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We are told in Genesis that "a deep sleep fell over Adam" - but nowhere does it say in the Bible that he woke up! In essence, all the events that followed Adam's falling asleep are a part of his dream.
Metaphysically, Adam represents all of us. We, too, have entered into a deep sleep. As individuals, nations, and a planet, we have forgotten where we have come from, who we are, and where we are going. An honest look at the troubles we have created for ourselves reveals that we have painfully lost sight of the visions that once painted our future.
What began as a happy dream seems to have tail spun into a nightmare. Struggling in the murky shadows spun by the bony fingers of fear, it appears as if there is no escape from the labyrinth of the problems we perceive. The heaviness of our sleep has drawn dark curtains over the memory of our golden origin.
But nightmares always end with awakening. While the dream may seem overwhelming when you are in it, it becomes as nothing the moment you open your eyes. Sometimes the awakening is gentle, light, and easy. Often it is startling and feels jarring. But if we are having a painful dream, one in which we see ourselves as powerless, small, or unlovable, is it not worth the shake-up in order to wake up?
The Walls Are Cracking in the Citadel of Fear
Every sojourner of spirit must face the time when the walls that protected his old world begin to crack. Sooner or later the chisels of life's trials pick away at our armor. And this dismantling is wonderful, for there is no greater tragedy than hiding behind something that we are not, living a life that is less than we are.
The universe is continuously working to remind us of our identity and our purpose. If we are living a life that is untrue to our soul's calling, our inner guide will not let us rest until we step back onto our true course.
The time comes when we can no longer find refuge in our defenses. We discover, often with awe, that it is precisely our defenses that have kept us in darkness!
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We tire of straining to protect ourselves, and we feel stifled and restricted by the walls we have built between our hearts and others. Our defenses are not worth the love we lose in hiding. We cannot afford to maintain a citadel of fear at the cost of peace.
In our efforts to keep pain away from our heart, we have also denied entry to joy. The moment arrives when we must break free and make a stand for who we are. That moment is now. The time has come to cast aside our cloak of smallness and don the robe which honors our true magnitude. We must claim the strength to live in the dignity befitting our identity.
Passing Through Meaninglessness to Discover Meaning
It can be very startling and unnerving to discover that the values for which you lived no longer seem real. When I first set onto my path of awakening, I felt as if my whole world was falling apart. Many of the things to which I had devoted my time, attention, and energy suddenly became meaningless.
I did not find the same satisfaction or communication with the friends I was used to spending time with. I wondered why I was doing the kind of work I was in. The social pursuits which had formerly brought me pleasure no longer held gifts for me. I felt that most of the goals that I had strived for were no longer worthy of my continued attention.
My entire sense of purpose had shifted. I had a brief taste of something more and better, but I did not know how to make it a lasting element of my life. I felt lost sometimes even as if I was going crazy. It was a dark night of the soul.
Making Space for a New Experience
If you are passing through such a night, or have ever done so, take comfort in knowing that such a void is a very important, helpful, and necessary part of the journey. When planting a garden, the earth must be turned over, tilled, and smoothed out before new seeds can grow; otherwise the old weeds will overtake the seedlings. In the same way, before a new and shining building can be erected, the old, dilapidated, and useless structures standing on the lot must be cleared away.
We must make space for something new and better to enter our lives. While it may seem that we are out of control or subject to forces greater than ourselves, it is important to remember that there is a wisdom in the events that we attract to us. All is for learning, growing, and healing. God is very present, and we are not alone.
From Illusion to Disillusionment to Wisdom
Such a time calls for faith, the knowing that everything somehow works out for the best. It is not your world that is shattering, but your illusions. God's world can never be shattered, for God's world is founded in love, the only indestructible energy in the entire universe. If you feel disillusioned, then take heart; dis-illusion means the end of an illusion.
Disillusionment is the best thing that could happen to anyone. It means that something false has been undone, and the truth behind it is available to be discovered. The truth is always healing. Only illusions are painful. Therefore be glad, even proud, that you have had the courage to learn a lesson that would break your illusions and replace them with greater strength and wisdom.
Our pains and tribulations are the chipping of the cement off the Golden Buddha. The armor falls away to reveal the gold. A worthless image is crumbling, and the treasure is coming forth. It is the end of the cover-up and the beginning of the radiance. In such a birth, there is great cause for joy.
Awaken and Dare to Be Yourself
Once you have begun to awaken, you can never really go to sleep again. Oh we can doze a wink or two here or there, but once the climber has caught sight of the mountaintop, nothing can stop her from reaching the summit.
We have come too far to turn back now. We have played out many of our fantasies and idle wishes. We have been teased, tantalized, titillated, and seduced by the cheap perfume of shallow dreams, and somehow the aroma just doesn't turn our heads like it once did. Now we want peace more than idols.
To dare to be yourself means to live in the spirit of power rather than weakness; to proceed from peace instead of clamoring to maintain defenses; to want the reality of love more than the nightmare of fear. And we do.
Claiming and Living Your Own Dreams
The time has come for us to be released from the burden of living for dreams other than our own. Armoring is for protection, not expansion. The Golden Buddha must stand in the sunlight. We are living in the age on earth when men and women are stepping forth to claim freedom.
There is a great wave of awakening that cannot be denied, suppressed, or reversed. Those who align with the expansion are empowered and uplifted by a Force much larger than themselves. And those who resist or oppose it are gripped in only deeper struggle. We must choose between love and fear, and learn the truth of the one and the uselessness of the other.
Peace must come to those who ask for it. Strength must be given to those who claim it. And love must bring healing to all who open their arms to receive it. The time of awakening is at hand.
Dare To Be Yourself: How to Quit Being an Extra in Other Peoples Movies and Become the Star of Your Own
by Alan Cohen.
In this powerful map to self-discovery, Alan Cohen draws on sources from Buddhism to the Bible, from Gandhi and Einstein to A Course In Miracles, sharing many of his own radiant moments of revelation on the spiritual path. He shows how we can let go of the past, overcome fear, and discover the power of love in our lives. Once we are engaged in the work of truly being ourselves, each challenge becomes an opportunity for growth, each choice a lesson in commitment, each relationship a renewal of God's work. Dare To Be Yourself will dramatically enlighten, empower, and enliven you as you awaken to life and love and the unique gifts that are yours to give the world.
About The Author
Alan Cohen is the bestselling author of A Course in Miracles Made Easy and of the newly-released Spirit Means Business. Join Alan and musician Karen Drucker in Hawaii, December 1-6, for an extraordinary retreat, “A Course in Miracles: the Easy Path.” For more information about this program, Alan’s Holistic Life Coach Training beginning January 1, his books and videos, free daily inspirational quotes, online courses, and weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com