Sunday, 12 August 2012

A Course in Miracles, Day 5

I am never upset for the reason I think.

This idea, like the preceding one, can be used with any person, situation or event you think is causing you pain. Apply it specifically to whatever you believe is the cause of your upset, using the description of the feeling in whatever term seems accurate to you.

One of my closest friends called me on deflecting in my blog entry last night, and she was absolutely right. The early exercises had pulled enough away to leave me feeling internally raw, and three tough sessions Wednesday night hadn't helped. I was actually feeling, and deflecting made it coping easier. The early ACIM blogs had been intense, I was processing, I knew today wouldn't be easy. Being an INFJ means I'm an extraverted Feeler, so I process feeling out loud. Yesterday wasn't one of the days I wanted to. Yesterday was about putting it in the crucible of my strongest function, introverted Intuition. 

Today may hover between the two. I won't be sure till I really start writing.

So. Lesson 5.

This is something I've done for years, though not quite in this way. This is something I use when something carelessly spoken upsets me, or I'm overreacting to some woman's (perceived) playing helpless or a priest who has the pastoral ability of Ted Bundy. It's one I use when someone lashes out to be able to avoid my natural tendency to lash back - and it often allows me to hold the space and respond in a much calmer way, though when I do, I tend not to challenge the person on their reaction, and need to learn to do so much more, so that the response is more authentic and balanced. But that's a different entry.

Today's exercise was very apropos, because there was one situation in particular that really needed this, but I knew I needed to follow the instructions:

There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.

So, though the most difficult one first popped into my mind, I made sure to do easier ones too:

I am not afraid of spiders for the reason I think (they scuttle weirdly and unpredictably and have too many legs).

I am not irritated by my computer going to sleep at random intervals for the reasons I think (because I'm in the middle of doing something).

But happy thoughts needed including too:

I am not happy about GB winning the gold for the reason I think.

I am not enjoying FB banter for the reason I think (e.g., being connected).

The lesson doesn't require one to analyse, so I attempted not to do that, and managed it for most of them. To be honest, it was actually a relief. 

But all of them, in the end, were like the event horizon around a black hole, leading to the situation that really needed this exercise:

I am not angry at and feeling hurt by X for the reason I think. 

This situation has gone on for a while, so I've had time to analyse it, to dig into why I feel the way I feel. I'm aware my feeling is out of proportion, making any kind of bridging difficult at the moment, though it's what I most want. Part of that is that without connection and communication, it becomes very easy to caricature someone, to remove their complexity, to forget who they really are. 

Our imagination makes them a vessel, a touchstone, a lightning rod: we may be upset for real, legitimate reasons, but the longer things remain unresolved, the easier it is to make the person the focus of ALL our anger, pain, rage. After all, they're not there to disabuse us of our created image of them, based in selective truth on what we know of them, creating a 'flat Stanley' that suits our need for something to contain for us.

Case in point. WHY do I think I'm angry at/feeling hurt by X?

My story is that X is knowingly acting like my father, aware of how painful that trigger is, to punish me for something I've done.

Written out, how much sense does that really make? 

It doesn't. And it speaks of me, not of X. It speaks to my lack of trust, to my expectations of others, to the amount of past pain I still hold. It speaks to how my projection is my perception here.

But it also speaks to my willingness to allow myself to open up to others enough to allow myself to feel this hurt and to still want to bridge the distance more than anything else.

It reminds me that X is simply being X, and incorporating an earlier lesson: I don't understand fully. I need to remain open to know what is true. 

I cannot close my heart. I cannot say, 'I accept this about you, but not this. I love you if you do this, but not this.' I grew up with that, and I know that is not truth. That is not love, not even human love. Love encompasses everything - laughter, joy, sorrow, pain, anger, being let down, letting another down, the times we are hurt and the times we hurt. That doesn't mean one is uncritically adoring: that isn't love for an addict or someone caught in a dysfunctional pattern. Love rejoices in the truth, and truth means holding up a mirror and challenging even as it means affirming and reassuring. 

Love is a place where it is safe to unfold fully into who we really are. Love allows mistakes and comes out stronger from them. Love heals, love connects, love holds everything.

Love is real. Nothing real can be threatened.

So, Irim, unclench your hands and your heart and relax. What is real cannot be threatened. You're not upset for the reason you think. You don't know what it is yet - and in fact, what you're really feeling may not be what you think you feel. You are not yet sure what is true.
Breathe. And pray.

And so I borrow this prayer from Marianne Williamson, slightly edited:

"G-d, please help me. I can't do this. Right now, I'm finding it hard to see this through Your eyes, to see this with love. Wherever I have strayed from love and acted out of fear - been angry, controlling, manipulative, needy, selfish - whatever it is, I'm willing to see it differently. Help me see clearly. Help me see through Your eyes. Help me be open, listen, hear the truth. Thy will, through me, be done. Amein."

Wow, that shift from a single exercise. Not bad for a day's work. Roll on, lesson 6.

1 comment:

CEAD said...

You deflected on the easier one, and then for the harder one, the one you were really dreading, you went for your own jugular, so to speak. I want to say that this feels quintessentially you, not because you always do it this way, but because more than anyone else I've ever met, you are constantly prepared to kick your own ass in the name of keeping yourself real, and I can't tell you how much I admire you for it.