Remember when you were a little kid and you threw a temper tantrum in an attempt to get your own way? Why, your very survival depended on you convincing the adults to see things from your point of view…smarter parents smiled compassionately and responded, “Drop the act.”
Congratulations on your successful acting debut…but sadly, over time, you convinced yourself your act was real.
It’s now five-thirty in the morning, which last week would have been six-thirty. The only reason that fact has any significance at all, is because last week I would have been so glad to have slept this LATE. Maybe I did get a decent nights sleep after all…
I woke worried about my brother. Yesterday my sister told me that he is about to become homeless again; he called her to ask if she could take his old dog for awhile. As it happens, he had left me two voice mail messages, but I haven’t listened to them yet. John leaves me messages all the time. He just says “I love you. Peace be with you.”
I am the eldest of five children, and for a few months yet, we are all in our fifties. How we lived this long is nothing short of a miracle. Our household was so dysfunctional, it would make The Prince of Tides look like a Disney fantasy. My first inclination was to call my brother immediately and tell him he could come here. My home is about to sell, and I don’t know where I will be living a couple of months from now…and never mind that it has taken me the last three years to extricate myself from the abusive clingings of other family addicts.
Like my four siblings, John has overcome alcohol and drug abuse. He’s even managed to quit smoking – several times. He works hard everyday. He drives truck and delivers concrete, and although he makes a decent wage, he can’t pay his rent and utilities. He is addicted to Maria and her young children from a former marriage, and Maria is addicted to prescription medication for her chronic pain. And when he gives her the money to pay the bills because he is working six days a week, she spends it and forgets to pay the rent. They have lived without electricity for months now, but winter is about to set in.
I woke hearing myself talking to my darling brother, such a good-hearted man. “Your emotional attachments will keep you living in hell. They don’t exist in the Kingdom of Heaven. God has no use for your emotions, and is not interested in reconciling them. Neither is God interested in healing your physical pain, or in saving your life as it exists here now.”
“God does not care what you are thinking. You have been brainwashed into believing that your thoughts represent you, and nothing could be further from the truth. Thought does not exist in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
There is only one mind, one consciousness. I use the term the Kingdom of Heaven, but it means enlightenment, freedom, PEACE. God, as consciousness, is waiting to welcome us into this state of complete freedom from our physical pain and mental turmoil and emotional upheaval, to will us the Kingdom. We squander our inheritance when we cry and plead for our way, for God to fix our circumstances, to help us feel better, to help us continue to exist, and to dysfunction ourselves. Our adoring “father in heaven” smiles compassionately and says, “Drop the act.”
What does this mean in our everyday struggle? It means specifically that we must overcome our addiction to BELIEVING that anything we think or feel could possibly lead us toward enlightenment. Will I still ache with arthritis? Yep. Will I still get angry when you wrong me? Sure – to the degree I am invested in the belief that I can be wronged. Some days I’ll let it go sooner than others. I’m living one day at a time, and to the best of my ability, I’m gonna drop the act.
Withdraw your attention from your thoughts and emotions, and do not participate in any decision or behavior that you think is going to make you feel better or because you should or because anyone thinks you should. Now that’s easy for me to say, I realize…I am just learning myself. But I know we must stop trying to figure it out. Just stop, dead in your tracks, and listen for that still, quiet whispered prompting from your SOUL…from love. Not need. Don’t listen to need. Tell need to move to the back of the bus, “Get thee behind me.” It will lead you astray every time.
It will appear to most that you have lost your mind (oh, we can only hope!) and become lazy, uncaring…and when some person says to you – and they will – “God helps those who help themselves,” laugh and walk away. God isn’t interested in our petty preferences. He is completely invested in our freedom.
Learn to trust your inner voice, your truth, by giving it a chance. Stop trying to get your little way in the world. You have outgrown this behavior. Drop the act.
I love you, John. Peace be with you.