Saturday, January 17, 2015

Allowing My Perception To Be Changed

Several readers inquired (using different words but asking the same question): “When I’m upset or experiencing the ‘internal unmanageability’ you talked about last week [Msg-2-Jan-2015, Internal and External Unmanageability], how can I get God to help me when my mind is going 90 miles per hour?”
Another honest question. Thank you.
Short answer? You don’t “get“ God to change your mind. You allow it to happen.
There is a passage in A Course In Miracles (ACIM) that jumped out at me when I first read it. It reaffirmed why I had been finding the Course so compelling and why it had been resonating with me.  That passage is in Chapter 14 of the Text:
“…When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself:
I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.
By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to Him.” (T-14,XI.6:6-11)
I have experienced that exact truth. I didn’t know it at the time, but I have had that happen to me many times. As an active Presbyterian minister I was a volunteer chaplain for the local district of the State Police. They would call and I would go with an officer to tell someone their loved one had been killed in a traffic accident. Not a pleasant situation. After we had knocked on the door and were waiting for a response, I would silently say: “Lord, I don’t know who these people are nor what to say. But I’m here. When they open the door and I open my mouth, fill my vocal chords with Your words.” (This was not a little trick ritual of mine. I really meant it.) Time after time, He did just that. I would say things to them that resonated and comforted them and I had no idea where those thoughts came from. I would acknowledge that experience with a silent prayer of “Thank You” after we got back in the cruiser to leave.
The day I began my journey to sobriety I had said to my empty kitchen, “I can’t do this anymore!” (Again, no trick ritual. I really meant it. Often I had said to someone “I need help,” or “I can’t do this alone.” But in my mind I’m silently also saying, “But, if you don’t help me I’ll do it myself.”) The minute I had that I-can’t-do-it thought, I knew who to call and where their telephone number was in the paper jungle that was my desk. I found their number, made the call, they were home, and they offered to help. This was at a time when I couldn’t remember where anything was or what I was to do next (other than take another drink). Yet, with exceptional clarity, I knew how to reach this person. To me that seemed a miracle because it WAS a miracle.
He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it [your awareness] to Him.”
Many members of Alcoholics Anonymous call this process surrender or hitting bottom. But it cannot be a contrived episode. It must be genuine. I cannot conjure this all up at the drop of a hat. I have to be honestly trying to stop controlling my life or the outcome of a situation. AA’s Step One: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” Step Two: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Step Three: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Old timers have summarized these three critical steps in this way:  I Can’t. He can. I think I’ll let Him.  That’s the spirit I’m referring to when I say the request to see things differently – to abandon my desire to control my life – must be made in an honest request for help.
Also, this is not a “one and done” kind of thing. I have done Step Three by working my Program and Steps Four through Twelve for over 25 years.
As I stated last week: “I am discovering that I cannot will myself to get out of myself….
“What I can do is stop my thoughts in their tracks. I do that by going into a quiet place inside me where I am calm, peaceful and totally spirit. Sometimes I can’t get there. But more often than not the attempt, itself, is enough to break the cycle [of my unmanageable thoughts]. There, with my quiet Self, I am in a position to listen for the whispers of my Holy Spirit. I am in a position to begin perceiving His vision of Now and using it to see my situation rather than relying on my egoic sight to help me out. Sometime it works better than other times. But it’s a tool – a process – that is mine for the taking. It allows me to begin being honest with myself. It allows me to begin being honest with others.
“Being honest with myself and others and being willing to see things differently are the keys to my emotional stability and serenity. [This is the peacefulness I so fervently desire.]
I am reminded that I am not a body nor am I my egoic “Felix” thoughts. I am more than that. I am an already-loved eternal spirit currently living a human existence, which is akin to dreaming a dream. Going into my quiet place allows me to begin to awake.”
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 January 2015

Copyright, 2015

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