As I started with a Course in Miracles, I realized I was carrying baggage from my past. The Course directs us to alleviate the baggage by "forgiveness". (Ultimately, we are advised to alleviate everything by forgiveness, limiting beliefs and destructive ideas about myself were my primary concerns.) While these days I focus on in a state of constant forgiveness, earlier days were often filled with egoic thoughts of unworthiness, anger, and doubt. Then I came to thoughts like these within the Course:
We are embarking on an organized, well-structured, and carefully planned program aimed at learning how to offer to the Holy Spirit everything you do not want. He knows what to do with it. You do not know how to use what He knows. Whatever is revealed to Him that is not of God is gone. Yet you must reveal it to yourself in perfect willingness, for otherwise His knowledge remains useless to you. Surely He will not fail to help you, since help is His only purpose.
To me, this seemed to be an invitation to allow the HS to reinterpret my negative thoughts. As I speak about in a different post, this reinterpretation is not the ultimate goal, but it is a step within the plan of forgiveness. It is impossible to forgive a situation that has been condemned; we have already judged it negatively. If it is brought to mind, it is remembered as negative. By allowing the Spirit to first place a reinterpretation of how the experience was only helpful, forgiveness or acceptance is only the natural response. This is much easier than "forgiving" something seen as negative (the Course calls this false forgiveness).
Background on a.b
Before I became the holiest and humblest miracle worker and designer you know today, I was Real Dumb socially. My options coming out of kindergarten were gifted and talented or special education classes. I guess I scored high enough on some test because I was placed in GT. This did not help me make social connections. This troubled me for a long time. I felt set up for failure and in a hopeless situation.
I'll cover two situations wherein the Holy Spirit reinterpreted my misunderstandings before true forgiveness could arise.
Situation 1: Social inability
I stuttered or talked too fast and generally was unintelligible. I couldn’t look people in the eyes. I had no hygiene practice until I was into my 20s. My clothes were full of holes and usually unwashed. And I had no ability to pick up these skills by watching and learning from others. “Observational learning” was not in my skillset. People my age avoided me and non-related adult caregivers avoided me (for the above reasons presumably), and familial adults could not care less.
What made matters worse in my perception was that I had no social safety net if I failed to figure this stuff out. I was rejected and alone. This was really a fly or die situation.
Every leap and bound I made in being a person that could interact positively with another generally came through a very intentional seeking out of advice online (Google and WikiHow), discerning of its appropriateness, and intentional integration into daily life. “How do I talk to strangers?” “What is basic hygiene?” “How to be confident”
This is one of the first conflicts in my mind I offered to the Holy Spirit. I hated being a person that literally did not understand how to move through society. It was a block that brought up thoughts of lack of confidence when I would even attempt to be social and remedy the perceived problem.
Here is an understanding I received:
My "ground-zero" understanding of social skills was analogous to my spiritual understanding, my lack thereof.
My years of grinding away at learning something that I perceived as utmost important, "fly or die", prepared me for starting at the bottom of learning in a spiritual sense. Just as socially, my spiritual guidance was zero to none externally. I would have to sit, spend time, and figure it out on my own.
Instead of using the internet, I had books and an inner teacher. And even finding the right ones of those took trial, error, and discernment. My practice of seeking advice, filtering the advice through my intuition, and intentional integration of understandings were the exact skills I needed as an early student of A Course in Miracles, literally indispensable.
In being born with this seemingly negative limitation and accepting that I had a choice to change my relationship to it, I learned how to engage with my spiritual in a way that focused on humility, experience-seeking, and understanding.
Situation 2: Lack of relationships
I never understood make-believe as a child. I particularly remember an experience where I was utterly floored tat my (pre-kindergarten) classmates would come to school to make plastic eggs in a plastic skill and serve them with plastic spatulas. And pretend to eat them! Like...Danielle, did you eat the egg or not because it is literally still on your plate. You have to put it in your mouth and chew. Say "Ahh".. (They didn't invite me back to playtime.)
This evolved into me being unable to accept “roles” as an adult – student, “best friend”, girlfriend, sister, daughter, subordinate… I just don’t understand what these roles are supposed to do. Every person playing the role opposite of mine – teacher, friend, partner, parent, boss – had their expectations, but all I could see was the arbitrary and needy nature of their expectations. It always felt like make-believe.
Moreover, I never felt that they could "complete me", or whatever it was that made them need me around; I never shared their needs. If it needs saying, I was not invited back to those relationships where I refused to satisfy the other's "needs" (most of them.) I remained aloof and rejected, not understanding how to connect on a real level.
What I have described as this relationship based on seeking to fill a lack perceived within myself with another person, is what the Course calls a special relationship.
Apparently, I suck at special relationships. Usually, I'd say "sucks to suck", but this time.. I think J. Krishnamurti says it plainly:
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
Jiddu 'a.b' Krishnamurti
I was then invited to continue the practice of not seeking for my completion, or a filling of a sense of lack, externally. I have no lack and that could only be understood by seeking internally.
I still had questions about my seeming inability to build relationships. As I put it, "it is also not a measure of health to be poorly adjusted".
He answered something like: "The world (society) is not there. Forgiveness of this perception of yourself as poorly adjusted would be a better use of your time than learning how to adjust to illusion. The other path you could have taken would have been to believe you were well-adjusted and unlearn that. It is easier to forgive this negative perception of yourself, isn't it? I will guide your interactions perfectly. What is more well adjusted than that?"
- Forgiveness is the key to happiness (#169)
- I do not perceive my own best interest (#24)
- I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because he who sent me will direct me. (Principles of Miracle Workers)
When I was/am willing to give up my negative views about my perceived shortcomings or failures, understandings arose in my awareness that were not there before.
It is hard to impress via blog how injured I was by my past. I was a broken shell, deservedly unworthy because, from my perspective, my social inability and the lack of relationships stemming from that were my own burdens to bear. I was born deficient and I was going to succeed via struggle to fill my brain with the right information that solved the deficiency or die trying. Dying trying was the likeliest outcome.
Another very important experiential fact to impress was how simply and quickly the interpretations entered my mind when I quieted and cleared all thoughts. It was like an "ah-ha!" moment, like a light bulb suddenly illuminating.
Literally these miracles seen in light washed away my fears.
When everything has meaning beyond their forms, when everything is painted with the brush of Love for my well-being and growth, when nothing can shake my peace because I understand that there is nothing not under direction of the Spirit, this is true vision.
Miracles are seen in light
Lesson 91, A Course in Miracles
When you're feeling stuck, do us all a favor and ask a Trusted Friend for help. The salvation of the world depends on it ;)
- alex brady
The companion post to this article
contains the step-by-step thought exercise that brought about these reinterpretations