Saturday, October 19, 2013

Free Will or Free Choice?

A subscriber wrote asking the following:  “Thank you for this message. [Msg-2-Oct-2013; I Changed My Words and My Life Began To Change] But it seems to me to be God’s will that I can’t seem to say NO. I’m afraid of hurting on someone’s feelings….”
Thank you for your honesty. Sharing myself as honestly (but gently) as I dare is critical for my continued growth. It seems you are talking about God’s Will and your guilt. I’ll do my best to offer some comments.
Erroneously, I have come to believe I am separate from God – and do not deserve His blessing unless I both purify myself and undergo some sacrifice to gain (or re-gain) His good graces. [Note: I cover this essential tenet – purification and sacrifice – of virtually ALL religions in The Patriarchal Narrative section of my book, pp 43-49.]
Throughout A Course in Miracles (ACIM) one of the principle recurring ideas is that I am not separate from God. The separation has never occurred. I just think it has and my thoughts are very powerful. Who I really am, in reality, is an already-loved eternal spirit. I am not a human body that perceives the world though my five senses and has, somewhere inside, a soul. This is fundamental to my understanding what God’s Will for me truly is.
As ACIM’s Glossary of Terms (Circle Publishing, 2005) explains it: God’s Will is “… only unlimited love and happiness without end. God’s Will is limitless, changeless power that can never be opposed. It is not gradual in accomplishment but creates instantaneous and eternal Fact. In Heaven, you were created by God’s Will and are God’s Will – the extension of His mind, Spirit, and Self…. On earth you believe that your will and God’s Will are in opposition. [Because you believe you are truly separate from God] you have identified with [your ego or] alien will, but His Will and your will are one and the same. You are His Will. Fearing His Will thus means fearing your own [real] will and your own [real] reality. Since His Will is not an alien will, it cannot be forced upon you but must be freely welcomed.”
We’ve heard often in Christian circles that we have free will. We’ve used it wrongly once and humanity has been damned ever since. I think that belief is in error. We do not actually have free will. We have free choice and to choose wrongly is only a mistake. My will is God’s Will, for I am his already-loved Child. I am as He created me. I have chosen to believe I am big and powerful enough to separate myself from Him and negate what He has ordained through His Will. What an absurd and egoistic notion of mine!
Last week I discussed how teaching myself to use the words “I regret,” rather than my constant reference to “I’m sorry,” was a critical step I made in my recovery from constant guilt. Hearing myself say the words “I regret” began helping me to change my thinking. Changing my thinking began changing my behavior, which changed my actions and habits.  Over time my values and destiny began to change – I began to emerge as a new person, though I still angst a lot about guilty feelings.
I guess what I’m suggesting here is changing your words from “I have free will” to “I have free choice.” When I do this, it constantly reminds me that I am not who I generally think I am. I’m not a body with an eternal soul somewhere inside me. I am an already-loved eternal spirit that is dreaming I’m having a human experience. This Real Me – as eternal spirit – is part of God, and His Will and mine are One. I can choose to be willing to become more and more aware of His Will for me or I can choose to continue to believe I have the power and strength to live separate from Him. That is my misguided, mistaken egoistic choice – not my will.
If I choose to be open to His (and my real) Will, then I am available for forgiving myself and others, which is my true purpose on Earth. If not, I won’t. I’ll remain trapped in my ego’s vision of life – full of fear, anger, suspicion and belief in lack. It’s not a fun way to live. ACIM also teaches me that, with the Holy Spirit’s help, I can correct my error and simply make another choice.
When you say “No” to someone, examine your thoughts and feelings carefully. If you are like me, what you’ll find is that you feel guilty somehow. Where are these guilt feelings coming from? I have found that behind my guilt is a vague set of feelings of fear: They won’t like me anymore; I’ll hurt their feelings; God won’t like me; My parents would be ashamed of me; This isn’t what I’m used to; This feels very strange and I don’t like it.
Then I remember that the fear behind my guilt is the unconscious fear I feel for having tried to separate myself from God’s Love, which is impossible to do because God made me – the real spirit me. I also recall that my fear is the exact opposite of faith.
Instead of saying “No,” try saying gently, “This is not a good time for me. I regret I cannot help you right now.”
I hope this helps.
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.
#3 October, 2013
Copyright, 2013

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