A place for Catholics who don't find their Catholic identity in the standard definitions. "He drew a circle that shut me out. Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in." Edwin Markham
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
from HAVING to BEING
by Neale Donald Walsch
A lady in the spiritual renewal retreat that I facilitated in Ausburg, Germany in September of ‘08 asked me a question that will live on in my memory forever-because it so perfectly epitomizes the human condition.
The lady allowed as to how she had used the "Law of Attraction" to create the ‘perfect man' in her life...but that she had not yet managed to create the ‘perfect job.'
"How can I have what I want to have in my life?" she asked. "I mean, all if it. The Law of Attraction says that you can ‘have it all,' that nothing is too much to ask, so what am I doing wrong?"
I looked at her for a very long moment, then I said: "'With respect, may I gently observe that ‘having' is kindergarten stuff. ‘Being' is graduate school. ‘Having' is what children want. ‘Being' is what students of mastery seek.
"Why are you so concerned with ‘having' everything you want to have in life? Why not be concerned about ‘being' everything you've always wanted to be? And I don't mean what you've wanted to be, I mean what your soul has wanted to be." (Ref: Matt 6:25-34)
I told the woman that we were talking about States of Being here, not occupations or activities. We are not talking about stuff the body does. We are talking about stuff the soul IS, and which the soul seeks to express and experience, using the body as a tool with which to do so.
For most people such talk is pure "gobbledegook." They can't relate to a word I said. In this spiritual renewal retreat, however, there was great receptivity in the room. The woman to whom I was speaking clearly understood-and saw immediately the shift she chose to make in the focus of her life.
"There is," I told the group, "an irony here. For the moment you begin focusing away from the desires of the body and on the agenda of the soul, the desires of the body automatically begin to be fulfilled."
In other words, all the love, all the creativity in one's work, all the physical safety and security, all the fame, money, power-all the anything that one could possibly need suddenly falls in on you...without your even trying to create it. It literally crashes in on you. It comes to you without effort.
This is what was meant by, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all else will be added unto you." (Matt 6:33 RSV)
I told the lady in Ausburg that the first step in having everything you want is to not want it, not need it, not search for it or reach for it or strive for it or yearn for it. First of all, I said, your life has nothing to do with your body. It has to do with your soul. The body is something you have, it is not something you are. As I've said, it is a tool. A device. A mechanism. It is a physical machine, and a marvelous one, impeccably designed to facilitate the creation of the soul's desire.
And what is the soul's desire? To experience Itself as some aspect of what it knows Itself to be.
This is something that many minds cannot comprehend. Mainly because we have been taught for centuries that we are everything BUT what has just been described; we are, in fact, everything unlike God. SO much so that God threw us out of the Garden of Eden and told us never to come back again until we had cleansed ourselves, purified ourselves, and perfected ourselves-becoming like God again.
Then, realizing the impossibility of any of us ever becoming really Perfect, God sent us his Only Begotten Son to become Perfect on our behalf. I don't mean to be irreverent here, but this was sort of a Surrogate Perfectionist. Somebody who could do for us what we could not do for ourselves. It took God-Made-Man to become Perfect AS Man. Ordinary men, who were not God, could never do this.
This is the teaching of some of humanity's major theologies. Thus, they have said, God set for Man an impossible task, then came down to earth in human form to save us by doing it for us.
Such a theology requires human beings to embrace the notion of separation. We must hold an idea of God as being separate from humanity, utterly.
God is, we are told, watching humanity to see if it is going to do what is required (accept Perfection through The Surrogate), and judging humanity if it does not, and punishing humanity with unspeakable torture forever, and even forever more, if it fails to do what it was never capable of doing in the first place. For how could The Part ever be a great as The Whole? Is not The Whole always greater than the sum of Its Parts?
It is against this backdrop that the New Spirituality announces that you are not separate from God, and never were, but that each individual soul is the living expression of Divinity Itself. God is Life, and we are each an expression of Life Itself. And a magnificent one at that.
Yet if we are Divine, why does it take so long to create what it is that we choose to create? Isn't it the job of Divinity to create? And if so, why are humans so inept at doing that?
The fact is, humans are not inept at doing that. Humans are creating all the time. The world as it IS is a manifestation of humanity's creation. The problem is that most people are creating unconsciously. That is, without even knowing it. ("Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." Luke 23:24)
We are creating with our thoughts, words, and actions all the time, but we imagine that our collective experience on this earth is something that is happening TO us, rather than something that is happening THROUGH us.
By rejecting the idea of our own responsibility in the matter, we can step aside from having to do anything about it. This frees us to go about gathering all the things that we want to HAVE. All the money, all the power, all the fame, all the sensations of the body, and the toys of life by which we are tempted.
These experiences were never meant to be "temptations" sending us straying from our experience of Godliness, but rather, pathways to that experience. All of the experiences of the relative world were meant to show us, experientially, Who We Really Are. Unfortunately, we have gotten just the opposite message. That is because we have been sent just the opposite message.
Religion-the Old Spirituality-has taught us that all of the good things in life are actually bad things. Dancing is bad. Singing is bad. Sex is bad. Money is bad. (Goodness, money is the root of all evil, we are told!) Fame is bad. Power is bad. WE are bad. Everything about us is "bad." God, on the other hand, is Good. In order to achieve Godliness, therefore, we need to reject who we are and become perfect, as is our Father in Heaven. Or receive cleansing and purification (called Forgiveness) by accepting Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord.
The New Spirituality is teaching us that we are Good, because we were never separated from God. Therefore, we are not to reject who we are, but just the opposite...to accept Who We Are; not to become perfect, but to realize our already-and-always-existing perfection. This is called Self Realization, and it is achieved through Awareness of our Eternal Oneness with The Creator; our Everlasting Unity with God.
Our freedom from the ravages of every day life does, indeed, come, therefore, from accepting and embracing God. Yet not as part of some separate, far away reality, but as part of our innermost reality; as our very State of Being. ("I am with you always, even unto the end of time." Matt 28:20)
And so I told the lady in Ausburg, "Having things for the sake of ‘having' will get you nowhere-and is very difficult to do in any event. Try first to BE what you came here to be, exhibiting all the qualities in your daily life of the Identity that is truly yours. Then you will find yourself having all the things you were previously stressing and straining to have, without your doing anything!"
The idea, then, is to focus on Being. And being what? Any aspect(s) of The Divine that it pleases you to be. Love. Compassion. Understanding. Patience. Forgiveness. Wisdom. Clarity. Healing. Abundance. Awareness. Or any one of the hundred-and-one other things that Divinity Is.
This is what you came here to do. This is why your soul came to earth, to exist in the Realm of the Relative. This is why you have embraced a body. This is why you have created this physical expression you call "you." God came into physical form in order to experience Godself, Fully. Completely. Absolutely.
Right here. Right now. As You, and everything else that Life Is.
The photo is a flower mandala created by David Bookbinder. His work can be found at:
Today’s post covers another essential component of effective prayer: BEINGNESS. It is essential for us to understand and embody this distinction. It is when we are “being” that all things flow freely from the Holy Spirit to us and through us. It is when we are being that we can speak “Peace, Be Still” and have it manifest. It is when we are being that we are fully following the example that Jesus set for us.
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I love flowers. They seem to be blessed by God as revealing a miniature beatific vision in the here and now to us. They truly have the ability to lift spirits too. They are not long lived, but while here they really stand out and command our attention by color or scent. I absolutely could not live in a world without flowers.ReplyDelete
Carl, for quite some time now I've realized that "being" and "having" will give you different results in life. It seems that the entire American economy is based on the "having" part and not the "being."
I love the comment Neale makes to the lady "'having' is kindergarten stuff. 'Being' is what students of mastery seek." Thank you Carl for introducing me to Neale's writings. I never heard of him before until yesterday. Also, David Bookbinder and his flowers.
Neale was the first author I read when I started on the mystic path. Every question I ever had about God has been answered in his works. He is a person who I have found to be truly gifted by the Holy Spirit, one who brings truth and light into the darkness.
Great post Carl. When teaching I too have found that people have a very difficult time understanding the difference between 'having' and 'being'.ReplyDelete
That might be the difference I see between Mccain and Obama. McCain wants to have the presidency without understanding what it means to be president. hopefully Obama knows the difference. It's the same in the Church, some know how to be a priest and some just want to have the priesthood.