Have you ever had the experience of intending to create or experience something you want, only to be met almost immediately (and persistently) with frustrating obstacles? And might it have, at one time or another, convinced you that realizing what you want is virtually impossible, so you might as well let it go?
If you read last month’s post, you might recall that I passionately encouraged you to honor your heartfelt desires as the Divine inspirations they are to express more of the magnificence that YOU are, because expressing the brilliance of your true Self is the very essence of fulfillment. Not only does it bring you deep, personal satisfaction, it’s the means through which you most helpfully, authentically and joyfully serve others.
So why, then, if desires are Divinely inspired and are intended to be experienced, does it feel so hard to realize them? If you asked 100 people this question you would likely get 100 different answers, but one widely accepted notion – in many personal growth teachings as well as spiritual ones – is that you’re being tested, and that testing is part of the process.
I have to tell you, that doesn’t thrill me. If it doesn’t thrill you, either, please read on.
First let me say that I understand why this idea of being tested during the creative process seems to make sense. I remember feeling tested more than a few times on my own journey of coming into an ever-fuller expression of who I am, including fairly recently. Yet I always pause to step back from that interpretation and reach for a deeper and, for me, more loving truth.
What I’ve realized is that, ironically but not surprisingly, the tendency to interpret a challenge as a test or obstacle to overcome arises from the same false belief that gives rise to many of those challenges in the first place: we’ve forgotten who we really are. We’ve come to believe that we’re somehow separate from the Source of creation itself, rather than understanding that we are extensions or expressions OF it.
We literally have the creative power of Source at our disposal. Yet because we’re generally unaware of this stunning truth – and in fact have often been conditioned to believe its opposite – we don’t know how to access that all-wise, all-loving power.
The countless implications of our false belief in separation from Source are vast, so much so that I could hardly do them even the smallest justice in a single post or even an entire book. But I can talk a little bit about one of those implications right here.
When we believe ourselves to be separate from Source, we feel vulnerable at a fundamental level and, in some way, not fully enough. In our vulnerable state of not-enough-ness, we falsely believe we have to prove ourselves worthy to others so we can earn our share of the good – and also, perhaps, to prove ourselves worthy to the Source or God which seems to have the ultimate power to make our lives easy or hard.
So when we want something, we automatically believe that we have to prove our worthiness to have it. We believe we have to prove our commitment. We have to prove our skill. We have to prove our persistence and tenacity. We have to prove that we’ve learned our lessons.
And the only way to prove these things is through tests or obstacles, which we expect to be a part of the process.
It can be quite exhausting, yet it’s what is commonly believed and expected – and experienced.
I believed it to be true for quite some time, until I finally acknowledged to myself that I wanted a joyful life, not a hard-won life. I wanted ease rather than struggle. I wanted Grace rather than force.
I wanted not victory over hardship, but victory of a different kind. I wanted to stand victorious, in unabashed love for myself and belief in myself, so that I could say – in both humility and exaltation – that Love is who I am, and that Love is who we all are. I wanted to honor my gifts and talents and share them joyfully with the world.
And, frankly, I wanted to have some fun. I didn’t want to keep taking test after test for the rest of my life.
Fast-forward to today, years and decades after initiating my search for a different way of living. I now see life as an organic and evolutionary awakening process, not as a series of tests to prove our worthiness or readiness to experience good things. So I’ve replaced the idea of being tested with this one:
In the process of waking up to the magnificent truth of who we are, and learning to live from that expanded and inspired place, we sometimes – often? – make things harder for ourselves than they need to be.
That’s the really short version. The slightly longer version includes this:
But that’s okay, because it’s all part of the learning process. The more we learn and practice, the easier it becomes.
Now, that may not thrill you a whole lot, either. After all, no one actually wants to make things harder for themselves than they need to be; the reason we want to live from a more expanded and inspired place is that life becomes more ease- and Grace-filled than what we commonly experience.
But there is a learning process. What there isn’t, in my belief and understanding, is a God or Spirit who requires that we take tests to prove ourselves worthy of Divine Grace. There is no pass or fail, no need to suffer, and absolutely nothing to prove.
Let me share an even longer (but still quite abbreviated) version of my understanding of why it may feel hard to create what you deeply want in your life. First, the foundation:
You are an extension or expression of an all-loving, Infinite Intelligence – you might call it God or Source or Creator or the Universe or the One – therefore your longings are an impulse arising from the very heart of creation, expanding itself through you by calling you toward your highest fulfillment. You are literally endowed with the creative power of Source.
And now an explanation for why you may feel tested:
If you’re experiencing difficulty or hardship in realizing your longings, it’s only because you aren’t fully aware of your own magnificence. And in that lack of awareness you’ve come to believe things about yourself that aren’t true, and those false beliefs are interfering with the full expression of who you are.
I hope you can really take that in. The difficulties you face are not a reflection of how inept you are, but of your forgetting how magnificent you are. Can you sense the possibility, the validity of that? And can you sense how life-changing it would be to embrace that perspective?
Rather than berating yourself for failing or not knowing how to get through something, you could ask yourself one or more loving questions instead, such as:
“What if the opposite of what I’m thinking right now is actually true, and this is simply reflecting a false belief?”
Examples: What if I do have what it takes rather than don’t?…What if I’m actually quite clear even though I keep telling myself I’m confused?…What if my resistance to doing this is a form of guidance that it’s not mine to do rather than proof of my laziness?
“How is this experience helping me clarify what I truly want?”
“What talent or skill of mine is now eager and ready to be called upon?”
“If I was a full-on advocate for my own worth, talent and desires, how would I interpret this?”
In short, once you understand that difficulties aren’t tests to prove yourself but are, instead, reflections of false beliefs about who you are, they become clear invitations to know and love yourself more than ever before. So the simplest and most direct question you can ask yourself, when you feel challenged or overwhelmed, is this:
“How can I love myself more right now?”
When you ask and answer that question with sincerity, again and again, your life begins to change, for the better.
You might have noticed that, in my oh-so-brief explanation of what might actually be happening when you think you’re being tested, I referred to difficulties as, simply, interference. I explained that false beliefs are interfering with the full expression of who you are. And that was very intentional.
Because of the inherent creative power of our thoughts and language, words such as “obstacles” magnify the expectation and experience of continued hardship. The words “interfere” and “interference” are not only less dramatic, they’re more accurate.
Remember, everything in this Universe is vibrational, and the energy of thoughts and emotions is the basis for everything we eventually perceive through our physical senses when a certain strength and stability of vibration has been achieved. Energy patterns of similar frequencies create harmony, while energy patterns of dissimilar frequencies create interference.
So the interference I’m talking about with respect to feeling tested are the things and experiences you might interpret as obstacles when they show up. They’re the outpicturing of your false beliefs that interfere with the remembrance of your magnificence– you know, things such as, “I don’t have what it takes…” or “No one will hire me in this economy…” or “What I want isn’t practical…” or “I will be tested…”
What you experience as an obstacle is the strong momentum of doubtful or judgmental thought-energy, which has reached the tipping point for perception through your physical senses. You don’t get the job offer. You offer a workshop and no one signs up. You submit your book proposal to several agents and they all turn it down.
In these and countless other similar scenarios, you aren’t being tested by anyone or anything outside of yourself to prove your worthiness or your commitment or your discipline, although the situation may catalyze your own natural enthusiasm for, and commitment to, your dreams. (And hopefully it will do just that.) No one is really out to get you.
You’re being shown evidence of the beliefs you hold that interfere with the remembrance and full expression of who you really are. Or you’re being guided away from something that isn’t harmonious with what you want, which is a subject for another time.
Either way, the experience becomes an opportunity and an invitation to reach for the deeper truth of who you really are, not a test to prove anything to anyone…except, perhaps, to “prove” to yourself – to recognize, cultivate and share with others – the richness of talent and passion that are uniquely and irreplaceably yours.
As you practice sustaining focus on the deeper truth of your magnificence, your experience of life starts to change in delightful ways. You begin to experience the feeling of being in the flow of your own life. Illuminating and inspiring synchronicities occur, help shows up without you having to ask for it (or maybe you finally feel at ease asking for it), things start falling into place. The whole world – your world – feels kinder.
You’re still learning and growing and finding solutions to what initially appear as problems, but you feel more alive, clear, peaceful, guided and supported than ever before. And that’s because – if you’ll permit me a humorous but very apt throwback to an old L’Oreal commercial – you’re worth it. And, finally, you know it.
No test is required. Your knowledge of your own worthiness is all that was ever needed.
Copyright © 2019
Suzanne E. Eder