Lesoon 5: I am never upset for the reason I think.
I love this lesson! I learned a long time ago the "why?" exercise. Things would upset me and I'd initially tag it with a reason: "they made me mad," or "they are so rude, disrespectful," etc. Or in a relationship, I would get angry because I perceived I was being treated unfairly. I learned that if I can take a step back and ask the all important question, "WHY is this upsetting me?" I would get a totally different response than what I initially thought. It often took several repetitions to dig deep enough to expose the real reasoning behind my emotion/reaction, but it was definitely not what I initially thought.
The lesson goes into further detail: "There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind." Yet there are some "feelings" we hold onto because it is a form of self-definition. For example, anger. I know people that anger sustains them; it gives them drive and strength. Our popular culture is built on that--remember "Rambo" and "Dirty Harry?" All the main characters getting mad and then getting even.
I've often heard it said that whatever upsets you lives rent free in your mind. If you hold strong negative emotions, the only one being hurt is you. Don't pick and choose what to let go, live on the edge and release them all. Don't be afraid to fly...but first release the weight holding you down and back.
Lesson 4: These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].
On the surface, this lesson seems pretty straightforward: it calls for awareness of our thoughts. We have so many and when we are aware of what they are, we often categorize them into "good" and "bad." Then it gets confusing and I feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole.
The lesson states, "None of them represents your real thoughts, which are being covered up by them. The 'good' ones are but shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. The 'bad' ones are blocks to sight, and make seeing impossible. You do not want either."
What are my "real thoughts," and how do I discover them?
What is real? We've already discussed that nothing is "real" until we perceive it as such. By our perception, it becomes part of our reality. But the lesson discusses the "meaningful" and "meaningless" of these thoughts.
What is to be "meaningful?" Dictonary.com defines "meaningful" as being full of purpose, significance, or value. Therefore, meaningless is the opposite--no purpose, no significance, no value. So, thoughts that have purpose, significance or value are meaningful and the rest, not so much? I get that. If thoughts are of love, of value, and serve you, they are meaningful. Oh, but it goes deeper. (So Alice, how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?)
The goal of this lesson is to train the individual in separating their thoughts into meaningful and meaningless, and what is the same and what is different. Meaningless thoughts are outside of you; the meaningful, within. Huh? This is the part that I don't get. How do we separate the two? And should we? In a world where we are striving for unity, for commonality, why would we separate from within and without? Or am I totally missing the mark?
I reach out to readers, to the philosophers among you. What does this mean? And how do we apply it?
Lesson 3: I do not understand anything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place, etc.].
Oh, isn't that the truth?! How many times do we look at something or someone and say, "What the heck?" (Feel free to substitute other words if applicable.) I know I sure do. I don't understand anything I see or witness. I think I do but then the Universe decides to show me just how narrow-minded and misplaced that thought was.
William James stated it best when he said, "Thinking is what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." Lesson 3 follows the first two--the key is to remove emotional attachment, prejudices, from the item or people. By clearing our mind from all the past associations, to see things as they appear right now in this time and space, we begin to realize how little we really understand about them. This exercise serves to open our mind. To see our portion of the "big picture" and realize how small, and evolving, our perception really is, or should be.
I encourage you to work with me to separate ourselves and step back from the events and things around us. By not reacting, or labeling, it actually buys us some peace of mind. And for that fact alone, I am going to enjoy this exercise!
As I blog on these Lessons in "The Course in Miracles," I will discuss what thoughts and lessons I'm taking from it, but also ask a lot of questions. I am putting out these questions to the general population to answer. I honestly don't know the answer, nor challenging anyone. I am too looking for guidance in all of this.
Lesson 2: I have given everything I see in this room [on this street, this window, in this place, etc] all the meaning that it has for me.
Lesson 2 follows Lesson 1 in that by looking, recognizing and labeling objects, it gives them meaning. This is especially true as to the feeling it engenders. By giving something a feeling or emotion, I am giving it "meaning." Theoretically, it isn't until I note it as "X-Y-Z" does it serve anything in my reality, nor even exist, according to Quantum Physics. Some part of me must be aware.
Okay, I catch what they're throwing, but what about those times when out of the blue, something happens? Like you're hiking along and wham, you get bitten by a snake. People that know me realize that is my fear and probably not a good example. Because I fear snakes, they are in my reality. By that energy that fear produces, I bring them to me. Let's change the story to represent an entirely freaky accident--something that has everyone scratching their head wondering what the heck. If something comes totally out of the blue, and because you're not expecting nor acknowledging it in any way, why does it happen if it "doesn't exist?"
Neal Donald Walsch noted this phenomena in "Conversations with God." He said that we are all operating in a certain energy field and that energy field is individual but also a group creation. So, if the person and/or group believes that bad things happen to good people, or weird and crazy stuff goes down, then they put themselves at risk of it happening. Because a part of them believes this stuff can happen, it does. This opens up a bigger idea, a bigger thought....
....what if, because of 2012 and all of the "end-of-times" beliefs out there, that energy of belief is combining to create the natural disasters we are currently seeing more of? We are literally manifesting our beliefs! To change our reality, we need to think, say, and act. We think about the disasters, we talk about them, we predict more coming, and then the resultant energy waves respond with creating them. It verifies the process all over again. Group consciousness at work.
We are energy. That is verifiable. What we identify and give meaning to, makes it real. Like our very core of cells is made up of elements and atoms, we attract those elements in our frequency and repel those that are not. For the good of mother earth, and all of life as we know it, let's work on this core lesson. Heck, we might even save the planet!
A lot of the reading I've been doing as I strive for my '10,000 hours' (estimated time it takes to become an expert on any one thing) mentions quotes from "A Course in Miracles." I signed up for the class to see what all the hoopla was about. I won't go into the history or the origins of this work but if you're interested, check out http://acim.org
. There are daily lessons--one years worth (yep, 365 lessons).
Lesson 1: "Nothing I see in this room (on this street, from this window, in this place) means anything.
Okay, I get it. They want you to start working on detachment. Detachment from things and realization that our perception of things make our reality. But what is reality?
Quantum physics puts a strange spin on it. It says in layman's terms that nothing really exists until someone notices, or perceives, that it does. There are only possibilities, potentials, and by observing and interpreting these results, we are able to influence the outcome. So, by assigning a label, or deciding it is X or Z, we make it so.
Now look at it deeper. That insinuates that reality as we know and define it doesn't really exist until someone says, or thinks, it does. It's the whole discussion of "if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it fall, does it make a sound?" According to physics, no, it doesn't. Only by recognizing and assigning it a label do we make it "real."
How do we transfer this lesson to our lives? Think about it. How many times have you and a group of friends all witnessed the same event and each person has a different spin on what really happened? Or even why it happened? By standing back and acknowledging all the different perceptions and outcomes that are possible, we can actively choose the "reality" that serves us.
What do I mean, "the 'reality' that serves us?" If by observing and labeling an event makes it "real," and that reality brings different feelings and emotions, then those feelings and emotions bring about different consequences (love, hatred, jealousy, competition, acceptance, etc). If we actively choose our perception of something, then we can choose the reality and the resultant outcome. For example, you have invested yourself, years of your life, and all the love you have into someone. They decide they don't want to be with you anymore. You are crushed. Not only are you battling rejection and depression, the questioning of your entire being sets in. After all, you gave them everything you had and it wasn't enough. Stop....step away.
Lesson 1...Nothing I see in this room means anything. It is what it is, or is not. By choosing a different response, you are ensuring a different outcome. Pick a different possibility--"it didn't work out because even though we are both incredibly great people with so much to offer, there is someone else out there that is more of who I am and who, in fact, is looking for me." By accepting things, sending love and release to the other person, you are setting the stage, and choosing the reality that serves you better.
What is reality? Nothing. It's all possibilities and all options. It's our choices that make it what it is. Choose wisely...