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Posts Tagged ‘lack’

The Authority Problem

Posted by Amanda Gray on November 2, 2011

I was reading A Course in Miracles, page 83 of the text: “The Ego’s Use of Guilt” this morning.  It helped me to understand a lifelong struggle I’ve had with my parents.

When my Dad was alive, he and I had great difficulty getting along with each other.  He was very powerful and authoritative and I thought he was always trying to control me.  So I constantly fought against his attempt to control me.  A few years ago, I remembered an event from my childhood that made me realize that I had made a mistake about him.  It had been other men that had attempted to control me, and I had only projected this idea onto my Dad, because he was a powerful man.  I realized that he had never been as controlling as I imagined, and ultimately, it was actually MY attempt to CONTROL HIM that was the problem in our relationship.  I was fortunate to realize this before my Dad passed away and I think I was able, at least a little, to offer some genuine love to him before he went.

Yet, there was something else that still wasn’t resolved in the case.  After my Dad passed away, I moved in with my Mom.  We’ve been together for just over a year now, and I recently noticed that whenever we work together, I have the same control issues with her, that I once had with my Dad. Hmmm… fascinating.  What’s that about?

Yesterday, Mom and I were in the grocery store.  I noticed that my thoughts had become really bitchy toward her, and yet, she had done nothing to warrant such negativity.   I saw that the thoughts were entirely irrational, and upon the realization, the bitchiness evaporated.

The Course says:

We spoke before of the authority problem as based on the concept of usurping God’s power.  […]  Listening to the ego’s voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God, and that a part of Him has been torn away by you.

I saw that this was related to the bitchiness I experienced toward my Mom – my Mom being a representative of authority in my life.  Yet, I didn’t see how a part of her was being ‘torn away BY me’.  I believed that my Mom was rejecting ME – so a part of her was being torn away FROM me.  I considered it further… perhaps my thinking was upside down.  Ahhh… yes… the belief was backwards, and hiding the truth… as it happened in the experience, my Mom had done nothing to reject me – the rejection was ALL MINE.  With my Dad, I thought he was trying to control me, but actually, I was trying to control him.  With my Mom, I thought she was trying to reject me, but actually, I was trying to reject her.  Control, rejection; the same issue.  I was, at once, trying to control and reject my parents. 

There was one further thing I couldn’t understand.  The Course says:

Fear of retaliation from without follows, because the severity of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected.

I still didn’t understand how the projection of guilt fit into the scenario.  If my Mom was rejecting me, then she was to blame, and therefore, I merely attacked her with, in my mind, a just retaliation.  A childish retaliation everyone is familiar with, “You reject me – so I reject you!”  Ahhh… there it is… the upside down thinking again… the TRUTH is that my Mom was NOT doing the rejecting in the first place.  The whole authority problem suddenly fell into place for me:  I perceive my Mother as a powerful being, an authority over me.  Because I believe that I LACK this kind of power/authority, I believe I must attack her to get it.  As I attempt to USURP her authority, I judge myself as guilty – yet, the recognition of this guilt is so painful, in the same instant that the attack thoughts arise in my mind, I also project the guilt, and BLAME my Mom for the origin of the attack.  Then, because she is powerful, and holds power over me, I must fear her retaliation.  What I was misunderstanding, is that I DO NOT LACK this power/authority that my Mom has.  God gave it to my Mom in the same measure that it was given to me.  Going deeper, I see that I am not actually rejecting my Mom, I am rejecting GOD, as well as the authority and love that is His gift to everyone – including ME.  I was believing that God/Mom had been rejecting me, or that somehow I was missed when He/she was handing out gifts of love and authority.  Yet, all along, it was I who was doing the rejecting – but now that I recognize the truth – I can DECIDE to ACCEPT.

When I was in Arizona in September, I noticed that I was missing vegetables in my meals.  It seemed that the only way I could guarantee some vegetables in a restaurant was to order a salad.  Yet, I’ve never liked salad.  I’ve always preferred my vegetables cooked.  Still, far from my kitchen at home, and in restaurants where cooked vegetables were served in a small pile like a sorry afterthought, I craved more vegetables.  So I decided to like salad.  And I did.  Easy as that.

So, here too, I can decide.  I decide to accept my authority in this physical experience.  I can decide to accept that I am loved and loveable.

The Course goes on to say:

That is why the question, “What do you want?” must be answered.  You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment that is anything but ineffectual.  Its effects follow automatically until the decision is changed.  The Holy Spirit, like the ego, is a decision. Together they constitute all the alternatives the mind can accept and obey.  The Holy Spirit and the ego are the only choices open to you. […]  The continuing decision to remain separated is the only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings.  […]  What you want you expect.  This is not delusional.

Yes, I DO have the authority to decide between the ego (strife) and the Holy spirit (peace).  As I decide to accept the Holy Spirit, God’s gifts come with it – peace and love – gifts that I may then share with everyone, particularly with my Mom, who has always been perfectly loving to me.  Now, with this correction to my thinking, and as I offer myself forgiveness for my mistake and ignorance, may I always be perfectly loving in return.

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Timing is Everything

Posted by Amanda Gray on June 3, 2011

After a highly compelling conversation with one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Tom Glod, I decided it was time to go back to square one. As much as I’ve studied and practiced, practiced and studied, along my spiritual path, I never truly just dropped everything – every theory, every plan and every self-concept – and committed to spirit alone. I scheduled a silent retreat at home, complete with meditations, a satsang (a spiritual gathering – in this case, with my MP3 player and an Adyashanti retreat recording), some kinhin (walking meditation), several outdoor breaks and three meal times.

So, the day went very well. I stuck to my schedule, and was totally peaceful that night as I went to bed, intending to retreat again the next day.

When I awoke on day two, I began on the right track, but I was no sooner in my meditation chair for the first meditation period, when I decided NOT to do the schedule. After all, the day was going to be broken by a doctor’s appointment anyway. And so, just like that, I jumped up and became entirely engaged with all kinds of planning and self-concepts again. My day was also characterized with a great deal of anxiety, fear of (financial) deficiency and self-doubt.

What the heck happened? The tempter came and blasted me right out of my carefully crafted schedule of peace!

I contemplated the issue on the morning of the third day. Perhaps, during my retreat, I had successfully dropped all self-concepts and, perhaps, touched upon the nothingness of ‘no-self’. Perhaps, I touched upon it, but didn’t, at first, recognize how much it terrified me. So, the next day was the response, enacted by terror all day long. Run, rabbit, run! Hmmm…

Then I listened to a ‘Homework call’ by a spiritual teacher named Jennifer Hadley. She talked about some of her own experiences on the path, about how she was often choosing her judgements and opinions over choosing love. It was just the thing I needed to hear. The right teacher, with the right message, at the right time.

I had thought that the nothingness of no-self was the opposite condition of the ego-self. I could have a ‘this’ – the world of suffering and fear – or a ‘that’ of eternal blank emptiness. Yes, of course, it IS terrifying to drop everything I think I know – for NOTHING! But, I was just believing in another ego illusion – the duality of some-thing and no-thing. This was the ego, getting up inside the nothingness and hiding there! And this was the answer to the ‘hiding myself’ concept that I had been wondering about for quite some time too. (I wrote about it here.) Ultimately, the belief in ‘nothingness’ was based in fear, not in truth.

The truth is LOVE. Just as God is LOVE. I don’t have to choose between a ‘this’ or a ‘that’ – I just have to choose the only thing there really is – LOVE. I’ve been hiding from that choice. Love, itself, is the healer, not books, or theories, or knowledge, or ideas, or words, or anything else in the world I’m attached to. I have to give all those things up and commit to choosing ONE thing – yes, that’s right – LOVE.

The ego can’t hide in the illusion of nothingness anymore. I’ve seen through the lie and it’s completely powerless. I CAN choose love, for myself and everyone. When I forgive, I love. When I recognize everyone, including myself, without the burdens of their ‘problems’, I love. When everyone, including myself, is entirely worthy of unconditional love, it will be there.A Course in Miracles

It was also important to learn that if I’m in a downward spiral of fear and lack, I can still be grateful, because it means spirit is rooting out all my worldly attachments. It’s exposing every little illusion from every nook and cranny. As the junk is exposed, I’m closer to a full alignment with love – with God and all that is. Brilliant!

Thanks, as well, to David Hoffmeister, who was Jennifer’s guest for an online ‘Living ACIM’ class, on the previous evening, and who reminded us of this beautiful quote from the Course:

Love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and a thankful mind.

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