Lesson 18: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.
This Lesson follows Lesson 17 closely to emphasize that our thoughts that precede what we "see" are never neutral or unimportant. It also gives credence to "group consciousness." Minds are joined and we see it evidenced everywhere. The old saying, "Birds of a feather flock together" comes to mind.
Everything is energy, as we previously discussed. We emit energy in wavelengths. Like radio stations, we all have a frequency of the wavelengths we transmit and receive. We are drawn to people that think like we do, or see things the same way. Have you ever noticed that when a person changes, their friends change too? It's not coincidence. When people change their transmittal frequency, they attract different people on that different wavelength. It's the Law of Attraction at work!
We are not alone in experiencing the effects of our seeing. Let's use that to change our mindset, our circumstances and our destiny!
Lesson 17: I see no neutral things.
This Lesson closely follows the previous Lesson through application of I have no neutral thoughts. It's another way of identifying cause and effect as it really operates in the world. It's important to point out that our thoughts come first, not the other way around. Think about this one...our thoughts come first, not the event or what we would think of the "cause" of those thoughts. Pretty cool spin on a point I never really considered, but makes complete sense.
The part of the Lesson that requires me to go beyond my comfort zone is when it instructs, "Regardless of what you may believe, you do not see anything that is really alive or really joyous. That is because you are unaware as yet of any thought that is really true, and therefore really happy."
Now this rather annoys me. First of all, I get great pleasure out of "alive and joyous" thoughts. If anything, these thoughts are the closest thing to "truth" since they are based in love. I don't want, or let, anyone take that from me. Sometimes it's all I have to hold onto when my reality perception is rather dark.
I understand what the Lesson is trying to say--everything is nothing unless we identify it as such, and that identity is erroneous because we are unaware of the "truth." I prefer to keep my "love" thoughts because the world needs more of them to change. We all need more of them to change. Now if "the truth" brings me more love and light, then I welcome it. Otherwise, I hold onto my loving warm and fuzzy thoughts and I encourage you to do the same!
Lesson 16: I have no neutral thoughts.
I know we have discussed that everything, and everyone, is energy, and that this has extended to our thoughts. Everything we put out there is a wave of energy that is compounded by the emotions behind it. This is where my personal belief separates a little from this Lesson.
The Lesson states that "thoughts are not big or little; powerful or weak. They are merely true or false." I believe that power can be applied to thoughts to bring about their creation. By feeling things, we create with more power. Think of love and that wonderful feeling and what peace it brings. Or the opposite extreme--hatred and the violence it creates. Thoughts that are backed by extreme emotions are powerful. Yet to get back to the Lesson--the goal of the first days of Lessons seems about separating ourselves from what we think is real, and understanding that everything is really an illusion created by us.
Taking that curve on the Lesson, there are no neutral thoughts. Everything has creative ability. The "true" thoughts create their own likeness; the "false" make theirs. Every thought we have extends either the truth or multiplies an illusion, brings peace or war. The secret is to be aware: "This thoughts about ______________ is not a neutral thought." As always, awareness is paramount.
Lesson 15: My thoughts are images that I have made.
I like this one. I really do. It goes along with the whole thoughts mean nothing and we create our reality. What I find really interesting is the Lesson explains that we really aren't "seeing" things--it is just image making. We replace vision with illusions. How we know we understand this Lesson is we will see little edges of light around the same familiar objects that we see now. This is the beginning of "real vision."
When I read this, I immediately think of a sarcastic comment along the lines of, "Seeing edges of light around images; sounds like a damn good night!" Seriously, all kidding aside, it brings to mind the training I had as a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner. Some of the exercises we are trained to work with people on is using that "image" and replacing it with another image. In fact, we superimpose images on another, making them bigger or smaller, fading in and out. It is a VERY successful exercise. I had a client that suffered from years of anxiety/panic attacks. We did these exercises and the last few times we met, she reported that she had no more attacks. None! She was amazed that she was so calm when she had every reason to be overwhelmed and panicked. Thank you, NLP! (This stuff gets me very excited!)
By understanding the fluidity of our whole image and thought experience, it opens up not only true understanding but also ways to change our reality. I use NLP on myself, family and clients with great successes. I also meditate and replace the images and thoughts that don't serve me with ones that do. Some "hard science" types (I thank my husband for this label since that is what he calls himself when we have these "discussions") think this is just playing with reality and the fear of facing what is. Oh I love that argument!! (My response always begins with, "So Alice, how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go" with a gleam in my eye!) Let's play with it then...
This _____ is an image that I have made.
That ____ is an image that I have made.
If it serves you, picture it a little differently. How do you want it to be? Put that in front of the image and blow it up so it fills the whole screen. It's okay. Have fun. What's the worst case scenario? You might replace your less-than-perfect reality with something that makes you smile, makes you happy to be alive! Meanwhile, watch for the light and await the real vision!
Lesson 14: God did not create a meaningless world.
I am struggling with this Lesson. I get the first part--our thoughts are meaningless and we create our world with them. Therefore, the world is meaningless as we define it. But God did not create a meaningless world, only our thoughts do. But it goes deeper...
"The world you see has nothing to do with reality. It is of your own making, and it does not exist." What about the horrors? The holocaust, the murderers, rapists, child abusers--all people that hurt and maim? The Lesson tells me to deny their reality because God did not create it so it's not real. But isn't God the creator of all? This is where I get wrapped around it. If God created everything, and made us creators in our own right (image of God), then what about the evil, the horrors of this world? I can sit in my office chair and type this and say, "Oh it isn't real," but ask the victims. The holocaust survivors, the raped, the loved ones of victims left behind?
Please bear with me as I think out loud.
I do believe that God/Spirit/Divine/Universe is the creator of everything and leaves our free will unchecked so that we may create too. In order to explain the evils, the terrors of our world, we have created the devil and demons. They are real because we believe they are. I also believe that there are many "houses" in the after world and the ones closer to God, the Divinity, are full of light and love. There are those that are farther away and they are darker. I also know there are some dark souls out there because I've met them. I am also a firm believer in reincarnation. Dark souls reincarnate, as do the "light" souls. The world is balanced--light and dark, good and evil. In order to appreciate the light, we need to experience the darkness. And through a group consciousness, many of us experience what we subconsciously believe is possible. If you believe bad things happen to good people, then they do.
Part of me gets it--"God did not create _____, and so it is not real." If we believe it's possible, it is. Here's the kicker, "What God did not create can only be in your own mind apart from His. Therefore, it has no meaning." Hold on...something is clicking....
..."God did not create a meaningless world." If I remove my definition of "meaningless" of "meaning nothing" and replace it with "having no purpose," then I can wrap my mind around it. Yes, God did not create a world that has no purpose. Everything has a purpose...even the bad stuff. The cancers, the heart attacks, the car accidents. They all serve a purpose. We define what they mean to us. And by that definition, we assign meaning. God did not, so they are not God's reality.
The Lesson states some of the early parts of this exchange can be quite difficult and even painful. Yet it also states we will not be left there but go far beyond it. The direction is toward perfect safety and perfect peace. Bring it on!
Lesson 13: A meaningless world engenders fear.
Oh yes, it sure does! We've discussed the two primary emotions - love and fear - being at opposite ends of the spectrum. Love evokes trust, faith, and good warm fuzzies. Fear is that scary dark place full of demons and worry. The "what-ifs" and insecurities. The ego loves to define, to label, because it brings about an illusion of security. We "understand" and then move on to the next experience. Yet it is all meaningless. And that fact alone generates fear.
The Lesson states that "Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones. It represents a situation in which God and the ego 'challenge' each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaningless provides. The ego rushes in frantically to establish its own ideas there, fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own impotence and unreality. And on this alone it is correct."
Wow, the above paragraph states it so succinctly yet powerfully. Separated? Separated from the Divine. It's our dual nature, we are individuals, yet we are connected to the Divine. The "I am" is part of the "we are." Those that identify more with the "I am" (the ego) feel separated. They feel the differences, not the similarities, of humanity.
We are so afraid of our ego being stripped: Of appearing weak or vulnerable. Of losing that tough outer skin that we present to the world that we falsely believe protects us. By showing our true selves, our God -selves, we are stronger and more powerful because of it. Love conquers all in the long term, not fear, and especially not our ego.
The Lesson states it pretty clearly, "A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God." The ego is a fragile thing, and it knows it. It resists these type of ideas and in the far extreme labels it the "enemy" or even the "devil." That's okay. At this point in "A Course in Miracles," awareness is key. Just note what emotions it brings the surface. Acceptance isn't the goal; recognition of the ego-play is. Have fun with it. Step back and don't resist. It's "meaningless" anyway! :)
Lesson 12: I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
This follows yesterday's lesson where we discussed that our meaningless thoughts are showing us a meaningless world. When we realize this perceptual distortion, it does kind of upset the apple cart. We often think the world is frightening, or mean, or beautiful and full of opportunities. All of these attributes are given by us. The world itself is meaningless.
We, as humans, feel obligated to define things. We label them and move on. It provides a sense of comfort to be able to do this. The Lesson states that beneath these words (our words) is written the Word of God. "The truth upsets you now, but when your words have been erased, you will see His." I get this; remove our limited thinking/labeling to see the bigger picture, or truth. There's one word in here that I focus on (well, two actually, dealing with the same) and that's "God" and "His."
Who is God? What is God? And how do we know it's a "He?" Now stop before you give me your knee-jerk response that has been ingrained in you since birth from a religious institution. Stop. Think. WHO IS GOD? WHAT IS GOD? Why do we say HE when it could be SHE or even IT, or THEM?
Before we get any further, let me tell you why I get hung up on this. I was raised by a traditional Protestant family. My mother was extremely religious; my father, more spiritual. We were taken to a Methodist church every Sunday and I was very active in Sunday School and the Youth Group. I sat through numerous sermons of a loving Father in heaven that gave us free will and freedom of choice, and then condemned us to hell if we didn't follow what we should. What exactly was that? I was always confused. Then I would hear the community talking about the same preacher that delivered the sermons abusing his wife and throwing her down the stairs. I have always been a firm believer in leading by example and having children has solidified this belief. It isn't what you say, it's what you do. But it goes deeper.
Ever since I was a little girl, I felt things were different. For example, I never believed we had one shot at getting it right. I was a young child in the 70's and recycling was not vogue. (Anyone that remembers the McDonald's BigMac styrofoam packaging can testify to that.) I remember thinking, "Why would God waste a perfectly good soul on just one lifetime?" I knew I had had multiple lives. I knew my soul had been here before and the body I was inhabiting now was just that....a body. It would die but my soul would live on, most likely in another body with it's own identity. I also didn't believe the church when it said we had one chance to get it right--heaven or hell. Judgment Day. As a 7-year old child, I just knew it wasn't right. But we all have a rough time shedding the beliefs ingrained in us.
I tried to make sense of it. I read the Bible every night, all different translations. I tried to live the Christian life...through my first marriage. I remember thinking the man was supposed to lead, according to the Bible. So, I let him lead. The Bible also said the man was supposed to be wise, but in the end it would all work out if he led. Uh-huh. As a woman, I was to know my place...I gave more to the relationship even though I got nothing in return. When I finally couldn't do it anymore, I questioned God. "WHY? Why? I followed what you said. I let him lead and I am so miserable, I can't put one foot in front of the other." I remember the response. Loud and clear. "I gave you a brain. In fact, it's better than most men." Duh. Got it. I walked out and it's been a spiritual evolution ever since.
Yet still the God thing and our cultural insistence on labeling God a male still disturbs me, and is disturbing me more and more as I age and am open to spirituality. I get into this circular argument. So, we all have been given the ability to create. (For those that argue this point, we procreate, so focus on that.) And we are made in "his" image. So, God created us, we create our reality (and progeny); who created God? It's the chicken and the egg discussion. Seriously, what created this God-image and how did it all get started?
Some people believe there is one God and HE is the creator of everything. Others call it Spirit, or the Divine, or the Universe. Heck, there are some that believe aliens are our God(s) and created us, or at least gave our DNA a boost from the chimpanzee stage of our evolution. If any of this is true, where did THEY come from? How were THEY created?
(Personally, to clarify for those that are thinking I'm just a man-hater, I believe God/Spirit/Divine is bigger than our limited view of gender. That's why it's hard for me to fit the Divine into one gender-specific category.)
These are the things I ponder from 1-4am. Yet, as I read over this, I realize I have fallen into the same trap. I am trying to define my beliefs, my world, so that it makes some kind of sense to me. Yet, it is all meaningless. I have to understand this...by removing my words, the truth will be revealed. So, I erase my words. Who or what will I see?
Lesson 11: My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.
This Lesson is particularly poignant for me right now as I am still hurting from the rejection of my former "friend." It's all good--in fact, it's a Lesson that provides solace for my soul. I realize that it really doesn't mean anything. It's only my perception of hurt, of rejection, and her perception of whatever I did or said, or she was told I did or said, that is really occuring.
We often allow the world to dictate our thoughts. "It's a cruel, cruel world," "Things are horrible out there," "It's the end-of-days," are all things I have heard people say recently. Yet we've already determined that our thoughts determine our reality, so our thoughts determine the world we see. Not the other way around. So, if people are thinking things are horrible, that's what they see. And group consciousness gives it even more power.
I will tell you, for every act of horror out there, there are a million acts of kindness and love. We don't hear about those because that doesn't make the news, get ratings, or sell papers. People are also looking for things to confirm their thoughts--"See I told you so." The journalists know this. Sensationalism sells. The worse the story, the more popular it becomes.
What happens if people start applying this Lesson? I mean, really applying it? My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world. What would happen to all the tension in the Middle East? Or hatred between cultures and creeds? Misunderstandings between families and friends? Yep, it would mean nothing and it would be resolved because people would start seeing the insanity of the whole mess.
This Lesson contains the foundation for peace, relaxation and freedom from worry we are trying to achieve. I know this concept scares the hell out of a lot of people. Think of all the businesses and people employed by companies and government whose sole purpose is the act of war or defense thereof. There would be a lot of people unemployed...at least short-term. Imagine those people gainfully employed in jobs and careers that aren't built on destruction and control but on development of the higher being. That, my friends, is when we soar. When we turn our group consciousness into one of loving power, of bringing up instead of tearing down, of advancement of humanity and the world we live in. We will get there one day. I have faith and hope. Meanwhile, I will just enjoy the peace of mind, and soul, this Lesson provided me.
Have you ever been in a relationship, a friendship, with someone that you valued and then it all fell apart and you were left wondering what the heck happened? I'm there right now.
I had a friend, or so I thought, that was special. We laughed and cried together, and provided an ear and support to each other. That was a while ago. I witnessed her anger once, directed at me. I heard the hateful comments she said because I got sick and missed an appointment she had set up. So, I did what I would like someone to do for me. I confronted her about it. Got it out and in the open, she apologized and I forgave. We moved on, or so I thought. Then there was distance as I moved on to a different company, and then started my own business. I thought of her often and sent her love.
I had the opportunity for contact out of the blue one day so I took it. Wow, slammed. She wanted nothing to do with me and wouldn't even let me know why. What hurt the most was that I could feel her anger, her frustration yet I honestly don't know why I was the target, nor what I had done to end the friendship. Was I too honest? Was I different (I chose a different path in my life than she chose in hers) and she wasn't able or willing to accept this? I know I never talked behind her back even when others did. I defended her and thought I was a good friend. A loyal one. But obviously I missed something blaringly obvious. I'm sorry for that.
I wish for her the best. I wish for her that all her dreams come true; prosperity continues to find her and her husband; she is always healthy and loved; and that her path is more and more blessed each day. I send her light and love, and a huge thanks for the ear, the shoulder and the support she provided. And...goodbye.