Copyright 2012 Nouk Sanchez
In an interview I did alongside Carrie Triffet, Carrie mentioned how we unknowingly ‘shoot the messenger’ when something appears to go wrong in our lives. The messenger in this case is the particular form of challenge or problem that we might encounter. It could be another person, conflict, confusion, disappointment, pain, sickness, scarcity, etc. In truth, the gift beneath the messenger is grace and liberation, however the ego perceives it as a direct threat and proceeds to eliminate the messenger (perceived problem) as soon as possible; lest we forgive the messenger and embrace the healing, being the message of liberation beneath it.
For example I recently found myself experiencing a surge of acute emotional discomfort. Yet there was no observable or worldly cause. My guidance prior to this, was to take a few months sabbatical in which to source Spirit more deeply within and to complete writing this book. I felt a strong urge to quarantine myself from the world for a while to allow this profound shift in perception to expand and take hold. The purpose felt similar to Jesus’ forty days and nights in the desert.
While this time had been helpful I also felt as if I had fallen into a state of suspended animation. The values and the beliefs of the world held no more attraction for me and I no longer enjoyed the many distractions that previously seemed to give me some relief or happiness. In contrast, my joy these days comes from communing with God’s Love preferably in the area of service. But being isolated my desire to be of service also took an extended sabbatical. Having no distractions and virtually little contact for months, I found myself quite stripped of previous ideas of meaning and purpose.
There was an escalating discomfort in feeling I no longer belonged to this world; however my perception had not quite arrived fully into the happy dream state. While most the time was joyful, periods of doubt still crept in. And my prolonged isolation seemed to precipitate a feeling that I was stuck between two worlds. I knew I could not go back yet I felt a deep sense of unworthiness to go forward. Or to be more precise, to ‘fall’ forward, because I sensed that this period hinged not on doing, but on surrendering and allowing.
The question kept taunting me, “Am I qualified for this?” And the ego used everything it could muster to try to prove to me in my isolation, that I was not going to make it through. I had abandoned the ego world and for this, I would pay dearly. I recognized that my perception was taking a real beating and even with all my Spiritual resolve, I began to feel defeated.
In this state of emotional unrest, I also sensed the ego’s immediate judgment and alarm. It said that this scenario was wrong. That my discomfort flagged an obvious problem that required either to be solved independently from Spirit, or escaped through distraction. Anything…but to sit in quiet and deep presence, remembering that the “I” who felt lost was indeed the false self trying to escape fear with fear. The ego was all set to shoot this particular messenger and clearly sabotage a potential breakthrough. Its advice for me was to pack up, end this desert experience and go home in an effort to return to some semblance of normality. But I knew this was the ego’s sabotage attempt so I decided not to budge although it was very uncomfortable.
My discomfort was particularly intensified now, as I recognized that the last of the few distractions that I had previously valued, had newly fallen away. An all consuming nothingness arose and enveloped me to a magnitude that I had never felt before. And the ego interpreted this as a serious threat.
And then when my fear had reached a peak, I found this quote in the Course:
“The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.” W-48.3.
“Be still and know that I am God”, is what I heard deeply inside. So I recognized that the fear I felt was a sure sign that I had allowed my perception to slide back into trusting in my own strength; which is the ego’s weakness and self sabotage. Now I could surrender it and allow Spirit to take over. The first question to arise was, “What is in this uncomfortable sense of nothingness?” The ego said it was death. Yet Spirit urged me further to see the emptiness through and not to resist it. “What is this emptiness trying to show me?” The ego said it would reveal my deep unworthiness, shame and guilt. Spirit encouraged me to look deeper and allow the empty-nothing to reveal its message.
The answer was horrifying to the ego, yet it was a miraculous unburdening for me. As I listened with Spirit to the seeming nothingness, this emptiness gradually morphed into its opposite, – everything. The nothingness, the emptiness that I was so fearful to drown in, showed me its all-ness. In this divine magnitude I felt that the separate, individual identity and will cannot survive. And in this, I suddenly recognized my overwhelming dependence on God’s Love as my whole Being, and as the very life of my Being. There are no unmet needs here…and no perceived threats. There is no separate self who seeks to meet imagined needs while defending itself from illusory threats.
Part of my discomfort also included the feeling that I had not achieved mastery and was a long way from it. But, I am reminded by Jesus in the Course that, “Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.” M-4.IX.1:10. In my recovery I was urged to turn to the following paragraph in the Course (Manual for Teachers). Jesus speaks about true faithfulness as being one of the characteristics of a teacher of God, and this reminder certainly helped me.
“The extent of the teacher of God’s faithfulness is the measure of his advancement in the curriculum. Does he still select some aspects of his life to bring to his learning, while keeping others apart? If so, his advancement is limited, and his trust not yet firmly established. Faithfulness is the teacher of God’s trust in the Word of God to set all things right; not some, but all. Generally, his faithfulness begins by resting on just some problems, remaining carefully limited for a time. To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness. Nothing but that really deserves the name. Yet each degree, however small, is worth achieving. Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.” M-4.IX.1.
“To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness.” So this is what I am learning, and this is what is happening for me. When we do this, and do it literally, everything that previously appeared as problematic just falls away. We come to see that there are no problems because there is no ego and therefore, there is no ego world. Remember that the ego world including the body is in our mind. So as my mind is healed, the ego world drops away to be replaced by true perception…a healed world which is also in my mind. I thank God’s Love for helping me to see this more and more.
When we are faced with a seeming problem or issue then it is up to us to either hoard it for the ego to use in a disguised sabotage attempt, or we can mindfully take it to the Love of Spirit within. These steps are helpful:
1) Recognize that the uncomfortable issue, person or problem is purely a ‘messenger.’
2) Refrain from attempting to a) problem-solve independently from Spirit, and b) distract yourself from meeting the deeper issue or emotion within, that is calling to be recognized and surrendered to Spirit. Be mindful of attempts to use food, TV, internet, sex, work, or any other distraction to numb that which seeks to be seen and healed in release. While the distraction itself is not bad, the intent beneath it is unhelpful. Ask Spirit within, “What is this distraction attempting to conceal from me?”
3) Look at your discomfort with Spirit but without judgment or self-judgment. Dare to drop into your heart center and actually ‘feel’ what is yearning to be acknowledged and transmuted. Jesus reminds us,
“Let go all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.” W-47.7:3-6.
From this Holy place of peace within, perhaps you can ask yourself some questions. “What is the worst thing that could possibly happen?” “What is my worst fear?” Dare to look at it with your heart, not just your intellect. Feel it. But make sure that you do so with Spirit, with the clear gaze of Love. Remember to hold yourself gently in the grace of unconditional Love, while you bravely exhume and then release the issue. If you look with the ego you will get lost in the story that has fed the fear and emotion.
The underlying nucleus of all fear is a sense that we are separate from our inner Source of eternal Love, innocence and security. We cannot experience any sense of threat unless we unconsciously believe that we are guilty. And because we believe this, we are constantly exposed to the ravages of fear that guilt must attract. If we were to know beyond all doubt that we are eternally innocent and perfect, then fear would be impossible. Without guilt there can be no fear. And without fear, there can be no threat. This is the state of fearlessness that the Course is leading us to. Guiltlessness is fearlessness. And fearlessness is Love. Once fear falls away all that remains is our true Identity; pure all-encompassing Love and joy.
When we resist shooting the messenger, and instead drop into the heart of our defenselessness and meet the emotion with unconditional regard, this is where we will discover our true safety. In the safety of defenselessness, we are immune to attack regardless of the form. It means looking at our fears together with Love (Spirit). As we courageously drop within and expose our deepest fears concerning the particular person or issue, we eradicate the seeming gap that previously lay between God’s Love and our self. In this space, in our heart, we can sit with Spirit and share without threat of judgment or loss. As we share, we will find that we are not alone.
The ego throws up a million seeming problems all of which it wants us to believe are real. While we react to these independently of Spirit, we will never recognize the messenger. Nor will we find the gifts of grace and liberation from fear that the messenger always offers us.
God’s Love is all-encompassing. It has no opposite. We are safely nestled and nurtured in this Love at all times regardless of what the ego appears to see or feel in this dream. If God’s Love is all there is, then the myriad threats we perceive must not be real. And as we question these perceived threats with Spirit, we undo them.
The ego uses fear to keep us perpetually engaged in attempts to meet imagined needs and to solve problems that it made as unsolvable. There is always only one need. And that is to heal our sense of separation from Love itself. To heal this we turn within and join there in quiet presence and an open heart. In this simple act of true humility we will find the Love we previously thought had abandoned us.
Can you sit within your heart and let it speak to you? Can you do this without judgment, without the need for an outcome? And can you listen Lovingly and impartially to all your fears and judgments without abandoning yourself? How can you ever expect to Love or be wholly Loved by another until you learn to Love yourself? This is the beginning of a Holy Relationship; with your Holy Self.
There is a process to Loving. And the messengers of threat are precious keys to unlocking our defenses to Love. These people and issues are gateways to our liberation from suffering once and for all. Whether you feel emotional or physical suffering, the threat itself is valuable in revealing the underlying blocks to Love’s presence that lay buried in darkness within. As such, all seeming threats hold the potential for profound breakthrough’s. So let’s not allow the ego shoot the messenger. When we decide to look with Spirit at our fears and willingly surrender them, we apply advanced forgiveness. And the outcome of this is a giant leap in healing the unconscious guilt that projects all seeming adversity in our lives. The Kingdom of Heaven then becomes a living experience, and one that we joyfully live out from here in the dream.
“It is hard to understand what “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” really means. This is because it is not understandable to the ego, which interprets it as if something outside is inside, and this does not mean anything. The word “within” is unnecessary. The Kingdom of Heaven [is] you. What else [but] you did the Creator create, and what else [but] you is His Kingdom?” T-4.III.1:1-5
The End of Death is available via www.endofdeath.com