I am determined to see things differently.
The idea for today is obviously a continuation and extension of the preceding one. This time, however, specific mind-searching periods are necessary, in addition to applying the idea to particular situations as they may arise. Five practice periods are urged, allowing a full minute for each.
In the practice periods, begin by repeating the idea to yourself. Then close your eyes and search your mind carefully for situations past, present or anticipated that arouse anger in you. The anger may take the form of any reaction ranging from mild irritation to rage. The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter. You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.
Try, therefore, not to let the “little” thoughts of anger escape you in the practice periods. Remember that you do not really recognize what arouses anger in you, and nothing that you believe in this connection means anything. You will probably be tempted to dwell more on some situations or persons than on others, on the fallacious grounds that they are more “obvious.” This is not so. It is merely an example of the belief that some forms of attack are more justified than others.
As you search your mind for all the forms in which attack thoughts present themselves, hold each one in mind while you tell yourself:
I am determined to see ________ [name of person] differently.
I am determined to see ________ [specify the situation] differently.
Try to be as specific as possible. You may, for example, focus your anger on a particular attribute of a particular person, believing that the anger is limited to this aspect. If your perception is suffering from this form of distortion, say:
I am determined to see ________ [specify the attribute] in
________ [name of person] differently.
There are two very important ideas in this. One is that all anger is the same. It is rage and there are no types and degrees. I found that fascinating from the first time I read it. I never doubted for a moment that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury. I started watching my feelings for this and at first, I had trouble finding the rage at times. One day I was waiting in line at the store and was in a big hurry. The lady in front of me was talking on her cell phone and slowing everything down. I was annoyed.
I didn’t feel rage at her and yet I knew it must be true. So I asked myself what I would do or say if I was not holding back. What if I couldn’t really hurt her, and what if no one knew how I looked and felt? I relaxed my social filters and just allowed myself to imagine the scenario. I felt the intense rage Jesus talks about, and I imagined grabbing her phone and beating her about the head with it. Yikes! Good thing we have those filters!
After I got the hang of it and after I saw that it was ok for me to see this in myself, I no longer had trouble finding the rage. I might be tempted to wonder what is wrong with me if I let a little thing like the lady on the cell phone cause so much anger. But I don’t really know what caused the anger. The lady on the cell phone triggered the anger, but that was not the cause.
Actually, it only seemed like she triggered it. The earlier lessons have caused me to look at the world differently. I now see images I have made. So the rage came first, and then the image of a lady holding up the line was projected outward. She was not the cause of the rage, but was only representative of that rage. So where did the rage come from? I’m sure that we will learn more about that later. Right now I am happy to allow these lessons to help me see differently. I don’t really need to understand in order for that to happen.