Tag Archives: motivation

Struggle Is Not Meant to Be

“Just as you eat to still your hunger only to become hungry again, so does the rest of your life need constant maintenance to retain the reality you have given it. ‘Struggle to succeed and succeed to struggle yet another day’ is the life you have made, and the life you fear heaven would replace.” (ACOL, 6.13)

We have made such a mess as we sought to make the reality that we wanted in this world. How many of us really are addicted to struggle, think that it is virtuous?

I think many of us are. We think that hard work is its own reward, but, oh, are we so wrong. Life is not meant to be a struggle. We are meant to live peaceably and in contentment. Until we change our goals, we will not understand this directive. We will think that we are missing the mark if we drop struggle, because the ego made everything a struggle, as though we wouldn’t measure up unless we constantly worked.

“And yet the very reality that you have set up—the reality of not being able to succeed in what you must constantly strive to do—is a situation set up to provide relationship. Like everything else you have remembered of creation and made in its image, so too is this.” (ACOL, 9.26)

We still find ourselves in relationship one to the other, even in our egoic state of mind prior to getting a glimpse of true reality. We have “remembered” part of what creation really meant for us, but we have remembered it in only a pale reflection of what it is. This remembering is commonplace in our world, but we don’t normally recognize what we are remembering—that we are seeing a pristine world prior to the fall into insanity.

We can let ourselves off the hook. We have so often chastised ourselves for failing. But this is not the issue. Our egos have set up the world for us to fail, because the ego is constantly being undone. If the ego were not being undone, we would ultimately be lost, seeing no way out. That the ego fails repeatedly is a lesson that we will one day come to see, and this lesson offers us the first glimmerings of our way out—our way to salvation.

Choose a day without struggle. If there is something that you don’t want to do, but think you should—just choose not to do that activity. Find out from your reticence what is going on is this non-productive state of mind. You may find that you have been walking along the wrong pathway, and your true reality is trying to let you know. You can always try this activity tomorrow if the experiment proves unfruitful. But I think that you will learn great things by listening to the small Voice that warns against the activity for which you have no motivation. There is a reason for no motivation. Listen and be forewarned.

Receiving vs. Planning, by Ivor Sowton

“The injunction that you resign as your own teacher originated in A Course in Miracles and is furthered here. Your feeling that a specific role is required of you, or that you have a specific thing to do that you need to be aware of, are functions of the planning process that once so ruled your mind. To be willing to receive instead of plan is to break the pattern of planning.” (Jesus in A Course of Love (ACOL), Third Treatise, 22.5)

Jesus here is not talking about, say, time management, like getting up in the morning and doing good self care and getting to work on time. We all have to do lower order planning like that here, and Jesus does indeed encourage self responsibly on this level.

He’s talking about a much deeper level–our motivation level–the level of our intention for our lives. He is basically saying to us that we need to stay willing to be taught, and to receive the plan for our lives from a much deeper level than that of the ego in us:

“You are a beautiful representation of the truth and cannot be otherwise…Wherever you go, whatever you do, the truth will go with you.” (ibid, 22.3)

So our job is to represent or express the deepest truth in us.

This reminds me of the wonderful contemporary British-American poet David Whyte warning us of our tendency to hold “five year plans” for ourselves, like “in five years I’m going to be a famous musician.” Whyte is saying that such plans can actually block our Soul progress, our real growth. He wants us to come to stillness and listen deep within and be guided from there, so that we unfold a much higher potential from within than we could ever have managed by following an outward five year plan!

For me in my own life I often have to push myself to be organized and efficient on the practical level, and I’m learning how such focus actually helps me to come to the kind of receptivity being spoken of here. In fact I’ve found that meeting my obligations well on this level is a prerequisite to allowing for that deeper plan to unfold. I used to have an attitude of entitlement as a young man, which made me dependent on others even as I judged them for not treating me as well as I thought I deserved.

I also used to “feel guided” a lot, and only later saw this “guidance” as a way I had developed of avoiding pulling my own weight by flitting around to this or that undertaking without actually succeeding in any of them. Later I found that to meet my obligations as well as I could and to sincerely follow a spiritual path without flitting around really was a much better approach for me!

My experience here very much jives with American psychologist Abraham Mazlow’s theory of self-actualization, which states that we must meet our basic practical needs first (like good employment, so we can eat good food and live in adequate circumstances), then develop good loving relationships (if we are immature and dependent these are hard to come by!), and THEN self-actualize, which means to flower into our own unique and wonderful expression of full potential.

Mazlow’s model very much reminds me of the Accomplished Self that is such a major theme in ACOL, appearing throughout the text. My current understanding of the Accomplished Self (which I know will deepen over time) is that this is our full potential awaiting within. We can approach that potential by being responsible for ourselves and also respectful of others as much as we can, for they too have their own version of the Accomplished Self within them:

“You must realize that if you were to see into the eyes and hearts of any human from any time with true vision, you would see the Accomplished Self there.” (4th Treatise, 2.8)

As the magnificent Third Treatise of ACOL draws to a close, Jesus brings the quest for the peace, joy and love that we are all on here into focus, saying that our former personal self was a construct of the ego only. As such our old personal self simply could not deliver to us what we were seeking. For me this message has been humbling, because I am aware of so much ego struggle within me still. But I know that Jesus doesn’t want me or anyone else to blame themselves for their past or current struggles. Instead, his message is to keep the eye on the prize, so to speak. He calls us to receive the vision of or true Selves, rather than continue to plan with our egos.

“Observe the personal self with one last act of love and devotion, and in so doing transform the personal self into a representation of the truth…To call forth the sight of your true Self is to call your true Self into observable form.” (3rd Treatise, 22.17)

It’s a wonderful thing to begin to trust Jesus more deeply. He is talking in ACOL of the dawning of the Time of Christ– now, in our lifetimes–where it will be more natural for us to be our True Accomplished Selves.

May you receive this great Bounty more and more in your own life.

Jesus: “Whenever You Are Afraid, It Is a Sure Sign that You Have Allowed Your Mind to Miscreate and Have Not Allowed Me to Guide it.”

“Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate and have not allowed me to guide it. (T29)”

Affirmation: “My I allow Jesus to guide my mind.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

Elsewhere A Course in Miracles counsels against mind wandering. This mind wandering is exactly the way in which miscreation happens. We fantasize about horrors of the past, present, or future, and soon we find ourselves afraid–full of fear. The exact opposite of love. When we recognize that also, in this other passage, we learn that there are no idle thoughts, that they all create form at some level, we are brought up short, and we realize what a mistake we have made. We don’t know what these forms are, but we can imagine that some of them are probable realities (from Jane Roberts’s Seth), and we may get ourselves in very serious trouble if we allow the forms that we are creating to stand. Allowing these forms to stand is exactly the reason that we are becoming so fearful (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM). And fear is of the ego, always. Let us never forget that.

2 – Our Guide

When we allow Jesus to guide our thoughts, we do not know fear. This takes great deal of concentration in the beginning, an awareness of what our minds are doing. This kind of concentration usually does not come easily to us. But it can be done, when motivation is strong. Jesus also indicates that we only need to strengthen our motivation to learn A Course in Miracles, that once the motivation is strengthened, everything else will fall into place. We need to talk to Jesus as to a friend, to realize that he is actually near–when we have called to him. It takes very little deviation from science to know that a single object can be in more than one place at a time; this is current day physics. And Jesus, master that he is, can appear wherever and whenever he is needed. In addition, the Teachers of Teachers can help us, giving us their ideas when we falter (from the Manual of ACIM). If having either Jesus or a Teacher appear to us would be disconcerting or fearful, we can tune our minds and hearts to their words. It is not beyond reasonable consideration that we are guided every step of the way. And we do sometimes, even with clear minds and no mental illness, hear locutions (inner thoughts that we did not “think”) that guides our journey.

3 – Strong Fear

If the fear is strong, the motivation to change to a better way of living will be strong as well. We need at first attend only to the motivation to change, and then the remainder will fall into place without effort. This cannot be said enough. The motivation is key. And the more time that we devote to following Jesus’s words, the more desirous we will be to do so all the time. He does not want to make our decisions for us, though. Mari Perron, the scribe of A Course of Love, indicates that he told us just that in an internal monologue. At that time, she was depending on Jesus to make her decisions for herself, and he let her know that this was inappropriate.

4 – Monitor Thoughts

So let us monitor our thoughts. Let us turn inward when we sense fear rising. Let us not fall into miscreation, though we ourselves do not fully understand what we are miscreating. It is enough to know that mind wandering will miscreate, and we need a better option, a better way to spend our days.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I allow my miscreating mind to rest in Your power and strength. May I allow the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts.

When my mind does not wander into fantasies, I am better off. Thank you for the wisdom that would lead me to eliminate miscreations of my mind and eliminate fear.

I have too long experienced anxieties from time to time, even frequently. I would leave this habit of mine behind me as I walk ahead on my pathway. Help me to do so. Help others to do so as well.

Amen.