A Pilgrims Progress

A Pilgrims Progress Cover If at the centre all is still, peace and oneness, in order to gain experience I must move out from that centre. I must clothe that still, pure place with a system of beliefs .... beliefs about time, death, reality, other individuals, good and bad. This is the "Fall" of Adam and Eve, in eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they became self conscious beings, committed to the experience of good and evil.... separated from the One. We are born into a state of separation on Earth, and our own personal beliefs about reality are the raw materials that we use to make our way back to Oneness again. 47 At first the beliefs we clothe our childlike innocence with are gross. They concur with one or the other pole. "Anger is bad", "laughter is good", "poverty is spiritual" etc. Through experience we have the opportunity to refine those first beliefs, we have the opportunity to make our way back to Peace. As in all things on this Earth each of us must begin with the gross and through our efforts work towards the fine. Perhaps I believe that "anger is always harmful". In line with my beliefs, wishing to be a good person, I suppress my anger. Each time anger arises within me I resist it and when energy meets resistance a field of force is created. Because 1 believe that original energy to be not good, that "not goodness" in me is magnified. I must fight to suppress something which has become quite powerful. The more I put into resisting that anger the more beyond my own control the whole situation becomes. Eventually any small irritating incident could arise and my own will is likely not to be strong enough to hold back the power house of anger I have been building. The inappropriateness and magnitude of the resultant outburst is very likely to hurt people who don't deserve it, and whom I don't wish to hurt. Misunderstandings, hurt and guilt can all result and I have confirmed my original belief.... "that anger is harmful". I now have more incentive to hold back my anger until I no longer can .... and so the circle continues, with the outside world seeming to prove my basic erroneous belief. My original step out of the still centre was a step out of oneness into a state of dynamic imbalance. Through this state of perpetual adjustment I gain experience and understanding. I try something, find it doesn't bring the results 1 want, so 1 try something else and 1 note that the first action was inappropriate. Eventually, depending on the complexity of the desired result, through trial and error I will achieve success. A baby learning to grasp, begins with a sweeping action. This meets with limited success, so he tries a dragging action like a dog. This helps fine tune muscles in his arm but it still doesn't give him the results he wants. Finally his efforts concentrate on his hands and in the end he employs his fingers. Each thing he tried which proved unsuccessful wasn't wasted, the muscles had to be trained and readied in a certain order. He had to work from gross to fine even though the first action seemed inappropriate. In our ignorance most of us, in our journey through life, reach a state of crystallized imbalance. As in example quoted earlier the belief that "anger is bad" can hold the individual suspended between the two poles of excess external anger and excess suppressed anger. Because the belief is constantly being strengthened by the individual's experience there is no longer room for trial and error. In a sense, the individual is no longer capable of experience in this part of their being. How does one break out of such a circle? I must want to. I must be willing to act on a sense that I could be happier, or more peaceful. Or I must be willing to act on a sense of being out of touch with some core of myself which I feel is worth getting to know. The desire for a state of greater peace must become strong enough to be a real force, when the opportunity for change out of that crystalline state arises. I must endure increasing pain as I begin to see the possibility of change and find my will too weak and the endeavour too great to bring it about. Each time an opportunity for courageous new action presents itself I am unable to accept it, there is a sense of defeat, inadequacy, guilt. The pain is as difficult as that I suffered through my inappropriate behaviour, but there is a difference. Now there is a striving, I have to trust an intangible sense telling me that things could be better. I have begun on the search toward refinement. Thus through a desire for change, change has occurred, but at this stage it is little comfort. This suffering is useful suffering though, it is a negative state, it is a state of receptivity. What I desire ... the positive, active force is 'something' more pure. I am being calcined by my suffering now, brought a state where I can absorb Grace from That Which is All-Pure. The dangers are many at this stage. I may seek ways out of the fire. Drugs and alcohol and other sensory pleasures can ease the pain and make me forget about my state of dis-ease. I can become absorbed in matter so that the 'sense of something more refined' seems ridiculous. Many times I can fall by the wayside at this stage, but there will eventually be a time when the desire for a more peaceful state will not be shouted down and I will remember that I was striving for something worthwhile. Now I am ready to know what I must do to accomplish change in this area of my life. Because I am now ready, knowledge that I have come across before, possibly, will mean something to me now. Because of my newly opened state it could have the power of a revelation. And herein lies another danger, forgetting my own receptive state as part of the dynamic, I may see the acquisition of knowledge alone as the cause of the powerful effect. I may leave my quest here and seek more and more knowledge trying to duplicate the Revelation I felt I'd received initially. It is possible I will diverge here for a while, but then depending on the strength of my initial desire for something essential, the attraction of books and speakers will pall a little, and again I find myself looking at what I'm dissatisfied with in myself. Now I'm equipped with knowledge I have the tools with which to bring about change in myself. It is now that the work can begin. The time comes, almost certainly sooner than I expect, invariably slightly before I feel I am ready. Perhaps it is a moment when, according to my new knowledge, anger would be a beneficial response, but rooted in my very being is the axiom that anger is harmful. At this point it is no longer okay to swallow hard and be silent, to contemplate the whys and wherefores at a later date. No other action is appropriate except that which I now know to be more true. I take a deep breath and tackle the moment. I may be clumsy, inept. I probably am, but that is simply because I have taken up the challenge of living experience again. Other people may react unfavourably. No one congratulates me or realises the courage involved. But inside I am rewarded. Like drops of water on the tongue of a thirsty man, I absorb some of that intangible essence that was the whole reason for my so endeavour. It becomes a small part of me, and so strengthens, ever so slightly, my Understanding of what it is I am questing after.

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