This morning I crawled to my morning practice in front of my altar steeped in self-recrimination. I had become acutely aware of my own painful stand-off against Source. I was seeing vividly my own state of resistance, and knew I was being held prisoner by my own unwillingness to surrender. I realized that my addiction to the reactive mind (especially regarding one particular situation), had me in service, not to the principles of peace and Reality, but to a fear-based ego instead; an ego who insists upon seeing itself as being under attack, and in justifying its right to protect itself according to it's own distorted sense of fairness. In other words, I recognized myself as being firmly on the road to Inner Hell.
Sitting there, quietly going through the motions of straightening and aligning the physical body, I called on the Presence, and, as it often does, the Inner Voice, eager to guide and comfort without demanding or interfering, responded with a question:
What would it be like,” I heard, “if you were to respond to your life situation as Abram did, when his nephew, Lot approached him with complaints about crowded conditions and demands for larger pastures for their sheep? Do you remember the words of Abram to Lot in that moment? I looked them up:
“And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.” And Abram continued in verse nine: “Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13: 8-9)
What WOULD it be like?
I imagined what it would be like if I were to …
… spread my arms wide, and like Abram say, “Not my way – but your way. You choose, for we are brothers & sisters, and I am honored to do your bidding …
… be grateful no matter what choices are made by those around me, even if their choices appear to deprive me of the “best” of everything – even if I am left with only piles of stone to call my own, because I have total confidence in Source to supply all my needs.
… trust my own Source of Supply so totally that no question or doubt surfaces – no second guessing, no matter what happens – because my faith in Source is so unequivocal that even ‘selfish choosing' is recognized ultimately as being FOR the highest good of all, and therefore something to be celebrated.
… see my life challenges as simply another opportunity to practice obedience to Life through a willing acceptance of the way things are, and in so-doing, be allowed to experience the Miracles of Abundance that always follow when, through Grace, we surrender to Reality and the Will of Source.
… to be brought to my knees in trembling humility and radical acceptance, witnessing with gratitude and tremendous awe, the work my Creator started in me, and promises to finish.
Again I reached for my Bible, and at random, opened it to Isaiah 48:10 (KJV), and read God's words to the house of Israel, “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Reading further in the same chapter, (verse 17) “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”
I reveled in the reassurance these words offered me. They seemed to promise that even my most troubling moments are part of the work of transformation; I was reminded of how many times progress had come about for me through inner struggle, and about how suffering (usually at my own hands) seemed to be a necessary part of the refinement-through-crucifixion process that we each must undergo if we are to give up that in us that resists the Will of the Father. My earlier bitter chagrin began to turn to a feeling of gratitude at just how blessed I am to be allowed enough of an understanding to allow me to better cooperate with this necessary crucifixion towards opening my heart in absolute Trust to Reality and Source.
Nonetheless I grieved, for it was painful to watch my own visceral resistance to, and stubborn stance against the One Source of All Being. It seemed that in spite of all my conscious awareness, I was still totally incapable of releasing my painful insistence on standing squarely in the way of Source, blocking the bounty of His company. I suffered to know that it was me, and only me, that was keeping me away from my Inner Beloved.
For it is in assuming this sort of self-responsibility … to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are the only ones who keep us from the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth that makes transformation possible. We must know without blame, without judgment that it is up to us to say yes to the process of transformation – but saying yes does not mean we can do it for ourselves! The transformation is a total miracle of Grace. It is something done through us, not by our own hand, but by the Hand of Source … however, we must give our permission first. We must say yes to allowing the miracle, to accepting the gift, before we can be be delivered from the personal Hell we create for ourselves.
Sitting in physical alignment on my prayer bench before my altar this morning, with all these feelings and thoughts raging inside me, I slowly and spontaneously began to lift my arms to the heavens, beseeching Universal Help … and gently at first, I began to arch my back in an elongated, slow backward bend. The image came of offering my heart to Source … no … it actually felt more like my heart was being offered, that it was being pushed up from behind, in a gesture of heart-rending surrender.
The arch that was happening now in my back was much more pronounced and deeper than my usual yoga backbend. I felt altered. A vivid image came to me of being stretched backwards over the horizontal arm on the cross of crucifixion, and my chest reached higher still, arching even more, thrusting the heart upwards in a desperate reach for Source. I wasn't surrendering on my own, I was being surrendered. And I knew that could only happen because, not being able to surrender on my own, I had asked for help, and was being given exactly that … the support I needed to surrender.
Another vivid image arose, I saw my own determined hand, driven by the combination of my wild desire matched by the Intense Longing of my Creator for our merger, reaching in through my chest wall, breaking open my heart cage in search of my own blood red, passionate heart, and once found, raising it as a love offering to Source.
Later, upon reflection, I recalled the moment in my image most vividly, when the horizontal arm of the cross that was holding me in a backwards surrender, suddenly shifted from being the cross of crucifixion to becoming instead, the loving arms of my Inner Beloved, my Creator Source.
To move from crucifixion to new life. To give it all up in trade for abundance, To own resistance and find peace. To hold nothing back and receive it all – these are the paradoxes that move us from Hell to Heaven on Earth.
May it be that we each, you and I, find such complete surrender in the Loving arms of Reality.