COPING WITH CHANGE
Nancy B. Detweiler, M.Ed., M.Div.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan.” Genesis 12:1-5a
Change always occurs on multiple levels. On the physical plane level, Abram’s divine guidance has requested that he leave all that is familiar and travel to a strange country. It is at this level that we tend to experience the most fear and disruption. Abram is seventy-five years old, wealthy, and well established in the land of his ancestors. His family is gathered around him. He feels no need to make a change in order to better his physical plane life. But, resting within the bosom of his comfortable surroundings is no longer within divine order. It is time for a change … so that divine order can unfold. Abram’s soul did not incarnate simply to be happy and comfortable. His is a much grander destiny.
Abram is faced with a challenge. He can listen and obey – or – he can ignore his intuitive guidance. To make the journey will be disruptive to life as he has known it. Traveling is extremely dangerous because bands of robbers hide in the rocky cliffs, water is scarce, and the desert heat can be merciless. He will be moving into the unknown. On the other hand, if he ignores his intuitive guidance, he will fail to complete his role within the divine plan. In Abram’s case, the result of ignoring his guidance could have altered the path of the three world religions that consider him father: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
On the inner level, Abram is challenged to make a shift in consciousness. According to Unity’s metaphysical interpretation of the Bible, Abram represents faith in God and the knowledge that he can intuitively communicate with the Source of all being.
In the story, Abram departs from Haran. Haran signifies an exalted state of consciousness that strengthens and grants the determination to move toward an even greater level of spiritual enlightenment. We attain spiritual enlightenment by integrating into our daily lifestyles this exalted consciousness of Truth.
Abram takes with him Sarai, his wife. Sarai symbolizes our soul struggling for its rightful place in our consciousness. That Abram takes Sarai with him reveals that Abram has attained awareness of his Soul and the recognition that his essence is divine. However, Abram also takes with him his nephew, Lot. Lot represents that part of our consciousness that is still in darkness, that part of ourselves that is egocentric. Abram, like many of us, must continue in the lessons of overcoming his ego—that part of self that creates stumbling blocks on our path to enlightenment.
Abram travels to Canaan. Canaan indicates our subconscious and the world in which we live. Any time we make an inner change while living on the physical plane, we must learn how to transform our egocentric self and to be more closely aligned with our divine essence, or Soul. The goal of all spiritual growth is that we learn to integrate, into our daily lifestyles, our faith in God and our willingness to follow divine guidance. Spiritual enlightenment is not complete until our physical plane lives are transformed and lived from the level of Soul-consciousness. At that point, the land of Canaan becomes the Promised Land.
So what has God asked of Abram? What does God ask of you and me? God asks that we allow change to unfold within our lives, not only in our physical plane environment, but—more importantly—within our conscious awareness.
We are living in a time unlike any that has occurred on our planet during the history of humankind. Planet Earth entered recently a new century and embarked on another approximately 2000 years cycle called the New Aquarian Age. We are nearing the end of a 5,125 years cycle called A World Age and preparing to enter a New World Age. In addition, our solar system’s Sun is completing a 26,000 year cycle and our galaxy is completing a 230,000,000 year cycle. Momentous change is occurring on every level of our personal … planetary … solar system … and galaxy’s existence!
As change occurs, it often feels more like turmoil, as evidenced in the climatic disasters and the increase in angry, violent behavior. Relationships are more difficult because we are all compelled to change. We no longer know ourselves, much less someone else. We can feel confused, agitated, and disoriented. All of our traditional societal structures are undergoing tremendous change. It is no wonder that we, as individuals, feel uprooted and tossed about. The unexpected is becoming the norm. All of us are being asked to leave the familiar and move out into the unknown. A new world is being created. You and I are being re-created.
Abram, signifying our faith in divine guidance, sets the example for us. He has established himself well in Haran, a place of exalted consciousness. Daily meditating and listening to our own I AM PRESENCE (God within us) will give us the strength and determination to move forward on our spiritual path and to allow divine order to unfold in our lives.
As we pass through life’s changes, we—like Abram—take Sarai and Lot with us. Sarai, our Soul, and Lot, our ego self, struggle for dominance. The goal is to live life united with Sarai, our Soul. Later in the biblical story, Lot leaves Abram; Sarai remains with him. In other words, Abram learns to live within the God consciousness of his Soul; his egocentric self no longer plays a role. By integrating Soul consciousness into his daily lifestyle, Abram transforms his life in Canaan (or the physical plane) into the glorious life of living in the Promised Land of his Enlightened Consciousness. Geographically, Canaan and the biblical Promised Land are the same. The difference, in Abram’s story, is in his achievement of a heightened level of conscious awareness.
We, too, can experience the Promised Land—the kingdom of God within—while living in Canaan, or on planet Earth. In order to do so, coping with change is an essential ingredient.
There are at least four major stages in coping with change. The first step is to accept its inevitable presence in our lives … to be grateful for the fact that life is ever-evolving. The challenges, which change introduces into our lives, can be frightening and sometimes overwhelming. By becoming well-established in Haran—in God consciousness—we can learn to look through the dark unknown to the ever-present Light leading us through the wilderness. God did not promise Abram a trouble-free trip. However, God did promise to make him a blessing to many—after he took the journey. The challenges presented by change proclaim: It is time to grow … time to stretch our understanding of Truth … time to try our wings at a greater height. Accepting and being grateful for the opportunities granted by change frees us to enjoy the journey, even when it is painful.
The second step in coping with change will be our strong tendency to resist. Change can result in feelings of loss and bewilderment. We may ask, “Now where do I fit in? … What do I believe? … What do I do?” We feel vulnerable. We want to cling to the familiar, even when we intuitively know it is time to let go. Even as our being cries out for more meaning in life, more personal satisfaction in our work, more fulfilling relationships, we tend to respond to the possibility of change by resisting. At least our pain is familiar. It is easy to get stuck in our resistance. As a result, we may miss out on marvelous opportunities to experience the joy of allowing divine order to unfold in our lives. God’s will for each of us is Good beyond our wildest dreams.
The third step in coping with change is our commitment to accepting and learning from the challenges presented to us. Whatever the challenges, there are lessons to be learned; there are experiences to be cherished for the soul growth they stimulate, and there is a resulting enhanced knowledge of ourselves and of God’s activity in our lives. Even in the most difficult of challenges, we have moments of heavenly insight … moments of feeling God’s loving presence in our lives … and moments of knowing that God is truly in charge. As God promised Abram, “I will show you the way … I will do the real work (make of you a great nation) … I will bless you … I will make your name great … through your commitment to my call, all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
As we make the commitment to allow divine order to direct our lives, we move into the fourth step of coping with change—the awakening to new joys in life! As we increasingly awaken to the joy of allowing divine order—with all its potential changes—to unfold in our lives, we transform Canaan (our earth plane existence) into the Promised Land. We come to know God as the Love that enfolds us at all times … God as the Light that shows us the Way … God as the Shield that protects us from all harm … God as the Power to do all things. That the kingdom of God dwells within us becomes gut-level knowledge. There is no greater joy!
We, as Light Workers, incarnated on this planet in order to assist humanity through this time of upheaval and tremendous change. The way by which we strive to cope with change in our own lives can serve as examples for others. We, like Abram, are to leave Haran, the exalted state of consciousness to be found in meditation, and travel into Canaan, the physical plane daily experiences. We are to act as grounding rods for Spirit; we are to integrate Spirit into all that we think, feel, and do. As a result of fulfilling this commitment, God will bless us and countless others.
We will be messengers of Light … Love … and Peace … for our starving, desperate world!
Unity’s Prayer of Protection
The Light of God surrounds me/us
The Love of God enfolds me/us
The Power of God protects me/us
The Presence of God watches over me/us.
Wherever I/we are … God is!
And all is well!
NOTE: The above metaphysical interpretations of names and places are taken from Charles Fillmore’s Metaphysical Bible Dictionary.
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