Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To Love and Be Loved...That Is the Answer

One of the most widely quoted and contemplated literary quotes is from William Shakespeare's Hamlet:

"To be or not to be, that is the question."

In this soliloquy, Hamlet contemplates life...how living, "being", is about suffering "slings and arrows"...Being (the hard process of life) ultimately brings about not being (dying). Hamlet's offers an observation of how we have made life hard with all of our resistance, our need to fight to be right, with the idea that opposition is noble. We create our difficulties through living out society's ways of struggle, and in following these ways, we get confused into thinking that life IS struggle. It creates a fearful existence, where we become afraid of change, afraid that we are not being good enough...afraid to really BE. In that fear, we cease to fully exist; rather we exist within in the ordinary and confined norms of society, afraid to be all that we are and all that we came here to be. Our fear keeps us from connecting to our own greatness in order to connect to God. The irony is that we think that staying within the lines and pointing out our own flaws will get us back to God, when actually, it is just the opposite. Remembering our perfection is what gets us there.

"A Course In Miracles" is a widely used text which teaches that all emotions are based in either love or fear. Love is the good emotion that fills our hearts (and the only thing that is "real". We have confused love with rules, regulations, requirements, ownership and control - whether it be in our children, our parents, our romantic partners, our friends. Many of us give love only when the other side is doing what we want them to, sending subtle but powerful messages that, in order to get the love, one must act a certain way. Or we succumb to others who give us love only when we do what they want us to, applying guilt when we do not. Love is not about control, nor is it about being controlled. If you have these elements, you do not have pure love. You may have a watered down version of love that is littered with manipulation - our distorted worldly version - but it is ensconced in fear, so it cannot be love and therefore, is not real.

Fear-based emotions come from lack of love. They are illusions that we create. So many people live in fear - fear of losing their jobs or homes, fear of disapproval, fear of taking a chance, fear of getting sick, fear of being different...of going out on a limb, or fear of just doing something wrong. In the ultimate use of fear, we have the threat of eternal damnation in hell if we dare to drift out of established rules. This comes from lack of love...mostly lack of love for oneself. It confuses us into thinking that God is about fear and punishment, when in fact, God is only love. It is the need to control that conjures up the image of God as punishing, but God does not punish us...we punish ourselves, creating our own hell. We arrive at this place through a world that beats us down and reminds us of our imperfection. We can only escape it if we escape these feelings of unworthiness....if we begin to love ourselves enough to stand up for our worthiness, to love others without excessive stipluations.

In the coming year, I will be hosting a facebook group that discusses the ideas in "A Course in Miracles" (ACIM), which provides a pathway out of fear and back into love. If you are not familiar with ACIM, it is laid out in daily devotional fashion, with 365 lessons that lead one through a process of thought-changing exercises. It has been inspirational to many who have sought a more spiritual path. Although it takes little time for each exercise, the effect can be profound. There is no pressure to do every lesson or to follow any daily routine or ritual, just the need for an open mind and heart. Having this on facebook provides an easy way to work through the process, with support from others of like mind. The facebook page will allow for informal discussions of the ideas in ACIM and a reflection on how it is working in our lives. It will sometimes connect to ideas on this blogsite and vice versa.

If you are interested in studying "A Course In Miracles" and would like to join the facebook group, CLICK HERE.

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