My dear friends...
Last week in this space we talked about the first two steps in Contentment: Abandonment and Requirement. This week, we'll look at the final three: Resentment, Argument, and Discernment.
Freedom is the natural state of the soul. Freedom is what the soul is. The word Freedom and the word God could be interchangeable. God is the essence of Freedom, by definition. Freedom is that quality of being which knows no limits, is bound by no restrictions, and upon which can be placed no requirements of any kind.
God is not required to be, do, or have anything. One cannot require God. That is because God is All Powerful, the Creator, and no requirement can be placed on such a Being. Who would do the requiring?
The biggest secret in life is that you cannot be required to be, do, or have anything either. That is because you were made "in the image and likeness of God." You are all powerful, the Creator, and no requirement can be placed on such a Being.
Even if Someone could (presumably, God), there is no one who would. That is, God would not. Why? Because there is nothing that God wants from you. There is nothing that God needs in order to be happy. God has everything, because God IS Everything. There is nothing that God is not--so what could God possibly want or need or demand?
The soul knows this. This is impeccable logic, and so at some level the mind understands this, too. But it may be at a very high level--a level of thinking (and remembering) that the mind does not very often rise to instantly after birth. Shortly after birth the mind abandons what it thinks it knows and understands about Life, because everything in its exterior environment is evidencing something other than that. So the mind abandons its Highest Remembering: that of its own Unity with The Essence, and its Oneness with All That Is.
It may take (and it usually does take) years for the mind to remember this truth again--much less to live it. Particularly when the young Being is being told from moments after birth through all the early years of physical development that yes, it is separated from That Whence It Came...and that there is a requirement which must be met before it can return. Returning is what it yearns to do, so the young Being earnestly seeks to understand and to meet those requirements.
The only trouble is, the soul knows at some very deep level, and the soul understands perfectly, that the idea of a Requirement being in place in order for the Being to experience (much less return to) God is false. It is counterfeit. It is simply not the way things are. And so, for the rest of its life the Being will be conflicted between what it knows interiorly (in its soul) and what it is being told, and thus thinks it knows, exteriorly (in its mind).
Interiorly, the Being understands that it is Freedom Itself (that is why all beings on the Earth yearn to be free . It is their Essential Nature...and they know it.) Exteriorly, the Being is told over and over again that it is not free, but must do or not do certain things in order to return Home, in order to experience its True Self and its intrinsic Oneness with God.
As it walks the path of Life, the Being will continually experience this conflict and continually encounter a crossroad that will soon become very familiar. It will be the crossroad of surrender and resentment. The Being will either surrender to what it is being told, or it will resent what it is being told.
Resentment is the third stopping point on the path to Contentment.
Resentment is a signal that the soul is beginning to take over from the mind; that what the soul knows that it knows is starting to be more important than what the mind thinks that it knows.
Resentment is not a negative emotion. It is a very positive sign of growth. Resentment is the beginning of rebellion, and rebellion is the beginning of wisdom. Every free country, and every free man, started with resentment. Wisdom lies on the other side of "no, thank you."
Resentment is wisdom birthing. This is always the case.
The Being that surrenders to what it is being told about the Outside World and "how it is" may remain at the Second Stopping Point on the Path to Contentment--requirement--forever. That Being will never be truly happy, because it never truly knows freedom, and freedom is the essence of what it is. And so, the Being will never truly know Itself--and that's what it came here to do. This, too, it intuitively knows, and so the Being will be very unhappy, utterly discontented.
It will try to make itself happy. It may even be able to convince itself that it should be happy, because after all, it is doing the right thing. It is working hard to meet the requirement that God has placed on all those who wish to return to Him. (The fact that these requirements are impossible to meet might also lead to the building up of a little resentment. But the person who has surrendered to the Cultural Story told to it by its Outside World will tamp down this resentment--or, typically, redirect this resentment and begin to resent others who are not accepting the Cultural Story. )
Thus, the internal conflict will be turned into an external conflict, with the Being rejecting conflict within itself in favor of conflict with those outside of itself. This is always much easier to handle and much easier to justify.
The world is now conflicted with itself for this very reason. For the planet's people as a whole are now moving through their own collective process of evolution. That is, the entire species called homo sapiens has now approached the crossroad. Species evolve at a much slower pace than its individual members. It takes multiple generations for a species to take even one step forward. Many individual members must take giant steps for the species as a whole to take a tiny step. That is why it is said, and it is true, that every individual's personal work is uplifting the whole of humanity.
Once the Being had reached the third stopping point of resentment, it has created a field of energy within which argument can take place. If resentment is the birthing of wisdom, argument is its early growth. Wisdom grows as argument begins.
The Being--emboldened by its resentment--begins to argue with the Cultural Story it has been told, and often with those doing the telling: parents, teachers, elders, ministers, rabbis, ulamas, and, during the very early stages of growth, nearly everyone and anyone in authority.
Arguing with authority is a Rite of Passage of the young, and nearly all Beings on the road to Contentment make this passage. Again, argument need not be a negative emotion or experience. Reasoned argument can open the door to higher awareness. Indeed, it nearly always does--for people on both sides of the debate.
Of course, with the individual human being the argument takes place within. Argument is, first, an internal process...a stepping stone to Contentment. One begins to argue with one's own Cultural Story. The soul begins to tussle with the mind. This is a gentle tussle, for the soul never struggles and never opposes, but always and only loves. And so, the soul seeks to love the mind into a Larger Understanding.
Internal argument with exterior truth is always a good sign, a wonderful indication of growth. It is only when argument takes place that choices can be made. The choices, of course, are the decisions one makes regarding which of the Being's internal conclusions it will embrace. Is the Cultural Story right, or is my Inner Knowing right?
We are talking here about the Cultural Story about everything. About God. About Life. About How Things Are. About Each Other. About everything.
Allow me to give you an example. We have a Cultural Story being told on this planet about physical beauty, and body type. Now somewhere inside of us we all know that this Cultural Story is just that--a story that someone has told and that people have bought into. Somewhere deep inside of us we understand perfectly well that this Cultural Story and How Things Are has nothing to do with ultimate reality. It is simply our created reality, and we can buy into it or not, as we choose.
Now we get into an internal argument about it.
"It's not true."
"It's not true."
"It's not true."
"Okaaay, it's not true! But now what????"
The final stopping point on the road to Contentment is discernment. This is when we stop arguing and finally discern, or know the difference between, what is True and what is Not True.
Of course, "truth" does not exist. There is no such thing as Objective Truth. A thing is only true if it is true for you. Subjective truth is the only truth there is. Discernment is the experience of residing in one's own truth--and remaining there, all exterior "evidence" to the contrary notwithstanding.
We know that F-E-A-R is False Evidence, Appearing Real." Fear will come up whenever anyone steps toward discernment. In the early stages of discernment, it is natural to doubt ourselves and to question our innermost knowing. This is the final stage of argument, a holdover from the previous internal experience. Ultimately, for the truly persistent, discernment wins out. We know that we know, and we know that we know it.
Discernment is the victory of the soul over the mind, of the interior over the exterior, of the inner truth over the outer reality, of the Only Story There Is over the Cultural Story we have been told.
Discernment is knowing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder--and that God beholds beauty in everything. Discernment is knowing the difference between the exterior myth and the interior experience. Exteriorly, we are told that God and we are separate, and that there is a requirement we have to meet in order to return to The Essence. Interiorly, we know intuitively that God and we are One, and that nothing is required for us to experience that. Nothing.
The experience is ours whenever we want it. The love of God is ours whenever we embrace it. The forgiveness of God is ours whenever we accept it--although it is totally not needed, for God cannot be damaged in any way. And the wisdom of God is ours whenever we claim it.
And here is the big secret: All of this can be ours whenever we share it.
It is the sharing of anything that gives us a true experience of it, and there is no other way.
© 2019 ReCreation Foundation - http://www.cwg.org - Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.