HOW DO GOD’S TEACHERS DEAL WITH MAGIC THOUGHTS?
page 44, paragraph 4
HOW DO GOD’S TEACHERS
DEAL WITH MAGIC THOUGHTS?
HOW DO GOD’S TEACHERS DEAL WITH MAGIC THOUGHTS?
4. Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. ²It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. ³Regardless, too, of the intensity of the anger that is aroused. ⁴It may be merely slight irritation, perhaps too mild to be even clearly recognized. ⁵Or it may also take the form of intense rage, accompanied by thoughts of violence, fantasied or apparently acted out. ⁶It does not matter. ⁷All of these reactions are the same. ⁸They obscure the truth, and this can never be a matter of degree. ⁹Either truth is apparent, or it is not. ¹⁰It cannot be partially recognized. ¹¹Who is unaware of truth must look upon illusions. (ACIM, M-17.4:1-11)
I am happy to say that I really know it is always my interpretation of a fact that causes my anger. I am never angry that something happened or that someone said something. I am angry because of the meaning I gave that something. It is helpful for me to remember that there are no exceptions to this rule. It is always true regardless of the apparent circumstances.
How does knowing this change things for me? When I become angry with someone, I don’t try to figure out how to change them or the situation. I know that they are not the problem. I look to my own mind for the belief that needs to be healed. Sometimes the circumstances can be so compelling that I become temporarily confused. I know that this is my problem, but for a bit I can’t see how that could be. So, I have some processes that help.
One thing I can do is to write down on a sheet of paper what happened. I put only the basic fact or facts. Here is an example I have used in the past. I was working at the time and one day my boss became very angry with me. He yelled at me for something I absolutely did not do and did not have any control over. I felt very angry. Here is what I felt and how I handled it.
In the wash of emotion I find it hard to understand why this has anything to do with me. I am innocent and I don’t do that to him or anyone else, I think. My mind is confused because I am holding these two conflicting thoughts. First that it is my perception that is causing the problem. And at the same time, I think it is his behavior that is causing the problem.
I must resolve this conflict, so I get out my paper and I ask the Holy Spirit to sit with me as I do this exercise. I ask Him to help me do it in a way that corrects my thinking. I write down the fact; my boss yelled at me for something I didn’t do. Then under that sentence I make a list about every thought I have concerning this situation beginning with, “he is wrong”.
He has no right to yell at me at all. He is taking his upset out on me. I am an innocent victim. He’s not treating me with respect. If he can yell at me for something I didn’t do, can he fire me for something I didn’t do? Sure he can. No matter how hard I work or how good a job I do, he can lose his temper and I lose my job. These will probably lead into more thoughts and I write down all that come to me.
1st Gen Thought
Then I fold the paper so that the first line is on one side of the fold and the other side holds everything else. The side with the one fact (Byron Katie calls it the first generation thought) is the only thing that happened. The other side of the paper is my interpretation of what happened. Just doing this exercise is helpful to me when I am confused. This helps me to remember that I have given this situation all the meaning it has for me. Everything under the fold is that meaning.
Beseech Holy Spirit
Once this has been established, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me see this differently. If I am ready to choose peace then peace is given me. If not, then I may have to do some more work. One thing I might do is get out a Byron Katie worksheet and ask the Holy Spirit to help me fill it out. This can also give me more clarity and help to bring me to the place where I am ready for healing.
Another way I do this is to sit with pen and paper or maybe at my keyboard, and tell Holy Spirit all about it. Then I ask Him for help, and begin to put down what comes into my mind. This is very powerful. The answer may be the same thing I can read in the Course or some other book, or hear from a teacher, but when it comes from within, it has far more impact.
The work is never about me doing the healing, that is Holy Spirit’s job. It is about me desiring healing more than I desire to project blame. Once I truly want healing, I am healed. It is essential to me that I remember I cannot keep even a tiny bit of the false meaning I gave the situation, and still have peace. It is also important that I remember false meaning is false meaning and this is true even when the emotion is very strong. Just because the situation evokes strong emotion in me doesn’t make it real.