Today, I burst out laughing when I read, ”The role assigned to your own mind in this plan, then, is simply to determine what, other than itself, must change if you are to be saved.”
What a silly idea! This is saying that we believe suffering is salvation. To discover this for yourself, notice how you feel when your mind says, “If this were different (or if he/she/I were different), I would be saved (happy, safe, loved, etc).” Notice that as your mind chatters about what needs to be different, you aren’t happy. In that very moment, happiness is hidden from you. The thought that ‘something needs to be different’ is suffering.
Logically, can suffering be salvation?
It gets crazier, we also believe salvation is suffering. To see this, notice how you feel when you are asked to allow a situation/person to be as it is. Sometimes it seems as if allowing things to be as they are is unthinkable! Also, notice how you feel when you are asked to surrender (let go of) the way you think.
When we notice that we believe suffering is salvation and salvation is suffering, we see how confused our way of thinking is. We also see that we need help that comes from beyond our confused, habitual way of thinking.
In today’s workbook lesson, we are instructed to ask God, “What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?”
In my experience, it is entirely possible that you will hear something when you ask these questions, and it is entirely possible that you won’t. However, either situation can be success. Let me explain how.
When something was weighing on my mind, such as a grievance or fear, a time of quiet ‘asking for guidance’ led me to see the situation differently. I received guidance regarding my mind in the situation. When this type of guidance came, I wrote it down. It doesn’t matter if it was brief or a long conversation with God, I found writing it down helpful so I could reflect on it, accept it, and follow it.
However, if there was nothing weighing on my mind, I usually did not receive guidance during a quiet time of ‘asking.’ Instead, I felt peace or devotion as I sat quietly, but later in the day guidance would spontaneously arise when I needed it. I had opened a channel during the quiet time of sitting, and the channel was being used when it was needed.
We need guidance that is beyond the thinking mind. We open to this guidance by asking for it, and then by being receptive to receive it. In the Tess Hughes video, she called this “prayer.” Prayer was one of the three practices that she recommended for the spiritual aspirant. The other two were meditation and inquiry. As we move forward with Consistent, Gentle Healing, we will incorporate all three practices into our lives more and more.
Here is an example of guidance that I received when something was weighing on me:
Situation: Because of a snow storm, I cancelled my commitment to attend a meeting at a friend’s house about a proposed new tax. I was supposed to bring muffins for everyone. My daughter, who was 7 years old, was looking forward to playing with the other kids who would be there. I felt guilty for canceling and letting everyone down.
Question: Spirit, what would you have me see in this situation? What shall I do?
Answer: See that you believe the guilt. You aren’t just noticing that you feel guilty. You believe that you are guilty. You believe that you are guilty because you made commitments that you are breaking, and there is a concept in your mind that to be good you must be responsible, and to be responsible you must keep your commitments. You are also feeling selfish since you made this decision because you did not want to go in this weather. You feel you did not think of your friend’s feelings or your daughter’s feelings before making the decision, and you believe a good person would have considered the feelings of everyone; a good person would have thought of everyone as Self. You do not see yourself as being a good person. This is why you feel guilty.
Now look at that. There are concepts in your mind that tell you that you are good or bad, based on what you do or do not do, or even based on what you think. You believe this. You cannot see your way out of believing this. You believe that it is true that you must behave in a certain way or you are not good. And yet, there are several opportunities everyday for you not to behave according to your own standards for good.
Stop deciding for yourself what is good. I tell you that you are good. Good has no opposite just as Love has no opposite. Good and Love are One, and One is all there is. This is what you have not accepted with your concepts of good and bad. You believe there are opposites and you believe you can judge what is what. All of this you must let go of.
Instead of this burden that you have laid upon yourself, try this instead. Give your burden to me. Say, “I know I must be wrong.” Hand it to me without reservation of any concept that you believe must be true. Be willing to be fully wrong and ready for rest.
Now, sit quietly and open yourself to Love. Trust that Love will fill your mind. As the lightness begins to come in, welcome it. Let it be at home in your mind. Enjoy the lightness. You may feel a temptation to feel guilty for enjoying the lightness. I am still with you, and you may hand that temptation over to me. Think of me standing beside you waiting to take each burden as it comes to your mind. Hand it over quickly. You do not need to examine it or ask if it is true. I relieve you of that duty. I will judge for you. Hand it to me and let me take care of it. You are free to enjoy the lightness in your mind. That is what I want you to do . . . enjoy the lightness in your mind.
And now, notice as the lightness becomes brighter. It is more than lightness now, it is happiness. Happiness is blossoming within your mind. Accept it. It is yours. I give it to you. It is my gift to you, and it makes me happy to see you accept it.
Notice your heart. Notice the feeling in your heart. That is love. That is your love. Focus on the love that is within you and notice that it is you. This is your reality, and this love you have to give is not dependent on what you do or do not do in your life. This love is always there and you are always willing to share it. Feel this love, and let yourself be fully immersed in it. This is you. Within this love, you can see that it does not matter what you do or do not do; you are always free to extend this love in any situation. Do not worry about what you do or what you decide. It isn’t important. Stay with the love and be willing to extend the love. Rest your mind and place your faith in me. If you do this, everything else will be natural for you.
The rest of the story: My daughter was very disappointed that we didn’t go to her friend’s house this morning. She cried for about twenty minutes. Within love, I held her while she cried without judging me, her or the snow for the situation. I loved her, knowing that she was OK, I’m OK and that the outcome would be happy.
When she was ready, we made alternate plans. I decided to stick with my original thought about not driving in today’s heavy snowfall. I suggested that we put on our snow boots, walk to McDonald’s for lunch and then walk to the nearby children’s science museum. My daughter hugged me and said, “Thank you, momma.” Then, we ate fresh, warm muffins for breakfast.
After returning to my right-mind, I was able to look at the “hell” I went through earlier. It’s clear that I had done nothing wrong in deciding not to drive to my friend’s house today. My only mistake was listening to the ego’s interpretation of that decision.