X. The Confusion of Pain and Joy, P 3
3 The Holy Spirit will direct you only so as to avoid pain. Surely no one would object to this goal if he recognized it. The problem is not whether what the Holy Spirit says is true, but whether you want to listen to what He says. You no more recognize what is painful than you know what is joyful, and are, in fact, very apt to confuse the two. The Holy Spirit’s main function is to teach you to tell them apart. What is joyful to you is painful to the ego, and as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain. This confusion is the cause of the whole idea of sacrifice. Obey the Holy Spirit, and you will be giving up the ego. But you will be sacrificing nothing. On the contrary, you will be gaining everything. If you believed this, there would be no conflict.
I know someone who thinks that what makes her happy is to decide for herself about everything. She thinks she knows what is best for her and even when she knows she doesn’t know what is best, she thinks that she should decide what she is going to do. She is obstinate about making decisions on her own even when they fly in the face of common sense.
She thinks that being the one that decides is what makes her happy. There is underlying belief that this is what makes her safe, even though she sees this is not always true. Doing what she wants to do is more important to her than living. Even though she may not say this to herself, it is more important to her than Awakening.
I’m looking at this behavior in her because it is so clearly unreasonable that I can use it to understand what Jesus is telling me in this paragraph. This woman will not give up the “right” to direct her life in the way she wants, even though the directions she has been given are for her own good and to keep her body alive. Obviously, she believes that to follow guidance rather than decide for herself would be a sacrifice so great that she would rather die than do it.
She is not guilty for this. It is simply the part she came to learn and teach. This stubbornness has been part of her personality all of her life and so it seems that it is a core issue for her. I’m looking at this from outside, so to speak, so I may be wrong as far as what it means to her, but I can use it for my own understanding regardless.
From my point of view her life is a lesson in the value of surrender. I look at her and I see what not surrendering costs and I am strongly motivated to look at what I hold onto. What do I value above God? What in my life do I think is so important that I would hold onto it even if it meant staying in the illusion?
I see that I still cling to certain special relationships. I have a hard time simply surrendering them to Spirit and letting Him sort them out. I seem to believe that a sacrifice would be asked of me, that putting my relationships in His hands would be like Abraham putting his son on the altar, thinking he had to sacrifice his son’s life to God.
According to the Bible story, Abraham’s hand was stayed at the last moment. What if I trust my special relationships to God and there is no stay of execution? I don’t really believe this, but part of my mind does. I know it does because I haven’t surrendered fully. I, like this woman in my life, believe that I know what is good for me. I believe that deciding what to do with my relationships is better than surrendering them to Holy Spirit and letting Him heal them.
I have surrendered many beliefs to the Holy Spirit, and always I have been rewarded with the joy of a healed mind. Today, I give my willingness to let my special relationships go into His hands. I will let Him direct me. I have enough trust now to do this, not as a sacrifice, but in trust that the Holy Spirit knows better than me what I need. I now believe that deciding for myself is pain and letting Holy Spirit direct me is joy.