Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Course Note #69: Let Freedom Reign

For several years, it seems that I have been in “a period of relinquishment” as it’s called in A Course in Miracles.  During this time I’ve been called to look at long-held thought and behavior habits, and urged to let them go.  It’s been interesting to see how my Inner Teacher has been using the letting of go of behavioral habits as a symbol for the laying aside of self.  That’s really what the practice is about, learning to let go of me so that I can experience more of God.

This morning I was prompted to Romans 7 in the Bible where Paul speaks of his own struggles:
“I don’t understand myself!  I am not practicing what I would like to do, but am doing the very thing I don’t want to do.  Something in me keeps sabotaging my best intentions. I obviously need help!  I want to change, but I don’t seem to be able to.  My decisions don’t result in actions.  Some part of me rebels and takes charge!  I’ve tried everything and nothing seems to help. I’m at the end of my rope! Who or what will free me?”

I can really relate to this guy! How about you? Who or what will free me? You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
I remembered this line from the Bible and so I looked it up. I noticed that the verse above it (John 8:30), reveals just how to experience the truth that I am: 

If you stick with it,
Abide in Me,
and practice what I tell you,
then, you shall know the truth,
and the truth will set you free
of your self.

            It’s not hearing or reading about truth that will set me free, but knowing the Truth. We come to know the Truth through practice.  I am experiencing freedom in various aspects of my life, but it’s probably fair to say that most of have some area where we continue to feel imprisoned.  In fact, A Course in Miracles says that there is no one who does not feel imprisoned in some way.  The key word here is “feel” because a child of God cannot be imprisoned; I can only think that I am.
            The thought system of this world is the antithesis of truth.  The voices in and around us tell us that we’re not enough, that we must be bigger, better, best.  Yet, beyond the cacophony, Holy Spirit whispers, be still

            We live in a prison that we’ve placed ourselves in. This prison has no doors or walls; it is constructed entirely of our thoughts.  The Great News is that we can learn to not listen to our thoughts.  We can choose again.
             “It is your thoughts that have made you suffer. And so, if you would choose freedom, you must also choose freedom from your thoughts.  This is why I have come. I am here to teach you to lay down your thoughts, to loosen yourself from your bindings, and to straighten up and walk in joy and gratitude instead.”  (NTI Luke 13 vs 10-17)

            Recently I received the message to stay with resistance by not resisting it.  As I pondered this, I wondered how to do that.  Lo and behold I opened NTI to this:
            “There is a resistance within your mind that will seem to fight your every move.  But if you remember this, it will make your journey much easier for you:

This resistance within the mind that first comes up strong is actually
weak.  Any strength it seems to have is an ancient strength, given to it a
long time ago.  It can use its strength to seem ferocious in the short
term, but it needs your strength to remain ferocious longer. So when 
you see it, remember not to give it your strength.  Through your remembrance, 
its ferociousness must die.  And only peace will remain in its wake.
 And then, the wake shall die too. (NTI Acts 7 v 44-53)

            Yes! Resistance has no power.  With my strength I can simply let it go.  In this section of NTI Acts, Holy Spirit tells me that I am being held lovingly in the arms of love as I struggle with myself.  Wow. Thank You!
             We have taught ourselves that we are not who we are.  The truth is that I am not this limited body. I am Spirit. I am Love. I am as God created me.  This is the truth.  This becomes more than words when I am willing to practice truth within my resistance, within my stuck places. 
I nurse my willingness to be healed in the acknowledgment that I don’t know how to be free, and that there is a part of me that must not want to be free.  Out of my recognition of my resistance to freedom, I need only call on Holy Spirit’s perfect willingness, and it is given me.  I will be healed through my willingness.

Speaking of resistance, one of my dear friends gave me permission to share her experience with this.  She recently lost her job, and so we have had several conversations about how this experience is all about teaching her to trust.  She finally received a job offer, and it seemed to be a good job offering more money than she made previously, however, it was an hour and a half from her home, and there were other drawbacks.  Initially she accepted the job because she was afraid it would be the only offer.
As we spoke about this, she told me that she was confused because the night before she received the job offer, she had surrendered to Spirit saying that she was willing to do whatever she was called to do, and go wherever she was called to go.  So she thought that meant that she should take this job.
"Maybe not",  I said, “You’re willing to do anything, but trust.  Think about it, you’re willing to spend three plus hours on the freeway to go to a job that you don’t really want, rather than rest in trust that there is something else for you to do.”
She realized that this was a really good point.  So often we listen to the voice of fear that tells us we must take this job or that relationship because if we don’t, maybe nothing else will come along.  My friend is having an experiential opportunity to learn to trust.  We all must learn this through the living of our lives. 
And of course, we all experience fear, sometimes great fear, as we learn to trust.  In the “Development of Trust” section in A Course in Miracles, we first go through what is called “a period of undoing”:
“This period need not be painful, but it usually is experienced that way because it seems that things are being taken away, and it is rarely understood initially that their lack of value is merely being recognized.  She is not yet at a point at which she can make the shift entirely internally, and so the plan will sometimes call for changes in what seem to be external circumstances.  These changes are always helpful.  … It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful.”

In our resistance, we want things to stay the same because on some level, we find safety in things as we see them now, even if what we see now is a drag.  When I listen to the voice of the small, limited, not good enough self, I cater to the appetites of me, myself and I. 

My freedom rests in a thought of God.  Freedom comes through listening to the Voice of Freedom.  I am imprisoned as I listen to my self. In any moment, I am either resisting who I am as a free child of God, or I rest in willingness to live as a free child of God. 
The future will no longer be continuous with the past as I rest in this moment, and make another choice. 

Holy Spirit,
My freedom is in You alone.
I did not understand what made me free,
nor where to look to find it.
I searched in vain until I heard Your Voice directing me.
 Now I would guide myself no more.
I trust in You.       
                                                  (ACIM WBL 321)

The audio was recorded 7/20/10 to an internet audience.  It contains much more
on this topic than is contained in this blog. Enjoy!

MP3 File