OMG! It’s totally insane. I’m under attack! I’m being attacked by my thoughts! They have come armed – battering rams, sharpened spears and flurries of arrows flying through my head. And then laser guns, burning holes in my brain.
And the worst thing about this? Until yesterday, I wasn’t even aware that this was happening. And I’m pretty sure it’s been going on for … well… most of my thinking life. Ever since my ego took shape. So why am I now aware?
This year, I have committed to A Course in Miracles. For those of you who don’t know, ACIM is a psychotherapeutic course. Its language is largely Christian – the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit features larger than life. But they are just terms used to describe concepts. God is the creative, unifying energy that lives in all of us. He is Love, which is the only reality. Jesus is the Son of God and really is all of us and the Holy Spirit is the energy that works between God and us. It is the bridge, the force that creates miracles when we ask through prayer to see it differently.
And what is a miracle? It is the correction of our perception. Marianne Williamson has always described it as “a shift in perception from fear to love.” So if Love is the only reality, whenever we experience the opposite of Love, namely fear, we are in the world of illusion. But we often live in fear because our minds have made the ego, which believes in separation from God. That is, separation from Love. And if there is no Love, what’s left? Fear. And the ego perceives the world through fear, which causes us to evaluate, judge and condemn. All because the ego perceives most of what happens around us as an attack. So it must attack back.
Because we are all One in God though, any attack by the ego against someone else, is an attack on ourselves. And so we come to why I’ve suddenly discovered that I’ve been under attack for all these years. Even though I thought my thoughts were pretty benign, especially of late.
Part of ACIM is a workbook. 365 lessons to be practised. In many ways they are like a daily meditation, giving a central thought that can be treated like a mantra. Yesterday, I was up to Lesson 26. The central thought was:
“My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.”
Of course, if we are part of God, made in God’s image, there is nothing vulnerable about us. The permanent energy of love that is us, cannot fall prey to any attack. It just stays the same, whether we have a body or not, and whether others attack us or not. And according to ACIM, any attack is a call for love. But the ego doesn’t see that. And tries to persuade us to attack back. What it doesn’t realize is that it is actually attacking itself.
So to do the exercise, I had to think about a situation that gave me some concern. I don’t want to sound Pollyanna-ish but I’m in such a good place right now that at first I couldn’t think of anything.
But then I thought that any reasonable person in my situation would be concerned that their cancer might come back. So I did the exercise with that.
Then you think of every possible outcome that might arise out of that situation:
I might get really sick.
I could get tumours all through my body.
I might have to have treatment again.
It might not work.
I might end up in a lot of pain.
I might die!
And so you see, that all of these outcomes are based on the premise that I can get sick and that I can die. That doesn’t seem very invulnerable does it? In fact, that makes me feel really vulnerable. And so my attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability. Or as the closing statement of the lesson says “That thought is an attack upon myself.” As any fear based thought is or at least, as I was about to discover.
The purpose of the lessons is to repeat them during the day, either at regular intervals or whenever something comes up. And I got a doozy. Well, it was pretty mild compared to some of the fearful thoughts I’ve had in the past but it was a great example of this theme. It really illuminated it for me.
Some of you know that I am planning to teach meditation. In fact, I had planned on starting in the middle of last year, but life had other plans and I physically couldn’t do it. Now that I’m better and have energy (speaking of which I had some vitamin B complex mixed in with my intravenous vitamin C today and I’m buzzing. I hope I can sleep!) I’ve spent most of this week planning the year ahead and have started writing the content of an 8 week Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation course. But I hadn’t planned on starting teaching until about June. I’ve been told to take baby steps so I don’t compromise my health.
And then yesterday, I saw that a couple of people I know are starting to teach meditation. NOW! My first response – I’m under attack! My ego battened down the hatches and went into judgment mode. These people are going to be better than me, worse than me, “steal” people I would have had as students. The barrage went on until I thought “Hold on”, and came back to the exercise. (And by the way, I don’t really think any of these things. These poor people are just getting on with living their lives and my ego, rather than congratulating them for following their bliss, wants to cut them down. And take me with them!)
This was a perfect example. So I was concerned about them starting to teach meditation before I’m ready, getting in before me. (Laughing at this point – this is NOT the type of thinking we expect of meditation teachers so it’s probably a good idea that they start before me. I’m clearly not ready!)
And the things I am afraid of happening? That people I was hoping would come to my classes will go to theirs. That they will get a (good) reputation ahead of me. That by the time I am ready to teach, there will be NO ONE else to be my student. How insane is that?
So what I was saying to myself is that potential students will like them better than me and I will fail as a meditation teacher. That thought is DEFINITELY an attack upon myself. A thought of lack and inadequacy. But in the world of Love, there is more than enough to go around, there is no scarcity. And we are all perfect, and powerful and radiant, just as our Creator made us.
Here is a video about ACIM and the themes it has on self-sabotage and attack:
I am reminded of the famous quote by Marianne Williamson from A Return to Love:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Once I did the exercise and saw that I had taken a little sojourn into insanity, I was able to pray for a miracle. To ask for my thinking to be changed. For a shift in perception. I get to choose how I see the situation. Because of course, the facts don’t and won’t change, just the way I see them can. I was also reminded of what the ACIM Manual for Teachers says – that there are pupils for every teacher. And of course there are.
So I send love to these other meditation teachers, grateful that they are sharing the benefits of meditation. After all, this is how the world is going to change. Through each person, one by one, taking the time to be still and to listen to the voice within. And powerful as I might be, as we all are, there is absolutely no way that I can teach everyone singlehandedly!
Be happy. Be well.
And so be it.