Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 6 I am upset because I see something that is not there.
The exercises with this idea are very similar to the preceding ones. Again, it is necessary to name both the form of upset (anger, fear, worry, depression, and so on) and the perceived source very specifically for any application of the idea. For example:
I am angry at _________ because I see something that is not there.
I am afraid of ________ because I see something that is not there.
Today’s idea is useful for application to anything that seems to upset you and can profitably be used throughout the day for that purpose. However, the three or four practice periods which are required should be preceded by a minute or so of mind searching, as before, and the application of the idea to each upsetting thought uncovered in the search.
Again, if you resist applying the idea to some upsetting thoughts more than to others, remind yourself of the two cautions stated in the previous lesson:
There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.
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.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): It was interesting to note that I see something that is not there when I think I am hurt, angry, fearful, sorrowful, or resentful for this and that reason. Am I willing to say, “I see something that is not there?” In today’s devotion, the Lord showed me how acts of love can be used as weapons, and that it is okay to see a weapon for what it is, but it is not okay to let it hurt me. I can actually choose to allow a threat to hurt me, or I can choose not to let it bother me, but it would be silly to see a weapon and pretend that it wasn’t there.
I am using the anger that I felt toward my sister when she made a point to inform me of visiting Chris and Melody as an application for this lesson. The Holy Spirit assured me that although the intent of the information was meant as a weapon –I was seeing something that was not there by thinking it could hurt me. I can see weapons, but what I failed to see was that they cannot hurt me. I could see that my sister was still playing our old ego game with me, and that was okay for me to see. It would have been stupid for me to deny it was there. Feeling hurt and fearful about it was seeing something that was not there, because her weapons, indeed all weapons, cannot hurt me unless I choose to let them hurt me and see myself as deprived.
The lesson then is this: Weapons (anger, meanness, conniving, dishonesty, jealousy, strife, etc.) cannot hurt us unless we see something that is not there. In other words, we make up the condemnation, the angst, the fear, the hard feelings that surround the incident. In other words, we have a choice in how we react to another person playing games of one-upmanship. We can see it as a reason to feel bad, or we can see it as a reason to stop weaponizing our acts of love, laugh at the banality, and let it go!
Today when James got angry with me for not screwing the lid tight on his Thermos, I said, “I’m sorry.” When he kept going on about it and then started blaming himself when he realized I was not going to play the old beat-myself-up game, I said, “Oh well, there is no reason to be mad at anybody.” I saw that his weapon of anger and blame could not hurt me. I didn’t get angry or upset, I did not go into defense, because I did not see danger, vulnerability, and distress in his weapon of anger.
When I felt at a disadvantage and felt sorry for my son that he didn’t have uncles that cared about him and took him to the woods to chop wood and hunt and ride tractors when he was a kid, I saw something that wasn’t there. It was true that his uncles were not that involved in his life in an ongoing way. This was no disadvantage. The disadvantage was the thing I saw that wasn’t there.
When I am vexed with myself for overeating, not exercising enough, and not fulfilling my potential, I see something that isn’t there. Yes, I overate, and yes, I could have exercised more, and yes, I could have fulfilled my potential in a higher capacity, but I am only upset if I choose to see a failure, a glutton, a lazy-bones. When I see condemnation, I am making something up that is not there. If instead, I choose to honor the process and practice compassion, forgiveness, and self-acceptance, I will have peace.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): We had our lesson this morning sitting up in bed and drinking our coffee from the ridiculously small hotel cups provided in our room. My ego wanted to make a stink about it, but I remembered that peace of mind is our goal. Things may not match our expectations, people may say or do unkind things, fail to recognize our contributions, or dishonor our process. We can only be upset when we see that we are deprived of something vital because of what they seem to be withholding from us. In God’s Kingdom, we have Everything. In the holy instant, we are one whether it is happening in time or not! Our prayer today is, “Father, please let us only see that we are invulnerable in You. Open our eyes to Your eternal gifts; let us see only that which is real, everlasting, and loving. Let us experience the Everything of You rather than the limitations, conditions, and withholdings of the ego/flesh.”
This year, the Holy Spirit has directed me to blog my notes and personal application from the time I started the Course. Be warned! The process has not necessarily been pretty. However, my desire for working with instead of against the Holy Spirit, coupled with a deeper understanding of how vital personal process and honesty are in our return to God, enables me to share on this level with confidence. While it may feel safer to hide the means of forgiveness behind cloaks of abstraction, trite examples, and shallow illustrations, the Holy Spirit is calling me to walk in the light, to bare my soul, to share from my lived experience, no holds barred. As the Holy Spirit calls me to share my struggles with ego, my devotion to God, my heart, and soul, may you be emboldened as well. For it is only in our collective processes, that we truly inform and teach each other, and therefore collapse time!
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students, Lesson 6 I am upset because…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition, p. 10.