A few months ago I wrote a couple of articles about the two possible spiritual approaches (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-two-spiritual-goals.html, http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2016/09/more-on-two-spiritual-goals.html). The most common approach, the one of religions and most everyone else on a spiritual path, is to spiritualize the self and its life in the world. The other approach is to transcend the self.
A while later I was having a discussion with my wife, Courtney. Her path is to spiritualize where mine is to transcend. I have never put it in those words to her because from past experience I know that she doesn’t understand my desire for liberation from the limitations of the self. In this discussion she said, again, that she finds my spirituality to be cold and cerebral. She wants warmth; she wants emotional satisfaction. I understood, but did not explain to her, that she finds my path lacking because for her it is only an idea. She has not experienced what I have. I find it joyful because for me I seek the experience of liberation that is beyond considerations of emotional coldness or warmth. Liberation transcends the human experience.
This is when I realized that another way to characterize the two possible goals is that often those who spiritualize the self are seeking for emotional connection with others and/or a Supreme Being. They seek for emotional satisfaction that is characterized as emotional “warmth”. Those who seek to transcend the self seek for liberation from all limitation, including emotional satisfaction. It is easy to see how, to those who seek to spiritualize life in the world, “liberation” may seem emotionally “cold”. But I can assure you that there is no lack in liberation.
I don’t remember the first time I learned of the idea of transcending the self. I believe I was a teenager and read something about Buddhism. I do know that I immediately recognized the Truth in the idea of transcending the self and experienced a delightful taste of the liberation that was possible. Of course this was immediately followed by stark terror at the idea of dropping the self. So I shut down any thought about it but it was too late. Once tasted, liberation cannot be forgotten. It is like being a prisoner and suddenly discovering that there are no guards and the door to the outside world is open. How could you stay? I was destined to end up on some path toward liberation after that taste of it.
Emotional satisfaction has a powerful pull and it continued to attract me along the way, too. But over time I also experienced liberation more fully than just that initial taste. And there was no comparison between the two experiences. Emotional satisfaction is a puny experience compared to the power and joy of liberation from limitations. I can only think that those who do not seek liberation have simply not tasted liberation yet. Once experienced, even if only faintly, liberation draws you like metal to a magnet. Nothing else will satisfy.
Do you want a spiritualized life in the world or liberation from the self? As a mentor of ACIM I work with students who want either. The goal is yours to choose. My job is to help you reach it faster and easier than you would on your own.Learn about one-on-one mentoring, how to send a donation for this blog, and about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.