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Excerpts from:

Many Lives, Many Journeys

by Marilyn C. Barrick, Ph.D.

The "Why Me?" Syndrome

      Now this is likely the point where we began what I call the "Why me?" syndrome. It goes something like this: "Why are these awful things happening to me? Why me? Why isn't God, if there is a God, coming to my rescue?"
      Of course God heard our cry for help. But by now we were firmly on a karmic path that only we could walk. We were still carrying the light and meant to return to our Creator, but we hadn't realized how dense this planet was going to be. It would take all of our higher attunement to fulfill our purpose—and we didn't even know what that meant anymore.
      In despair we cried out, "I'm in so much pain. My God, why have you deserted me?" Then, of course, the fallen angels "sympathized" with our plight. When we bought into their sympathy and our own self-pity, we aligned ourselves with the dark side and our consciousness kept plummeting. We began to feel petulant and angry at God.
      Ultimately, many of us felt so bereft we didn't believe in God anymore. And in the process of disowning the Father-Mother God, we disowned our divine heritage. After a while, we didn't even remember it. That is the story of how it went for many of us.
      If we want to get off this planet and return to the heaven-world, we need to redeem our karma because it acts as ballast tugging us down to the earth plane. When we transform that ballast into positive energy, our consciousness spirals upward.
      As we strive for higher consciousness, we begin to pass our spiritual tests. We make headway in transforming the conglomerate of our darkness—our negative motives, thoughts, feelings and actions—known as the dweller-on-the-threshold.
      If a story would help you understand the dweller-on-the threshold, think of the popular movie Lord of the Rings and the book on which the movie is based, The Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien.
      This poem from a description of the Lord of the Rings captures the mood of darkness:
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
    One Ring to rule them all. One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
      In Tolkien's classic story, the "One Ring" gives mastery over every living creature to the one who wears it. Thus its bearer is able to manipulate dark powers and enslave the world. And since the original Ring was devised by an evil power, the Nine Mortal Men who are given rings controlled by the Master Ring are inevitably corrupted.
      The men who possess the Rings may start out being relatively good people, but as their consciousness becomes increasingly wed to the dark power of the Rings, their dark side (their dweller-on-the-threshold) grows in power. The men gradually lose their soul—and ultimately turn into soulless, evil beings called "Ringwraiths."
      As the tale unfolds, the Master Ring, the Ring of Power, is in the possession of the Hobbits, short, mild-mannered, quiet beings. And the task of Frodo Baggins (the main Hobbit character) and the Fellowship of the Ring (those dedicated to halting the Rings' evil power) is to destroy the Master Ring by casting it into the fire from which it came. That action would end the evil power of all of the Rings.
      Frodo and his faithful servant, Sam, try to take the Ring of Power to Mount Doom in order to destroy it. If they succeed, Sauron, the Lord of the Rings, and all the other evil beings will no longer exist, thus ending their corruption of all that is good in Middle-earth. The problem is that Mount Doom is right in the middle of Sauron's dark kingdom, and the evil ones will use all their power to repossess the Ring.
      Out of the struggle to possess and control the Master Ring arises a war compared both in magnitude and complexity to the great wars of our times. In the movie, the outcome of the battle between good and evil is left hanging, awaiting the actions of the characters in the sequels to come—a drama we can equate with the battles of good and evil on earth today.
      In the last of Tolkien's three-book series, The Return of the King, Frodo, the Ring Bearer, at the very moment he is about to cast the Master Ring into the fire decides that he wants the Ring for himself. His contact with the Ring on the long journey to Mount Doom has made him susceptible to desiring its dark, evil power.
      This drama highlights the facing off of good and evil and what happens within a person who is struggling with it. In Frodo we see a well-meaning lightbearer increasingly mesmerized by the Master Ring (and his own dweller) and identifying more and more with its dark power. Ultimately, he barely escapes being taken over by evil.
      As has been said, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The moral of the tale is that evil masquerading as good or benign is still evil—and the soul who is tempted by it can be lost.
      We see a similar story in Robert Louis Stevenson's classic drama The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As you may remember, Dr. Jekyll discovered drugs that allowed him to transform his personality into the vicious, cruel creature he named Mr. Hyde. By so doing he could allow his evil, lecherous side to prowl and prey without the disturbance of conscience.
      When the drugs wore off Dr. Jekyll would regain his normal identity. He thoroughly enjoyed this game of playing with the darkness—for a time.
      Dr. Jekyll thought it was relatively harmless to play Mr. Hyde, to experiment with his wickedly criminal alter ego—until suddenly he discovered he could not reverse his identity. The monster, Mr. Hyde, had taken control. Try as he might, he could not reclaim himself as the kind, mild- mannered physician, Dr. Jekyll.
      He had flirted with the dweller, thinking it a game. To his horror he discovered it was a no-win game. He had identified with the dweller one too many times and was now wed to the darkness he had courted.
      If we would claim our soul's victory, we must recognize, confront and defeat the evil we have internalized. Only then can our soul be the victor in the midst of karmic circumstances. We are called to challenge the lure of evil, within and without. We are called to join forces with our Real Self. And we do so by praying from the depths of our heart and soul, "God, help me!"
      When we pray in the name of the Christ for the dweller-on-the-threshold to be bound, the conglomerate of our destructive "not-self" energies can be removed. Then we can replace those negative, incomplete or jagged patterns with positive energy through prayers, decrees, fiats, mantras and affirmations. Thus we change our vibration and begin to replace who we are not with who we really are.

A Path of Spiritual Acceleration

      Throughout the ages, saints and sages and advanced souls have come to help us outwit the dweller, to show us the path home to God. Sometimes we have followed their counsel and example, but often we have ignored it—to our detriment.
      We also have our intuition, the gentle prompting of our Higher Self. All it takes to make the connection is a prayer, a quiet moment of meditation, a "listening ear." Yet we tend to rush around in our busy lives, asking other people what they would do, stacking up books and tapes as our sources of enlightenment—and ignoring our own inner resources.
      When we forget to connect with our Higher Self regularly, a sudden setback in circumstances, a negative mind-set, emotional distress or physical pain will tend to override that inner guidance. But often these are the very promptings we need to remind us to reconnect with God and our Higher Self.
      When we do not trust our spiritual intuition or consider the advice of elder brothers and sisters on the Path, we can end up in trouble. And we create more negative karma. When we take time to listen to and follow higher counsel, we make good things happen and accrue good karma.
      Every good deed creates good karma, which is an automatic deposit in our cosmic bank account. Thus we establish a higher vibration that keeps us in contact with our Higher Self.
      We are still learning. We learn as we go. And we also have the example of those who have walked the upward path before us—heroes and heroines, saints, avatars, ascended masters. The lives and teachings of these adepts show us the intricacies of the path of spiritual acceleration. Their walk with God teaches us how to pass our tests.
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