What I see is a form of vengeance.
Today’s idea accurately describes the way anyone who holds attack thoughts in his mind must see the world. Having projected his anger onto the world, he sees vengeance about to strike at him. His own attack is thus perceived as self defense. This becomes an increasingly vicious circle until he is willing to change how he sees. Otherwise, thoughts of attack and counter-attack will preoccupy him and people his entire world. What peace of mind is possible to him then?
It is from this savage fantasy that you want to escape. Is it not joyous news to hear that it is not real? Is it not a happy discovery to find that you can escape? You made what you would destroy; everything that you hate and would attack and kill. All that you fear does not exist.
Look at the world about you at least five times today, for at least a minute each time. As your eyes move slowly from one object to another, from one body to another, say to yourself:
I see only the perishable.
I see nothing that will last.
What I see is not real.
What I see is a form of vengeance.
At the end of each practice period, ask yourself:
Is this the world I really want to see?
The answer is surely obvious.
(This is from last year, but it is a good example so I am leaving it.)
Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed that my ego mind was writing stories. I was having a conversation with the hotel clerk about some deficiencies in the room and I was defending my stance. This made up conversation was an example of the way attack thoughts in the mind are projected onto the world. There is actually nothing wrong with this room and there was not actually a conversation going on with a hotel clerk. Just my mind busy trying to project my anger.
I stopped myself from continuing the attack and defend conversation with the hotel clerk, but before you know it, I was having another made up moment in my mind, attacking someone else. As long as we have attack thoughts in our mind we will project anger onto the world and it will seem as if the world is taking vengeance on us. The fearful mind is a virtual vengeance machine, churning out attack and defense scenarios endlessly.
Sometimes the conversations are not just in my mind, of course. Sometimes I argue with someone out loud. Sometimes I hear words from another person and interpret them as an attack on me. Sometimes I feel justified in defending myself. In each case there is another way to see these things. Even if the person intends to attack me, it is possible to see the attack as a call for love, that is, to see his words as his fearful thoughts being projected onto me.
Here is an example of how this occurs. I asked for more vacation time at work and I was surprised when my boss balked at the idea. Immediately, I was angry and my mind got busy justifying the way I felt. I have worked there for a long time and I have done a really good job for those guys. I never ask for anything. I always do whatever is asked of me. I work really hard.
I started thinking about how selfish and self serving my boss is and how heartless the company is. I wished I could just walk away and see how they felt then. That I didn’t think I could afford to quit just made me angrier as I felt trapped in a situation I couldn’t change and I resented them even more. He cut off any discussion about it and that felt like a slap in the face. The more I thought about it the stronger my sense of justified indignation. It all seemed so unfair.
Jesus tells us to beware of the temptation to perceive ourselves as unfairly treated. No one is unfairly treated because we do this to ourselves. My attack thoughts are the source of the world I see. How can anything be anyone else’s fault, when the world I see is made by my thoughts? When I thought the cause of my upset was my boss’s unreasonable attitude, I was trapped by my own thoughts and emotions and there was nothing I could do about it, especially since there was zero chance of influencing the outcome. But when I took responsibility for the world I have made through my beliefs, I saw my way out.
This particular incident is not resolved. I have not asked what was decided, because I have not accepted full responsibility in my own mind. When I think to ask about my request for extra vacation time, I feel emotion rising in me so I know I still think that the situation itself is the problem, and that my happiness depends on the outcome. In other words, I am still attached to the idea that this is about Myron’s story of vacation days.
I continue to allow my mind to be healed. If I attain the vacation days through manipulation of any kind, all I have done is made a temporary change in the illusion. Nothing has changed in reality. I have left myself in a world of attack where someone wins only at the expense of someone else. I will be stuck in what feels like a vengeful world out to get me. I will continue to live in a constant state of dread, waiting for the other shoe to fall.
I watch my thoughts and I notice the desire to attack, the belief I am unfairly treated, and I accept the Atonement as I am willing. I continue to do this because more than I want more vacation time, I want to be free of fear, anger and guilt. I want to fully accept that what I see is not real, that it is a form of vengeance, that I but do this to myself. I am ready to know that what I fear does not exist. Is this what I really want?