Time and again people come to me in classes and private sessions asking me how they might change/improve their lives. Sometimes they are prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve that improvement. But more often, they are not prepared.
This is not only true for people but also for organizations, including churches. In fact, churches are less often willing to make the changes than any person or group that comes to me. They often ask me to help them become a bit more like us at Unity of Sedona, but all too often, they can’t find the strength, courage, and/or wherewithal to do what it takes to achieve what they “claim they desire.” The problem is (as with individuals), they want a better experience but their willingness to do what it takes to make it happen just isn’t there. “The spirit is willing but the flesh (ego) is weak.
It’s easy to say we want something but it’s an entirely different thing to truly want it at the deepest level. Jesus told a story of how there was once a “pearl of great price” (something of immeasurable value to us), and that whoever wanted it should be willing to sell all they have (and do all they can) in order to purchase it. He was saying that if we truly want something, we should be willing to do anything to attain it. And it’s simply unacceptable that an addict has more focus and tenacity to get what they want than a soul who is on the path to a better life. Something is wrong with this picture!
People and organizations tend to only want to make changes at the most shallow level and yet expect to attain the greatest goals. The universe simply doesn’t work that way. Whether it’s people or organizations, there are specific steps for creating the greatest changes:
- Recognize there is a problem.
- Ask God to help you discern what things in your life are incongruent (out of alignment) with your higher good and to give you the strength to do something about it.
- Begin taking steps towards changing or eliminating anything that was found to be out of alignment. And remember, we change what we can but also accept what we can’t–meaning we might need to let go or move on.
- Now begin moving forward towards the goal of your higher good but stick to your flight plan and avoid deviating.
When it comes to the changes that need to be made, these usually include standing up to a few people, possibly at home at work, OR in our family of origin. And, one of the amazing things about relationships is that the people with whom we need most to say goodbye, are often the ones who are playing out some of our most recurring weaknesses and patterns. This is why it’s so important that we move through such a test. These people are not simply “bad people.” They are actually playing out our greatest tests and the day must come when we finally pass these tests, move through our fears, and say no, or goodbye, to them.
Even if we run off to a church or ashram, it’s not going to be the “safe haven” we hoped for. Instead, we will usually replicate the same kinds of people here as we did at home or in our workplace. But a church or spiritual center is one of the more dramatic environments wherein we can play out some of life’s greatest tests. This is because a church symbolizes or reflects the home of our soul–a place that our ego is committed to destroying.
But wherever we choose to act go through lessons of stepping up, we must remember that we are asking for trouble because we will end up manifesting a spiritual battle against our ego–a battle that we usually lose because we so often crumble when our ego manifests as a controlling person who intimidates us too much to accomplish our work. That’s one reason why we need to be careful with what we ask for. But it helps to remember that such phases in our lives are really just spiritual battles between our spiritual I AM and our ego, I am not.
The same is true for those of us who choose to change our name or take on a spiritual name. We need to be careful about what we ask for because our new name is going to ask us to release some things of the past AND prepare ourselves for a new life. And it does so by forcing us to battle with every part of ourselves that does not yet resonate with that new name or identity.
One example is when we, at Unity of Sedona, asked to become a greater living example of Christ’s Consciousness. We ended up being tested for a few months with some unhealthy people and eventually had to step into the battle before us by turning away all such individuals that didn’t match the Christ frequency.
Another example is when people move to incredible “power spots” on the earth–such as Sedona or Mt. Shasta–only to find that with moving there comes a huge increase or magnification of their issues. Then, what seemed like amazing spiritual energy suddenly became too intense because it brought up far more than we expected.
So be careful what you ask for:
- If you ask for the healing of a cavity, you might have to endure a root canal.
- If you ask for a nicer garden, you might have to do more gardening.
- If you ask for better health, it might mean you have to give up certain food pleasures.
- If you ask for sobriety, it might mean doing some unexpected soul-searching.
- If you ask to embrace and explore your sexuality, it’s common to go too far and get used by sexual predators.
- If you ask for healthier relationships (including with family), you might have to bid farewell to some old relationships even though they will probably accuse you of doing terrible things.
- If you ask to be a clearer channel of information for God, you might have to clean up some things that impede your clarity.
- If you ask that your partnership be healthier, you might have to ask your partner to see a relationship counselor with you even at the chance of them saying no.
- If you ask that your children be the healthiest they can be spiritually and emotionally-then you might have to set better boundaries, even at the risk of them being mad at you.
When we ask for something from the universe, we tend to need to earn it by living it. This is why God told the Israelites that they cannot see His face and survive. It meant the old them would have to die to be able to embrace the new, higher level.
In general, what all of this means is that when we are asking for something from the universe, we will be asked to rise to become the embodiment of that thing. Just look at Hercules. He went through 12 major tests/initiations to become a god. It’s as though we are told that if we want the greatest love, we must become a better living example of that love. After all, we can’t live what we don’t give and we can’t give what we don’t have.
Again, we have to be careful about what we ask for. And even when we aren’t officially asking, we are still asking. Each time we desire or verbalize a change we want to make, we are setting ourselves up to have to become more of that thing. And when we don’t live up to our newly desired identity or goal, we will harshly judge and punish ourselves. Remember, all of our tests are not really from God but from us, because it is not God who sees us as needing growth or improvement. It’s us! And how intense these issues arise is greatly determined by how big of a change we are asking for. ACIM says it’s best to just “go for it” or else the ego will recalibrate its hold and its tactics with each smaller change we make. But still, for many of us, it’s best to only try incremental changes.