This article appeared in the January 7, Hill Country News.
My Daddy always told me: “You are allowed to choose your friends, but God gives you your family.” That makes pretty good sense. It also may be true that we choose our parents and siblings from a list of candidates presented to us by God. In either case, our family of origin is not a haphazard affair. Looking back, you may be able to see that your family provided your soul some of the most powerful lessons it needed to learn this lifetime.
Soul lessons are the reason we are here. This is the big classroom where we are free to create as we wish and also experience the consequences of our creations. Generally, we see that soul lessons are not exactly easy, but are always profound.
Looking back on the past six weeks, you may easily see why Guru Ram Dass said: “If you consider yourself enlightened, spend your holidays with your family.” I know, I laughed too! Our families are the very people who know exactly and precisely how to push our buttons and act like nothing of the sort just happened. But they know their history with us and they have no more revised their history of us than we have revised our history of them.
Often a trip home, for any purpose, is a refresher course in living through old and oft times pain-full memories. One thing is for sure, our families almost always fail to see the person we believe we have become. Too much history and too many old habits get in the way. That may explain why many of us do not look forward to family events.
But there they sit at the dining room table ready for the Great Meal and the “conversation” that feels like we memorized it back in high school. Looking back over the past six weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, you may have wondered why Ozzie and Harriet and the Brady Bunch and all the families we grew up with in the media of our day seemed so ‘normal’ and so happy. Just remember, Normal is basically a setting on a clothes dryer, not a measure of social or spiritual progress.
The Lord Jesus, Ram Das and the myriad of history’s spiritual teachers have all said that we are here to learn who we are and to lay up treasures in heaven, not worldly success and other peoples’ judgment of us and our progress.
So now that we have once again passed through the family lens of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it makes sense to ask yourself: “What Have I Really Learned?” and “Where should I look for the next lessons I most need to learn?” You may even have gotten a glimpse of the reality that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and not the other way around.
An old friend of mine, reminded me back in the 70’s of this simple rule: “The Great Way is easy for those with no expectations.” Releasing expectations, positive or negative, frees us up to experience reality without knowing in advance, what any situation, person or event has to teach us.
Early on, The Course in Miracles Workbook has this lesson: “I have given everything I see in this room (on this street, from this window, in this place) all the meaning that it has for me.” Once you are ready to release your expectations and let God show you the real lesson you are about to learn, you are ready to accept what your soul, and not your ego, needs to experience to aide you on the path to your enlightenment.
In a later lesson in The Course, we learn that in any given instant, we can release our hold on reality and say simply, to God: “This Holy Instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, Certain that your direction gives me peace.” This is the path to forgiveness and to enlightenment. Perhaps you might like to look up The Course in Miracles. I assure you it will create a change for the better in your life.