More on Emotional Satisfaction or Freedom
Last week’s article (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2017/02/emotional-satisfaction-or-freedom.html) about the two possible approaches to spirituality and how one way to characterize them is the pursuit of emotional satisfaction for the self or transcending the self led to a lot of comments and questions that I will try to clear up here.
(The article was a follow-up to two other articles I had written on the same topic. Some of the questions readers had could be answered in those earlier articles and links were provided in last week’s article. If you still have questions I suggest reading those as well as last week’s article for a fuller look at the topic).
The emotional satisfaction I wrote about in the last article was not referring to what one seeks in relation to others. It was referring to the desire for an emotional connection with Truth (God) that one would characterize as “warm”. I was highlighting how which goal we pursue in spirituality can often be revealed by the experience we seek. Many who seek to spiritualize the self and its life in the world seek an emotionally warm experience. I brought up how my wife finds my spiritual path to be cold and cerebral because she seeks emotional warmth from her spirituality. She does not find me cold and cerebral. And she finds our relationship emotionally satisfying. But she is also aware that our relationship is not what would make her whole. She expresses her opinion on my spiritual path as her own perception given her own goal, not as a judgment on it or as an attack on me. So I do not take her comments personally or find them offensive. As I wrote, I know her opinion arises because she has not experienced liberation so she really does not know what it is I want. Our relationship is fulfilling and harmonious to both of us because neither of us asks the other to make us whole and we both respect the other’s spiritual path. Even though our spiritual goals and paths are very different what we do share is a relationship with the Holy Spirit (or what she calls her Higher Power or God). And it is to the Holy Spirit we both turn, instead of to each other, when we seek wholeness.
So as you can see emotionally warm relationships are not only possible when seeking liberation but are the result of growing spiritual awareness. It’s just that for those of us who have tasted liberation from the self a warm emotional relationship with Truth for the self does not make sense. In the last article I was not saying that you cannot have both emotional warmth in the self’s life and to seek liberation from the self. I was saying that as spiritual goals they are mutually exclusive. If you want from Truth an emotionally satisfying relationship for the self you cannot at the same time want liberation from the self. Neither path is better or worse or right or wrong. It’s just what you want and it can be helpful to know which you want as you read something like A Course in Miracles and its teachers. Your goal for yourself will determine how you read ACIM and which teachers make sense to you.
As I mentioned in one of the earlier articles, even those who seek liberation go through a stage of spiritualizing the self. It’s unavoidable at the start because the self is all you know even if you have had instants of liberation. The mind seeks to integrate the two experiences and it takes a long time to accept that a unified mind is not the result of blending the experience of the self with the experience of liberation from the self. A unified mind is what is left when the self is dropped from the mind (liberation).
Both paths are about avoiding pain. Those who seek to spiritualize the self seek a less painful life in the world. And they will be satisfied with that. Those who have tasted liberation know that it is possible to transcend pain by transcending the self. They are not just pushed toward liberation in the hopes of transcending pain. They are pulled toward liberation knowing it is possible.
Here’s something I wrote that was going to be part of another article but that fits well here:
The contrast between the experiences of Truth (liberation) and not-Truth (the self) is always wondrous to me. I am always struck by how completely unlike the other is each experience. And this contrast makes it so clear to me why not-Truth can never satisfy. It is like craving steak and having only apples available. The apples may be good as far as apples go, but no matter how many you eat they will not satisfy you when you crave a steak. The texture, taste, and nutrients are all wrong. And so it is with life in the world. No matter how good it gets it is never wholly satisfying. There is always a craving for the limitlessness and wholeness that only Truth can offer.
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.