Friday, January 29, 2016

Memories Of A Past That Is No Longer There

With the snow, ice and bitter cold this past week, I took the opportunity to go through several banker boxes of personal memorabilia and divvy it up between my two children and those items I truly wanted to keep.
I thought it might take me a couple of hours.
The memories have been boxed and mailed. But there was a lot of sadness that resurfaced. There were smiles at old photos of myself – especially in graduate school, where I looked like I was all of 14 years old: All my hair; Dark brown rather than white; No mustache. Thin and trim.
There were pictures of old girlfriends, my initial AA family, the children when they were young and still thought I hung the moon, my siblings and cousins. Lots of smiles and “Oh my god! I didn’t know I kept that!” There were sad moments, too, of people no longer here. There were sweet letters from my son, who no longer talks to me, and Father’s Day cards from my daughter proclaiming me to be the best father she’s ever had.
Lumps in my throat. Teary eyes. Smiles. Prideful remembrances. Yes, and some “Holy Shits!”
Two days later – not two hours! – I was pretty much done.
But I must say, as well, I do feel relieved and lightened. My two children are over and almost over fifty now. It was time.
However, as I reminisced I was also reminded of the frailty of my memory(ies). A Course in Miracles (ACIM) teaches me that the only absolute thing I can say about the past is that it is no longer here. The only reality is NOW. Even when I do think of past events or people, those memories are occurring in my NOW. Just by thinking of them brings them to the forefront (the NOW) of my consciousness. Even though I choose to deal with these memories rather than be in the moment, it is always NOW.
Of course I can elect to ponder over an old painful memory and decide to “re-wallow” in its pain and shame – which fills my NOW with – YEP – pain and shame. Or joy. Or indifference. Whatever. And as certain as I am of the truth of many of my memories, all I need to do is share them with my siblings, cousins, or old friends and suddenly the veracity I had ascribed to those memories is sorely thrown into doubt. “That’s interesting, Don. I don’t remember it that way.” Or “Gee, Don, I don’t remember that at all. Are you sure that happened?”
So, why do I want to relive these “suspect” memories? Why do I prefer them to NOW – the place where the Voice for God wants to meet me?
Felix (my egoic self) wants me to live in his perceived illusionary world of duality (right/wrong. good/bad, smart/dumb, correct/stupid, etc.), separateness, attack, vengeance, justification, resentment, anger and fear. Felix, you must understand, firmly believes in the bumper sticker wisdom that proclaims: “If you aren’t scared and worried, you’re not paying attention.” In short, Felix enjoys fear – it makes him feel alive, in control, and truly aware of this dangerous world he perceives. Without this there’s no reason for Felix to be. There’s no need for him to be. That thought scares him to death. Trust me, my Felix is not going to go away quietly into the night.
The NOW, where I meet the Holy Spirit or the Voice for God, has no past. I meet Him when I still my mind. I meet Him when I am quiet. My quiet mind is where each day or each moment is a fresh beginning. It is where I can ask my Spirit Guide to aid me in answering questions and pointing me in the right direction for all my decisions. This is explained in Chapter 30 (The New Beginning) Section 1 (Rules for Decision).
The Voice for God spells out 7 distinct steps for inviting a new beginning (excerpted below):
(1) The outlook starts with this: Today I will make no decisions by myself.
(2) Throughout the day, at any time you think of it and have a quiet moment for reflection, tell yourself again the kind of day you want; the feelings you would have, the things you want to happen to you, and the things you would experience, and say: If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given me.
(3) Remember once again the day you want, and recognize that something has occurred that is not part of it. Then realize that you have asked a question by yourself, and must have set an answer in your terms. Then say: I have no question. I forgot what to decide. This cancels out the terms that you have set, and lets the answer show you what the question must have really been.
(4) If you are so unwilling to receive you cannot even let your question go, you can begin to change your mind with this: At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now.
(5) Having decided that you do not like the way you feel, what could be easier than to continue with: And so I hope I have been wrong.
(6) This tiny grain of wisdom will suffice to take you further. You are not coerced, but merely hope to get a thing you want. And you can say in perfect honesty: I want another way to look at this.
(7) This final step is but acknowledgement of lack of opposition to be helped. It is a statement of an open mind, not certain yet, but willing to be shown: Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking? Thus you now can ask a question that makes sense, and so the answer will make sense as well. Nor will you fight against it, for you see that it is you who will be helped by it.
I hope this helps you as it has me.
By the way, from last week’s message, I got my driveway clean as a whistle and my wife’s sugar cream pie was “jus’ plum wunnerful.” I skipped the popcorn, however.
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.
#4 Jan 2016
Copyright 2016

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