In this sense, everything that comes from love is a miracle.
For years - more years than I care to admit to - this particular...book? phenomenon? way of being? - has been chasing me. It's been the basis of so many other books I've read; the topic of discussion so often; the book that's fallen my way so often and been turned away.
I've stopped avoiding other things; it was time to meet this head on too. And I don't think it was coincidence that the week I started decluttering and really listening to someone who said, "You're not ALLOWING her to do it - let her DO it," and letting go was the same week I decided to face ACIM head on.
Before, the resistance was just that - resistance. I wasn't interested in exploring it; ACIM was just not going to happen. So gradually that I'm not even sure how it happened, the resistance crumbled - the closest I can come is that the more references I read to it, the less cult-like and wacky it seemed, and the more principles I found that were in alignment with my own. Also, as my sense of self strengthened, I was less worried about becoming engulfed by something so all-encompassing and feeling trapped by the daily practice and long haul. I'm strong enough now to take what resonates and leave what doesn't.
I was looking for a daily spiritual practice, and ACIM has a ready-made one that looks like it will stretch me. Sold. So I ordered on Saturday.
Whilst patience may be a virtue, it's not one of mine - so I couldn't resist looking up the first few lessons. This evening, after the book arrived, I thought I'd try the first lesson at mass, since religion is a real crucible for me - baptism by fire, I figured. It's recommended that one not spend more than a few minutes on it, and there are enough lulls in mass that this was possible.
Following the instructions that 'nothing you see should be specifically excluded', I went for it and noted my reactions to each:
"That window does not mean anything."
"That tabernacle does not mean anything."
"That statue does not mean anything."
"That altar does not mean anything."
"That station of the cross does not mean anything."
Most garnered no resistance, just shifted perception - things felt a bit sharper, I felt almost like something 'sticky' was shifting. The closer I got to the Eucharist, the stickier it became - but people were an absolute 'That's BULLSHIT. They DO mean something.' I had no problem with 'The office of the priesthood does not mean anything,' - because that IS constructed - but when it became the person in question? That was an absolute WALL of resistance - and I think that's right.
I'll repeat this exercise in a less charged arena tomorrow - on my walk into work and before I go to bed; then continue on Wednesday with its natural follow-up, 'I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me.' Even with people, THAT is true. I've imbued them with meaning and significance for me. No one else has, though obviously, I did not grow up in a vacuum - and all those who've touched me and the culture I've grown up in have a huge influence on my perception and inclinations, but in the end, the story I've woven is mine, and mine alone.
What did surprise me when I did this first lesson, and I'm curious to see if it continues on my first real day with the exercise, was what happened as all the sticky stuff shifted. As I finished the exercise, I thought, 'Holy mother"£$%^&^%$£$%^&%$, IT HURTS. IT REALLY, REALLY HURTS.' There was a sudden...rawness, a sudden intense pain, and I suddenly realised how much I was stuffing/numbing with the attachment to meaning of various things - the pain was intense, but it was a clean pain, something real.
And something I'm looking forward to exploring - hopefully every (probably most) days through journalling it here. Everyone's welcome, and I look forward to thoughts/challenges/comments.
ACIM - bring it on.