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. The rage was already there.
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.
A Helpful Visual and a Damaged Relationship
This lesson was really helpful this morning. I have been especially impacted by these first lessons this year. The Holy Spirit is helping me to embrace the truth that nothing that I see with my eyes is real and that it is all just images that represent my beliefs being projected outward for my viewing pleasure. Or often, for my viewing displeasure. I have gained a real feeling for that. When I get caught up in the story (projected beliefs) and start feeling like they are real, I have a visual the Holy Spirit gave me to help me back out of the story and remember where I really am, that is, safely in the Heart of God. I see myself stepping out of the story, detaching from it, and seeing just the lesson it holds for me.
This morning as I was looking at today’s lesson, I thought of a damaged relationship that I have and felt really sad, and then I began to be afraid of what might happen. At first, I went straight to my visual, but Holy Spirit stopped me and brought me back to the lesson. I understood that the visual is not a way to avoid my fear; it is a way to avoid the ego trap of sinking further and further into the story until I forget that I am not my story and the story is not real.
So, I thought about the situation and felt the pain and grief, and the anger at what had happened to this relationship. I knew that I was determined to see this differently. Then I went to my visual and chose, quite deliberately, to step out of the story. I had looked at it with the Holy Spirit, felt the impact that believing that story had on my peace of mind and chose to see with the Holy Spirit instead. My job done, it was time to let it go.
I don’t know what will happen next in that relationship, but I know that I will see it differently because that is my choice, and seeing it differently will keep me in peace, and being in peace will motivate me to choose peace every time. Most importantly, this is my job here. I am the watcher, the observer, the decision maker. I am observing a script that is written, and I am deciding that it is now time to see it differently so that I can finally let it go.