Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Message of Christmas: A Holy Encounter – Part 1

From an adage in the November/December 2012 Holy Encounter magazine published by the Miracle Distribution Center: “When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.” A Course in Miracles.
In AA I was taught the same thing through the brief saying: “If you spot it you got it.” I learned this as a warning or wake-up call whenever I was called out for taking someone’s inventory, i.e., criticizing someone by observing all the things I saw as un-good along with offering suggestions as to how they could/should/ought to work the Program more constructively. I was always surprised when my friends in the Fellowship would tell me I was taking his/her inventory, trying to control their lives, and reminding me that if it (whatever “it” was) was really bothering me, then “If you’ve spotted it you got it.”
When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter.…As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.” If I don’t like someone because I think they’re too arrogant, then I’m hiding my arrogance from myself. If I think someone’s too pushy, then I’m hiding my pushiness from myself. I watch someone state and pursue their self-interest and I become very critical of them. But when I stop and really think about it, I am merely jealous that they’re doing what I can’t/won’t – but want to. I’m still all hung up on being confused between being selfish and loving myself. I project my envy onto that person in the form of anger, criticism, and self-righteously condemning their pettiness.
I have to always keep the focus inside me otherwise I’ll keep believing that my perception of “reality” is really true and real. When I do that, I’m lost in the morass of my Egoic thinking. I do things I do not want to do. I say things I don’t really want to say. My serenity is out the window. It’s my Ego – plain and simple – and my ego will try to distract me (each time) from coming to the conclusion that I am my problem.
ACIM states it very simply: “You are never upset for the reason you think.”
To convince me my perception is really real I’ll find myself whispering to me: “But what about Hitler and rapists and serial killers? They are bad people aren’t they? My opinion of them isn’t just mine. It’s everyone’s. So, what I see as true is true for me! Isn’t it? “
Bong goes the gong – wrong!
I have to quit letting my ego distract me with hypothetical evils that are “out there.” Yes, people in error do some very awful things. But me? I need to deal instead with the grocery store clerk that irritated me, or the driver that cut me off, or my spouse that seemingly just isn’t listening to me, which upsets me. That’s what I need to focus on – not Adolf and rapists.
It’s all perception! It’s not reality. My perception is no more correct than yours. We are all in error. Not bad or good, but in error. The Holy Spirit can correct error if I ask and if I listen to what He says and do it. These are hard truths to swallow, I know. But … the alternative is a lack of serenity, lack of peace, lack of acceptance, lack of love. Lack of… God-in-Me/Us (which is the meaning of “Emmanuel”).
From A Course in Miracles, TXT 4.III.7,... “You retain thousands of little scraps of fear that prevent the Holy One from entering. Light cannot penetrate through the walls you make to block it, and it is unwilling to destroy what you have made. No one can see through a wall, but I (Jesus) can step around it. Watch your mind for scraps of fear, or you will be unable to ask me to do so…. I will never forsake you anymore than God will, but I must wait as long as you choose to forsake yourself. I will wait in love and not in impatience, you will surely ask me truly.”
I forsook myself for almost 20 years, as I continued to drink, until I finally said, with no conditions attached, “I can’t do this anymore.”  That was my bottom. Things began to fall into place, I began getting some help, and within several months I was in AA. [As it relates to the early, missing years of the Gospels, I tell my story in Chapter 9 of my book, How the Bible became the Bible.]
I still don’t understand where my willingness comes from. But, I believe my willingness to really want something else, because my life just wasn’t working anymore, was my Higher Power working behind the scenes. He conceived in me hope and openness once again, just like it happened in a manger two millennia ago. Voila, my transformation has begun. A life is being reborn as God-in-Me. The power of Love has triumphed once again over my egoism. Another error has been corrected, and I know my ego-error will have to be corrected again….  and again…. and again.
With all my heart I believe Christmas morning didn’t happen only once – a long time ago in history. It continues to happen in my life all the time.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#3 December, 2012
Copyright, 2012

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