Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Love or fear? In your spiritual life which do you choose?

The last few weeks I have been studying and working with Chapter XII in the text of A Course In Miracles which is entitled The Holy Spirit's Curriculum." I am reminded of the introduction where it is written that the Course is a required course and only the time you take it is voluntary. "Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time."

Ken Wapnick (a pioneering teacher of ACIM) has taught that the course is like a symphony with the ideas being repeated throughout the text and workbook and manual. I have found this to be true and since I have heard some themes repeated so many times, I think I am finally beginning to understand some of the metaphysics of the Course.

The first section of Chapter XII describes The Judgment Of The Holy Spirit. It is written right in the first paragraph of the first section that we should "Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it." This makes me smile every time I read it. Comedian Flip Wilson, when he did his Geraldine routine, used to say, "What you see is what you get!" and I have modified it a bit to say, "What you THINK you see is what you get!" The Course calls this projection as well as the psychodynamically trained psychotherapists.

Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy, CBT, also is based on this idea that it is our thoughts about events and external circumstances that cause our distress not the event or circumstance itself. Is the event or circumstance a blessing or a curse. a good thing or a bad thing? It is often not possible to say until we know what happens next. The workbook of ACIM asks us in Lesson one, first thing, to look around slowly and say, "Nothing I see in this room (on this street, from this window, in this place) means anything."

Later in this chapter we will be taught that the Holy Spirit will replace fear with love and error with truth and in this growing awareness we will replace our dream of separation with the fact of unity. T-12.1.10:5

I find that I get hooked and become reactive and I am learning to take a deep breath and back off and ask myself, "How would Love have me respond?" And as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, "I turn it over to my Higher Power" or "Let go and let God." I really got a good laugh at myself when I read in paragraph five, verse 8 where it is written, "The Holy Spirit does not need your help in interpreting motivation, but you do need His." Amen!

And so the task in decision making is to stop and ask "What would God (Love) have me do?" Things are not usually the way our interpretation would have us believe they are. In fact, if we are humble enough to realize it, our interpretations are often wrong because of our prejudicial filters leading us to see only what we want to see and excluding contradictory data to decrease our cognitive dissonance.

From an emotional distance watch the meaning you make of things. Is it meaning made from Love or from fear? The Course will tell us as we move on in this chapter than these are our only choices: Love or Fear. When we have the presence of mind in our spiritual life we are consistently asked to choose.

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