing sense of urgency in every aspect of human life that the people of the world are finally getting it that they need to find "a better way".  We have found a better way.  But we need to stop treating it as if it were "optional", either through a mental laziness that allows old habit to just continue or through our cherishing of some grievance or other as "justifiable" or even "worthy".

"Grace is a total commitment," the Ur tells us.  And, "Your commitment is not yet total."

"
[T]he Atonement is a TOTAL commitment. You still think this is associated with loss. This is the same mistake ALL the Separated ones make, in one way or another. They cannot believe that a defense which CANNOT attack also IS the best defense."

And, "We have repeatedly stated that the basic concepts referred to throughout the notes are NOT matters of degree. Certain fundamental concepts CANNOT be meaningfully understood in terms of co-existing polarities. It is impossible to conceive of light and darkness or everything and nothing as joint possibilities. They are all true OR all false. It is absolutely essential that you understand completely that behavior is erratic until a firm commitment to one or the other is made."

So, how do we begin the process of going from leaning in ACIM's direction and actually making a wholehearted commitment?  The steps that I am getting are fairly simple and non-threatening, taken individually, but have the potential to have an enormous impact on us, both individually and collectively.

Step #1, as you already know if you've read my last few emails, is to take a personal inventory of those areas "out there" that trigger our most passionate but clearly not loving responses.  (For me, that inventory included things like child abuse, religious intolerance, financial exploitation by some of many - you get the point. ;-)  Things that really "get your dander up," as my grandmother used to say.  And everyone's triggers form a unique constellation of grievances in their composition to that of others.  And, contrary to the ego's beliefs, these are not areas where we can find any justification for our feelings.  And despite how powerful our anger seems to make us feel, it actually tells us where we feel threatened - and that's precisely the areas where we are giving our power away to something or someone "out there".  This crucial step is the beginning of self-discovery by bringing into the light of consciousness all the erroneous beliefs we hold that if we really, truly got it that we were the beloved child of God, we would simply laugh at the idea of threat.

Step #2 is just as simple - and every bit as uncomfortable - in that we are being asked to look at all the ways we give our power away to something "in here" - to the strident, demanding voice of the ego - that keeps screaming in our heads about our "need to attack" others in order to feel safe.  This step is about being awake enough to begin to catch ourselves going into fear out of habit.  Literally mindlessly.  And once that train is set in motion (science tells us that we have a window of only 2 seconds before the brain produces chemicals that sets our bodies into auto-reaction mode), it is incredibly hard for us to derail it. 

Step #3, as we shall discuss in class this week, is to be willing to be given the means to have a heart and mind in union.  We keep trying to figure that out for ourselves.  And therein lies our greatest failure.  But steps 1 and 2 give us a road map, of sorts.  A heads up to the pitfalls all around us and within us.  The rest is, as ACIM says, our task to give over to the One Who knows our path for us. What's ours to do is the beginning.  And then, to just be willing.

So why is there still resistance?  Simple, ACIM says:  "The habit of engaging WITH God and His Creations is easily made if you refuse actively to let your minds slip away. Your problem is not concentration: it is a belief that nobody, including yourself, is WORTH consistent effort."

Please believe with Jesus that you're worth it!

Loving you.  Really.

--
With love always,
Carmen

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