The End of Self-Improvement


THE LAST NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

There’s a good reason why New Year’s Resolutions have stood the test of time. The human compulsion to improve one’s self seems relentless. An ego that is never satisfied is always searching for changes or improvements.

Self-improvement seems to follow a cycle. With varying amounts of time spent in each stage, the cycle goes something like this:

  • Feeling “Something’s not okay”
  • Mind tries to identify the lack
  • Mind Formulates a plan to address the problem
  • Feelings of hope and relief to have a plan
  • Temporary or limited behavior change
  • Failure (Either failure to change behavior or failure to feel okay)
  • Repeat

Thankfully we learned, with the help of A Course of Love, that we are not our personal identities. When the veil of the ego is uncovered, a lot of “not okay” energy dissipates, but it usually doesn’t immediately disappear. Even after ideas of “I’m not okay” are recognized as old thought patterns, they are persistent. These thought patterns are accepted as truth when we are very young. They create the foundation for the personal identity.

Most of our personal stories are drawn to us in order to “prove” that these things are true. They serve as self-fulfilling prophecies. If we accept as truth that we are unloveable, we create ways to avoid or sabotage intimate relationships. If we believe ourselves to be “not good enough,” we continually fall short of our own standards. As individual expressions of Consciousness, we are powerful magnets. We manifest what we believe.

The New Age movement took hold of this realization and taught us to change our beliefs in order to create more fulfilling lives. These techniques met with limited success because we were still mis-identifying as a person. Manipulating the dream won’t loosen the hold of the dream. In order to move out of the self-improvement cycle, we need to remember who/what we actually are.

We are not an identity at all, but an expression of the One Consciousness. We are not the thoughts, feelings and perceptions that come and go. We are that which is aware of all that comes and goes. We are the great I Am who gives attention to, and holds space for all that comes and goes. When you stop holding on to the idea of your Self as a person, there is no need to either promote the self or protect the self. Self-improvement is not necessary because there is no personal self. There is only that which holds space for all experience.

It is only ever the personal self who feels “not okay.” The Christed Self is not on a self-improvement path because the Christed Self isn’t a person trying to be better. It knows itself as an individualized expression of the One Consciousness, holding all experience in its loving embrace. There is nothing to improve!

Therefore, the last resolution we make has to be to stop trying to fix the personal self. When we leave resolutions and self-improvement behind, we live as the Christ, which is in reality our natural state.

So what and who is the Christ, if it is not a person? The Christ serves as the bridge between the world of separation and the One Consciousness. The Christ experiences the perceptions of an individual while knowing itself as an expression of what my students like to call, “The Juice.”

When we live as the Christ, a new matrix that is available to us. In the movie, The Matrix, we saw the binary code flood the screen as it programmed the illusory world. This image is an apt metaphor for ACOL’s “House of Illusion.” It’s as if we are plugged into a collective matrix that creates the world of separation. Believing we are a separated person is an essential component of that matrix.

Now that the matrix of separation has been exposed, you have the choice to unplug from it. Each individual must make this choice independently. Only your free will enables you to make the shift. Have you taken the red pill yet?

We need a new framework from which to operate while we are still individualized. We need to live in what ACOL calls “The House of Truth.” We need to switch our operating system over to the Christ matrix.

When Jeshua, an expression not separate from you, transcended the separation matrix, a new matrix was created, the Christ matrix. This new platform is available to each expression who desires it, but there are certain conditions required in order for the switch to be possible.

Within the Christ matrix, there is simply no room for “I’m not okay” beliefs. Feelings of judgment about the personal self keep us imprisoned. Jeshua was humble not because he was a perfect character, but because he saw through the illusion of his own character and the characters of others. By seeing and interacting with his other-selves as they truly were, (expressions of the One) rather than who they thought themselves to be, he enabled others to see their own truth through him. If Jeshua had been riddled with “I’m not okay” beliefs, this transference would never have been possible.

So it is with you. Just as “I’m not okay,” is the foundation of the separation matrix, “I am” is the foundation of the Christ Matrix. A Christ doesn’t merely believe that the illusion isn’t true; a Christ knows it. Transmission of truth, or, as ACOL calls it, “observation” is dependent on the certainty of the Christ’s experience. There is no place for personal insecurity.

The first step in shifting to the Christ Matrix is choosing to let go of “I’m not okay” beliefs. There is a pervasive belief in our culture that tells us it’s vain to think we’re okay as we are. Don’t buy it. All expressions of the One are welcome in the embrace.

The next question may be, “How do I let go of such entrenched thought patterns?”

The Dialogues of ACOL refer to a state of complete acceptance. There is a surprising alchemy that happens with complete acceptance of whatever appears. This includes feelings of self-loathing and the idea that “I’m not okay.”

When the first stage in the self-improvement cycle occurs, rather than turning toward analysis of “the problem,” and applying the mind to formulate a plan, you can stop the cycle in its tracks through complete acceptance of whatever is showing up. Allow space for all thoughts and feelings, without seeking solutions. This is not denial; it is the opposite. It is inclusion of everything in your own sacred embrace. It is allowing the self and others to be exactly as they are. It is allowing the I Am to take any form it wants. It is not threatened by any of it.

This is an essential practice as we step into the new matrix. When we accept whatever arises, we short-circuit the old cycle. When resistance to the feeling of “I’m not okay,” is dropped, and we become willing to experience all feelings, tension vanishes. It’s as if we were in a tug of war and one side dropped the rope. The war is over.

This stage of the un-doing process can feel like the work of a spiritual warrior. It takes great courage to allow uncomfortable feelings to come and go without interference. The only thing we are fighting, however, is our own mental constructs. There is comfort in the knowledge that all phenomenon comes and goes, even sadness and loneliness. Happiness and spiritual elation come and go as well. It’s all fine. I don’t need to cling to pleasant feelings nor run from discomfort.

I, however, do not come and go. I am that which holds the space for the coming and going of all phenomenon. I cannot be threatened by temporary phenomenon. Everything is welcome here. The heart stays open to receive the movement and mystery of life.

Each of us as individuated beings must complete our own shift into the Christ Matrix. No one can do it for you. Only you can choose to surrender the beliefs that have kept you plugged into the Illusion Matrix. When all experience is welcomed, the Christ Matrix becomes available.  You are now the Bridge between the individuated and the One. You are needed here, living as the Elevated Self of form. Let your final resolution be to stop trying to improve the personal self as you take your place in your own two shoes of the living Christ.

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