It takes an enormous amount of courage to get through life. I never realized that it did, but it does. I mean, when I was young, it didn't seem to me that life required bravery, in particular. Determination, perhaps. Stick-to-it-iveness, perhaps. A lot of tolerance for older people who didn't understand anything at all, perhaps. But not necessarily a whole bunch of bravery.
I was wrong.
As soon as I found out what life was really all about -- which wasn't until I was 50 years old, by the way -- I understood very quickly that courage would be required. Yet even then, I don't think I was very clear about how much. Now I am.
What life is really all about is the journey of our soul. We are on an endless walk through time, moving from the Spiritual Realm to the Physical Realm and back again. This is a joyous journey, let me make it clear, and that is why we have created it and are taking it. The joy in the journey comes from experiencing and re-experiencing, creating and re-creating, knowing and knowing again, Who We Really Are. Yet joyful as that is, it still takes courage, because the process itself asks us and invites us to ignore virtually everything we see around us and almost everything we are experiencing inside of us. In other words, it asks us to step away from The Ten Illusions of Humans (see Communion with God).
We are now in the Physical Realm. We have come here from the Spiritual Realm. Midway between the two is the Realm of Pure Being. This is where we reunite with the Essential Essence in the moment of bliss that is described by some Eastern mystical traditions as "Nirvana." It is not necessary to wait in order to get there, however. That is, one's life in the Physical Realm does not have to be over in order for us to inhabit the Realm of Pure Being. We can achieve this bliss right now.
All of this is described in beautiful detail in the extraordinary conclusion to the Conversations with God series of books: HOME WITH GOD in a Life That Never Ends. And now that I know exactly what is going on here, I can get on with my real reason for being on the earth.
This doesn't mean that my day-to-day life has to change. I don't have to change jobs. I don't have to change locations. I don't have to change my marital status. I don't have to change anything in my life that is in my life right now. What I will change, quite voluntarily, is not what I am doing in my life, but how I am doing it.
If I understand that this physical life was created for me as a means of deciding and creating, becoming and experiencing Who I Really Am and Who I Now Choose to Be, then the way I move through every moment of my life will be quite different from the way it was before I understood this. Because, you see, in every moment of my life I will be inviting myself -- no, more than that...challenging myself -- to become the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever I held about who I am.
If I say that I am "he who is compassionate," it will not be enough for me to simply be as compassionate as I was yesterday. As I re-create myself anew in the next golden moment of now, I will reach for the next grandest expression of compassion. I cannot be satisfied with the way I was regarding compassion last month, or last year, or in the decade before this.
If I say that I am "he who is loving," it will not be enough for me to simply be as loving as I was yesterday. As I re-create myself in the next golden moment of now, I will reach for the next grandest expression of love. I cannot be satisfied with the way I was regarding love last month, or last year, or in the decade before this. And so, too, with every aspect of Divinity that I choose to express through me, as me.
It takes great courage to move to the next level. And it produces great joy when one gets there. Ask any Olympic skater. Ask any ballet dancer. Ask any writer who has just finished a book, or any athlete who has just made the team, or any actor who has just been added to the cast. Or ask anyone at all who has strived for and achieved anything of enormous value in life.
Such as, for instance, a beautiful life-long committed relationship with another human being, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, 'til death do they part.
Moving through the rocky shoals of lifelong relationship, and keeping that relationship intact, requires great courage. It is one of the most courageous things that any person can do, and surely one of the most difficult. This is true because of our lack of understanding of Who and What We Are (and, of course, of Who and What our Beloved Other is).
The same is true of one's commitment to any significant and meaningful endeavor. And imagine if we are talking about a lifelong relationship with God...and with our Highest Self (which is, of course, the same thing).
Many people move through the entirety of their lives and never have a truly meaningful and significant relationship with their own Highest Self. Many people do not even know what that is. Many people are so caught up in a false story about who they are that they miss the opportunity altogether in this lifetime to create and develop the kind of relationship with God and Self about which I am talking here.
This is not a judgment. This is simply and merely an observation. And I could be wrong. My observation may be inaccurate. But this much I can tell you. Those who do seek to create and develop the kind of relationship with God and Self that I am talking about here have learned, as have I, that it takes bravery to do so. And here is why: In the search for the higher Self, we inevitably encounter the lower self. And that is never a pretty picture.
As I encounter my lower self--which I promise you, I do every day, and sometimes in the most unexpected ways--I must call up great compassion and great love. I must learn to give these gifts to myself. And that's not an easy thing to do. I find that I am the last person that I am willing to forgive. I have made some grievous errors in my life. I have done some very unkind things. I have inflicted enormous hurt on others. I have been unbelievably selfish and enormously insensitive and uncaring. And that is only the half of it.
And as I move through my life I am deeply aware of all that I have said above, of every moment in which I have come up short, of each instance in which I failed to simply be nice, much less be grand. And so now, as I move into the last third of my life, I find that it takes great courage to face myself, to face my past, and to face the commitment that I have made within. For that commitment calls me to a higher expression and a larger experience of my True Self. And I am confronted with that choice every moment of every day.
Every time I look at myself in the mirror, I am reminded of it. Every time I look into the face of those Beloved Others who populate my life, who I have created as my companions on this journey and the co-creators of my life script, I am reminded of it. Every time I pick up a really good spiritual book, or even read articles such as this one (much less write them), I am reminded of it. Life reminds me of my commitment to life every moment of the life that I am living. That is the purpose of life -- and I have only in these most recent years understood that.
So today I embark on the journey once again, asking God for Her help, knowing that He will be with me every step along the way, and praying that I may this day move closer to the goal that I have set for myself: that I might forgive myself for my yesterdays, that I might love myself in my todays, and that I might experience myself, at last, as Who I Really Am in my tomorrows.
One of my greatest joys is that I know I am not walking alone. All of you are walking with me. We are embarked on this journey together, and together, with compassion and love as our guide, we can lead each other back Home. That is our invitation, that is our opportunity, and that is our reason for encountering each other as we are in this very moment. When I understand that, this becomes The Holy Moment, and I honor it and experience it as sacred, both now and even forevermore.
And life is never again the same.
Hugs and love,
© 2019 ReCreation Foundation - http://www.cwg.org - Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.