Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 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. The upset may seem to be fear, worry, depression, anxiety, anger, hatred, jealousy, or any number of forms, all of which will be perceived as different. This is not true. However, until you learn that form does not matter, each form becomes a proper subject for the exercises for the day. Applying the same idea to each of them separately is the first step in ultimately recognizing they are all the same.
When using the idea for today for a specific perceived cause of an upset in any form, use both the name of the form in which you see the upset, and the cause which you ascribe to it. For example:
I am not angry at _________ for the reason I think.
I am not afraid of ________ for the reason I think.
But again, this should not be substituted for practice periods in which you first search your mind for “sources” of upset in which you believe, and forms of upset which you think result.
In these exercises, more than in the preceding ones, you may find it hard to be indiscriminate, and to avoid giving greater weight to some subjects than to others. It might help to precede the exercises with the statement:
There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.
Then examine your mind for whatever is distressing you, regardless of how much or how little you think it is doing so.
You may also find yourself less willing to apply today’s idea to some perceived sources of upset than to others. If this occurs, think first of this:
I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go.
For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same.
Then search your mind for no more than a minute or so and try to identify a number of different forms of upset that are disturbing you, regardless of the relative importance you may give them. Apply the idea for today to each of them, using the name of both the source of the upset as you perceive it, and of the feeling as you experience it. Further examples are:
I am not worried about ______ for the reason I think.
I am not depressed about ____________ for the reason I think.
Three or four times during the day is enough.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): During our coffee in bed chat this morning, I shared the lessons up to today with James and we discussed them in depth. He was naturally resistant to some of them and mentioned some rather concrete examples of reasons to be upset and knowing the cause of the upset. For instance, he said, what about going out and finding out that our tank is not full of water and that our system is not working. Of course, that is the reason he is upset. So it was a good example and we rather puzzled over it, and I said, well, is it really the reason because couldn’t you just fix it or replace it and not be upset? Couldn’t we just accept that it was not working and not be upset – what we are really upset about then is that we are not in control and cannot make things not go wrong. It was light on the understanding of this exercise, even though we don’t have to agree with the premise in order to do the exercises, it was nice to have a bit of light shed on it. When the tire goes flat on our car, are we really upset that something so minor happened and we are inconvenienced a bit or are we upset because we are not in control? That things are not going the way we want them to go? What would happen if we lived our life in such a state as not to lose our peace of mind and just accepted things and corrected them and carried on instead of being worried, upset, or jealous and resentful or angry.
I shared an example from my feelings of upset with my sister. How she made a point to tell me how she went to see Chris and Melody. I felt as if she were rubbing it in my face and I was so resentful – I thought of all the times she discouraged me from being kind, the things she would say about them, the way she never showed the least bit of interest in Hali (unless there was someone around to show off and remark about what a wonderful great-aunt she was). I despised her. I felt as if we could never have the relationship that I wanted with her. Perhaps I am not angry for the reason I think, I said. (James started to get angry just in my sharing the example – what a pair we are.)
Blaming her for spreading rumors about them and putting doubt in my mind and warning me to be careful, now I see her acting the innocent, being the “nice, benign, generous aunt.” But I am not angry for the reason I think. I had to own my own role in this – how I would judge Melody for her seeming indifference to her daughter, resented not getting any thanks for what we did with and for Hali, and not helping Georgia when clearly Georgia needed help as much if not more than Hali. Melody needed my love and devotion, not me taking her shortcomings personally and judging her. When I had problems with the quality and quantity of Chris’s work, I should have told him, in love and in a kind way. I should not have believed lies about him. I had no right to hold grudges or cast judgment. None of them have a thing on me when it comes to falling short in any way. I was not the helpful person that I thought of myself as being and neither was James. We helped but we tore down by our lack of trust, our mean words, harsh judgments, and lack of compassion, love, and true understanding. I realized this but James did not and so I spelled it out to him and we both acknowledged it before God together. I am angry with my sister, but not for the reasons I thought I was angry. I do not understand my anger and upsets, just like I fail to understand the things I see and think. I don’t have to understand it, I am called to go beyond anger and aim for peace.
What else distressed me? I have allowed some issues from my time at Transitions to distress me until the Holy Spirit showed me yesterday how to look upon it. It was a directive to look upon it only with love and gratitude. How much I learned! How many kids and adults impacted me and allowed me to impact them! How many opportunities for helpfulness, love, and compassion that were given to me! There were opportunities to use my education; I easily gained as much, if not more than, what I gave. To think of it that way, see it that way, to talk about it that way, to speak of my time there in only the most glowing terms ever. I was not resentful or angry or distressed over my time with Transitions because of the reason I thought. I thought it was because of this one or that one, but then I realized it was because I was not fulfilling my calling and doing the work I have been called to do. I was performing a function that was not mine to perform. No harm and no foul. Blessings and love.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): This morning we were sipping coffee, sitting up in bed and reviewing today’s lesson. Our grandson Zachary was laying across the bed. He is interested in the Course but only in a most peripheral way. I told him that the Course is mainly for older people, because that is what I believe. I am not saying a young person can’t get it, but I am saying that the process of salvation is a long walk through enticing shadows. We have to learn fully what separation is to appreciate reunion, because we cannot be both separated and reunited. Still, he wanted to be part of the devotion and prayer and it was nice to have him there – he is so nice, respectful, and keen.
So I shared both the lesson and the notes and personal application from last year. James remembered the conversation and we applied other circumstances for application. I honestly could not find anything to be angry or upset or resentful about. James, who has formally begun the study of the Course this year, but who discussed the lessons with me and acted as my soundboard throughout 2019, was having a hard time coming up with anything to be upset about either, except he dreaded going back to work tomorrow. So we used that as part of our exercise:
“I am not upset about Christmas vacation being over so soon for the reason I think.”
“I am not depressed about going back to work already for the reason I think.”
Zachary could as easily apply the concept to his own feelings about going back to school tomorrow, and when I visited the web a few hours later, I noticed that a lot of you were feeling the same way about going back to work and school. But it was not for the reason you think! Stay tuned and tomorrow Lesson 6 will enlighten us about the real reasons for our upsets, anger, and stress.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students Lesson 5 I am not angry for…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition, p. 8-9.