Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Course Note #151: Self Honesty Opens the Door

When I first became a student of A Course in Miracles it was clear to me that it demanded brutal self-honesty; and I use the word “brutal” because that’s what it feels like to the ego, which is often why we don’t want to engage in it. 
I wrote a book entitled, “Oh My God. It’s Me!” and this title came through the recognition that every significant breakthrough in my life occurred only after I was willing to see my part in whatever was going on.  Thus, a very meaningful teaching in the Course has been:  “The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself.”
We cannot progress on the spiritual path without some willingness to really look at cause (my mind) rather than effect, as in, what we think is being done to us.  The ego’s main defense mechanisms are denial and projection.  With denial of course, we deny that anything is going on with us in the first place, and with projection, anything that is going on with us is about: “Oh My God. It’s You!”
These defense mechanisms of denial and projection keep us from delving deeper within and discovering the true Self.  Self-honesty is the doorway to within.

So that said, in my own inner work this past week, and thus in my teaching session, we were guided to look at this idea of self-honesty.  We were directed to look at quote #187, which in the book The Seven Steps to Awakening says, “The ignorant engages himself in endless arguments.”
This one frequently snared my attention this past week as I was guided to see that while I may not be engaging in verbal debates and arguments, they still go on within my mind. 
I’m involved in a few spiritual groups on the internet, and of course people have debates, arguments and discussions about spiritual themes.  In years past I have enjoyed discussing spiritual themes, but I have lost interest in that activity of late.  So recently, while reading a particular group debate, I wasn’t actively participating in it, but I noticed on a recent morning walk that I had not lost interest in it, and that I was actively debating and arguing with all the players in my mind.   And then I remembered this quote.  
This is where self-honesty comes in.  I could have thought about what a good spiritual student I was being by not entering the fray, but if not honest with myself, I totally miss the fact that I am indeed involved in the discussion; I’m just involved in my head!

This discussion prompted me to talk about quote #183, which follows on the same theme to a certain extent.  In my journal I wrote:  I have learned how to not pay attention to my thoughts.  So why do I?

             Notice which thought-stories are harder to turn away from.  Ask yourself why a particular story is holding you captive.  What’s the story about?  Is it telling you that you are limited; that you don’t have enough of…something?  Is this story causing you to feel guilty, victimized or unworthy?

Here we have an opportunity to delve deeper with self-honesty because it is often not apparent as to why we listen to certain thought-stories.  It is not readily seen, for example, that a deep sense of unworthiness drives the choices that many of us make in life – whether it causes us to achieve certain things in the world, or whether it causes us not to.   

The good news is that through deeper self-honesty we do begin to see what is driving us, and then we have the opportunity to choose again.  When it becomes apparent that you are listening to stories that tell you about your guilt or unworthiness, you can remember that you no longer want this.  Or maybe you do, and that’s okay too. 

This is the way self-honesty leads to healing, as I say;

“Here I am again, listening to that story about my unworthiness.   I accept that this is where I am right now, still focused on unworthiness thoughts, but I am willing to be free of this.  I am willing to be healed.  I am willing to move forward.  My true desire, what I really want, is to know my Self as Love created it, unlimited and free.”

I’ll be honest here and say that I have a story that comes up every day for the past year, and while it doesn’t grab my attention in quite the same way as it did previously, it still comes up every day.  I go into it more in the audio, but what I’ll say here is that on one hand it’s been a great gift because when the story started last year, I found it so difficult to let go of that this was when I was guided to The Teachings of Inner Ramana and the mantra practice that has made such a difference for me.
Nevertheless, sometimes thought-stories about particular life experiences are difficult to let go of because it’s in our face everyday.  A job conflict, health problem, relationship issue…something that confronts us every day becomes the ego’s playground.

We can look at that situation that confronts us each day and let our minds go down the slide – listening to it, being held captive by it, feeling unworthy, victimized or afraid, or we can let that very same situation be used to set us free.

Here we go again with self-honesty, if we really look at whatever story is holding us captive, we may see that we are feeling victimized in some way.  Seeing this within myself over the years has always been an eye-opener because I have never viewed myself as a victim.  Each and very time that I have seen this within myself it has felt brutal – to the ego.  As the Course teaches us, feeling victimized by forces outside of us is the primary story that holds ego intact.

The story that captures my attention these days is one about being unfairly treated, and victimized, and it has brought up feelings of unworthiness.  With denial and projection I can make it a story about what was done to me, rather than a story that can show me what I am still holding onto.  
I realize that I no longer want this.  But if I was not willing to be honest with myself, I wouldn’t see this, and would therefore continue to create experiences where I feel unfairly treated, victimized and unworthy.  Do you see?

I can use the same story to remind myself of Who I Am.  I can let it remind me of what I really want.  I can let it remind me that I am not a body – I am Spirit Eternal.

To go deeper, self-honesty is key.  Everything does become a gift as it is used as an opportunity to see which thought-stories, and underlying false desires, are still driving our lives.

As we know, it is so easy to get lost while wandering in the forest of the mind, stumbling over the many thoughts and words strewn along the path.  Yet, I can choose to gently move away from the thoughts and words, and rest in quiet-stillness…there, I am free.

The audio was recorded on 5/27/12 and is 52 min.

NoteIn my Sunday teachings of late, I have been inspired to teach from my 7steps journal, and to teach on those quotes that I am prompted to during the hour.  I have created another blog for that journal, where I have the quote from the bookThe Seven Steps to Awakening, the commentary from Regina Dawn Akers and then my own guidance.  If you are interested it is here:  http://www.stepstoself.blogspot.com

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