Neville Goddard writes about the “furnaces of experience” that purify the heart. I love this expression because it’s been precisely the heat from life’s tests, trials and tribulations that has burned down the veils, old beliefs, programming, constructs and concepts that have kept me in bondage. Goddard sees purity of heart as the gold of the spiritual path. Experience is our best teacher, especially when it burn us, bringing awareness and light to our darkest corners.
Surrendering to life’s purification process takes the greatest courage we can muster. A moth to a flame, we’re attracted to the light, but the fear of burning is strong. But we cannot help ourselves, for the more we try and run, the more we try to escape, the more we hide from our destiny, the more it seeks us out.
We all end up there eventually.
Life is a process of evolving, but since it’s not linear, some of that time may involve devolving. We either move more into separateness or more into Oneness Sometimes we breathe back and forth between the two. Ultimately, however, no matter how much we explore and play in the separateness, we will one day find ourselves Home again.
The process to a pure heart is by its very design a wrenchingly painful one. Comfort doesn’t open the heart. Nor does security or safety.
A pure heart comes from heartbreak.
It’s as plain and simple as that. Disappointment and disillusionment help to break open all of the hard structures we’ve constructed around us to help us feel okay and safe. These same structures also severely restrict us, keeping our lives small. We don’t usually willingly let them go. Thus, the need for them to be blown up, burned down or simply yanked from our grasp. Yes, I know, it’s pretty harsh. No one would willingly sign up for such pain, unless, of course, they could grasp the Grand Design. In that case, they would clamor for the chance to purge the demons just to taste the sweet nectar of freedom. Unfortunately, the average person has no real understanding of the really Big Picture meaning behind our life experiences, so we grab and hold onto whatever comfort we can find, terrified of the unknown.
Some spiritual paths are more brutal than others. I suspect it’s due primarily to the pacing of experiences. If someone wants to evolve quickly, say to make up for wasted or lost time, the pace will be accelerated, with more intensity woven into the experiences. If someone isn’t in a hurry and would prefer to meander through experiences, the experiences are going to be less harsh.
I fall somewhere in between.
My path seems to fluctuate between meandering and accelerated, gentle and brutal and very little happening to Big Stuff happening all at once with LOTS of downloads. I don’t really know if we have much say in the pacing, but with acceleration comes many gifts. It’s as though we’re rewarded for choosing the faster path. One of my biggest rewards besides learning how to trust is being able to “read the field” as I call it. Reading the field is intuition on steroids—it is the ability to read energy, signs and information from the invisible field around a people, places and situations. This is especially helpful when one needs to make major life decisions whether it be a living situation, a business venture or a creative collaboration.
Life gives us many signs throughout each day to help guide us along our path. Often we’re so caught up in the details of daily life, we miss them. Our ability to read the field stays dormant and we rely on our intellects instead. This leads to all kinds of problems down the road. Why? Because our intellects are not meant to be used as our only decision-making tool. Rather it’s necessary to use a combination of the tools we’re given including our body’s wisdom, our emotions and our spiritual awareness. All four give us the capability to discern what’s the next right step for our soul’s growth. Leave one out and you will be hobbling along into your future.
Reading the field prevents us from bad decisions, detours, dead ends and wasted time.
It also prevents unnecessary suffering. Of course, once a mistake is made, we can always turn it around by viewing it immediately as a teacher. When we embrace all of our experiences with open arms, we can move through them with grace, gathering up their wisdom. Each time we learn from these mistakes, reading the field becomes that much easier the next time. It’s only when we move through our experiences with resistance and no awareness that we perpetuate meaningless suffering. Repeating patterns continue to show up until we recognize the message and teaching they bring. Once acknowledged, they fade away, making room for other teachers.
Life is so beautiful in the way that it guides us through the unique experiences that we need to evolve. No two beings have the same path or exact lessons. In essence, we’re each living in our own world, shaped by our interactions with life. Big sweeping heartbreaks usually create a humble heart that is finally open to receive the blessings awaiting it. At the time, life may seem incredibly cruel, but in the big picture, its ways can be seen as ideal for what is necessary for our growth.
Surrendering to these furnaces of experience takes practice.
Our natural tendency is resistance, as though battling what is will do any good. It won’t. But we still do our best to run from the truth. We think we can outsmart or outrun our Destiny, but ultimately it will meet us at the crossroads of our Fate, where we’re often stuck. Destiny lifts us up from the painful road of our Fate and gives us much bigger options based upon yielding to the inner guidance of Life. Destiny is our reward for finally accepting that we don’t know where we may be going and trusting that we’re in good hands, that we’ll be taken care of. Fate, on the other hand, is where we get stuck when we still try and control things, and thus end up constricting our choices down to the few that we were given by our immediate circumstances.
Life is SO MUCH bigger than our Fate. Our Destiny is to be free, but we cannot get there alone. We must use ALL of the tools at our fingertips and let the greater intelligence show us how to uncover it.