Emily Cady begins her wonderful text Lessons in Truth with a simple, direct and timeless challenge aimed at each of us as we awaken to our spiritual Selves. She titles the book’s first lesson, “Bondage or Liberty, Which?”
“Every man,” she writes, “believes himself to be in bondage to the flesh and to the things of the flesh. All suffering is the result of this belief.”
But if bondage means suffering, then how difficult can it be to choose liberty instead? It can, as we all know well, be very difficult indeed. Each of us is, in some way, addicted to the familiar limitations of bondage, and fearful of the unknown possibilities of liberty.
We are like the crippled man by the Pool of Bethesda, who had been waiting over thirty years for a healing. He was a victim, he explained to the passing teacher; because of his affliction other people were always faster to claim the healing promised to the first person into the pool after a ripple could be seen on its surface.
The teacher was not buying it. Jesus recognized the man’s addiction to suffering and limitation, and he asked a simple question: “Do you want to be healed?”. And when the man indignantly insisted that of course he did, Jesus simply told him his addiction was over. “Take up your bed and walk” he suggested. And he did.
Whether our own suffering is expressing as illness, lack, fear or any negative mindset, the underlying truth is that we are choosing bondage. We are choosing to see ourselves, and treat ourselves, as limited physical beings. We are choosing to be victims. When we are willing to see clearly as Spirit, those choices seem as foolish as, in fact, they are.
This does not mean that every limitation is negative; there are valuable lessons and creative opportunities in even our darkest choices. Experiences of lack and illness can serve a great spiritual purpose. It’s not useful to judge our choices – or anyone else’s. What is important is that we recognize that the choice is ours. We are never victims!
Today I choose liberty. I absolutely know that I AM Spirit. I cannot be held in bondage against my will – and my will today is to perfectly express my true Self. In that truth I AM whole and well and free. In that truth I move through this day as a radiant beacon of infinite Love.