All the stories of spiritual Truth somehow teach the same lesson: the lesson of liberation, of release from the bondage of victim-hood, the letting go of "Oh Poor Me!", and the recognition of our inherent magnificence.
Jesus taught that "in this world you will always have troubles" and that today's worries are enough for today, because tomorrow will bring its own worries. The Buddha taught that "life is suffering". Those wise Ones also said that there are ways to "overcome" this world, and that there IS a path of liberation, of freedom from suffering.
For the past several weeks, my Sunday lessons have been based on the Ten Commandments, through the lens of Unity minister and writer, Georgianna Tree West. The commandment advising us not to indulge in covetous behavior wraps up the series by looking at what is, for many (if not all of us) the seed of our discontent in life. We might never lie, steal, commit adultery, or violate any of the other commandments in their surface meanings. But if coveting - wanting something we feel that we lack - takes root in our consciousness, it creates a mental environment where we might feel justified is all sorts of behaviors which violate the spirit of the commandments.
The Bible story is that the ten commandments were give to the Jews as a framework for learning how to live in freedom. We tend to believe that once the gates of freedom are opened, all the circumstances of our lives will be smiles and happy-dances, filled with rainbows and unicorns, all wrapped up in glitter-glue. We think that just because we are free, the clouds should part, the sky will always be blue, and everything will be just exactly as we imagined it would be.
Without realizing, we have constructed a whole technicolor, Dolby-stereo, hi-def movie in our mind titled "How Things Ought To Be". Upon hearing the message that we truly ARE free and that Heaven truly IS in our midst, rather than find acceptance, contentment, and joy, we begin to look around and notice the discrepancies. We notice that clouds still obscure the sky at times. We notice that people don't always behave the way we think they should behave. We become aware that we do not measure up to how it seems other people think WE ought to behave.
We're too hot or too cold. Too short, too tall, too skinny, too fat, too slow or too fast. Our parents are too strict or too uncaring. Our job is too boring or too demanding. Our kids are too stubborn or show no initiative whatsoever.
We suffer because we want things... people... circumstances... to be how we think they ought to be. We suffer because we want... something... someone... somehow... to be other than it is. We look with outer-directed eyes and compare our lives to the movie in our head. Then we notice the people in advertisements for the latest and greatest new thing. Everyone who has that thing looks happy. They are pretty, smiling, enthusiastic, strong, healthy people who look and act exactly like we want to look and act. Our human brain begins to connect the dots: OH! They are living exactly the life I want to live. They have... the latest iPhone or newest car or perfect mascara. I don't have those things, but if I did, then my life would be just as happy as theirs.
We do what we must to obtain the stuff we think will make us happy, and when it doesn't, we move right back into bondage. How come they... why can't I... when is it my turn? All of this began with coveting something we thought we lacked.
There's nothing wrong with aspiring to demonstrate the most Good possible; we are not meant to scrimp and wear sackcloth and eat locusts! But truly, this is moment for us to learn the Truth behind our Master Teacher's words:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth... but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (MT 6:19-21, NRSV)
As we move along this season, consider your most heartfelt desires: I'm sure the "things" you really want are health... peace... love... seeing the joy in another's eyes as they meet yours... These are the "things" which nourish and fill us. These are the gifts which we truly aspire to demonstrate in our lives.
Accepting that we are here, now, in this precious moment of linear time for some higher purpose than wishing it was something other than what it is, allows us to listen and hear the guidance which is always available. Non-resistance to what is allows us to see clearly, and take the outer actions which really can bring about positive change in the world. It's okay to want to live an abundant life! After all, that's what Jesus said he came to teach. But we will never be able to accept that gift as long as we hold onto our human, preconceived notions of what it OUGHT to look like.Accepting that the outer circumstances of the world will probably never match up to our egoic expectations releases us from the bondage of victim-hood to outside situations and circumstances. You know this.
Wishing you ever-greater awareness of the True gifts of Spirit... blessings and namaste... Nita