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Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now

Lesson 28 Above all else I want to see things differently.

  1. Today we are really giving specific application to the idea for yesterday.  In these practice periods, you will be making a series of definite commitments.  The question of whether you will keep them in the future is not our concern here.  If you are willing at least to make them now, you have started on your way to keeping them.  And we are still at the beginning.
  2. You may wonder why it is important to say, for example, “Above all else I want to see this table differently.”  In itself, it is not important at all.  Yet what is by itself?  And what does “in itself” mean?  You see a lot of separate things about you, which really means you are not seeing at all.  You either see or not.  When you have seen one thing differently, you will see all things differently.  The light you will see in any one of them is the same light you will see in them all.
  3. When you say, “Above all else I want to see this table differently,” you are making a commitment to withdraw your preconceived ideas about the table, and open your mind to what it is, and what it is for.  You are not defining it in past terms.  You are asking what it is, rather than telling it what it is.  You are not binding its meaning to your tiny experience of tables, nor are you limiting its purpose to your little personal thoughts. 
  4. You will not question what you have already defined.  And the purpose of these exercises is to ask questions and receive the answers.  In saying, “Above all else I want to see this table differently,” you are committing yourself to seeing.  It is not an exclusive commitment.  It is a commitment that applies to the table just as much as to anything else, neither more nor less.
  5. You could, in fact, gain vision from just that table, if you would withdraw all your own ideas from it, and look upon it with a completely open mind.  It has something to show you; something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope.  Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe.
  6. In using the table as a subject for applying the idea for today, you are therefore really asking to see the purpose of the universe.  You will be making this request of each subject that you use in the practice periods.  And you are making a commitment to each of them to let its purpose be revealed to you, instead of placing your own judgment upon it.
  7. We will have six two-minute practice periods today, in which the idea for the day is stated first, and then applied to whatever you see about you.  Not only should the subject be chosen randomly, but each one should be accorded equal sincerity as today’s idea is applied to it, in an attempt to acknowledge the equal value of them all in their contribution to your seeing.
  8. As usual, the applications should include the name of the subject your eyes happen to light on, and you should rest your eyes on it while saying:

Above all else, I want to see this ____________ differently.

Each application should be made quite slowly, and as thoughtfully as possible.  There is no hurry.[1]


Photo credit: http://www.fineartamerica.com

Notes and Personal Application (2019):

Exercise 1: 10:28 am

Above all else I want to see things differently.  Above all else I want to see my desk differently.

Above all else, I want to see the owl image differently.

Above all else I want to see the colored pens differently.

Above all else, I want to see my certificate of National Service differently.

Above all else, I want to see my college degree differently. 

Above all else, I want to see the globe differently.

Above all else, I want to see the picture of the praying girl differently.

Above all else, I want to see the little globe that belonged to Manda’ differently.

Above all else, I want to see the handle on my filing cabinet differently

Exercise 2: 11:48

Above all else I want to see things differently.

Above all else I want to see the light switch differently.

Above all else I want to see the binoculars differently.

Above all else I want to see the teal purse differently.

Above all else I want to see the Darkness to Light bag differently.

Above all else I want to see the door frame differently.

Above all else I want to see the hanging hook bar differently.

Above all else I want to see the door differently.

Above all else I want to see the plastic hanging device differently.

Above all else I want to see the door knob differently.

Above all else I want to see the lock button differently.

Exercise 3:  12:00 p.m.

Did this exercise in an ongoing way when hanging my laundry. 

Said:  Above all I else I want to see differently.

Above all else I want to see ___________ differently and named the different articles of clothing as I hung them up.

Exercise 4: 1:30 p.m.

Above all else I want to see.

Did this exercise in an ongoing way when outside gathering eggs, wood, and getting the mail.

The chickens

The ducks,

Tom the cat,

The snow

The ice,

The mailbox

The pond

The house

The tractor tracks – whatever I saw I lingered over it a few seconds and said:

Above all else I want to see ____________ differently.

I felt an inner surge of love and happiness in doing this. 

Exercise 5:  4:00p.m.

Above all else I want to see differently.

Above all else I want to see the pond differently.

Above all else I want to see the fence differently.

Above all else I want to see the goat palace differently.

Above all else I want to see the solar panels differently.

Above all else I want to see the weeds differently.

Above all else I want to see the soil, the earth, the dirt differently.

Above all else I want to see differently.

And the joy and bliss floods my soul here, Lord.  The smile won’t leave my face.  As I was making pierogies I kept smiling, Lord.  I felt so happy and at peace.  I was thinking of the women whom I thought were my friends and how they didn’t invite me to make pierogies with them. It was ages ago, but the memory of feeling left out and defensive when I thought about it had lingered.  Today when I thought of them, together and having fun – without me – there was a tender, loving, forgiving feeling.  Seeing differently, took the place of the bewilderment – that stunned wonder, trying to figure out what I did or said that they would not wish to include me, yet would have the bad manners of planning it and discussing it with great enthusiasm in front of me.  I had experienced the immediate sense that they were rubbing my face in all the fun they planned without me.  Today I saw it differently – with new insight I realized that they did not see me.  They saw the version of me that they had made up in their heads.  While I saw them as friends; they saw me as a rival, someone to compete with and try to impress.  I had done nothing wrong or offensive, nor had I missed out on anything at all.  When people choose to see me as a rival instead of a friend; when people choose to exclude me instead of include me; when people want to punish me for the story they make up about me in their heads – it does not have to hurt me.  They are not attacking me; they are attacking a false version of me, someone who does not even exist.  I can say now with my whole heart, above all else I want to see differently, because it is such a blessing to be free of trying to understand something which would only steal the joy of my present blissful moments. 

Exercise 6:

I did this exercise but did not record it.

This was a happy practice for me.  There could have been other variables, but this practice in and of itself helped me to see that I can see things differently just by wanting it, by asking to see things differently and thus be released from the torments of the ego-based thinking of judging and perceiving and letting my feelings get hurt, feel obligated toward something, or experience ego-identification. 

Thank you for this lesson, Teacher.

Notes and Personal Application (2020):  James is away, and I am at home and it feels so strange not having our devotional and our morning coffee together.  On my second cup, here I sit at 10:23 a.m. reliving the joy and release that this exercise brought to me last year.  When I review my personal journals and track the journey through the daily lessons, it was this exercise, this practice of saying firmly and with conviction to myself:  “Above all else I want to see things differently” that helped me to stop identifying with my ego and quit allowing it to make up stories about people and things that hurt me. 

Although we are not together today to have our devotions, last year’s devotion which I recorded in my personal journal led to a discussion about constancy.  From the inner discourse with the Holy Spirit, I was shown to ask for constancy.  Throughout my life change has been something that I adjusted to and constancy was something I avoided at all costs.  But today the Holy Spirit showed me the constancy of the cycles of the earth, sun, and moon, how even in the temporal world, we can depend upon the night turning into morning.  What a horror it would be if it was not constant but rather chaotic – sometimes it would be night for weeks at a time and then day and then back to night or vice versa.  I realized that in our marriage, it is the things that we can depend upon that are dearest and of utmost value – the things that we change are the most stressful.  When James and I call upon each other, and there we are in answer to the call, when we are constantly there and there are no games, no abandonments, no neglect involved, this is what established trust, intimacy, and love.  His devotion, his constancy to me leads my devotion to him and vice versa. 

This was such a good lesson for me because I had come to accept myself as being changeable, allowing my ego to move me from one way to another and believing that as part of my spiritual walk, I had to accept this about myself and learn to appreciate it.  Since early adulthood I had always been one to grow bored and resent anything or anybody which would try to lock me in to a certain way of doing things.  While other people would complain about their children growing up so fast and becoming independent, I was only too happy for mine to become independent, because I have never believed myself to be anything but this changeable, undependable, inconstant person who was only too quick to abandon a project or a relationship when it became apparent to me that the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.  My main worries in life revolved about this “fact” about myself – my inability to hang in for the long haul. 

Constancy filled me with dread because it reminded me of a beloved sister who after repeated infidelity, abandonment, and gross neglect, kept trying again, multiplying the aggravation and humiliation. It was a hurtful lesson not only to her, but her children, and all of us who loved and cared about her.  In my mind, it was constancy which made people stay in dead-end jobs instead of exploring other more gratifying options.  Constancy brought to mind “believers” who turn from being otherwise loving, fun, and free individuals into stiff-necked prudes who harshly judges others’ indulgences and have a cult-like devotion to their denomination.  In my mind, constancy had become a bad word, a thwarted practice, while change and changeableness kept me free of obligations and being locked in to outgrown or outmoded interests. 

On this day, a year ago, when I said, “Above all else, I want to see things differently,” the Holy Spirit responded by asking me to pray for constancy – to change my view of constancy and see it in its reality.  This past 365 days of holy practice, of doing the lessons each day whether I felt like it or not, whether I had a problem with the idea or not, whether I was bored or engaged, has helped me to see constancy differently. 

Last year at this time, the Holy Spirit also showed me that Jesus does not miraculously deliver us from the ego, our hurt feelings, and our mean and shabby thoughts toward others. Rather, He shows us how to choose right and train our minds correctly by asking to see things through His eyes instead of the vengeful eyes of the ego. 

Today I am thankful for the holy practices, friendships, and adventures which constancy has brought into my life over the course of the past 365 days. Today let us say together and with all of our hearts:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Above all else, I want to see things differently!

[1] A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 28 Above all else…Circle of Atonement, Complete and Annotated Edition, (2017). pp. 981-982