ACOL in Everyday Life
Reclaim Your Freedom
What does freedom mean? How can I stop feeling stuck and start feeling free?
We all feel an inherent desire to be free, to live life free—free from stress, free from struggle, free from fear, free from worries, free from guilt or shame, free from recurring stories, free to express ourselves and to be happy. Financial freedom too is on the minds of many of us.
But where to start? How can we achieve this expansive freedom that will enable us to have a sense of effortless flow with life? A Course of Love (ACOL) has this important message for us:
I tell you truthfully that until you are living as who you are and are doing what you love, you are in prison. Become the author of your own life. Live it as you feel called to live it.
We cannot build the new upon prison walls of old. Whatever imprisons you must now be left behind. Do you not see that you must begin with yourself? That if you are unwilling to claim your freedom it will not claim you?
We don’t need to wait for a better tomorrow in order to experience the transformative freedom that comes from being who we really are. Our true Self is intrinsically free, creative, and expansive. But we are usually out of touch with our true nature.
You are not inadequate; you are not a loser; you are neither less nor more than anyone else; you don’t need to be validated in order to feel worthy; your grades in school or your salary do not determine your worth; you are whole and lack nothing. Listen to this:
Do you feel beautiful and prized and worthy? Then so shall you be. This is why all seeking must turn within, toward the heart where the real Self abides. There is nothing else that will free who you are but freedom from the ego’s thought system.
That is why the purpose of ACOL is to help you realize your true identity, your authentic Self. Until you allow this realization, whatever you achieve will turn into another trap to curtail your freedom.
Real freedom can only proceed from your true Self. Open yourself up to listen to a new voice, to be guided by a greater power that will illuminate your steps with wisdom and love.
Instead of relying on the cleverness of your intellect to help you come up with plans to get you free from what is limiting you, accept guidance from a superior source—your own wholeheartedness, and an intelligence or consciousness that is part of the Self of unity rather than the self of separation. Let the power of creation pass through you.
You are invited here to accept your Self and embrace the power of effortless action, instead of following the old pattern of striving and struggle.
Allow yourself, now, to experience your arrival, your return to your true home, your return to your Self. Laugh. Cry. Shout or wail. Dance and sing. Spin a new web. The web of freedom. In other words, express your Self!
You who do not feel confident in your feelings, who do not feel confident in your ability to respond, who do not as yet feel the freedom of the new, allow yourself now, to do so.
Allow freedom to reign, for it is your allowance, your choice, your permission, that will make it so. The only one who can stop you now is yourself. The only permission you ever needed was your own.
Freedom is nothing other than freedom of expression. No one can block the freedom of what your mind would think or heart would feel. But take away the ability to express what the mind would think or heart would feel, and freedom is no more.
Yet it is not an outward source that you must fear or protect your freedom against. It is none other than yourself who has not allowed you the freedom of expression.
At this point, you might wonder whether you are ready to return to your true Self and give yourself permission to express it freely.
Most of us have built an image of what living from the impersonal, spiritual Self, should look like. We’ve heard stories of religious figures, spiritual leaders, or gurus who displayed psychic powers or spoke eloquently in highly philosophical terms.
Although such idealized images of enlightened beings might have helped us to understand that a life less ordinary is possible, we need now to realize that the image of an ideal Self can become an obstacle to recognizing our authentic Self.
The image of the ideal Self you hold in your mind, no matter what form it takes, is still an image, and must now be done without if you are going to realize freedom.
Just as you may have believed that if you worked hard enough you would achieve a position of status within your profession or material wealth, you have believed that if you work hard enough you can maybe, someday, if you are blessed or lucky, achieve this ideal image.
But this ideal image is as much a product of illusion as have been all of your worldly goals. How will you ever realize, or make real, the Self you are when you strive to be something else?
All ideas such as those of advancement or enlightenment are mental constructs. They are predeterminations.
If you do not accept your Self as you are, you will not move from image to presence. If you do not move from image to presence you will never realize your freedom. If you do not realize your freedom, you will not realize your power.
To represent an image is to become an image. To become an image, even an idealized image, is to still become a false idol or even what is referred to in more common usage as a spiritual leader or guru. True spiritual leaders or gurus have no need nor desire to be seen as such.
You are the “same” or “as” accomplished as every enlightened one who has ever existed. Without realizing this, however, your unique expression of your accomplishment will not be realized.
You cannot express the beauty and truth of who another is. You cannot express the beauty and truth of a future Self. You can only express the beauty and truth of who you are now, in the present. And you do.
Your freedom is contingent upon your ability to give up your images, particularly the image you hold of an ideal Self. It is contingent upon your ability to accept that you are your ideal Self. Yes, even right now, with all your seeming imperfections.
The source of what you seek outside lies within you.
KNOW YOUR SELF and start experiencing the life you've always wanted.
SUGGESTED READING FROM A COURSE OF LOVE:
The Course, Chapter 26: The Full Life
The Treatises, First Treatise, Chapter 5: The Choice for Love
The Dialogues, Chapter 4: The New You
The Dialogues, The Forty Days and Forty Nights, Day 9: Freedom