2002-03-24-Being Open To Growth
Topic: Being Open To Growth
Group: Nashville TeaM
One of our students once declared "I need my enemy for my enemy defines me". Many of you have grown in a culture that emphasizes definitions and you define yourselves more through what you perceive yourselves not to be than what you are or are striving for. Each person has a long list of dislikes or opinions in the negative that help you feel comfortably defined. These negative definitions grow constricting and confining as you continue to add new negative definitions on top of the old ones.
Many of you have been led to believe that strong opinions reflect strength of character. Actually, the opposite is true. Strong opinions act as a substitute for character. True character grows by being tested and challenged in the world. When you allow your opinions to limit your experience, you contribute to the gradual weakening of character. True character is always open to varying opinions and experiences.
True character does not prejudge nor does it lean on old opinions or the opinions of others like a crutch. Character development comes through robust engagement in life. Many people like to lean upon previous character building experiences, times when they engaged truth, beauty, and goodness whole heartedly against the shadows and partial realities that exist.
Many people tire of constantly going forth with these allies into the world where everything is grey and nothing is well defined. They use the opinions and perceptions generated from these earlier experiences as shields and definitions in the new undefined world. But that is a kind of giving up, it is a kind of moral cowardice for life can be frightening as well as challenging.
No, leaning upon past experience will not do in the now time. You only rob yourself of the character building experiences that are coming at you all the time. Moral, spiritual battles cannot be fought when the heart is closed. To fight on the side of truth, beauty, and goodness, one's heart and mind must be open and open wide. The more your hearts and minds are open, the more you will realize that opinions formed in the past have no bearing on the present. Experience is valuable, experience informs the present, but set opinions formed in the past may not be a help but rather will be a way to close the mind and heart to the present realities and then it becomes easier and easier to lose touch with the value of transcendence that stand ever ready to inform the present.
Eternal life is a long, hard struggle. There are many resting places the likes of which you know not in this world. There is rest that is completely refreshing, complete peace. And so, after experiencing these rests, you are strengthened and ready to resume the upward struggle. Many times we observe you falling back on the old reliable positions out of fatigue.
It is hard to be completely open to the slings and arrows of failure and disappointments in this world. But, you must remember why you are here. You are here to learn from experience, all experience, good and bad. There is no time between your earthly life and the eternal portals of Paradise where you will not be learning from your experience.
Therefore, grasp true strength of character, open your minds and your hearts to all experiences that come. When you are tempted to reach for the shield of opinion, think twice. Live in the now, grow in the now, and leave the past with its old experiences and definitions behind you. In this way, you will live fully and completely and you will grow as the Father would have you to grow, by and through the experiences he sends you. Are there any questions at this time.
Q: I sometimes need to be concrete. I was thinking of three examples of when people close themselves off: religious fundamentalism really closes people off to new truths and experiences, when I keep up with world events I find myself falling back on old ideas and opinions to try to understand what is happening, and sometimes in relationships you develop expectations of how a person will be and then these old expectations keep you from seeing how people have changed and are now different than they were in the past. Are these three good examples of what you were talking about?
Ham: Absolutely. People sometimes actually gradually quit living, especially as you grow older it is important to continually let go of the past. People who do not have this capability can gradually be drawn into shutting out the present. This is dangerous territory for character must continue to grow or it begins to atrophy and one's life seems to be increasingly irrelevant to the present day. This is a sad state.
Q: Is it a coincidence that I have felt that my Adjuster was dealing with me on this subject all week. In my family as I was a kid, everybody has these strong almost violent opinions all the time and they wanted to enforce it on all the other members of the family. Much of our life was made up of that. I thought that was one of the reasons I was so prone to do that.
Q: Is this interlocked with low self-esteem?
Q: Being open sometimes means you can see both sides of an issue and that you do not end up picking one side or the other is a strong way?
Q: I have a friend who grew up in a family where the father was an alcoholic. One of the ways denial manifested itself is that he is defensive about the way things were as a child and he must constantly prove to himself that everything is alright and that his early experiences were valid so he has to put down new facts and learning or any psychology or sociology and when people talk about it he becomes irate. Anything that he did not learn back then is not valid. Does that fit?
Q: I have a question about trying to remain open minded and not getting locked into old opinions and how you combine that with having values that you stand by and believe in so you don't slip into this moral relativism. Is that dangerous, or should be guard against that too?
Ham: No, there are certain transcendent values which are absolute and it is these absolutes which must come through the open heart and mind to the present situation. When you decide before hand and take opinions formed in past experience into the present, that is when you can shut off these absolutes which will unfailingly reveal the higher reality in the present situation and, yes, the trend toward moral relativism has not been helpful for you, but when you see it as a kind of reaction to those which hold the past as sacred, specifically religious works of the past, like the Bible and Koran, you can understand it without being trapped in it.
Q: Ham, I'd like to ask for a message about my mother, Iris, who passed away a week ago and also for a personal message to me surrounding these last few weeks.
Ham: Yes, you have great peace concerning your mother and your relationship with her. This is very fortunate for you both. You were always very honest with each other which is quite refreshing, for your level of honesty was unusual. There are many things over the years that you did not understand about your mother, but that will come back to you in increasing understanding as the years go by. Your mother has already awakened on mansonia one and will be going through a lot of reorientation and a few difficult lessons over the next time period. Be at peace concerning all these things, for you do very well.
Is this helping?
Q: Yes, thank you.
Q: Do you have anything for Rebecca?
Ham: Yes, my daughter, you are doing very well. You have come into new areas of thinking and functioning that is very much like a level. Take your time and get used to this new inner reality before you rush out and try to do too much.
Ham: My son, you too have had a type of break through and sometimes when you reach a new level your tendency is to grab toward the old level of comfort. So, you too must take it easy. Be careful and conscious in the steps you take going forward. You do very well, my son. Be at peace.
Q: I'm a little bit vague about what you mean the things we should be careful about. What kind of...
Ham: Simply in your thinking. Just as this week you have been dealing with the issues of opinions and vocalizing opinions, as you go forth be conscious of your actions and get comfortable with new levels of thinking.
Q: Ham, do you have a message for me tonight?
Ham: Certainly, my son, it is wonderful to greet you again in person and to be in your presence. Yes, of course, you are also doing very well and making good progress over time. You are a person who has great affection for the past, your religious upbringing, and the people who informed your early life. This is as it should be. You, however, have the courage to reach beyond your religious base, so to speak, and to recognize and appreciate truth where ever it may be found. This is a sign of true character for while you hold your religious roots in high regard, you are not enslaved by these early worldviews. Continue to exercise your spiritual freedom for remember the Master said, "I have come to liberate the spiritual captives". And once you enthrone him in your heart, his living spirit does just that.
Q: Do you have a personal message for Charlie B?
Ham: Certainly. My son, you have also been undergoing a personal reformation of sorts. Expect slight crises to occur in the spirit as you grow beyond the old opinions and attitudes which can suddenly reveal themselves to be inadequate. Above all, do not fear change. All growth, spiritual as well as material, entails change. Have an open heart and mind to all these things.
Q: Do you have any feedback for me this week?
Ham: Certainly, my son, you are doing very well. You tend to have a very steady rate of spiritual growth. Most human beings are plagued by sudden fits and starts and while these do occur with you, they are relatively mild. You can certainly have your moments of feeling imbalanced, even turned up side down, but these episodes are quite short lived and your overall balance is very steady. Remember to continually open your heart and mind to those spiritual transcendent values and beings who surround you with love. Always be wise enough to reach for help. Are there any further questions.
Q: This thing of like when I reach a new level or something my tendency to try to ground out the charge, the spiritual charge I suppose, I can think of several reasons maybe. Is it a fear of freedom or a fear of change?
Q: Can you tell me anything about it, can you give me some clues.
Ham: I would prefer that you think about it for a week then we will discuss it next week.
Once again, we have come to the end of our discussion. As always, my love and my prayers are with you each. Until next week, farewell.