By Ross Bishop
There are a lot of spiritual exercises out there, and I have done most of them. Take my word for it, this exercise will take you out of your comfort zone. It will also peel the paint off the walls! Actually it is not just an exercise, but the beginning of a process. The biggest problem you will probably have is simply stepping up to do it. But for those who have done it, the insights they have gained have been incredible.
It is a simple concept, and I do not want to say too much about it before you have the opportunity to try it. Whatever your experience, I would love to hear about it. Either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post here.
The exercise? . . . . .
Write A Letter To God.
Facing the blank page, the first thing that comes up is, “What am I going to tell God that He/She does not already know?” So right off, you know that this isn’t about you and God. You know that God loves you and accepts you just as you are, even though you do not. So this exercise is about you and how you feel about yourself. But, bringing God into the picture deprives you of the cover you usually hide behind.
We think we see life objectively, but really we see it filtered through the illusions of our beliefs. Our beliefs of inadequacy, unworthiness and unloveability shape and determine how we see the world and ourselves. That is why people can sometimes see the same situations so differently. I am sure you know people who see the world or themselves very differently than you do. How is that possible? There is only one world. But the question is, “How close to reality will you allow yourself to be?”
Doing this exercise strips away the masks of illusion and asks you to look at yourself honestly. We say that we want the truth, but most of us are reluctant to do that. In order to live in the truth you have to confront and release the illusions that control your life and protect you from “being harmed.” In sort of an ironic twist, busting your illusions means accepting the reality that, irrespective of your feelings about yourself, you really are a special, wonderful, lovable being. I think that the most difficult (and scary) thing for people to do is to bust their carefully constructed self images. This is because these mental constructs provide refuge from a world that has repeatedly demonstrated its capacity to hurt (or so it seems). We resist breaking up the defenses that allow us to hide in the shadows and not really show up for life.
Intuitively you know that when you write your letter, you are challenging your own game. Because you can hide from yourself, but you cannot hide from God. Face it, you’ve been running a con for the last 40+ years, and one of the ways you keep the game going is by struggling with, but not calling into question, the beliefs you hold about yourself.
You have been told repeatedly that God loves you, and even a moment’s reflection will show how fallacious your negative beliefs about yourself are, but the truth conflicts so profoundly with what you need to believe, that you resist challenging it. This is partly because holding your beliefs gives you permission to act out your fears rather than addressing them. We tend to bury our heads in the sand and ignore reality when it challenges what we believe.
The difficulty most people have in doing this exercise is that they intuitively know what’s going to happen, therefore they rigorously avoid going into the truth. Setting beliefs out in writing takes your beliefs out of the fantasy realm and exposes them to the scrutiny of daylight. It delegitimizes and disempowers them. Making beliefs “real” exposes our feelings of not being lovable, of not being good enough and not measuring up. And the part of us that feasts on illusion wants nothing to do with the truth. This part uses the excuse that “If we go there, bad things will happen.” The myth is that you will stand naked before God, be judged unworthy and then be rejected. Fundamentalist preachers have been milking that fear for years.
If you go deeper and get beneath your fear, you come to a place that knows what you believe really is untrue. The thing is, this is even more threatening than feeling defective, because if you really are not the flawed being you think you are, then you are obliged to show up for life without reservation! And from the perspective of a person who has lived her life pushed around by her fears, that is asking a great deal!
Your feelings of inadequacy are a complete falsehood. They are a product of the misunderstanding created when you separated from The Creator in order to come to earth. You came out of mindless bliss to find yourself stuck in a body and dumped amongst people who hurt you. The underlying issues that you came to earth to resolve allowed you to feel rejected and abandoned by God, and those feelings and the vulnerability which lurks beneath them, have yet to be resolved.
In a very important sense, the letter to God is an encapsulation of what you came to earth to do, i.e., to dispel the false beliefs and fears you carry. And life pushes on you in every moment of every day to do just that. But most people choose to become enmeshed in the struggle with their beliefs rather than confronting and releasing them. Writing the letter forces the issue, and some people are simply not prepared to do that yet.
The thing is, it is going to eventually happen anyway. One way or another, life is going to make you to face your beliefs and force you to discard them. Most people will back themselves into an emotional corner that will call into question the choices they have made (choices are expressions of belief), and then forces them to their knees until they relent, surrender the belief and move closer to living from the truth. We call this a “healing crisis,” and although most people do it, it is doing life the hard way.
Some people “tough it” through their various crises and resist changing until their bodies collapse from the stress, leaving them with a “change or die” alternative. Hospitals and doctor’s waiting rooms are full of these people. That is really doing life the hard way. We blame life, we blame God and other people, we beat up on ourselves – we do everything except what is being asked of us – to release the beliefs that separate us from the God Space. It does not have to be that way, and the letter to God is an important step to that end.
Writing your letter will take you to places that make you feel uncomfortable, but at the same time, you will find yourself looking at the Truth. And even if you are unable to hold that space for long, you will at least get a glimpse of who you really are. You will recognize that God has been right all along. You are indeed worthy. You are as much as you will ever need to be. You are lovable. The Truth really will set you free.
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