The Value of Letting Go

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No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved” (Matthew 9:16-17).

In these two parables, Jesus furnishes us with a graphic illustration of a very important, freeing dynamic: the action of letting go. It is one thing to retain information for present and future use. It would be cumbersome if we had to relearn to drive our car every time we slipped into the driver’s seat. However, if we dredged up the memory of a past auto accident every time we took the wheel, our paranoia may hinder our present driving performance.

If you carry old wounds into a new day, you prevent yourself from seeing and experiencing the potential for new avenues of creative opportunity. Jesus said to let the dead bury the dead and let the challenges of this day be the ones we give our full attention. How much of our creative energy is drained away replaying old hurts and dredging up old things we should or should not have done?

The full action of God is present in each new moment. Created in the image and after the likeness of God, each one of us is intended to bring the full force of our creative energy to bear on the things we have to do each day. We say we do not have enough time or energy to do what we would really like to do? How does God attend the minutest detail of this vast universe? By being fully present in each new moment.

Fortunately, you and I do not have the responsibility of running the universe. All we are expected to do is live our lives successfully. We can learn from God by being fully present in this now moment, by giving our attention to the tasks at hand, and to let go of the problems of the past we can do nothing about. New wine, new wineskins is a thought worth holding each time we are tempted to pick up the old.

 

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Where is Your Heart?

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Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

An important key to understanding the kingdom that Jesus spoke of is that it is spiritual in nature, not material. The material is the effect of an underlying spiritual cause. “ … what is seen was made out of things which do not appear” (Heb. 11:3).

To “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” is an instruction to build a consciousness of God as your invisible, ever-abundant source of all good, knowing this consciousness draws to us a material counterpart in the form of conditions and things.

When you pray for healing, for example, seek to envision the reality of your present spiritual wholeness. Affirm that your wholeness is your reality, that it is now interacting with the atoms and cells of your physical body in ways that demonstrate wholeness. If you feel stuck in your life, quietly open your mind to the borderless reality of spirit within you, that inner energy that is even now building and sustaining worlds that have not entered your mind. Focus on putting your being in motion in new directions. Open the floodgates of new inspiration. Don’t struggle toward a new external condition. Affirm a new inner condition by seeing and feeling where you want to go emotionally.

Scriptures like this one have caused people to denounce the material realm as an interference to their spiritual life. This scripture does not denounce materiality, it simply puts it in perspective. According to the gospels Jesus manifested loaves and fishes and initiated many physical healings. He was a master of the material domain because his heart was in the all-encompassing reality of his unfailing spiritual resource.

Spiritual Mastery

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Gems of Truth: Spiritual Wisdom from the Words of Jesus

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1-3).

As we look for gems of Truth found in the words attributed to Jesus, we come across this intriguing incident. It’s intriguing because it challenges the highly popularized law of attraction. According to advocates of this law, the man or his parents must have done something to attract this condition of blindness. Jesus, however, puts this notion aside and initiates a new cause.

We too can get caught in this trap of self-blame for unwanted conditions. Far from being the spiritual master we hope to one day become, we struggle with the consequences of the “sin” of negative thinking and low visioning. The question, “Who sinned?” does not resolve the issue, it only places blame.

Here’s a suggestion: Rather than chiding yourself for failing to be a spiritual master, try practicing some spiritual mastery in your present situation. Take the truth you know and apply it to the condition that is bothering you. In your highest moments, what do you affirm about God? What do you affirm about yourself? God is absolute good. You are an expression of God. Appearances are passing. The deeper reality of God is now shining forth.

A spiritual master is one who spiritually masters the moment. What happened in the past is not happening in the present. The present is your opportunity to display the works of God. Pull your attention from the appearance and center it in the truth. Bring all your studies to bear on the situation at hand. It does not matter where the situation came from, it only matters what you do with it now.

The Narrow Gate to Freedom

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“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter though it” (Matthew 7:13).

Though I have referenced this scripture many time in my talks and writings, I return to it again to reiterate the profound truth it embodies. Many on the spiritual path today distinguish between religion and the quest for a deeper understanding of their spirituality. What is implied here is that the old worn paths of religious dogma and creed no longer suffice, that the seeker is looking for a more organic, experiential approach to spiritual understanding. While this quiet rebellion against stiff tradition is understandable, this new version of the spiritual quest has also become a wide gate through which many have entered. There exists a spiritual pop culture that makes the same undeliverable promise of enlightenment.

The narrow gate that Jesus spoke of is so simple that it is easily missed. The fulfillment of our spiritual quest is present, right where we stand. We are looking for our soul. To label our search a spiritual quest is to guarantee that we will not find what we seek. What we are trying to grasp with our head (intellect), the heart has always known. The spiritual pop culture worships the quest. It thrills in filling its bookshelves, accumulating credentials and traveling through all the wide gates of the world in search of the fulfillment that can only be found at the quiet center of every individual.

The truth Jesus conveyed is true still. He was not talking about the narrow gate of religious belief. He was talking about the correct understanding of the soul. The soul is complete now. How do you get to the now? How do you experience that which you already are in truth? You settle in, you turn your focus away from the demands of the self-image and you observe that changeless point of awareness you have always known as I. This is the narrow gate to freedom. The moment you step through it you will know without a doubt that your spiritual search is over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing Your Vision

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Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad” (Matthew 13:47-48).

What is a “good” fish, and what is a “bad” fish? In the realm of the Divine, there is no such distinction. God is equally invested in the carp and the tuna. Determining the difference between a good fish and a bad fish depends on who is doing the determining. If you want fish you intend to sell through a pet store, you use one standard of judgment. If you are supplying a restaurant, you use another standard.

Your mind is a net that is constantly being cast into the sea of infinite possibilities of ideas. The ideas you bring in and hang onto culminate as the conditions of your life.  When you set a goal for yourself, your choice of the mental pictures and of the thoughts and feelings you hold about that goal become relevant. Excitement toward your objective becomes a good fish. Doubts in your abilities become bad fish. You want all the creative energy of your being to support your vision so you make an effort to dismiss your doubts and reaffirm your excitement.

This principle holds true at all levels of action, not just mental and emotional. The activities you engage in, the conversations you conduct, the types of television shows you watch, the material you read all have their impact on the vision you desire to express. If you engage only in actions that support your vision, your vision will become a manifest entity. If you engage in actions that diminish your vision, you will get only a partial and inadequate demonstration.

The message of this parable is simple: Hold on to the ideas and actions that support your vision and let go of the ideas and actions that do not.

 

Recognize Your Good

Gems of Truth: Spiritual Wisdom from the Words of Jesus

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And he said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear’” (Mark 4:26-28).

Jesus was a master at explaining abstract metaphysical processes using simple agricultural metaphors. In this saying from Mark, he reveals two very helpful bits of information when it comes to manifesting the desires of our heart. First, when you scatter seed, an invisible force takes over to grow that seed. You are responsible for the sowing, not the growing. Second, once the seed starts to grow it follows an orderly process that begins so humbly we may not recognize it.

Holding a mental and emotional vision is the equivalent of sowing seed. This is how we, as individuals, were designed to be supplied. We are given a mind capable of initiating any material condition we desire. We hold to the ideal, sleep and rise night and day, and the ideal begins to manifest, we know not how. We do not need to know how; that is not our department.

When the manifestation begins to occur, we often do not recognize it. It may appear as a feeling of success, or a change in circumstances so slight that we consider it inconsequential. Plant a field of wheat and it will first appear as grass. But because you know what you planted, you know you are seeing the potential for bushels of flour.

Keep your vision on the “full grain in the ear” but learn to recognize and give thanks for the “blade” when it appears. The slightest change in circumstance is evidence that your desire is manifesting. If you pray for abundance and find a dime on the street, think of it as the first blade of manifestation. Soon you will see many blades and these will grow into “ears” which will, in turn, transform into the condition or thing that you desire.

Commitment to the Ideal

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Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:62).

There is a significant number of Bible verses attributed to Jesus that give keys to understanding and practical application of our spiritual resources. Absolute commitment to an ideal is another key.

We are beginning to understand that there is a definite connection between our consciousness and the way our life unfolds. We have come to see that if we can play a role in creating what we see in our experience, we can also play a role in creating what we would like to see. The image we hold of our self and our life influences our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions that go into building the external side of our life.

When you use your imagination to form a new picture of what you would like to see in your life, you discover quickly how easily that picture is challenged. The old self-image does not just dissolve because you decide you don’t want it anymore. You still have plenty of emotion and logic tied up in the old. So it’s important to understand that a permanent change of mind requires a commitment. One moment you can hold a wonderful ideal and the next moment find it, like a sand castle, washed away by a wave of negative emotion.

Right here is where you need to remember the advice of Jesus. Put your hand to the plow and keep it there, no matter how you feel and no matter what appearances are saying. One moment may indeed bring the appearance of failure, but the next moment will present the opportunity for success. If you throw up your hands and walk away from your plow in that apparent moment of failure, you will not see your opportunity for success. You’ll never get your “field” in shape to produce the abundance you desire.

Refuse to quit, and you will see your life transform.