Remember the story about the stonecutter centuries ago? He was chiseling a huge piece of stone, pieces of rock flying from his pounding hammer. All the while he was whistling and humming as he worked. A passerby stopped and asked him why he could make music while doing such mundane and arduous work. He said, "I'm not just chiseling stone. I'm making a cathedral."
46th Session This week I had the 46th session with a coaching client. We started our journey together a year ago. This is the longest I've coached a client - 46 sessions! What has impressed me with this client's experience has been that it's only been in the last month that more visible break-throughs have been taking place. I have seen profound transformation in his way of thinking about himself and life and how he's showing up in the world. He has much more clarity as well as fulfillment these days.
My typical coaching approach has involved working with clients sometimes for a month, most often for 3 months, sometimes for 6 months (all involving weekly sessions). I've helped people through life transitions, establishing personal dreams, developing strategic plans for business or personal issues, helping them achieve clarity about their strengths and life purpose, defining a new personal faith. All very helpful journeys, according to their personal testimonies.
But in this case, we've continued for 46 sessions - mostly at his request - and certainly I've agreed with the value. But significant change has happened lately that has caused me to realize some very significant realities about life growth as it relates to this lengthier journey. Thought I'd share three of them with you in this week's blog post.
Regardless of your view of God and how God operates in the messy human process of growth, God rarely seems to simply "snap his finger" to transform people. Pray as hard as you might, growth isn't based upon a magical formula that occurs in the "twinkling of an eye." Genuine change takes time - it doesn't matter what the personal or relational issue, meaningful transformation simply takes time.
There's a reason why so many spiritual wisdom traditions call spirituality a "journey." Personal growth is a process, a path. Even Jesus called himself "the way." Notice he didn't say "the point" or "the moment." He's the way. He's describing the process of spiritual growth - becoming a follower on a path which involves a journey that takes place over time, in fact over one's entire lifetime. It's as though he's saying, "Follow me. Watch me. Consider me, what I do and how I do it. Walk with me and observe, reflect upon, question, weigh, and wrestle with it all. Practice what you observe with me. Learn how to lean into it. Be a follower on the journey." Those kinds of experiences don't happen over night. There's no simple formula. Personal growth takes time.
Two, personal growth involves developing new ways of thinking.
No wonder it takes time. Our thoughts create our realities. In fact, some experts say there is no difference between cause and effect - our thoughts produce our experiences (and vice versa) simultaneously. What we think, is. So if we want to change our experiences, we have to change our thoughts. Our thoughts are the fabric of all the stories we tell ourselves and others about ourselves, about others, about all of life, even about God. Our stories (what we think and say about all of this) are the sum total of the thoughts we string together to describe what we think we're seeing and observing. Our thoughts create the lens through which we see life. So if something isn't working well or serving us well in our lives, we have to evaluate carefully and honestly our lens (what thoughts we're stringing together to describe what we think is reality).
And if that lens is hazy or dirty or smudged or cracked, that impacts what we see. This is why spiritual traditions describe the journey of spirituality as the process of cleaning the lens or even changing the lens through which we look.
St. Paul described this process: "11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." (1 Corinthians 13)
He likens seeing through a cloudy lens as being a child. When we're kids, our ability to see and understand the realities of life are limited. Kids have nightmares or bad dreams about things that aren't real. And many of us adults still have that limitation. :)
I remember having nightmares as a kid about gorillas. I would wake up scared to death that the gorilla was in my room ready to eat me up. My mom says she would often awaken in the middle of the night feeling this "presence" beside the bed and when she opened her eyes she would see me standing there (still asleep) but white as a ghost. Rather unnerving for a parent (not to mention this little child). A child's ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy is not well developed. Kids are seeing imperfectly through "a cloudy mirror," as St. Paul put it.
As I've grown up, I don't have nightmares about gorillas anymore (thank goodness!). But I do have more sophisticated fears that can equally incapacitate me at times and which sometimes prove to be equally fantastical (not based on reality, not true). My gorillas have turned into fears about my worthiness, my ability to succeed, whether people will accept me or admire me, etc., etc. I've at times gone into situations with other people completely sure that they would judge me or criticize me because of my past, only to end up experiencing just the opposite from them. I almost allowed my "seeing through the cloudy mirror" to keep me from showing up in that group which would have caused me to miss out on a wonderful experience.
Kids don't understand the nuances in human relationships - life tends to be more black and white. Maturation, human development and growth, is about learning the process of seeing more clearly, and sometimes of even having to change the lens because the lens is simply not true.
Notice that St. Paul describes his current knowing as "impartial and incomplete." But he looks to that time when he will know everything "completely" (fully, accurately, wisely, without limitations that are self-imposed or otherwise), which he describes as the way God sees us. The point he's making is that that path between those two times (from unknowing to knowing) isn't bridged instantaneously. Personal growth takes time because it involves learning how to think more maturely and wisely, more divinely. We have to grow up, to develop. "By beholding, we become changed." Are we beholding truth and reality or old "truth" and unreality? Change the lens to behold clearly.
Three, personal growth necessitates personal patience and profound acceptance. I'm getting better at giving myself some slack for the lack of perfection in my life. That doesn't mean I'm choosing not to take self responsibility. In fact, I'm taking more ownership for my life with all its foibles and dirty lens and my determined responsibility to make necessary changes then ever before. But I'm learning to give myself more patience and self-acceptance along the way.
One author I was reading this week said that the most important gift we can give ourselves and others is acceptance. It's a counter-intuitive choice. Contrary to popular opinion, accepting doesn't prohibit or stifle growth, it actually fosters it. "Accepting people as they are has the miraculous affect of helping them improve" (Marianne Williamson, Return To Love, p. 162). In fact, this kind of acceptance is the most divine act we can engage in. That's what Paul was saying earlier - God knows us completely - and as the next verse says, God loves us just as completely. "13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13)
The power of divine grace is that God considers us perfectly acceptable every step along the way of our journey into greater wholeness and maturity and development (take a look at one of my favorite bible texts, Hebrews 10:14): Perfectly acceptable to God while we're in the process of becoming more and more whole.
That attitude of profound acceptance toward us is what empowers us with the courage to continue the journey of growth, to keep learning and struggling and becoming, to changing the lens so that we see ourselves-others-and God more clearly and perfectly, to being courageous enough to let go of the old stories we almost immediately tell ourselves when something negative happens to us, to changing our "childish" thoughts into more mature and loving ones. We end up showing up with way more love in all our relationships and life experiences.
Personal growth necessitates personal patience and profound acceptance.
My forty-six client sessions have been such an amazing learning experience for me. My client is not at the same place where he was a year ago. His old paralyzing stories - his cloudy mirror - are changing and being replaced with the truth about himself and the promise of his profound potential. There is tremendous value in allowing someone else into your life for such a long, specifically directed period of time. That's the power of having a coach or other trusted person to help guide the journey.
And the journey has helped to change me, too. Forty-six sessions!
The Frog and the Princess Do you remember the fairy tale about the frog and the princess? A beautiful princess loses her favorite play thing, a dazzling golden globe, in a pond. A frog ends up finding it and bringing it back to her. Delighted and grateful, she promises the frog that it can come to her palace (never thinking it will take her up on the offer). The frog shows up later, much to her dismay and disgust. But feeling convicted of her need to be true to her word, she lets him enter, feeds him every day, and puts him to sleep every night in her bed. And then one morning, feeling sorry for it, she plants a gentle kiss on its head. Suddenly, the frog turns into a handsome prince ... and in true fairy tale fashion, they live happily ever after.
This simple story reveals the deep psychological connection between our attitudes toward people and their capacity for transformation. As one author says, "Only what you have not given is lacking in any situation." A counter-intuitive concept, isn't it.
As it turns out in the tale, the frog had once been a prince but had come under the evil spell of a wicked witch. She had turned him into a frog to live in a pond forever or at least until someone kissed him again. Sounds like the story of the Beauty and the Beast. An act you would least think of doing or even want to do is the act that brings transformation.
Our Typical Approach: the Blame Game
The author's statement is unusual to how we typically think. We often look at others (the people in our lives closest to us, especially) and think that the way they're choosing to behave is creating the lack in our relationship. "If she or he would just act this way or that way, we'd have a great relationship." Our focus is on wishing for something different from them. So we'll cajole, criticize, guilt, shame, or "encourage" a change in their behavior. It's the typical blame game.
But the quotation above states a counter-intuitive reality: what is lacking in any situation is what WE are not giving to it. That's not to say that the other person doesn't have responsibility for their behavior and actions in how they are contributing to either pain or joy, peace or conflict. They do have responsibility. But you and I cannot force their responsibility. And our delusion is in thinking we can "help" them change their ways. And as we often discover, unfortunately that only exacerbates the issues, certainly our own personal frustration and pain.
3 Principles for Healthy Relationships
Years ago I read Cecil Osborne's book "The Art of Understanding Your Mate" in which he points out that there are 3 primary principles in developing healthy, fulfilling relationships: 1. I cannot change other people; 2. I can only change myself; 3. But other people tend to change in response to my change.
Sounds like the fairy tale. As much as the princess shrank in disgust from housing the ugly frog, it was only when she softened her heart toward it and then ended up kissing it, that the frog was transformed back into what it had originally been created--a handsome prince. There was no amount of arguing, cajoling, guilting, shaming, forcing, criticizing she could do to change that frog. She had to change her attitude first.
So you and I have to ask ourselves the questions, "What is lacking in this relationship? What am I not giving that I can give to it from a place of authentic heart and soul?"
Loving First Is the Highest Way
Marianne Williamson, in her book "The Return to Love," states this reality: "What this signifies is the miraculous power of love to create a context in which people naturally blossom into their highest potential. Neither nagging, trying to get people to change, criticizing, or fixing can do that. The Course says we think we're going to understand people in order to figure out whether or not they're worthy of our love, but that actually, until we love them, we can never understand them. What is not loved is not understood."
In the fairy tale, the princess doesn't suddenly know the trick for transformation. She isn't aware a handsome prince is hiding inside the skin of an ugly, warty frog. She doesn't therefore simply grit her teeth and force herself to endure the gross act of kissing the ugly thing. She comes to a place where her heart softens to a frog not a prince. And she ends up kissing the frog in an act of gentle acceptance. When her heart was in a place of "pure love" her act brought transformation.
Now let's be honest: I don't think the princess ever really enjoyed having the cold, damp, warty frog sleeping in her bed or eating at the table right beside her in the royal dining room. We don't have to like the difficult characteristics of the people in our lives. And in some cases, their dysfunctions might be so dangerous for us we have to separate from them for safety's sake. We can't hold ourselves responsible for their irresponsible attitudes and behaviors. Sometimes, no amount of personal change can change the other.
But the principle is true: what is not loved is not understood; and accurately understanding the other is the foundation for compassion, empathy, and respect which all combine to reinforce a space of love which is the only environment in which genuine transformation can take place. Without that love and understanding, we hold ourselves separate from people and wait for them to earn our love or we resort to trying to force their change through whatever devious or not so subtle ways we can think up.
Accessing the Divine Miracle
So Marianne continues: "But people deserve our love because of what God created them to be. As long as we're waiting for them to be anything better, we will constantly be disappointed. But when we choose to join with them, through approval and unconditional love, the miracle kicks in for both parties. This is the primary key, the ultimate miracle, in relationships." (p-129-130)
Our attitude toward people powerfully impacts their capacity for transformation. The rub is that they have the ultimate choice (the whole freedom thing) for what they want to do with it. And painfully, sometimes they choose not to respond in kind to our love. But if transformation is going to happen, it will happen through our choice to love first.
But Frogs Are Disgusting!
The whole thought of kissing a frog is pretty disgusting. I grew up in the rice paddies of Japan spearing frogs for entertainment, not kissing them (I'm ashamed to admit ... I'm still not sure where that behavior came from ... the tendency toward violence of little boys is scary). We were told that if you even handled frogs you would get their worts. The whole point is that we were instilled with the attitude that you simply stay away from or certainly don't get close to, much less handle frogs.
No wonder this fairy tale points to such a counter-intuitive experience that we don't have much proclivity toward. We carry this "hold at arm's distance" philosophy into our human relationships. Relating to The Other (those who are different from us, who don't act or believe like us) is extremely difficult. So we tend to insist on the other "changing" first - we want them to change to become more like us in order for us to accept them and love them and embrace them.
We see this paradigm manifested in attitudes toward people of other religions and belief systems, sexual orientations, political parties, racial profiles, and yes, even in our closest relationships in marriage, romance, and friendships. No wonder our world is in such a mess!
Following the Divine Way
I'm reminded of the divine example for how this works. The disciple always considered closest to Jesus writes about it this way:
"10This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a way to show His divine love in the midst of our waywardness. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us." 1 John 4
The divine way is "kissing the frog" when it's still a frog. Notice the radical, countercultural dimension of this approach: it's when we love each other in this way that the fullest expression of God is experienced in both the giver and the receiver. It is the only way that the full expression of divine love is grown in us which results in transformation. God knows that. So God acts first. And the frog turns back into the prince. That's the divine miracle we receive and we pass on.
I know I can be such a frog at times! I'm painfully aware of many of my warts--I am awakening to more and more. Thank God my wife keeps kissing me! My princehood is awakening. The miracle continues ... and it empowers a desire for me to do the same with others. Imagine a whole world where love keeps awakening everyone to their true royalty! Now that's a world I want to live in.
The Commercial Have you seen the 30 second TV commercial with actress Betty White and Snickers candy bars? It was introduced during the 2010 Super Bowl. It's an interesting portrayal of personal identity. Watch it:
The Snickers Identity Paradigm
The ad's a great example of how so often we see others by what they're doing on the outside. Their identity is their performance. If you're not playing football very well we see you as a Betty White (although I would have had second thoughts about playing ball against a younger Betty White--she's got the spirit!). "Come on, man, don't be such a wuss! Get it together and start playing like a man!" If you're really good (which is to say, proficient, skillful, aggressive), then we see you as your "real" self. Our culture bases everything about identity on externals. Get that real job! Drive that real car! Make a real salary! Date that real woman or man! Buy a real house! Wear that power suit! Carry that real purse or wear those real shoes! Show your stuff (whatever "stuff" is) and stop wimping around!
And if you're just not "manifesting" it rightly, then eat a Snickers bar and turn yourself back into a real man or woman! Notice the interesting solution to being your "true self": a candy bar (or whatever external things the advertisers are offering).
You and I are tempted every day to buy into this perspective on identity and reality. If we can just manifest the right outside and external world, we can be satisfied that all is right with the world, we are who we're suppose to be. So our identity is held captive to what we can or cannot manifest on the outside.
But here are a couple of big dangers with this paradigm. One, if you base your identity on what you can manifest in your life (the externals like people, things, circumstances), then you never have a solid foundation for your self esteem. Your identity is dependent upon what happens on the outside. And so your self esteem fluctuates based upon circumstances created by either you or others. Your self esteem and personal identity are victimized by the fluctuations of whatever's happening to you or by you. Definitely not a very secure way to live.
And two, it becomes easy to put yourself down or to put others down who aren't manifesting everything you think you or they should. You can guilt people by saying, "If you just would get your thoughts right, you should be able to do it. So if you're not doing it, there's something wrong with you!"
It's so subtle how our attitudes impact our sense of self and our expectations of others.
An Alternative Paradigm: Secure Identity and Inner Peace
There's an alternative way to live that produces far more confidence, assurance, and solid peace. Notice this statement from scripture:
"Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace." (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Now considering the context of this statement, the significance of it increases dramatically. The author is writing to people who have developed the insidious belief that your external world validates who you are. The worldview was that if you were experiencing a life of success, ease, and prosperity that was a sign that you were being blessed by the divine universe. And being blessed by God was always manifested by a life of prosperity. They claimed that the condition of your external world indicated your personal identity and your status with the gods.
But author Paul is trying to counter that popular paradigm by describing his own life. When he talks about looking like things are falling apart, he's painting a pretty graphic picture of his life experience:
"You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us. While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best!" (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)
Notice his juxtaposition of external circumstances and internal attitude and identity. Even though his external life would appear to be a complete failure, falling apart at the seams, his sense of identity and security with himself and with God are completely secure. There's an internal sense of peace and certainty that pervades his mind and heart. He is describing himself as possessing true life in its deepest and most meaningful sense, a life that God is continually creating and recreating in him. And the more centered he finds himself in this internal life, the more grounded he finds himself in how he faces his external world.
And he ends that paragraph with a sentence describing another truism (did you notice it?): our internal attitude does impact our external environment with others. As Paul centered himself on inner peace that he allows God to create within him in the midst of external chaos, he blesses others with that environment of peace, too, giving them opportunity to experience inner peace for themselves. It may not still the storms swirling all around, but it does provide inner calm and centeredness which is contagious.
Our True Miracle
That's the true miracle we all are needing. Being able to live life with the continual unfolding of divine grace within us, where God is making a new life every day--not based upon what people think about us or even what we're tempted to think about ourselves based upon what we have or don't have, do or don't do, but based upon what God gives us inside--an nonfluctuating identity as a child of God embued with eternal value because of that stamp of love on our souls. The ability to live in love rather than fear is the greatest miracle of all. That should be our highest manifestation in life. And it certainly has the power to impact others with a spirit of peace and love, too.
By today's standards based upon the Law of Attraction, Paul would be considered a real failure. And yet Paul is completely confident in who he is, what God is doing in his life, and his courageous living of his purpose.
Marianne Williamson, author and spiritual teacher, puts it this way: "We're not asking for something outside us to change, but for something inside us to change. We're looking for a softer orientation to life...Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we're frantic, life will be frantic. If we're peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace. Our internal state determines our experience of our lives; our experiences do not determine our internal state." (Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love, p. 66)
So build your identity, your sense of self and esteem and worth, on a foundation that remains secure, that outside circumstances and people cannot destroy. So whether you have much in life that you truly want or have very little, you still are rich--you are grounded on the eternal truth of your being as a child of the God of the universe and nothing can take that away.
What are the internal changes and transformations you're experiencing in your life these days? Are you clear of your identity and what it's based upon? Do you possess a centered and grounded sense of who you are and where your value comes from? Do you have that "softer orientation to life" that comes from living with love instead of fear? Do you have a peace and security regardless of what's happening in your external world?
Next time I find myself face down on the muddy football field, and others think I'm playing ball like Betty White, I think I need to stick something more substantial into my soul than a Snickers bar.
I heard of a professor of theology at Harvard Divinity School ending every class with the question, "So what's the cash value?" His point was that theology, any discussion about God, any view of the nature of God and words and descriptions of God, theological ideas have real effects on the world, they must result in something practical and ethical for the good of the world. There must be "cash value" from both the ideas and the conversation. So what's the cash value of faith? How do you define faith and what difference does that faith make in living your life? In truth, how we define faith radically shapes both how we show up in the world and what kind of life experience we enjoy.
Is the Universe Friendly?
Albert Einstein once said, "The most important question you'll ever ask is, Is the universe friendly?" His point was that how a person views the universe impacts the way that person responds to the challenges of life and uses available resources for those challenges. Here's how he put it:
"For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly, and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.
"If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially 'playing dice with the universe', then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
"But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe [and cooperating with it]."
His point is that how we see the universe is ultimately an issue of faith. Faith has cash value - it radically impacts the way we react and respond and behave toward ourselves, others, and our world. It takes the form of both attitude and behavior. It impacts how we use all the resources available to us - either in love-based or fear-based ways. Everything we think, feel, and do will follow our faith correspondingly.
God Is Love
Sounds a lot like the biblical perspective emphasized in 1 John 4: "God is love, and all who live in love life in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us." (verses 16-18)
Love is the central value and force in the entire universe. Love is the very nature of God. No wonder Jesus made the same claim by saying that all of God's commandments are summarized into two: loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself. All of God's totality manifested in words are summed up by love. Love is the operating force in the universe.
Fear is antithetical to love. Fear judges. Fear condemns. Fear criticizes. Fear chooses against the other. Fear coerces. Love and fear cannot operate at the same time. Human life is comprised of making the choice to think, feel, and act in love or in fear. Life works best, the way the Creator of the universe designed it, when it is lived in harmony and alignment and congruency with love. Faith is believing enough to stake your life on the centrality of love, even when it seems counter-intuitive in a situation you're encountering.
What Is Faith?
Marianne Williamson, a spiritual teacher and author, in her book Return To Love, describes the cash value this way: "To trust in the force that moves the universe is faith. Faith isn't blind, it's visionary. Faith is believing that the universe is on our side, and that the universe knows what it's doing. Faith is a psychological awareness of an unfolding force for good, constantly at work in all dimensions. Our attempts to direct this force only interferes with it. Our willingness to relax into it allows it to work on our behalf. Without faith, we're frantically trying to control what it is not our business to control, and fix what it is not in our power to fix. What we're trying to control is much better off without us, and what we're trying to fix can't be fixed by us anyway. Without faith, we're wasting time ... We learn to trust that the power that holds galaxies together can handle the circumstances of our relatively little lives." (p. 52, 56)
Two Ways Faith Impacts Life
So what's the cash value? Here are several implications I'm learning. One, relax. Have you noticed how much of life is lived with anxiety, uncertainty, chaos, conflict, power struggles? We invest an inordinate amount of personal energy in those negative energy fields. Think of the "fights" you have with your significant other, for example? How much energy is used up in those fights? Over what? Universe-altering issues? Global-impacting concerns? Do or die principles where life will literally come to an end if the situation doesn't resolve according to your idea? So this implication is hugely significant. Relax.
But what does faith have to do with my ability to relax? If I believe that God is working for my greatest good, and I'm willing to surrender the results to God in every situation, allowing only my self to learn what I need to learn as opposed to having to teach everyone else what I think they need to learn, I can relax. I can have a greater inner peace about stuff. Why? Because I'm not obsessing, anxiously trying to control and fix everyone and everything else around me according to what I think everyone needs. I'm not desperately trying to hang on to a specific outcome. I can relax in a trust that the Power holding the galaxies together, the Power behind even our own laws of gravity and photosynthesis and thermodynamics in our world, for example, can and is handling the convoluted and chaotic circumstances of my own inner and outer life. I can relax because I am choosing faith, love, and surrender.
Two, cooperate. My ability to relax is directly related to my willingness to cooperate with the universe's law of love. If I believe that the fundamental nature of the universe is love rather than fear (as both Einstein and 1 John 4:16-18 suggested), then when I make the deliberate decision to love rather than to fear in any specific situation I am intentionally placing myself in harmony with God's universe. I am choosing to come into alignment with God's fundamental nature and operation. And here's what happens:
"When we love, we are automatically placing ourselves within an attitudinal and behavioral context that leads to an unfoldment of events at the highest level of good for everyone involved. We don't always know what that unfoldment would look like, but we don't need to. God will do God's part if we do ours. Our only job in every situation is to merely let go of our resistance to love. What happens then is up to God. We've surrendered control. We're letting God lead. We have faith that God knows how." (Ibid., p. 57)
Here's how this works. Surrender, cooperation, means giving up attachment to results. I realize that most of my personal angst in both my relationships and my life experiences are often because of I grab a hold of a specific outcome (result) and refuse to let it go at any cost. So when it begins to appear that others aren't working for MY results, I get threatened and insecure. I often fight back to try to ensure I get my way. And painful conflict results instead.
But when I surrender to God (cooperate with God), I let go of my attachment to how I think things are suppose to happen on the outside and I become more concerned with what happens on the inside of me.
"The more important it is to us, the more important it is to surrender. That which is surrendered is taken care of best. To place something in the hands of God is to give it over, mentally, to the protection and care of the beneficence of the universe. To keep it ourselves means to constantly grab and clutch and manipulate. We keep opening the oven to see if the bread is baking, which only ensures that it never gets a chance to." (Ibid., p. 58)
What's the Cash Value?
So imagine being able to live life with a more relaxed attitude toward everyone and everything. Imagine seeing all of life, including yours, in the hands of a benevolent, loving God who loves and provides equally for us and everyone else. Imagine experiencing a profound peace from being able to surrender everything in your life to Love and no longer having to control or manipulate or coerce or connive life to conform to your expectations. Imagine the transformation possible from only having to look at your self and aligning your self with God and letting God take are of the rest. Imagine a world where others are doing the same thing, where Love is the reigning, guiding force in all relationships and life experiences. Wouldn't that be Heaven? Not bad for cash value.