"Nothing I see means anything"
"I do not understand anything I see"
"I see nothing as it is now"
"I have no neutral thoughts"
These are some of the lessons of the first weeks of the course.
Most of them were easy enough to accept. All the lessons above presented no problem to my mind - no real challenge to my psyche.
But today, something shifted.
As a quick introduction for the uninitiated, The course I refer to above is "A Course in Miracles". It is a self-study course, a seminal spiritual classic, written over 50 years ago, focused on retraining the mind to accept forgiveness and the truth of God's Love.
Having no listed authorship, It was scribed by Helen Shueman, a professor at Columbia University. Shueman channeled an inner voice, clearly identified as Jesus. She took this "dictation" over a period of 7 years, culminating in a massive work encapsulated in three volumes - the Text, the Workbook, and a Manual for Teachers.
Though it uses examples and excerpts from the Bible, it offers no dogma. It simply proposes - as classic works like the "Tao Te Ching", or the "Bhagavad Gita" - a way of living life free of stress and worry and fear. A way of living as One with God.
If you're interested, you can get the Original Edition, which I have and highly recommend, here. And yes, I will get a small commission if you use the link, though it won't affect your price at all. I also recommend getting the text in audio format on audible, as it is very powerful to listen as you read and has been found to increase absorption of the material greatly.
Today I decided I would start journaling my experience using the workbook, and sharing my insights as they are revealed to me. I'm not promising I'll share it here every day. I definitely won't! But I will share the ones that I find most affecting.
Today's instruction followed the pattern of recent lessons - three five-minute sessions. Kicking off the session, the student is to repeat the central idea of the lesson slowly. Then they are to close the eyes and allow the mind to flow, searching for examples of how we see ourselves. The fantasies we create. Our false beliefs about who we are.
As each perception of yourself comes up, you are to phrase it as a statement of the form:
I see myself as …
Then follow it up with
But my mind is part of God's. I am very holy.
It sounded simple enough. I do believe this. Should be a piece of cake!
Or so I thought.
8 AM - First Session
As I started my mediation, I made a very focused decision to not focus. To not strain or use effort. The instructions were explicit in that requirement. And, having just "read" (listened to) "The Tao of Pooh" (as recommended by Patrick Stewart - Founder of the Taoist Online) I saw an immediate connection to the principle of Wu Wei - translated as "Effortless Action". So I sat in stillness, waiting for what was to come.
Tapping on the Breathe App on my Apple Watch, I started repeating the mantra:
"My mind is a Part of God's. I am very holy."
After a few seconds, thoughts started coming in - Flooding my consciousness. Some were very "good". Those traits we would generally see in a positive light.
I am kind
I am loving
I am intelligent
But what threw me for a loop were the negative ones:
I am deceitful
I am fearful
I feel imposed upon
I am treated unfairly
Wait a second - deceitful? Treated unfairly? Where was this coming from? Surely I didn't believe this? Could this be true?
As my phone pinged me back to the physical world to end the session, I wondered what craziness would come up in the next session.
1:15 PM - Second Session
I had a Veteran's Day lunch with my employer (an unexpectedly powerful experience that I shall discuss in a future post). Before I returned home, I squeezed in this second session while sitting in my car.
As I closed my eyes after repeating the idea, I experienced a strange sensation that was very vivid - but hard to describe. A sort of horizontal blurring, something moving rapidly and circularly around my field of vision. Maybe like that amusement park ride that is shaped like a flying saucer. The one where it spins so fast that you are thrown against the padded outer wall. Something like that. But without the violent puking 🙂
Again the combination of descriptions was very weird -
I am narcissistic. (This I attribute to just listening to my daughter's song titled as such - so I'm going to ignore that one)
I am good.
I am lazy (true)
I am vengeful (huh? when?)
I am deceitful (really? again?)
I am guilty (yep)
I am lovable
As the session ended, I saw that these awful things were just my ego lashing out, punishing, and seeking to protect its existence. I don't have to take any of this personally. It's not who I am.
6:58 PM - Third Session
My daughter came for dinner tonight, which was an unexpected delight. She doesn't come all that often since she moved out soon after her 18th birthday. And I do miss her dearly. But it has been a blessing for her mental health, as well as mine and my wife's, which I am very thankful for.
She was not feeling well and asked if we had cough drops. But we realized that this was just a smokescreen, as in the end, she didn't even take the cough drops, which she could have picked up at the Walgreens on her corner anyway.
We made her a nice steak dinner and gave her more to take with her. And it was very satisfying to do that for her.
Afterward, we went to Walmart so she could pick up some things. So while she went in with my wife, Jennifer, I was able to fit in my third session - accompanied by her cat - as you can see.
I am kind
I am compassionate
Big pauses here - clearly my mind is not as active
I am irritable
I am competent
I am clever
As this final session concluded, I felt a great, overwhelming sense of peace. I looked back and saw what a wonderful day it had been. And I gave thanks for all of it.
The realization I'm beginning to make is that all of these perceptions about myself, "good" or "bad", are nothing. They are fantasies created by my ego. But they are scary to let go of. Because of this, we hang on to them because we don't know what we are without them. They make us feel, to some small degree, safe.
But our sense of security is a false one. False because we have built our house on shifting sand. Instead of on the eternal rock of consciousness.
What I have found, what the course endeavors to teach, is that all these categorizations are temporal - A thing of time and space - constantly changing and subject to the whims of the ego, which seeks our destruction at every turn.
In realizing this, we discover our true freedom.
Thanks for reading! Please subscribe to follow my journey, and have a wonderful day!