REACHING THE OTHER SIDE
This month, we are exploring how to manage the gap between the incubation of our God-Inspired Aspirations and Divinely-Directed Dreams and the actual tangible fruition of them.
Because the last two Sundays and today are all about revealing the bridge over that gap, I am bridging the gap between the Sundays by sharing with you a few passages from the powerful book, The Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream, written in the late 80's by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho.
It is about a shepherd boy who has a dream, a really big dream, which he reluctantly decides to pursue. And in that pursuit, he definitely has to bridge a gap.
If you recall, I ended the sharing from that book last week with the boy saying to the alchemist: "'So what should I do now?'"a
And, I promised to give the answer to that question today. But before doing that, I want to back up and share what I have read so far, omitting a little to tightened it up, but if you weren't here the last two weeks, you'll get the gist and if you were here, you'll be reminded.
This is a conversation between the boy and the alchemist, for whom he has been looking throughout the book because he believes the alchemist will have the answers to how he can find his dream. The boy is trying to decide if he should continue going after his dream. At that point, it's looking pretty impossible and it has gotten very difficult.
"'My heart is afraid it will have to suffer,' the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up to the moonless sky.
"'Tell your heart that . . . no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity.'
"'Every second of the search is an encounter with God,' the boy told his heart.
"That night, the boy slept deeply, and, when he awoke, his heart began to tell him things that came from the Soul of the World. It said that . . . 'everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him. We, people's hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. . . . unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them - the path to their Personal Legends.
"'So, we, their hearts, speak more and more softly. We never stop speaking out, but we begin to hope that our words won't be heard; we don't want people to suffer because they don't follow their hearts.'
"From then on, the boy understood his heart. He asked it, please, never to stop speaking to him.
"That night he told all of this to the alchemist. And the alchemist understood that the boy's heart had returned to the Soul of the World.
"'So what should I do now?' the boy asked."b
And this is where we stopped last week. What comes next supports our topic for today.
"'So what should I do now?' the boy asked.
"'Continue in the direction of the Pyramid (your God Inspired-Aspirations, your Divinely-Directed Dreams),' said the alchemist. 'And continue to pay heed to the omens (listen to your intuition). Your heart is still capable of showing you where the treasure is.
"'Is that the one thing I need to know?' [said the boy.]
"'No,' the alchemist answered. 'What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up. It's the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert 'one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon. Every search begins with beginner's luck. And every search ends with the victor being severely tested.'"c
And, with this knowledge, the boy continued his journey and he was tested, severely tested, but he met those tests and not only found his treasure but so, so much more. He found who he is.
If you were with us in February, you know my view on tests and life lessons. Life doesn't test us or give us lessons. Rather, we call the experiences in so that we can grow, so that we can heal the belief in separation and so that we can know that every step of the way, the Infinite Source of Good is only conspiring for our good and that it is as close is our breath, as near as our hands and feet! So, I differ here with the languaging, but not with the concept.
I've often said this and it bears repeating here: It's not achieving the goal that matters (although it is nice and fun and there is certainly nothing wrong with it), but what really matters is who we become in the process. It is who we discover ourselves to be. The strength and the skills and the connection and the knowings that occurs because of the journey. Those are the encounters with God - the God of our being!
AM I WILLING
Today, we will explore our final tool for revealing the bridge over the gap between incubation and manifestation so that we can reach the other side, meaning so we can become who we are meant to be.
The Alchemist said: "'. . . .before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up."d
We can be very discouraged at this point, right?? And we can give up at that point, right?
And here is the tool that will help you stay on the bridge so that you can reach the other side. This tool is in the form of a question and it is the final tool we will explore this month. It is this: "How much do I want what I SAY I want?"
Do you want it enough to face the "tests," to use the word from the Alchemist and keep going?
Let me tell you about some people you may have heard of who wanted it enough!
Four young men in Liverpool in the 60's wanted their dream enough to keep going even after they were told by recording company executives, "We don't like your sound; besides guitar groups are on the way out." Who might that have been? [The Beatles]
A young, red-headed comedienne wanted to make people laugh so much that she kept going when the head instructor of her acting school said: "Try another profession, dear, any other profession!" [Lucille Ball]
A young woman was the 20th of 22 children. She was born prematurely and her survival was doubtful. When she was 4 years old, she contracted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which left her with a paralyzed left leg and she was able to walk only because of a metal brace attached to her leg.
However, at age 9, she removed the metal leg brace she had been dependent on and began to walk without it. At 13, she decided to become a runner. And she wanted that so much that she entered a race, but came in last.
For the next few years every race she entered, she came in last. Everyone told her to quit but she wanted it badly enough to keep on running. One day she actually won a race. And then another. From then on, she won every race she entered. Eventually this little girl, who was told she would never walk on her own, went on to win not one, not two, but three Olympic gold medals. [Wilma Rudolph - in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics]
An inventor knew he was on to something, and he wanted to discover it so much, thinking it would be such an important advancement for humanity, that he made over 2,000 attempts before he got it right. [Thomas Edison and the light bulb.]
This man also wanted to change the world, so:
* At age 23, he ran for the State Legislature and lost the race.
* At age 29, he sought to become the Speaker of the State Legislature and was defeated.
* At age 31, he sought to become an Elector and was defeated.
* At age 34, he ran for Congress and lost.
* At age 37, he ran for Congress again, and this time he won, so he went to Washington and did a good job during his term, but when . . . he ran for reelection at age 39 . . . he lost.
* At age 45, he ran for Senate of the United States - lost.
* At age 47, he sought the Vice Presidential nomination at his party's national convention - lost.
* At age 48, he ran for U. S. Senate for the second time and, for the second time, he lost.
* Finally, at the age of 50, he ran for President of the United States, and became the 16th president who changed the course of world history. [Abraham Lincoln]
"How much do you want what you SAY you want?" If you really want it, it will keep you walking across the bridge, despite whatever is put in front of you, putting one foot in front of the other!
Here's a powerful example that I shared not all that long ago, but it bears repeating because it is so appropriate here.
There was once a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!
This he did, blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!
It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
"How much do you want what you SAY you want?" Enough to shake off whatever is thrown your way and keep stepping up - or walking forward across the bridge, in our case.
And remember this powerful line from The Alchemist: ". . . . every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity."e
And so we have bridged the gap between the incubation and the manifestation of our God-Inspired Aspirations and Divinely-Directed Dreams and the actual tangible fruition of them by:
Taking the leap of faith and by using a variety of spiritual tools to build the bridge, today's tool being the question:
""How much do I want what I SAY I want?" OR "Am I willing to continue to shake off whatever is thrown my way and keep stepping forward?"
To help us answer those questions "yes, unequivocally, yes!", let's remember these words by Ernest Holmes in Living the Science of Mind, he wrote: "Placing our entire trust, our complete faith, our whole conviction in the simple truth that we are rooted in the Living Spirit, that we have access to the Mind of God and to the Love and the Power and the Peace of the Spirit, we should walk in confidence and speak our spiritual convictions with complete assurance, knowing that there is a Presence and a Power with us and for us and operating through us - a Presence and Power that knows no defeat."f
Knowing this, my friends, is how we get to the other side and how we become who we came here to be.
aThe Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream Paulo Coelho
bThe Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream Paulo Coelho
cThe Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream Paulo Coelho
dThe Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream Paulo Coelho
eThe Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream Paulo Coelho
fErnest Holmes Living the Science of Mind p. 243 and 244