Happily-Ever-After

I grew up believing in “happily-ever-after.” I was supposed to find it when I was an adult and fell in love and got married. It was a hard belief to shake, and it took many, many years of consciously working at undoing it, which I had to do or get my heart broken over and over again. In small ways the belief persisted, even when it was no longer attached to love and romance. Always, there was something up ahead of me that was going to bring me lasting peace and happiness – salvation - once I found it. Eventually I accepted, at least intellectually, what A Course in Miracles teaches: I can only find Lasting Peace and Happiness in God. I stopped looking in the world for salvation, and I turned within whenever I felt I needed it.

Then I had a profound experience a few weeks ago: There is such a thing as Happily-ever-after! In fact, It’s the only Thing that’s Real! And It begins right now! These words do not do justice to this world-shattering experience. It has caused a huge shift in me, and I’m still reeling from it and processing it. What is almost as shocking to me as the experience itself, is that it has taken me so long to really get it. Somehow, no matter that I’ve been affirming that God is Love, Peace, and Joy, to myself and others, for a long while now, it has never worked into my experience. I experienced Joy in direct Revelations of God, and I had occasional flashes of Joy, but It had never seeped into my experience as Reality in an ongoing way. Joy was always “over There, in God”, Where I could visit sometimes. Then I caught onto why it was like this for me: I only wanted happiness-as-reality for the personal self. I didn’t want the deeper awareness of what it means that Happiness is Reality because it completely undoes the world. Once again, I had been trying to forge a compromise between Truth and illusion by using spiritual Truths to improve the personal self’s life, and by doing this, I was really holding Truth at bay. In fact, this has revealed to me that I have not really been seeking Happiness at all, despite my claims to the contrary. All along, I was really seeking the opposite of Happiness, and calling that happiness.

The contrast between the Happiness that I saw is Real and my usual experience is so extreme that it leaves me in shock. I have feelings like, “This is too good to be true.” I realize that I’m suspicious of God because, from the perspective of the world, nothing is Only Good, and if I hear of something that is, then I know that I’m being duped. If I am happy, then I’m lucky, or it’s temporary, and I have to pay for it, upfront or afterwards. And it was right and good for me to learn this about the world because it’s true in the world, but it does not apply to Truth. In other words, I’m suspicious of God because I can’t get past seeing God as being just like the world that I have made. In fact, I’ve found that I feel that the awareness that Happiness is Reality is dangerous to me because it makes me put my guard down and then I can’t protect myself from God’s punishment! All of this reminds me of those lines in the Course that tell me how much damage I have done to my own natural thinking so that I have become terrified of Truth. This only points to what I have to undo and heal.

The contrast also leaves me with thoughts like, “What I have I been at with this world, then?” and “Who am I?” It helps me see, clearly, that both God and the world cannot both be real; there is no point in even trying to bring them together. And I have found that since I had this realization that when my mind tries to go to a dark place there is Something that pulls me back and says, “No, Happiness is Real. You can depend on It.” It begins like this for me: I see glimpses of the Truth, and then it takes a while for me to fully integrate It into my awareness. I know that, with some time to absorb the Fact that Happiness is Reality, I will soon Joyfully accept It, and live Happily-ever-after.

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Read The Message of A Course in Miracles: A translation of the Text in plain language at www.themessageofacim.com.


Comments

j is for joy said…
Thank you Liz for being so open about your experience.

I hope you don't mind that your admission makes me wonder how you could think that you can advise anyone on what truth is when you are so confused yourself. Not that I don't admire what you are doing, I do. It just shows that we don't have to know it all ourselves to be able to help others.

I had an experience in which I asked god to show me my true self. I saw only joy, everywhere, infinite. I said "I'm *joy*?" Yes. I asked, "then what about the times that I am experiencing something other than joy?" The answer was that those were the times I was lying to myself.

It is not a matter of making "this" world joyous or happy. It is the realization that all is joy in every world all the time. We take ourselves out of joy by seeing anything as other than joy.
ACIM Mentor said…
I am not confused about What Truth is, J, I simply have not reached a point where I choose only Truth. If I had I would not need to teach/learn!
Anonymous said…
Could you go through the thought process of undoing the belief of romance as salvation? Thanks!
ACIM Mentor said…
Anonymous, there was no thought process for me. It came through experience as I simply found that romance did not save me!

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