Tag Archives: self-actualization

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.

Self-Actualization

Pierre-Auguste-Renoir-painting-ren05
“While the foundation of fear, like the ego, will have left you now, a pattern of behaving fearfully may still remain and as such be a deterrent to new ideas and to action. As long as these patterns of fear remain as deterrents to action, you will not experience the freedom of living from the new thought system. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.1)”

Affirmation: “I would be free of fear today.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear

I talk a great deal about fear in this blog, because it is the single most inhibiting characteristic of our lives when we are still dwelling with the personal self that has not been elevated to the Self of form. And that includes all of us, because Jesus says in A Course of Love that nobody has yet sustained the elevated Self of form. As time passes, perhaps a chosen few will sustain enlightenment and then the elevated Self of form will seem to be and will be a goal that all of us can visualize ourselves reaching. We do not make the decision of when, though. That is entirely out of our hands, though we can study to be ready when God calls. He makes the decision of when Awakening will come to each of us.

2 – New Life

We cannot live the new life to which we are called if we cling to vestiges of fear. The continuing pall that such vestiges will drop over our lives would make a better life for the personal self impossible. And we do not want to allow this better life to escape our hands. We need to know how to act, what to do, and what to even think.

3 – Prayer

The best way to prepare is communion with God (a personal interpretation, not stated in ACOL or A Course in Miracles). When we live with the shadow of the Almighty, we live on sacred ground indeed. We live safely, sure of our protection always, as He watches out for us. He does not always save us from pain, but He will always show us a way to prevent turning that pain into suffering. And we do not have to learn through pain (from the Text of ACIM). We can learn through rewards. And the rewards insure that the learning will be permanent. All too often what we learn through pain is temporary, and we forget as soon as the pain goes away.

4 – Christ-Consciousness

We need to live the new life that is held out to us. We catch glimpses of Christ-consciousness, and, even if this is not sustained, we return to level ground with more of ourselves realized. And we are intended to head toward the realization of our Self/Christ. We are meant to be self-actualized. The fact that we cannot snap our fingers and get God to respond should not be a deterrent to our slow and easy acquisition of His words. He will guide us surely to Christ-consciousness. And what He does will last, one day, of that we can be sure.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be self-actualized today. I realize that I may not have walked far enough along the path to reach this blessing. But I want to think, say, and do the things today that will advance my progress. Help me to do so.

Christ-consciousness is the blessing that we all seek. May I be patient as I catch glimpses, but do not sustain the epitome. I know that there is a reason for this. I am not yet ready, but I pray that I will be soon. I ask this prayer on behalf of my brothers and sisters as well.

Amen.