There’s a Hole in my Bucket

No one, no matter how much we pay them, is going to be able to give us this one. We can’t buy faith.
No one, no matter how much we pay them, is going to be able to give us this one. We can’t buy faith.

The ability to recognize God’s handwriting in a life crisis may be the PhD level of doing this work. Part of the reason for this is we all have to do some deep spiritual work to uncork our pent up anger at God. The mere fact we had struggles as a child is enough to set our teeth on edge. And for many, no amount of Hail Mary’s will mollify this feeling of having been dropped or duped by God. So we don’t trust God.

Of course, when we are children, we feel all kinds of angry feelings towards the human authorities in life who say No when we demand to have our every whim fulfilled. Our parents have the thankless job of providing discipline for our unleashed little souls. And make no mistake, we benefit from having a firm but gentle hand to guide us as we grow up. But that doesn’t mean we like it. Then we hear talk of God as being the ultimate authority in life. And we simply transfer all our resentment for our parents onto God. This is what the Guide refers to as our God Image.

We can talk all we want about how we trust this is a loving universe. After all, love is the one true force, right? But if we’re secretly blaming God for every adversity we had to endure, our trust bucket is going to leak like a sieve. Again, the best way to go is not over, around or under this; we have to go through it. Our work is to notice the times and places when we don’t trust, when we feel we’ve been abandoned, forgotten, or worse, by God. And in that moment, we need to pray to know the truth.

No one, no matter how much we pay them, is going to be able to give us this one. We can’t buy faith and we can’t get it through wishful thinking. If what we experience right now, in this moment, is lack of faith, we need to get to know all about it. We need to see it and feel it and take it under our wing. Some split-off part of ourselves is lost in confusion and misunderstanding, and is in immediate need of our attention.

Know this: The Lower Self is not going to sit still forever once we get serious about waking up.
Know this: The Lower Self is not going to sit still forever once we get serious about waking up.

When we find ourselves feeling adrift, that is when it helps to take in the wisdom in these and other spiritual teachings. It also helps to talk with others about their spiritual path. Our Higher Self can often speak to us through others when we aren’t yet open enough to hear its soft-spoken voice within. We need to tune in to our own intuition about where to go and what to follow. And we also need to sharpen our discernment. Not everything written in print is the gospel truth; not everything we hear will be bulletproof either. But if we’re eager to know the way, we will find the right thread to follow.

Also know this: the Lower Self is not going to sit still forever once we get serious about waking up. Oh, at first we get to dabble here and there. We’ll attend a workshop or two, maybe take in a meditation class or do some yoga. But as soon as we get a little deeper into serious teachings such as these from the Guide—ones that genuinely have the power to open us all the way up—look out. There is nothing off limits that our own Lower Self won’t try in an effort to derail us.

Getting sleepy—like, I-can’t-keep-my-freaking-eyes-open sleepy—may come up while reading these teachings. Suddenly there’s a TV program we just can’t possibly miss. A minor fault of a spiritual teacher will seem so annoying we won’t be able to stay in the room with them, much less listen to them. We’ll make ourselves sick, distract ourselves with games and over-scheduled days, or sink into some sorry fugue state. Don’t underestimate the wily ways of the Lower Self.

Let’s also not kid ourselves that our crises have nothing to do with us. That our problems will go away if we just ignore them. Or that there’s no use trying because bad things just happen and we have no say over our own lives. When a crisis arises, we must begin to ascertain what’s really going on behind the curtain. The hand of God can be difficult to recognize. But that’s only because we have repeatedly ducked our duty in doing our work. This time, we can choose to face life and begin to sort some things out.

In Jill’s Experience

I had worked for a large corporation for 15 years when I became very, very ready to leave and do something completely different with the rest of my life. Truth is, I just couldn’t do that any more. So I listened to my guidance and I resigned without knowing what I would do next. Six months later, I put my house up for sale, not knowing where I would move. A month later I met someone with a house for rent in Virginia and I set my sails. Six months later, my first book, Spilling the Script, would come spilling out. But really, I still didn’t know where all this was headed.

On it went like that, with my inner compass moving me to Washington DC where I wrote the seven books in the Real. Clear. series. I was following a clear voice deep within, but I still couldn’t see the greater plan. All I could do was trust and follow.

I won’t say this was easy. And it’s not that there weren’t days filled with fear. There were even moments of terror. What in the world am I doing? Here is what I’ve come to realize: if we want to learn to trust God, God is going to ask us to trust him. My God Image, which is that God withholds himself from me, needed to be challenged.

As I write this, my ego doesn’t yet know if God is trustworthy. Yet here I am and I am fine, writing away, inspired by an unseen force that lights me up from within. As the Guide teaches, in our journey toward developing trust, we’re going to have to hang out in a space where it won’t be obvious we have reason to trust. But in the middle of that not-knowing space is where we find our faith. That’s when the rubber of all these teachings meets the road, and we can either cling to our illusions or let go.

After pulling the trigger and quitting my job with no safety net under me, I was “in for a penny, in for a pound.” Even when my ego would panic and I felt I had to do something—anything!—to try to save myself, the deal has been that I’m in God’s hands. As they told me in AA, I just need to move my feet and leave the results up to God.

In Scott’s Experience

There was a point some years ago when my life completely unraveled. And I had to sit in my leaky bucket of faith and trust. I had been doing this work with diligent focus for about a decade, and had made some good progress unraveling knots in my inner life. I’d stepped out of a 20-year career in gas turbines and a role as an engineering executive to co-lead a sustainability consulting business. I believed what we were doing was critical for the health of both the planet and humanity, and had faith we could make a go of it.

Unfortunately, interest in our offerings dried up after the 2010 US mid-term elections when it became clear that there would be no penalty for a business having a large carbon footprint. Much of my savings was invested in the business, and little income came in. The US was still in a deep recession, and job prospects were bleak. Then my marriage unraveled.

All this exposed where I could (and could not) stand in relationship, while getting every single one of my buttons pushed and working to respond constructively. It was like the tide went way, way out and exposed the seafloor of my childhood wounds all at once, while the same time they were being hammered on.

I processed through the emotional pain of all these stuck places in me, day after day, for about nine months. The inner storm seemed so fierce at times that it was all I could do to just stand in it, bent over into the wind, and feel all that needed to to be felt.

My God Image is that God will be there for me at times, solid for a while, and then unexpectedly yank the rug out from under me. In other words, sometimes, for no reason, God drops me. And here it was, my God Image. I’m doing my personal work as hard as I can, serving the highest good with a business as well as I can, and the then the rug is completely yanked out from under me. I saw the fabric of my life come apart before my eyes.

Then one month it eased. It was a lovely May, and I sat in the deepest emptiness I had ever experienced. There was no income and no job prospects, and everyone was angry with me. I had little support except one good friend and a few Helpers holding space for me. And the deepest, quietest, softest voice in me said, “Sit.” What? I have urgent things to address to take care of this family! “Just sit.”

Other parts of me wanted to jump out of my skin and go find a job. All the angry voices around me were insisting I find a job. “Just sit,” is what I heard. So I sat, and I breathed, and I listened. It was among the hardest things I’ve done.

A month later the voice of my inner self said, “Now send a few letters.” The first and only letter I sent was to an executive in a slightly different field whom I had worked with before. I asked only for a conversation about what he was paying attention to in the world, and if he knew someone I should be talking to.

I sent the email on a Friday at 6:00pm, the absolute worst time in the business world. His reply was at 6:00am Saturday morning. “Of course I will have a conversation with you. But meanwhile, please see the attached job description for an opening I have.” It was a critical role requiring an almost impossibly improbable list of skill sets that he had been trying to fill for a year without success.

He had just that week finished getting executive approval to raise the stature and compensation of the role. And I was perfect for it. In a month I was settling into a new town and a new life.

Doing the Work : Healing Our Body, Mind & Spirit by Getting to Know the Self

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