Preparing Ourselves to Receive Guidance

     We are so thoroughly imprinted with our skill sets and knowledge, formal or by cultural reinforcement, that the older we become the more challenging it is to change how we think and perceive.  There are a lot of thought patterns that actually prevent us from furthering our knowledge and understanding.

     For example, our faith could be devastated if we encountered an informed, persuasive point of view that suggested that the Scriptures were more likely the written reflections of primitive people than God’s Word.  We may have our confidence shaken when others define us as cultural Christians, a label that could separate us from those who believe that they are thoroughly grounded in biblical theology and traditions. Some Christians have suggested that courses like this one are only crude attempts to seduce people with modern interpretations of biblical theology dressed up in slick packaging.

     Any time people have reached for distant horizons in any discipline, they have met resistance from the earthly guardians of orthodoxy.  These guardians always know the right way.  The visionaries, however, perceive another way beyond where the masses have chosen to stay.  Jesus was such a visionary who saw beyond the orthodoxy and dogmas of his religion and cultural heritage.  It is our privilege, our moment in history to look to the future and build on what we have learned.

     How do we prepare ourselves for such a quest, i.e., to receive guidance that will help us move from our traditional patterns of thinking to ones that will allow our lives to become the grand adventures they were designed to be?  To accomplish such growth without guilt means that we must place our trust totally in God’s ability to guide us rather then the claims others, ancient or modern, have made about God.  We must also have total confidence in ourselves to perceive with love because we are beings that are created in God’s image.

     The obvious place to begin is to prepare our minds and hearts to receive guidance that will enhance our abilities to express loving energy patterns without hesitation or prior thought.  Our goal is to express ourselves in this manner without debate, sufficient logic or justification.  We were designed to be a radiant beacon of what love looks like.   There is no way to make the world a more wholesome place for men and women to live until we manifest such a world within and throughout our lives.

     We must remember that others are on their own individual quests, ones which will be different from ours.  We cannot save them.  We cannot change them.  We cannot motivate or inspire them.  Openness to change is a quality that only they can choose.  Our role is to be the leaven for the loaf, not the dictator of what others must do to be saved.  The motivation for such change must come from choices rooted in a desire to refine our loving energy patterns, NOT because we fear our soul is in peril.

     This means we desire change because we want it, not because Jesus said that particular attitudes and thought patterns are a must if we are to be saved.  No one is lost here, but others can live in a vacuum without more informed information, i.e., they live in ignorance of the more refined spiritual dimensions of life.  Let us turn our attention to skills that will prepare our spirits to receive guidance. 

     The spiritual skill of Forgiveness allows those who possess it to accept others just as they are.  The behavior and attitudes of others is never personalized and thus forgiveness liberates people from being manipulated.  This is a challenging skill to develop because most of us want to be liked and/or we want to please.  We can easily fall prey to being rejected, labeled, judged, criticized and abandoned.

     Forgiveness allows for differentials in thought.  There is room in the universe for billions of different interpretations of reality.  Each person, however, will always experience life on a level consistent with where each of them is with respect to his or her personal journey of evolution.  In other words, all of us are experiencing exactly what our inner world allows us to recognize.

     In addition to learning the reasons for and the art of instant forgiveness, try to develop an abundant sense of Gratitude for every experience.  Our pleasant experiences can be greeted with joy; the painful experiences can also be greeted with gratitude when we allow them to become our guides and teachers.  Painful episodes enable us to refine qualities of spirit such as patience, creative detachment, peace and kindness.  Without the temptation to feel we have been victimized, we may not have the opportunity to choose to greet each challenge with enthusiasm.   Our journey will always be tested.  Evolution implies that we move from where we are in order to embrace a newer version of ourselves.

     How easily we can set aside every blessing that surrounds us because of one experience of inconvenience, one episode of disrespect, one moment of betrayal, one opportunity missed or denied, or one moment of loss?  What is it about us that can block our memory of everything that has supported us because of a major disappointment?  It is called fear.  Fear is the shroud that attempts to block our light.

     We live in a world where one misstep by people who have exhibited exemplary careers can lose their job, reputation and respect of the public.  The Church preaches forgiveness and gratitude but often the most righteous are the ones who line up to cast the first stone.  Such behavior reveals an unrecognized belief condemning those who “sin,” when clearly Jesus preferred spending time with them.

     This brings us to the final area of preparation – dismissing our Judgmental responses Remember that our judgments reveal the quality of our inner world.  In fact, when we do not judge, there is no need for forgiveness.   What deed must be forgiven if we have never been offended?  Our role in the world is to radiate our understanding of who God created us to be, an understanding that is always in a process of refinement.

     By forgiving, celebrating life with gratitude and refusing to engage in unkind judgments, we are now prepared to receive guidance unencumbered by blockages of our own creation.  Why is this so?  It is so because we have chosen to reveal the same attributes of God.  Such skills have little to do with the constantly growing dogmas and beliefs associated with Christian theology.  They are, however, the embodiment of what Jesus taught-love one another.

     When we dine at a fine restaurant, frequently we are given sorbet to clean our palates between courses of the meal.  What is being suggested in this lesson observes the same principle.  Forgiveness, gratitude and ceasing to engage in unkind judgments frees the mind and emotions to receive what we have been blocking by what the Apostle Paul calls, “Our human nature,” or the imprinting of our learned cultural, familial, educational and religious responses.