Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I want it my way, judging all that I see.

I finally caught myself in the act. After all this time, I caught myself in the act of judging. Someone did something that upset me, but this time instead of stewing in the upset, feeling anger, contempt, and scorn, I heard myself saying, “I wouldn’t do it that way.” There it is. I had just reduced the entire universe to fit into my limited point of reference: I would do it this way.

The miracle is that I saw the reduction. This time I did not go from the incident to the reaction, skipping the connection. Judging from my narrow point of view is hard to spot because it is so habitual, automatic, and rapid. My personal preference becomes a reference point around which my entire world turns. No wonder a long-running soap opera is called, “As the World Turns.” A life pivoting on your preferences becomes a soap.

Just test this out by taking a look at the last time you were upset. Is it possible that between the event and the upset was this unconscious phrase, “I would do it this way?”

During this holiday season, my wife, Christine, has given me ample opportunity to see this connection because she sees gift giving differently than I do. Because it is different, that is enough to trigger upset in me, but now I take it as an opportunity to practice saying to myself, “That is just her way,” and ask for help to let it pass from my mind. Letting go of my narrow frame of reference is forgiveness, enabling me to experience a peaceful state of mind Now I walk around with a new-found freedom, saying “Bah humbug” less frequently, and “Thank you, Father,” more often.

What comes to mind is a statement by a Zen monk that I read a long time ago: “When someone says this, or does that, simply say to yourself, ‘That is his way.’ ”

It also makes me think that Jack Sprat and his wife enjoyed a holy relationship.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
and his wife could eat no lean.
And so, betwixt them both, you see,

they licked the platter clean.

Apparently, Jack saw that eating fat was simply her way, and she saw that eating lean was his way, and in forgiveness they enjoyed the meal and each other’s company.

Learning to catch yourself in the act of imposing your way on the world is the beginning of training your mind to see that your narrow reference point is preventing you from experiencing the peace of God. In His Course in Miracles, Jesus helps you see this reduced point of view so that you can replace it by seeing from the only real state of mind, the peace of God, through which you see with the eyes of Christ.

Your small self, your personality, is like a mask covering your real Self. In fact, personality comes from the Latin per, meaning "through", and sonare, meaning "sound", referring to the theatrical wooden masks, persona, through which the sound came so that the ancient Greek actors could be heard in the large amphitheatres.

To see your neighbor through the eyes of your True Self, the eyes of Christ, requires that you learn to let go of seeing your neighbor through the mask of your false self, the self that constantly says, “I want it my way,” or in the vernacular, “My way or the highway.”

If you are tired of the soap opera of your life, you can follow Jesus’ instructions in His Course in Miracles. Just look at the titles of his first seven lessons in the Workbook, knowing that He is addressing you in your false frame of reference.

Lesson 1: Nothing I see means anything.

Lesson 2: I have given everything I see all the meaning that it has for me.

Lesson 3: I do not understand anything I see.

Lesson 4: These thoughts do not mean anything.

Lesson 5: I am never upset for the reason I think.

Lesson 6: I am upset because I see something that is not there.

Lesson 7: I see only the past.

Jesus instructs you that the Holy Spirit will guide you to let go of your narrow frame of reference, so that you can learn to replace it with the peace of God.

On the 49th day, Jesus presents this Lesson, God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day. Look at how He contrasts the part of your mind you narrowly rely on with the part of your mind in which truth abides.

It is quite possible to listen to God's Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not. It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world's laws. It is this part that is constantly distracted, disorganized and highly uncertain.

The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is. The other part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind. Try today not to listen to it. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign forever. Try to hear God's Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son. W-p1.49:1,2

Be vigilant today to hear yourself want things your way, and when you make the connection, ask for help to let it go, so that in the vacancy you can hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you.

Click on the link below to read Lesson 49 in its entirety.