III. The Altar of God, P 3
3 The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time. This may appear to contradict free will because of the inevitability of the final decision, but this is not so. You can temporize and you are capable of enormous procrastination, but you cannot depart entirely from your Creator, Who set the limits on your ability to miscreate. An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point. This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God.
I was thinking about the sentence that says our Creator set the limits on our ability to miscreate. I notice the ego feels the sting of resentment when reading that. It is like a child who wants to play Superman and “flying” off the roof is just part of the play. He may be very angry that Mom won’t let him, and feel he is being unfairly restricted by her rules, but one day, in maturity, he will see the wisdom of those rules and be grateful for them.
Another way I see this is that we were created in a certain way. We were created to be free and unlimited, and so while we can play around with the idea of restrictions (that is the idea of being limited and vulnerable and separate) we cannot become that anymore than an apple can become a horse in the world. So we will inevitably stop pretending and return to our divine natures. We can dress up in bodies and make an elaborate stage set, but eventually, the play ends and the makeup has to come off as we discard the costume. We can pretend, dream, act, as if we are something we are not, but we can’t recreate our very nature.
So it is our nature to be Divine Beings and that is what we are under the disguise, and we will discard the disguise. We begin the process of doing so when it becomes too painful not to. Imagine trying to get through life blindfolded, just to see if you could do it. You might have fun, at first, trying to figure out ways to compensate. At some point, though, you will get tired of all the effort, and tired of the painful accidents of trying to maneuver without sight. Then you will want to remove the blindfold and go about life as before.
If you are studying the Course or are on some other spiritual path, you have reached that moment of decision, the moment you become determined to recover your spiritual vision, and awaken to your true nature. It has always been inevitable that you do so; it was just a matter of when. For you that time has come. If it seems hard and even painful to make the transition from imprisonment to freedom, it is only because we have one foot in both camps. We are experiencing the conflict of trying to hold onto the blindfold while also trying to remove it.
As experienced in my life it goes something like this. I am learning that my true nature is non-duality. I am strong because I am one with my brothers and with my Creator. But I hear someone say that I am special, and the ego mind preens. I think I like the person I am spending time with, but I miss my son or daughter and cannot be as happy with this person as I would be with one of them. I love the idea of living in one place but think I would be happier somewhere else.
The list is endless. I see the world in tiny bits with gaps between each separate thing, and I think one bit is better than or more important than, and I believe my happiness depends on how many of the important bits I can gather. And also on how many of the unwanted bits I can avoid. That is hardly the non-duality that I am seeking.
Suffering is the shifting back and forth that I have been doing for awhile now. I let go of the world for a little while and I feel free and glorious. Then I pick it back up and feel safer because it is familiar… for about a minute, then I long for the return of Self. Back and forth, back and forth, my mind vacillates until I tire of the conflict. And tire of it I will. That is a done deal.