the teaching 1
Starting Over
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THE QUEST

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It is the desire of every
human being to feel he
or she can begin anew.
Do you not feel this
need in your own soul?



You can begin again...and again...and again...

There comes a time in the evolution of every soul when we "put away childish things" and take on the mantle of spiritual maturity.

The evolution of humankind--the unfolding activity of the entire race--is no longer enough. There is
no doubt that this ongoing evolutionary process will force further physical refinements. But the days of being satisfied with changes only in our physical form have come to a close.

INNER JOURNEY
This is a new time for us. We are living in the most exciting and expansive era in human history. It is the time of the evolution of the individual - a personal awakening to the spiritual self. How far we go is up to each of us. But however far the reaches of this possibility, the journey begins for each one when he hears the summons which announces that there is so much more to him than what he now expresses.

The feelings of unfulfillment, the yearnings to experience "something more," the emptiness in the soul which nothing seems to satisfy - these are all signposts along the way. They indicate that one has heard the call and reached that point of readiness to enter into the fulfilling process of spiritual evolution.

You, yourself, would not be embarking on THE QUEST if you had not heard your summons. You know that it is time to shepherd your life into greener, more meaningful pastures. It is time to begin again.


TERRA INCOGNITA
On ancient maps, all uncharted lands were referred to as "Terra Incognita," meaning "unknown region." The early cartographers drew dragons and sea monsters in those areas. These frightful creatures were graphic expressions of the map-makers' own convictions that great dangers awaited those foolish enough to venture into these regions. After all, these were areas as yet unexplored. Nothing was known about them, and so the depiction of monsters was designed to instill fear in the ancient traveler's heart. At one time virtually all of the "New World"--North and South America--was "Terra Incognita." But what rich resources it offered to those courageous enough to explore it and claim it!

YOUR NEW WORLD
There is a "New World" in you, too. It is a world as yet not fully explored. It, too, is rich in resources offering vast stores of happiness, joy, peace, love, and abundance. But the journey into this land is a spiritual quest into the farthest reaches of your soul, for that is where the real riches lie.

As with those ancient travelers, there may be fear of venturing into such an unknown region. Your life may not be perfect now, but at least you are beginning to know where the "dragons" are. If not comfortable with them, at least you are familiar with them, at least they are your dragons.

A NEW BIRTH
To carve out a new path into the uncharted territory of the soul is to be born again. Being born again may sound like a frightening proposition, but it really isn't, because we are always beginning again. Life is a series of little "deaths" out of which life, in a different form, will always return. We "die" to infancy to be "born again" into childhood. We die to childhood to be born again into adolescence. We die to adolescence to be born again into young adulthood. And so it goes, each "death" leading to a new "birth."

A friend once considered, then decided against, a new birth. "I've been seriously thinking of going back to school but then I thought, 'Who wants to hire a 50-year old Ph.D.?'" Having raised her family, she was thinking of studying for her masters degree in education then continuing on for her Ph.D. But she never did.

Instead, she decided that she did not want to begin again. She constantly lamented that it was "too late to go back to school," that she was "too old to start a new profession," that she was "the wrong sex to get hired at a decent salary." She offered a multitude of reasons to stay where she was. She saw too many dragons on the map.

Yet, for some reason, her remarks ignited a smoldering ember in her twin sister who was a single parent of three teen-agers and, at that time, was solidly entrenched in a well-paying job which she hated. Yet seven years later, at age 51, her sister was awarded a Ph.D. in Psychology. Now a successful child psychologist in a suburban school system, she is very happy to have made the decision she did when she did.

Our friend's sister "died" to her old job, to her old state of consciousness, and was "born" into a new job, into a new state of consciousness. She faced the dragons and found them merely images on someone else's map.


THE TRUE REBIRTH
We are all capable of similar positive changes in our lives. We can all look past our pet "monsters" and decide to explore more of God's good for us. But no matter how much physical or emotional transformation we undergo, no matter how significant our change, unless it leads to a spiritual rebirth there can be no lasting growth. Unless it leads to an awareness of who and what we really are, it is just another dead-end.

Spiritual rebirth can take a lifetime to develop or it can explode into our lives in a split second. It comes with the realization that we are more than our flesh and blood. We are more than our degrees or titles, we are more than our possessions, we are more than our relationships. The new birth of which Jesus spoke takes place in the soul. With it comes the knowledge that "I and the Father are one" - that we are part of the great Creative Force which made us and which powers this universe.

GOD MAKES NEW AND BETTER
The ultimate rebirth is an awakening to Spirit, and that rebirth always leads to a better life. It doesn't matter what preceded that awareness. Truth is not obligated to what has been. Think of the evolution of civilization. If we were not able to create anew and to be reborn, we would all still be living in caves. We'd be anchored in the past, repeating our thoughts and actions in an endless loop. What can be is not bound by what is or what was, and that has to be the most freeing concept anyone can imagine!

It is the very nature of God to make "new" and "better." God's desire for you is absolute good! You'll be reading that a lot in THE QUEST because it is the most fundamental truth. God's good is not conditional, it is absolute. It is not earned by what you do or how you act. It is not dependent on what you've experienced in the past or are experiencing now. God's good exists now and is available now. It is always available in your "now," even if it has never been a part of your past.

God's principle of good for you is not bound by your experience of sickness or lack or poor relationships or whatever negative condition you've experienced in the past. God's principle of good is available at each "new birth" in consciousness.

"POSSIBILITY JUNCTION"
Our friend didn't know this when she thought she couldn't go back to school. She didn't know that exactly where she was all things were possible. Not only did the "givens" exist in her life: female, age 44, mother, out of school for a few decades, etc., but existing concurrently was a plethora of other possibilities. She was at "Possibility Junction" - the junction of where she was and where she could be, and it's at Possibility Junction that we always find God's good.

We all live at Possibility Junction. Each "now" moment is another junction, the chance to make another decision. In each now moment we decide what we want out of life. Often we feel that the easiest decision is no decision at all - just to keep going in the same direction. But life repeatedly teaches us that no decision is still a decision!

Perhaps you feel as our friend did: you're too old or too young or too sick or too poor or too unlovable or too whatever it is you may be identifying with at the moment. But the truth is that you are capable of expressing more good and experiencing more good because you are part of the Creative Energy of this universe which is all good.

BEGINNING TO CHANGE
Where does change begin. It begins first of all with the realization that you are worthwhile, that you are not separated from God, that you are a part of God not apart from God.

Secondly, you make the decision that you want to feel one with God. This is a decision you don't make just once and then that's it forever. It's a choice that must be redecided at each junction of "then" and "now," at each moment of your life.

There may be days ahead when you feel discouraged, when you feel you could have done better. Just when things seem to be going along smoothly--boom!-- something blows up in your face. Or the plans that seemed so positive and hopeful in January turn into a mess by April.

These are precisely the times when you must remind yourself that you can begin again. It is not the end. You are allowed an unlimited number of times to pick yourself up and start over. A chalkboard can be erased forever. You can always start fresh with a clean slate. The hero or heroine make many new beginnings on the journey before attaining the prize.

If you can now say that you want to know more of God and that you want God to be more active in your life, then you've made an important decision. You have set yourself up to accept more good, and that's all that you need to be born again ... and again ... and again.

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