Seeking and Finding

The ego is certain that love is dangerous, and this is always its central teaching. It never puts it this way; on the contrary, everyone who believes that the ego is salvation seems to be intensely engaged in the search for love. Yet the ego, though encouraging the search for love very actively, makes one proviso; do not find it. Its dictates, then, can be summed up simply as: “Seek and do not find.” This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep. For the ego pursues its goal with fanatic insistence, and its judgment, though severely impaired, is completely consistent.

The search the ego undertakes is therefore bound to be defeated. And since it also teaches that it is your identification, its guidance leads you to a journey which must end in perceived self-defeat. For the ego cannot love, and in its frantic search for love it is seeking what it is afraid to find. The search is inevitable because the ego is part of your mind, and because of its source the ego is not wholly split off, or it could not be believed at all. For it is your mind that believes in it and gives existence to it. Yet it is also your mind that has the power to deny the ego’s existence, and you will surely do so when you realize exactly what the journey is on which the ego sets you.

It is surely obvious that no one wants to find what would utterly defeat him. Being unable to love, the ego would be totally inadequate in love’s presence, for it could not respond at all. Then, you would have to abandon the ego’s guidance, for it would be quite apparent that it had not taught you the response you need. The ego will therefore distort love, and teach you that love really calls forth the responses the ego can teach. Follow its teaching, then, and you will search for love, but will not recognize it.

Do you realize that the ego must set you on a journey which cannot but lead to a sense of futility and depression? To seek and not to find is hardly joyous. Is this the promise you would keep? The Holy Spirit offers you another promise, and one that will lead to joy. For His promise is always, “Seek and you will find,” and under His guidance you cannot be defeated. His is the journey to accomplishment, and the goal He sets before you He will give you. For He will never deceive God’s Son whom He loves with the Love of the Father.

You will undertake a journey because you are not at home in this world. And you will search for your home whether you realize where it is or not. If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you will be seeking it where it is not. You do not remember how to look within for you do not believe your home is there. Yet the Holy Spirit remembers it for you, and He will guide you to your home because that is His mission. As He fulfils His mission He will teach you yours, for your mission is the same as His. By guiding your brothers home you are but following Him.

Behold the Guide your Father gave you, that you might learn you have eternal life. For death is not your Father’s Will nor yours, and whatever is true is the Will of the Father. You pay no price for life for that was given you, but you do pay a price for death, and a very heavy one. If death is your treasure, you will sell everything else to purchase it. And you will believe that you have purchased it, because you have sold everything else. Yet you cannot sell the Kingdom of Heaven. Your inheritance can neither be bought nor sold. There can be no disinherited parts of the Sonship, for God is whole and all His extensions are like Him.

The Atonement is not the price of your wholeness, but it is the price of your awareness of your wholeness. For what you chose to “sell” had to be kept for you, since you could not “buy” it back. Yet you must invest in it, not with money but with spirit. For spirit is will, and will is the “price” of the Kingdom. Your inheritance awaits only the recognition that you have been redeemed. The Holy Spirit guides you into life eternal, but you must relinquish your investment in death, or you will not see life though it is all around you.

A Course in Miracles, chapter 12

The Point of Diminishing Contrast: Journey of Peace 2017– Day 40

Welcome to Day 40–did you make it through all 40 days? It gets long, doesn’t it? Just a reminder: The next 10 days are “rest” days for this Journey, during which time I will post one last time about my self-assessment for this Journey. Then we begin a Journey of Rest. Like on the 7th day, we rest for the 7th Journey. During this time I’ll do some alternative article-writing, which I hope will inspire and entertain you while we recuperate from the 2017 Journeys and gear-up for 2018. and then…I have some exciting news. The Journeys are now being formalized into online classes. Beginning in 2018, I will offer personalized guidance, support, encouragement, and inspiration for those wanting to take their spiritual practice/seeking to the next level. Stay tuned on that. For now…Thank you for being here and adding your light to the world. Blessings to you.

Copyright Tam Black 2017
for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

Knowing the essence of All as my Self, I respect and revere All Life. I love my Self; I love All Life. I bring this Love regularly, sincerely, and thankfully to all my activities and interactions. I now Know the Peace inherent in Oneness. I Know All as my Self. I Know my Self as Love.

Reflection

I love this phrase: “I love my Self”. I used to have a hard time even thinking about loving myself. Now I love saying it to myself and hearing it from myself! I love Love!

You know that I very often ask such questions as “how do I do [it]” or “how do I know”, right?

Well, over the past few days, I’ve been in a situation that has helped me to understand how one knows. Be forewarned: it is not clearly logical or rational, ultimately, the answer is, “you just know”. I think I am getting more comfortable with that answer.

So the question is (or the questions are), how do I know if I am At Peace or how do I know if I perceive Oneness or how do I know if I’m even doing anything.

A lot of times I don’t know–not emotionally, not intellectually, not physically. And I now see that it is due to what I now call “the point of diminishing contrast”.

You see, I hang out pretty much with people who a) are good communicators b) value peace and harmony in relationships and home c) care about spiritual values and actualizing them in the world. In short, I hang out with people who work at having clear minds/hearts, and living from that pure space.

This is the point of diminishing contrast: I vibrate with the folks I hang out with on a similar wavelength that reflects our values. There is less contrast between me and my friends than between me and someone who thinks and acts from (let’s call it) “lower self” values. It is harder to discern “how much” Peace I actually embody, if I don’t have a contrasting point of view.

Every once in a while it hits me: “most people don’t think or live like this”. I understand intellectually that my mind and life are smoother, more peaceful than most people’s. But it’s not like I understand the extent to which my life is smoother.

I’ve recently been given the gift of interacting with someone on a daily basis, who (how shall I say this?)…who’s mind is in chaos, and I can see it.

This is part of the bigger, “ultimate” answer of: you just know. When you get to a certain point of experience, you can recognize what you know in other people. This is true in many areas, not just that of spiritual growth. People who have been in recovery can recognize symptoms of alcohol disease in others before the others may recognize it. People who have reclaimed their lives after abusive relationships can recognize the symptoms of abuse. When people focus and learn the skills and behaviors of Peace, it becomes clear when someone is not at peace.

In this particular situation, the contrast is so great, I can practically see exactly how this person’s mind spins, the effects that the spinning has, and how it plays out in the life of this person. It’s just so obvious.

I have to say, this has been a draining situation. I am not used to working with people who are so not-self-aware, and so embroiled in their their mind’s antics. It has been educational on very many levels, and I am thankful for all of them. I can now identify my own Peace much better, and I bless and ask for Peace for those who do not have this awareness.

The Middle Prayer: Journey of Peace 2017– Day 39

Copyright Tam Black 2017
for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

The purpose of Life for all beings is to experience happiness, peace, contentment, and safety, Knowing the Oneness and Immortality of the Divine Self. Such Knowledge is beyond speech, beyond thought; it is found in the depths of the heart where communion (co-union) with All is reality. I bring the unifying force within my heart to all people and experiences and thus Know myself as the happiness, peace, contentment, and safety I Am.

Reflection

More and more I’ve been pausing throughout my day to “bring the unifying force within my heart to all people and experiences”. I haven’t even been thinking about the Journey. I just want to do it. (you can see a couple of my recent prayers here and here.)

“Anytime, anywhere” is what I thought about this today. There is no place inappropriate to ask the Divine into the heart. There is no time that is inappropriate (At first I had to get over myself on this particular issue. The first time I was on the toilet and the prayer came up into my mind, I thought… “I can’t do this here“. But I got over it. There is no place God isn’t. Even the toilet. So if you can bring yourself to say a prayer while in the bathroom…you have an understanding beyond “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” about a relationship with God, congratulations!).

Wanting to pray throughout the day is quite new for me. I have done formal (Russian Orthodox) morning and evening prayers. I do mantra. I say the Our Father and the Hail Mary. I used to “just talk” to God as prayer. I lost that when I was still young, maybe around age 16. Formal prayers became the substitute.

I love formal prayers. I love the assurance of knowing that these prayers have been used for millenia by lots of people who want to communicate with God. It’s as though someone else has figured something out, and all I have to do is say the words to reap the benefits. I can relax; I don’t have to think about (as, of course, I would) if I am “doing it right”. Formal prayers have already been tested and approved.

“Just talking” to God is murkier for me. I want to communicate clearly–all the time, but especially when I am talking to God. When I “just talk” I seem to get lost in my thoughts and the talk turns to distracted musing, wondering, or worry.

The prayers that I now do are kind of an in-between. I use a semi-formal structure (see the links above), then through that structure I invoke and/or ask for Light, Love, Healing, Peace, etc., using my own words, whatever comes to mind, whatever the situation happens to be.

The bridge that helped me find this in between spot–not formal prayer, yet not distracted musing–was the idea that before every prayer, I simply invoke my Christ Presence, the Holy Spirit, my I Am Presence, my Divine Self–whatever you choose to call It, It is that Presence that mediates between your personality and the Divine. With this invocation, every word of the prayer becomes filtered through this Presence, so I can’t “do it wrong” and every word is purified before it reaches God’s ear, so God understands what I mean, even if it’s not what I am saying or if it’s gibberish.

The Holy Spirit/I Am Presence listens to my heart, to my deepest self, and offers that to God on my behalf. Can you see now why I “just want” to pray throughout the day?

Invoking Light: Journey of Peace 2017– Day 36

Copyright Tam Black 2017
for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

I prepare my mind for Peace. I prepare my mind to recognize that above all else, I want the Peace that passeth understanding. Today, I offer only this, in humility and gratitude to my Divine Self: I am willing to let the Peace of God be what it is, and I accept myself as I am meant to be.

Reflection

When it’s rainy, our house becomes more active with unseen energies. I’m not sensitive to it most of the time, but Tam is. Tam hears a child laughing, footsteps; we both smell cigarette or cigar smoke.

This past week was rainy and Tam heard something new–a woman’s voice called out “HANK!?” and then the doorknob to the bedroom rattled.

I decided to smudge the house. Taking my sage and candle, I stood at the foyer–Tam was around the corner in the living room–and began my silent invocation of Divine Love and Light; it was about dusk, and dim in the space.

When I finished the prayer and began to move to light the sage from the candle, Tam said, “Did you just light something?” I said, “Nooooo”. Tam said, “What did you do; I saw a flash of light!?” I said, “I invoked light!” Tam said, “Well, you got it!” and then explained that there was a big burst of light that came in–and Tam’s eyes had been closed.

I was happy to hear that.

I do the spiritual work, and I know that something is happening, but it’s not like I see it. Spiritual work is not like material work–the cause-effect links seem to be neither immediate nor obvious.

Yet, the links and results are immediate, if this recent scenario is any indication (which I choose to think it is).

My prayer practices have taken on a new gusto.

All I have to do is do them. They work. Whether I see it or not, whether I know what the results are or not they work.

The Divine Light of God comes to those who call. Ask and ye shall receive.

I have been asking more. I used to have restricting thoughts about “what I ask for”. Doubts used to plague me about asking for the right things, about doing it right, about how I was doing it generally.

My prayers have become simple–some version of this basic prayer: I am my I Am Presence and I am One with the I Am Presence of all humanity. As one breath, one heartbeat, one voice, one energy, vibration, and consciousness of Pure Divine Love, I invoke Divine Light. I ask for Love and Light to enter and fill the minds and hearts of all people, blessing All. I offer my thoughts, words, feelings and actions to the Divine in gratitude for the opportunity to increase the Light in the world. 

I feel as though my communication with the Divine has opened up to new possibilities!

 

 

 

Just That (Over and Over): Journey of Peace 2017– Day 34

Copyright Tam Black 2017
for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

I am fulfilled! I am filled to the utmost capacity! I embody All that Is. I am beyond complete! I accept and receive the beautiful gift of Life, and Know the perfection of the Love I Am. In gratitude I share this Love with All that Is.

Reflection

I wish I could convey adequately how I am learning about the rhythm and cycle of life. I don’t mean cycles of linear time. I mean as every present moment of now–the rhythm of now.

Every moment, life breathes me as I breathe life. This is the flow. It is instantaneously simultaneous, perpetual. I AM the Life I live, the life I live IS me. As I give to life, life gives to me. This is the experience of Oneness. Every breath connects me with everything Life IS–which is everything.

“I am ‘beyond’ complete” because this Life is Infinite. As I breathe and feel It come into me, I feel it for what it is, which is infinitely gianormous. I’m beyond complete, because all that  fills up this tiny vessel like it’s nothing–and compared to infinity, it is!

When I feel It filling me, there is nothing else I want. Just that.

And so I do whatever I can do so that I have that. Just that.

What do I need to do?

Not much, really: Give Life back to Life. Give Love back to Love.

Since I am Life, and I am Love…

And Life and Love Supply me infinitely…

It’s simple to give back; I certainly have enough.

All it takes is small prayers throughout the day of gratitude to Life, for the opportunity I have to live and participate in It. Precious, precious life.

Take a moment now, say it with me:

I ask my I AM Presence to purify and bless all my thoughts, feelings, words, and actions, with Infinite Love. Thus purified and blessed, I ask my I AM Presence to Offer my thoughts, feelings, words, and actions to God-Life-Love-All That IS in gratitude for the opportunity for me to contribute to the light and life in the world. OM Peace Peace Peace.

 

 

 

My Crap. My Choice.: Journey of Peace 2017– Day 32

Copyright Tam Black 2017
for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

Knowing myself as Peace fortifies my inner awareness of the unity within. Through gratitude for the Life I Am, I connect with harmony. Through harmony, I am restored and strengthened, and am thus able to carry my Inner Peace to all of life’s activity surrounding me.

Reflection

“Whenever you are angry, you can be sure that you have formed a ‘special relationship’, which the ego has ‘blessed’, for anger is its blessing. Anger takes many forms, but it cannot long deceive those who will learn that love brings no guilt at all, and what brings guilt cannot be love and must be anger.”  (ACIM)

I got to a point of comfort here, with these Journeys. I was (am) flowing, my life and emotions are smooth…no problems, really.

About a week ago I thought from out of the blue, “but I haven’t been working on anything specific…” I brushed that aside with the counter-thought, “But of course you have: each Journey works on something specific”.

But something didn’t (doesn’t) feel right anymore. I was right: I’ve become comfortable in doing these Journeys. That means there is no “real” growth. Real growth (for me) is when there is something pushing me, prodding me, gnawing at me to understand, to figure out, to forgive and release. It’s up to me to challenge myself to find those things within, and bring them to light.

It’s a precarious balance, especially for me, a person who is often too hard on myself for “not doing enough”.

When am I not doing enough? versus When am I taking a step back to integrate or assimilate something new? versus When have I gotten lazy?

In the past few weeks I have slowly been re-integrating a tool/modality that I had used many years ago. It’s a tool that makes emotions visible. It does not heighten emotions per se, but it increases my awareness of the emotions that are going on, bringing them to consciousness.

In the past week, I’ve been thinking more about my emotions, more about my past emotions and how those are influencing me, more about emotions that I learned as a kid that I did not consciously choose (for example, I’ve been recognizing an emotion that I inherited, connected with a fear of making bad decisions, especially when it comes to money).

I am much more attuned to feelings of anger and guilt–sometimes I feel them (and acknowledge them), sometimes I just recognize that there is a situation that (were I to buy into it), would elicit feelings of anger and guilt.

But since I’ve been thinking about it (that is: since I have been more aware), I’ve been feeling more and more (and it’s been about anger and guilt, which is why the quote is at the top of the page).

Even with “how much I know” (or how much I think I know) about myself, about my emotions, about how I tick, and what ticks me off…there is still stuff that I need to work on.

I prefer to choose to work on stuff. It’s my choice! These Journeys are certainly part of it–and will be for a long time to come. But it’s time to get to work on those things that I may not consciously be aware of, and it’s time to make those things conscious. Stuff like:

  • When did I decide that I could not have nice things?
  • What is this tension my body holds in my neck and throat?
  • What do I wish I could say that I don’t?
  • When did I decide that I need to “work through” toxic situations, rather than leaving them?
  • How can I release fear of being successful?

And on and on. There’s so much to work on! By making the choice to grow, to release “crap”, I get ahead of it–I control when and how it expresses; it does not sneak up on me and come out inappropriately.

I feel like I have come so far, and yet I’m back at square one. This is not unexpected. I may be back at square one, but with a whole lot more assurance, maturity, and confidence.

I wonder what this Journey will be like two years from now, after working out even more emotional stuff. We’ll see.

 

And Then You’ll Notice: Journey of Peace 2017– Day 31

Welcome to Round Four–we are in the homestretch now! Once more, the pronouns change with this round–we are back to using “I” as the subject of the Guiding Thought. However…you may notice that you do not feel the same way about “I” as you did in the first round after having been through “you” and “we”!

Copyright Tam Black 2017
for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

I am Love. I have infinite Love to give; therefore, I am able to give Love infinitely. Filled with Love, my energy is vibrant. All of Life responds to my inner State of Being with mutual harmony.

Reflection

A friend of mine recently asked, “do you think it really is possible for (emotional) stuff to be released, and for us to have new way of interacting with people, a new way of being?”

I paused for a moment–I always pause just to make sure I listen within before speaking–then said, “Yes. Absolutely. There are things I used to do, ways I used to think, things I used to experience that just aren’t there anymore”. For example, there was a time when I could not even recognize that I was having an emotion, much less expressing it (other people had to tell me. ouch). Now, I am very attuned to my emotions, and I can even talk about them (when I choose to!).

Not being aware of my emotions was self-destructive behavior; not communicating my emotions damaged relationships (and/or kept me in relationships longer than I should have been).

I had to make a choice to make that change in my life. And I did, but you know what? It was not grueling or difficult or tedious or traumatic. It was just about awareness…and making choices. I did have to do some trial and error, some experimenting, but in self-awareness, that’s always the fun stuff anyway.

And then over time, something would happen–just a situation where there might have been tension or miscommunication…and I wouldn’t notice it at first, but later I would look back and think: I was different. I was in tune, and I chose to act with calmness and integrity. How about that?

So, if you were to ask me if I really thought that it’s possible to move to a State of Being that comes from the Source of Infinite Love within me, filling me with Love, to which All Life responds with Harmony…I would say, “Yes. Absolutely.”

One day, you’ll notice: you’re just different. You’re acting in harmony with others, with life. There is an ease and flow to how your life runs. Just like that.