Chapter IV

 Embracing Your True Self

When committed to Self­help emanating from the soul, instead of self­help rising out of the ego, a necessary attitude adjustment is embraced. You approach your flaws free of critical judgment. You recognize your thinking needs correction. You don’t need condemnation. Now your attitude is one of a physician to a patient, not of a judge toward a felon. Your goal is to remove a pathological mental growth from an otherwise healthy mind. If you find it difficult to silence your negative self­criticism, you suffer from being critical of yourself for being critical of yourself. The following affirmation is an effective correction of this dilemma:

I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts.

I have feelings, but I am not my feelings.

I have emotions, but I am not my emotions.

I have a body, but I am not my body.

I am, I am, I am.

The truth in these words challenges you to move out of the ego’s domain. Our ego identity and our base of operation is always in our bodies, thoughts, our feelings and emotions. A predictable reaction to this observation is, “If I don’t identify myself through those things, what do I have left?” Everything. Evelyn Underhill corrected this sensate illusion with the insight, “Most people spend their lives trying to conjugate the verbs ‘to want,’ ‘to have’ and ‘to keep’ ­craving, clutching, clinging ­ when all the Spirit wills us to do is to conjugate the verb ‘to be.’”

The world into which our egos have totally invested ­the world of the body, sensate desire, the shadow land of feelings and emotions ­ is insubstantial. By its very nature this condition is frightening. Nothing in it is secure or predictable. Track your emotions for a single day. See how often “you” change if you define yourself by them. Your thoughts, feelings and body are equally mercurial and passing. Science calls this decay of all physical existence “entropy.” This principle says that the moment anything comes into existence or is born, it begins to decay and die. This is true of the ego’s world. It does not hold true for the world of your soul. This deathless Self is the healing power­center of your mind. Anyone, however trembling and doubt­filled, who wills to enter this sanctuary of healing, will certainly ascend to the dimension of Being: being happy, being peaceful, being love.

With this mindset, you can be the kind of friend to whom others can come to “pour out all the contents of their heart, chaff and grain together.” You provide the necessary intimate trust because they know you will keep what is real in them “and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” Their behavior doesn’t change your resolve to know their eternal splendor. The wonder of this discipline, which is initially demanding, is that the more you see this splendor in others, the more you see it in yourself.

Plugging Into The Power

The power to creatively change your mind can only be accessed through your will. It is the “socket” on the Power cord, plugging you into the Power Source that does the work. This is an immense relief, once understood. Your responsibility is small but vital. Plug into the Power. Use your will to activate the process.

Below is a basic check list as you set out to discover inner peace:

      1. Your will is committed to doing the will of God. Or, you will to know and follow the truth wherever it may lead.

     2. You are committed to seeking the guidance of your Inner Advisor, the Holy Spirit, the Voice for God, as you look for your Shadows.

     3. You will not to play the blame game and you will to take full responsibility for all your physical, emotional or spiritual pain.

     4. You will to be a non­judgmental friend, remembering that what you think of the other person is your opinion of yourself. You embrace the truth that you always receive what you give.

     5. You are committed to move beyond your old definition of yourself as a body, thoughts, feelings and emotions. You affirm you are as God created you, a creative being of infinite worth. You will to establish this truth by giving it to every person who enters your life.

  With this Will Power, you are ready to remove the Shadows that have chilled and darkened your life and have effectively hidden your greatness.

Finding Past Shadows In Present Pain

Although it may be helpful to seek out the assistance of a mental health professional, it is not necessary. This is a matter of internal guidance, which we’ve already discussed. Daily you will find material that can expose the nature of a Shadow. Shadows were generated in the past, but are hard­wired to the present, energizing every pain or problem you experience. Knowing this, you can use the immediate negative event as a means of understanding the origin of a Shadow. Instead of damaging your day, you use the problem as a homing devise guiding you to the forgotten Shadow­making material.

A friend has a husband, a respected professional, who at home has all the household graces of a mud rooting hog. His sloppiness had her discouraged until she decided to get to the heart of why it angered her so. Knowing this principle, she asked herself one simple question, “Who, in my past, left things in a mess?” Because she had willed to be free of the blame game and wanted to be free of whatever it was in her that was creating the problem, the answer was discerned immediately: My mother, she thought, I couldn’t stand her messiness.

You can pay a therapist to ask the question if you wish. Or, free of charge, you can ask it yourself. The Holy Spirit in you just happens to be the best therapist in the world. He is totally knowledgeable. Drawing from this Source she was shown she had married her “mother.” She was led  from her husband and mother to the unforgiving clutter in her mind. Through forgiveness she made the disease the antidote, transforming marital conflict into healing. What better way of purging the heart of forgotten hurt and anger than to revisit the old, hidden antagonist in a present tense situation. The past is effectively forgiven through illumined present antagonism. Three people are the beneficiaries of this forgiveness process ­ the immediate antagonist, the Shadow antagonist and, most of all, the newly enlightened you.

Seeing The Splendor In Your Offender 

The correlation between an unacknowledged Shadow and a current antagonist is not always so obvious. The value of emotional conflict, however, is still woven into the situation. Your “enemy” is still the guide to your world of inner peace by pointing to a dark emotion in you. Always whatever personal offense angers you is a shadowed weakness within yourself: liars hate other liars; honest people don’t. Although they don’t like to be lied to, they don’t feel bitter or angry about it. Over­controllers resent being over­controlled; the confidently self­controlled can handle attempted over­control without hostility. The gossip despises one who gossips, and, in all likelihood, doesn’t know they are a gossip. Their ego puts a defensive spin on it; they like to “share a lot.”

The way out of this anger/hate trap is to be willing to forgive. Willingness to free the person who offends you, will set you free. Through the act of forgiveness you  eliminate a dark belief about yourself which your ego refused to recognize.

To properly equip yourself for successful Shadow discovery and elimination, make a checklist of personal affirmations and commit them to memory. An affirmation is always personal, positive and present tense. As affirmations the five points would read:

1. I am committed to doing the will of God. Or, I will to know and follow the truth.

2. I am committed to seeking the guidance of my Inner Advisor, the Holy Spirit, as I seek out my inner Shadows.

3. I will to take full responsibility of all my physical, emotional and spiritual pain.

4. I will always to be a non­judgmental friend. I affirm in this that I always receive in life as I give. 

 5. I affirm that I am as God created me, infinite in love, power and creativity.

  Forgiveness. This is the second sacred step leading to inner peace. However, before we consider this next step, let’s review the Questions raised and the Answers given concerning the first step, Face Your Shadows:

Q: What is a Shadow?

A: A Shadow is any negative perception we have buried, composed of ugly feelings we have swept under the rug of our consciousness. By its very nature, we are unaware of its lethal presence in our Memory Bank.

Q: Why do we need to find and face our Shadows?

A: Because Shadows we have not identified and faced destructively control our emotions. The driving influence behind all hate, fear, depression and pain is to be found in unfaced Shadows.

Q: How can we find our Shadows if they are hidden from our conscious mind?

A: We can’t, not without Help. Therefore, our first and most important act is to seek the guidance of our Inner Advisor, the Holy Spirit.

Q: What if one is not religious? Does that rule out such guidance?

A: Not at all. The religious are often the most resist ant to such guidance. All that is needed for any one, regardless of their religious or philosophic persuasion, is the will to be guided. The will, utterly committed to the discovery of Love and the Truth resident there, is all that is necessary for anyone. (Review the check list above.)

Q: Why is friendship or healing companionship so vital to the removal of Shadows?

A: Two major related reasons. First, the ego generates the illusion that exposure of our dark side, our Shadow self, will leave us humiliated and alone. The friend neutralizes that fear sufficiently to begin the healing process. Second, because of the principle that we always receive what we give, as we will to be such a friend, we receive the power to be released of our Shadows because we helped another face and embrace theirs.

The Golden Thread of forgiveness runs throughout our discussion of the First Step to Peace. Now, as we move to the second step, we will look, in greater depth, into what is the most important lesson in life: How to forgive our perceived Shadow Makers.

Step Two: Forgive Your Perceived Shadow Maker



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