My dear friends...
There is much talk these days about enlightenment , and the path to Self-Awareness. I am sure that this is why all the data on this subject have been racing around my mind for many months prior to writing the present material.
Now for many of the past several weeks here in the Bulletin I have been talking about "enlargement" as the Second Major Step on the Path to Self-Awareness, and I would like to explain that by "enlargement" I mean an expanding sense of Self, a growing understanding of Who You Really Are - and of ways to experience that more consistently and more richly.
I have said that I see a three-part approach here. First, cause another to have the experience. I explored that previously. Second, step into the experience yourself fully, even if only for a moment. I got into that pretty fully before as well. It is not necessary to have an experience Forever in order to have an experience Fully. This is the biggest mistake that I see people in the so-called New Age community making. In my short discourse earlier, I put it directly and succinctly. Let me repeat, here, what I said there:
Link together a string of less-than-eternal Enlargement experiences and suddenly you approach the doorway to infinity.
So give yourself permission to approach Enlargement of the Self one step at a time. One small step.
May I give you an example, so that you may know the kinds of steps I am talking about?
When I was a young man I remember having been given $20 in extra change by the checkout lady in a supermarket. I don't know how that additional 20 got in there, but there it was. I thought of going back to the store, but I never did. I justified not returning the money by telling myself, "Safeway is a big company and to them this is nothing." It's hurting no one, I thought. I pondered my "good fortune" and went my way.
Ten years later the same thing happened. I was given extra change by someone. I turned around and walked right back. "I think you gave me more than I am supposed to have here," I told the person at the cash register. She looked puzzled at first, and then a smile of gratitude crossed her face. "Thank you so much!" she said. "They would have taken that out of my pay if my cash drawer didn't balance at the end of the day."
Of course they would have - and I hadn't even thought of that ten years earlier. I vowed after the second experience never again to take more than I had coming to me. Of anything. From anyone.
I am trying so hard to be scrupulously honest. I think that is a signal achievement, if one can do it. I think that is a sign of Enlargement. When you are your Larger Self you have no reason to be dishonest with anyone. About anything. Not about anything at all. Your Larger Self just can't find a reason not to tell the truth about everything, all the time.
Let me give you another example of a less-than-eternal Enlargement experience.
You arrive at the hotel and they do not have your room ready. It's worse. They don't have a room for you at all. No reservation in your name. It's worse. You've just traveled 17 hours to get there. You've been up for 24. The itinerary has been planned for months. Rechecked and confirmed by your travel agent. You are clear the mistake is not on your end. Now you're standing in the lobby of the hotel, hovering over the front desk, and you want them to make it right. Do something. Fix it. Because all you want is a place to lie down.
They have nothing. The hotel is sold out. Send me to another one, you say. Find me a room at a nearby hotel. Sorry, they tell you, big doings in town this weekend, not a room in the entire city is available. Your temperature rises. Your heartbeat races. You're seeing red.
I have been in this exact situation. More than once. In fact, too many times to count.
The first few times, I gave them what's-the-matter. I was more than happy to share a piece of my mind. It was not a pretty sight. The whole lobby knew there was a problem. Then one day, as it was happening yet again, something clicked in. It was as if someone threw a small switch in my brain. A part of me stepped back and saw once again the familiar scenario - and realized that I, myself, had created it, that I was not a victim, that there were no villains in the story, and that to avoid all the anger and frustration of the moment I simply had to make a new decision about why this was all occurring, and about Who I Am.
My attitude shifted abruptly. It was like someone had poured a New Me into my body, like cool milk into a pitcher. I hate to be this trite, but it felt like the milk of human kindness filling my being. I felt "fully me" in that moment. And the Full Me realized that the woman behind the counter at that hotel was no more at fault than I was. Nor was the night manager. No one was "at fault." What was happening was just what was happening. And the Full Me knew that I had created it all. I created it at some level of creation that I didn't know about, yes, but I had created it nonetheless. And I apparently had the intention of creating this situation in some form or another over and over, repeatedly, time and time again, until I got it.
What is it that I was trying to "get"?
Who I Really Am.
I was seeking to bring myself an experience (at really very little cost to me, when you think about it) of Who I Really Am. Indeed, all situations in my life, not just these little encounters at hotel front desks, were being placed there FOR me BY me in order that I might find myself in the right and perfect circumstance within which I could announce and declare, express and experience, become and fulfill my next highest notion about myself.
The purpose of life, Conversations with God had told me, was to recreate myself anew, in each golden moment of now, in the grandest version of the greatest vision ever I held about Who I Am. I suddenly got the teaching. In that moment I had not only brought the message, I had received it.
I have discovered that with this Conversations with God material, saying it and living it are two different things. So here at the front desk of this hotel I was deciding to live up to my own books, my own writing, my own message.
Well, God's message, really. It wasn't my message, it was God's.
Unless I wish to embrace and accept yet another of those messages - the one that says "we are all One." In which case it was "my" message that I was seeking to live up to. It was my message to myself.
Life informs Life about Life through the process of Life Itself. I inform me about me through the process of being me. And here's where the miracle of transformation comes in: I get to decide what that looks like in any given moment.
So now I do that. Much more often, I do that. In many more of the moments of my life, I take a step back and look closely at what has been created Right Here, Right Now for me, and I decide Who I Really Am in relationship to all of that. And when I make the highest choice about that, I experience Enlargement.
I can report to you that the experience doesn't last forever. It is not like having your tonsils out. It is not eternal. I am not "holding on to it" for as long as I would like. But I can access it. That's what's important. I can access it at will . That is not something I was doing before.
Did it make a difference at that hotel front desk?
They gave me the Presidential Suite.
Read this week's Letter to Neale here
Read a message from one of the prisoners impacted by our Prison Outreach HERE
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