Saturday, May 4, 2013
Ask! Ask! Ask! Why Is That So Difficult For Me?
The other day I got an email message about friendship and love. I’ve gotten them before. So have you. The message concluded with instructions similar to this: Forward this on if you are not ashamed of Jesus. Remember what the Apostle said: if you are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of you. If you send it to 5 people you will receive a little…. If you send it to 10 people you will receive….. If you send it to more than 15 people, you will be rewarded beyond belief.
I know these kinds of emails have embedded “hooks” that get registered by the person who originated this message. The purpose is to get you to forward these messages on because the originators are picking off all the email addresses. They already “know” you are susceptible to this kind of message. This is critical information that can be sold to email marketers.
The actual scriptural reference is “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, in this wicked and godless age [circa 70AD], the Son of Man will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Mark, 8:38 – New English Bible.
Nevertheless, I always feel a twinge of guilt, fear and doubt as I empty this particular email (and other similar messages) into the trash.
Oddly (?) enough, the use of this very verse is discussed by Helen Schucman (pronounced Shoosh-Man) as she was beginning to channel or transcribe the text of A Course in Miracles.
It is the mid-1960s and Helen is just beginning to scribe (or take dictation, if you will) the words of the Course. According to Wapnick, who wrote of her life and her efforts in scribing the Course, her early notes contained all sorts of asides furnished her after questions and argumentative comments arose from her mind. Jesus would calmly answer them. She wrote down her objections and his comments, as well as his dictation. These personal asides were omitted from the final published text. [Absence from Felicity – the story of Helen Schucman and her scribing of A Course in Miracles, Kenneth Wapnick, PhD, Foundation for A Course in Miracles, 1991].
In one of these asides Jesus clarified this biblical verse from the Gospel according to Mark. “The biblical quotation ‘If you are ashamed of Me I will be ashamed of you,’ [can be] interpreted as a threat only as long as you…do NOT recognize that there is nothing that one would want to hide, even if it were possible to do so…. What [the quotation] really means is that if you are ashamed of Me (or embarrassed by Love), you will [continue to] project [your ego’s illusions onto others] and make it impossible for Me to reach you.” [ibid., p. 234]
Jesus goes on to say that cluttering up your mind with all sorts of trivia, accomplishes much the same thing. I cannot focus on my true function in this physical world, if I am constantly at the mercy of my monkey-mind, which carries on multiple conversations in my head all the time and inundates me with all sorts of critical/urgent/important tasks/decisions/activities that I MUST attend to. Now!
In this kind of situation, Jesus reminds Helen (and all if us) to ask for His help. He will work with us – even in very trivial matters – in this illusionary dream state we call “reality,” so that our minds can remain reasonably focused on working with Him to fulfill our purpose – forgiving others and ourselves. This is forgiveness, not for biblical “sins,” but for our errors in believing this world is real, that our perceptions are based on actual reality, that our angers, resentments, and fears are truly justified, that we are all separate beings – I am me and you are not.
I am retired and work on these messages throughout the week. I couldn’t do this if I were sitting at my desk in my study worrying about how I was going to come up with the money to fix the car so I could take my spouse to the hospital. I couldn’t do this if I were constantly preoccupied with how I’m going to come up with my annual property taxes, or the rent, or the mortgage, or the grocery bill. I couldn’t do this if I were constantly glued to the TV watching political pundits rail about everything under the sun and keeping me angry and frustrated at the political opposition.
Jesus understands all this and will help, if I ask. He wants my help and will give me His to achieve our common purpose in this illusionary world – true perception and forgiveness.
But I must ask.
Why is this so hard for me to do? Why do I simply forget to ask?
My ego doesn’t want to relinquish its control over me. It wants me to continue to believe I am my ego. It doesn’t want me to know if I truly pursue the reality ACIM says is actually “real,” then my ego will begin to die. So, it fights me. It fights my attempts to meditate. It confuses me. It keeps my ego-mind distracted by petty little thoughts. It attempts to drown out the Voice of the Holy Spirit with meaningless drivel.
And it is very successful in keeping me so preoccupied I forget to ask for help.
All this sounds very silly as I write this. It sounds like the comedian Flip Wilson, whose famous line was: “The devil made me do it.” Regardless, it has been very, very difficult for me lately to deal with my busy-body mind. Nevertheless, my “higher” mind has to learn to exercise discipline over my egoic mind and ask for help. That is my challenge. That is the lesson hiding in everyone I meet – be they nice, friendly, arrogant, angry, or bigoted. However, that is tough for me today. I am a work in progress.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#1 May, 2013