This part of the course is about acceptance. It is about being able to accept all sides of ourself. First and foremost it is about accepting all the negativity within us, acknowledging that it is there. It is allowing ourselves to feel all emotions fully and accepting that they are part of us, not imposed on us by anybody or anything else. To assist this recognition we acknowledge that everything in the world is a reflection of us. What we perceive in the world and how we respond to it is a reflection of us, our mind, our rules and our judgements. We start to recognise the world as a learning tool, reflecting back to us how we are. We also recognise that we have a choice, that we can choose what we want in our life and therefore how we respond to the world we live in.
Embrace the Experience
“Beauty and mercy are only recognised by people
Because they know the opposite, which is ugly and mean
If people think they know goodness
Then all they really know is what evil is like
Nothing and Heaven share the same root
Difficulty and ease are a part of all work” Tao Te Ching
There are two states we can be in. We can be in the experience of our higher mind or our lower mind. The experience of the higher mind is peace, love and joy. The lower mind is the experience of the ego, feeling the pain and suffering. We need to experience both. We need to experience our physical existence to contrast to our higher existence.
So often we deny our physical experience, the emotions, the fear, the pain, because we feel guilty. We are taught to suppress these emotions, yet the experience of the emotions is so important to us because they help us to experience the contrast to our higher existence.
Do not deny these feelings, emotions, nor the ego image. We have been given them for a purpose, in order to experience them, but they are not our true nature. The true nature is what we seek, the peace, joy and love, yet we seek that experience in recognition of the other feelings we have felt by way of contrast.
It is the miracle of life here that we can experience both the perfection of our true self and the emotions, the pain and the anger of our mind. The contrast allows us to appreciate the perfection, because if we only experienced perfection we would not be able to compare it.
Embrace the emotions, the fear and pain and experiences. Embrace them as part of us so that we can use them to compare. Whenever we feel these emotions, feel them fully, do not suppress or deny them because we lose the depth of the experience. The deeper we are able to feel the pain the greater we can experience the perfection, not because the experience is different, but because we are able to feel the extremes more. We are more able to explore the extent of the sensation. By feeling pain and fear more deeply, we can feel love and joy more too.
Embrace the experience not the story. Return to the experience of perfection in order to contrast it. Forgive ourself, search out any feelings of guilt and bring love to them. Return to our perfection, having fully experienced the pain. Know that we are still perfect no matter what has happened in our life. Fully experience the perfection, in complete contrast to our pain.
Everything that we experience in the world is a reflection of ourselves. Everything we experience is a mental image that we have created everything that we feel is not imposed on us, it is created by us in our mind. Therefore if we feel anger, it is not something, outside of us, that has made us angry, it is our mind that creates the feeling of anger. It is us that tries to impose that anger onto someone or something else. Yet the anger is ours and ours alone, all the world has done has reflected back our own feelings, just like holding up a mirror.
It is similar when we judge someone else. We only judge them because they remind us that we have the capacity for the same act. Any judgement of others is really a judgement of our self. Our image does not like to acknowledge this so it tries to deflect it onto someone else. We judge people because we want to deny that capability within our self. It suits us because we want to maintain our self image.
Acknowledgement is acceptance that anything we perceive in the world is a reflection of us. Anything that the world seems to impose on us is really only a reflection of ourself. Acknowledgement is not a self criticism, it is an openness to accept the way in which we try to impose our ego mentality onto others, in order to feel good about ourself. Be very careful not to get into self criticism, but do acknowledge any feelings that we would like to change, because the desire to change is positive and is absolutely necessary.
Acknowledgement is, the ability to look at the reflection, without becoming defensive and accepting where we are without self criticism. It is recognising and accepting that what we see and feel is ours. It is taking responsibility for how we see and react with the world. It is acknowledging that everything in the world is merely a reflection of us. If we don’t like something in the world, it is something inside us that we don’t like.
The world is a mirror, everything we see in the world is a reflection of what is inside us. When we see the beauty and splendour, it is a reflection of our own light, when we see the darkness it is our own darkness that we see. Every time we judge others, it is not them we condemn, but ourselves. Every fault we see merely reflects a fault we find in ourselves. When we condemn others we only do it because we know we are capable of it and fear that it motivates us.
When the world makes us angry afraid, jealous or frustrated, then look inside to see what it is in us that causes us to feel like that. What rules, what limitations, what self criticism causes us to see the world in fear.
The world is our greatest tool, other people are our greatest ally. Once we choose to change, the tool for self knowledge and choice are other people, because they reflect back to us what is inside. Other people hold up to us a mirror which reflects all our inner most fears and all the things we choose not to see.
Acknowledgement is about accepting the world as a mirror. It is about accepting that all negativity is inside us, it is not forced on us, nor caused by anybody else, it is our own. If we can acknowledge that, then we can start to change because it allows us to choose. Acknowledgement is seeing the judgement of others as a reflection of ourself and being prepared to look it in the face. It is no longer using others as an excuse, but as a tool.
Recognising the Gap – The Power to Choose
(from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey)
Frankl was a psychiatrist and a Jew. He was imprisoned in the death camps in Nazi Germany, where he experienced things that were so repugnant to our sense of decency that we shudder to repeat them.
His parents, his brother and his wife died in the camps or were sent to the gas ovens. Except for his sister, his entire family perished. Frankl himself suffered torture and innumerable indignities, never knowing from one moment to the next if his path would lead to the ovens or if he would be among the “saved” who would remove the bodies or shovel out the ashes of those so fated.
One day, naked and alone in a small room, he began to become aware of what he later called “the last of the human freedoms” – the freedom that his Nazi captors could not take away. They could control his entire environment, they could do what they wanted to his body, but Victor Frankl himself was a self-aware being who could look as an observer at his very involvement. His basic identity was still intact. He could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him. Between what happened to him, or the stimulus, and his response to it, was his freedom or power to choose that response
In the midst of his experiences, Frankl would project himself into different circumstances, such as lecturing to his students after his release from the death camps. He would describe himself in the classroom in his mind’s eye, and give his students the lessons he was learning during his very torture.
Through a series of disciplines – mental, emotional and moral, principally using memory and imagination – he exercised his small, embryonic freedom until it grew larger and larger, until he had more freedom that his Nazi captors. They had more liberty, more options to choose from in their environment; but he had more freedom, more internal power to exercise his options. He became an inspiration to those around him, even to some of the guards. He helped others find meaning in their suffering and dignity in their prison existence.
In the midst of the most degrading circumstances imaginable, Frankl used the human endowment of self awareness to discover a fundamental principle about the nature of man; Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.
Reflections From “Jesus the Son of Man” by Kahlil Gibran
And He would say, ‘Your neighbour is your unknown self made visible. His face shall be reflected in your still waters, and if you gaze therein you shall behold your own countenance.
‘Should you listen in the night, you shall hear him speak, and his words shall be the throbbing of your own heart.
‘Be unto him which you would have him be unto you.
‘This is my law, and I shall say it unto you, and unto your children, and they unto their children is spent and generations are no more.’
And on another day He said, ‘You shall not be yourself alone. You are in the deeds of other men, and they though unknowing are with you all your days.
‘They shall not commit a crime and your hand not be with their hand.
‘They shall not fall down but that you shall also fall down; and they shall not rise but that you rise with them.
‘You and your neighbour are two seeds sown in the field. Together you grow and together you shall sway in the wind. And neither of you shall claim the field. For a Seed on its way to growth claims not even its own ecstasy.’
Lessons from A Course In Miracles
LESSON 33 – There is another way of looking at the world.
Today’s idea is an attempt to recognise that you can shift your perception of the world in both its outer and inner aspects. A full five minutes should be devoted to the morning and evening applications. In these practice periods, the idea should be repeated as often as you find comfortable, though unhurried applications are essential. Alternate between surveying your outer and inner perceptions, but without an abrupt sense of shifting.
Merely glance casually around the world you perceive as outside yourself, then close your eyes and survey your inner thoughts with equal casualness. Try to remain equally uninvolved in both, and to maintain this detachment as you repeat the idea throughout the day.
These shorter exercise periods should be as frequent as possible. Specific applications of today’s idea should also be made immediately, when any situation arises which tempts you to become disturbed. For these applications say : There is another way of looking at this.
Remember to apply today’s idea the instant you are aware of distress. It may be necessary to take a minute or so to sit quietly and repeat the idea to yourself several times. Closing you eyes will probably help in this form of application.
Exercise – Daily Review 2 – Letting Go
Find some quiet time as before at the end of the day. Become meditative, still and centred.
Review the events of the day as before, focussing on one of two key points to analyse and review.
Where you find an emotion, or a response, which you think is no longer serving you, then try to feel that emotion again. Feel at the solar plexus area. Try to sink back into the feeling. Do not get into the story or the circumstances, just the feeling at the solar plexus. Allow yourself to feel it fully and deeply. This is important because we do not want to deny the experience. We want to have the experience, to know it fully, so that we no longer need to have it again.
Once you have fully experienced it then bring you attention up to your heart centre. Now feel a positive emotion that you would choose instead, love, peace, joy, compassion. Feel that emotion deeply also. While you are at you heart, thank Spirit for helping you to move on from the negative emotion and then let it go. In your mind recognise that we do not need to do anything to let it go, that Spirit will do it for us.
Uses for Meditation
It is a little misleading to talk about uses of meditation. Meditation is a state of mind and the process of achieving that state of mind. However when in a meditative state, we can use it for different purposes. These purposes are assisted by being in a meditative state, as a by-product say. The meditative state is one where the mind is quiet and the senses are alert. In this state we are able to access a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
The uses of a meditative state are many, but at their core is an ability to look more deeply inside and a feeling of connection to the wider world outside. It brings greater self knowledge, deeper insight and a powerful connection. The uses therefore are to bring these skills to bear on a situation, in order to change it, to understand it, to see it differently, or gain insight into the benefits and opportunities it offers.
This could include the following uses of a meditative state:
– insight, looking at a situation to get a different perspective of what is happening
– transformation, looking at something that we wish to change
– learning, gain knowledge from a difficult problem
– creativity, applying positivity to create success for a venture or a project
– knowledge, understanding yourself and the world more deeply, possibly expressing that through writing
– visualisation, interpreting images and experiences to provide some understanding or insight
– healing, self healing or sending love, peace or joy to a person or situation
– prayer, a form of meditation connecting to a greater universe, sometimes used to create an outcome or objective
– intuition, learning to trust an inner self knowledge
Meditation is initially about learning to access the meditative state. The uses of meditation follow, once we are able to access it. These uses are not absolutely precise or always clear but with experience they can become very useful tools. They also help us to gain a clearer understanding of ourselves beyond the body and conscious thought and give us a sense of not been as separate and disconnected as we feel we are.