3. WHAT ARE THE LEVELS OF TEACHING? P 5
5 The third level of teaching occurs in relationships which, once they are formed, are lifelong. These are teaching-learning situations in which each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning. These relationships are generally few, because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect. This does not mean that they necessarily recognize this; in fact, they generally do not. They may even be quite hostile to each other for some time, and perhaps for life. Yet should they decide to learn it, the perfect lesson is before them and can be learned. And if they decide to learn that lesson, they become the saviors of the teachers who falter and may even seem to fail. No teacher of God can fail to find the Help he needs.
The third level relationships for me are my children and my siblings. My parents, of course, were lifelong from their point of view. I have learned so much from these relationships. The learning has not always been gentle and often has been painful. But, the situations that I chose to learn from have been worth whatever I went through to accept the lessons.
It seems that my most persistent lesson is to let go of the idea of guilt, and the classroom that has offered me the most opportunities to do that is the one of the parent-child relationships. Releasing parental guilt has been a struggle for me. Recently, I have had another opportunity to decide for innocence.
I witnessed one of my children struggling in his own relationships and I was flooded with guilt. I could see how my errors raising him contributed to his unhappiness and I had to look at that guilt once again. It is disheartening to see that what I thought had been undone was still hanging around just waiting for a chance to knock me flat again. But as Jesus says, each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning.
Here is what I did. I wrote two pages covering all my “sins” against this particular child. I didn’t hold back, I didn’t spiritualize it. I just wrote it out like it appears in my mind in situations like this. Then I asked Holy Spirit for help to see it differently. I know this is the ego interpretation, but still, it hooks me. The answer I received from Holy Spirit was basically that I played a necessary part in his awakening process, just as I played it in mine.
That script was written and we played our parts and we each got from it what we were ready to accept. I am responsible for what I do with my lesson, but not what he does with his lesson. We don’t know why it was the way it was, but it is certain that there is a plan, and it is unfolding exactly as it should. I did not damage him in any real way, and we are both completely innocent regardless of the scripts we play out.
I noticed as I did this exercise that I felt the heaviness of the thoughts lift. But I also noticed a sharp stab of guilt for that. What right did I have to be ok if he was still suffering? This has been a recurring stumbling block for me. It is the ego’s last-ditch effort to keep me involved in the story of mother’s guilt.
It is saying that I can’t leave this story and if I try, I will be even guiltier. But I am free to disregard the ego and I choose to do so. I do no good for anyone by staying in that story any longer. Another stumbling block, and perhaps the only real stumbling block is that I think I am the character I play, and so is my child the character he plays.
I think that the story is real and has real and permanent effects. And yet, that cannot be true. This entire world and every character in it is an illusion. It is not real. My true self, our true selves, are unaffected by the dream we are having. And when this understanding becomes a knowing, we become free to use the stories to help awaken the Son, rather than to use them to deepen the sleep.
I don’t just think this is true, I know it is true. I have had times when I shook off the sleep and saw the truth at least momentarily. Each time this happens, it is easier to do. I want the awakened state to be permanent and so that is why I am determined to use this opportunity as fully as I can. Have I done so? Have I finally let go of that form of guilt?
I am not sure. It all depends on what my goal is. Do I want the peace of God more than anything else, even more than I want to shoulder my share of suffering? The Holy Spirit gives me words to help me want to be healed, but the healing itself occurs naturally as my desire for healing deepens and is finally all that I want.
Trust is the final key to awakening from this particular dream of guilt as it is in all dreams of guilt. I trust the Holy Spirit to remove from my mind what I don’t want anymore. I can trust that my part is done and that I can finally hand my children over to God. I trust that they have the same Guide that I have. They will be ok, too, and in perfect timing, they will awaken from their own dream of suffering. Perhaps now my final gift to them is the end of my own suffering.