by Ross Bishop
To help children grow and learn, we create safe and nurturing environments for them. We go to great lengths to devise places that are both physically and emotionally safe. We create safe playgrounds, secure schools, baby monitors, school zones, etc., with a primary emphasis on our kids having a safe experience.
We create literal and figurative sandboxes for them. In those environments, children can learn the basics of life with nominal risk. Kids can learn about themselves and how to deal with others. Empires in sandboxes are acquired and lost, toys are shared or not and no one really gets hurt. In the sandbox nothing is permanent. Tomorrow is always another day.
In the same way, the Creator has made a great sandbox for us, it is called "Life." In this sandbox we are given opportunity after opportunity to work out the dilemmas presented by our fears without eternal consequence. We inject a lofty importance to the events of Life but, in and of themselves, they have no enduring meaning. Nothing you do here is eternal.
Those who come after you will sweep aside what you were and what you believed. Your money and fame will dissipate. If you were really famous they might build a statue or name a school after you, but even the memory of those things will fade. Everything you believe will slip away. All the fights, wars, joys, stresses, victories, illnesses and other things so significant here, will have little importance when you move on. Just like the play in the sandbox, nothing you do here is eternal, with a single, notable exception - the development of your soul.
God created two states of being in the Universe: The God Space, a realm of compassion and peace where there are no beliefs, just truth; or the realm of fear, marked by the ego and beliefs: an arena of pain - of self-doubt, fear and insecurity. You can be in one or the other, but you cannot be in both at the same time. The two are not compatible. They are like light and darkness.
Life is a learning arena designed to help you make the transition from the ego space to the God Space. It is a process to move you from fear-based self-centeredness to a place of compassion, and that will lead to the further development of your soul.* It is not a place of judgment and condemnation.
Holding your beliefs means that in that instance you have turned from God's
guidance and therefore you will need a substitute. You will need your ego. Because when you believe you are defective, you of course, must operate as though you are. The consequence is that your life will be a series of difficult bumps that come with bruises. It is a path strewn with potholes, which makes the ride so difficult that they motivate you to turn back to the main road.
But a part of you believes that it is better to cling to the safety of the ego, as difficult as it makes your life, rather than surrender to the God Space and risk what the ego is convinced will be a disastrous undertaking. Surrender is a great idea except that it means being open, and that means feeling vulnerable. And many people who live in their egos just aren't ready to go there - yet.
For them, abandoning the ego to enter the God Space simply presents too great a risk. And that is the core of the problem you face. The ego may be a lousy servant, but to this part of you, the alternative is much worse. And as the Buddha taught, "It hurts so bad because you are hanging on so tight."
So in the meantime, you work very hard to compensate or cover over your "imperfections." You see, we don't usually heal our "imperfections," we cover them over, compensate or otherwise hide them so others won't see them. At the ego level this is about all we can do because after all, you can't heal what doesn't exist.
And since these issues you struggle with are self-created, all you can do is to convince the inner child of this fact and then get her to let them go. When you move to the God Space such concerns are irrelevant because you realize that you have nothing to apologize or compensate for.
There would be no bumps and bruises if you had no beliefs. A belief is like a rock in the middle of a stream. It obstructs the natural flow of the water. Without your beliefs life could just flow smoothly and easily, there would be nothing for it to bump up against! The conflict with the flow calls your beliefs into question; you then have the opportunity to release them. This allows you to live more in harmony in the God Space.
The Western approach is to re-engineer the situation, to move the rock. But the idea is not to change life, but to shift your attitude towards it - to learn to react differently. It is through the resolution of these untruths (revealed in the process of life) that you learn to accept what the truth is about yourself. In other words, you struggle with issues that could not possibly be true so that in resolving them, you come to accept the truth that there never was a rock in the first place!
And we can get all caught up in fear and the smoke generated by our life experiences and lose sight of the "fire" that's creating the "problem" in the first place. It is easy to feel victimized and unloved, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your bumps and bruises are opportunities for you to challenge what you believe, especially about yourself.
The myth you tell yourself is that the spiritual path is something other than daily life. When you hold that myth, it gives you the wiggle room to sidestep things you'd really rather not address and that you've been avoiding for years, like loving yourself.
Life is not some nefarious plot by God or the Devil to aggravate you. Rather it is a very carefully crafted process created to assist your learning and growth. But, from a certain perspective, life can feel unfair. There is pain and suffering, people get hurt. There are street gangs, political corruption, wars, religious intolerance, drug abuse and corporate crime. I can understand why some people question the existence of God. After all, how can a loving God subject his children to so much pain and unhappiness? But, as I said, that's only one perspective.
From the outside it appears that you are here on your own, struggling against life. And sometimes it doesn't seem like you're making much progress. . . . The thing is, you are a part of the God consciousness and it is not possible for you to be unlovable, undeserving, unworthy or any of the other things you tell yourself. The problem is that you certainly can believe that you are.
The dilemma is that you're human. That means as a matter of course there are places you do not move harmoniously with life. Otherwise you would not be here! Learning to live in harmony is what life on Earth is about. So, of course you are going to have failures! And at this stage in your evolution you learn far more from your failures than you do from your successes. It is really that simple. But that is a set-up for the ego to pounce on your "inadequacies."
I don't mean to cast the ego into a negative light. It is a protective system designed to keep you out of situations that a part of you doesn't feel ready to handle. And so long as you believe you are unworthy, not lovable or not good enough, you must protect yourself from being attacked or rejected.
We try to live better, we really do, but life can be such a struggle! Look at the issues we struggle with - "I do not feel worthy," "I feel ashamed," "I am not smart enough," "pretty enough," etc. Every problem you have experienced in this life (and in your past lives) will have been created because of limitations you placed on your ability to love yourself. That's what happens when you live from the ego.
(*If you would like to study more on this, I would recommend you read Sri Aurobindo, Emergence of the Psychic and The Integral Yoga.)
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