A Course In Miracles Lesson 21
A Course In Miracles Lesson 21 states:
I am determined to see things differently.
Determination is so important to the work of this course that it spends two whole day’s lessons on the idea with a slight variation in each one. Determination to see (to acquire true vision of reality) first requires us to acknowledge that we do not, at this time, see reality correctly. This means that how we see things needs to change, needs to be different. If we do not first acknowledge that how we see things needs to change, we will not have any impetus to change our perspective towards a more enjoyable outlook. We must first want to see things differently.
This may seem obvious, but when I really apply it to a specific situation in my life, say regarding a parent or a close friend, I do actually observe that I do not fully want to relinquish how I see the situation. I want to hold onto my valid perspective and I want it known, for the record, in what ways the other party is in error (not me). I am preoccupied quite often with perceptions of error. And a desire to set the record straight.
This preoccupation takes up a lot of my time and energy. What else might I do with that energy if I did not spend it on holding fast and stubbornly to my definitions of how a situation is? How might I spend my energy if I put down the effort needed to insist my perspective of what I think I know be acknowledged by others? What if me knowing it could be enough? And what if I also the possibility (the likelihood) that I really do not understand the situation in its full context? What if I consider that I really do not understand this world and trying to understand it is sending me into labyrinths of inaccuracy.
We can compare this idea with an analogy of cocktails. Our preoccupations with upsetness are similar to drinking $20 martinis. Preoccupation with and fixation on intense negative feelings is like drinking expensive emotional martini’s. If you would not spend your hard-earned money downing over-priced alcohol that causes you to feel heavy and nauseous, why spend time lingering in the feelings of anger, rage, hatred, jealousy, and all the rest of them? Negative emotions are equally toxic to body-mind, and spirit as alcohol is to our body, mind, and spirit.
Do not indulge in emotional martini’s. They are expensive and not worth the heavy sensations they bring. Be determined to see things differently!
In practicing lesson 21 it is highly likely that you will come across a thought that generates anger. A vital point in today’s lesson explains that the range of intensity we feel of an emotion is unimportant. Even a slight twinge of annoyance is the same as intense rage. This concept can be compared to how a burning ember from a fire is equally as dangerous as a blazing fire. They are the same in effect regardless of their seeming difference in “size.”
There are no degrees of anger. A Course In Miracles Lesson 21 asks us to recognize each gradation as equally charged. It also asks that we not let the so-called “little thoughts” of anger escape us during our practice periods.
When relating to others we often find an impatience for what is quickly judged as the “small stuff.” From early childhood, we experience impatient parents who do not want to listen to what they consider to be trivial and we are often taught to get over what bothers us as well as to judge harshly things that are not deemed important. This dismissive and judgmental attitude towards what is deemed unimportant is learned early on and then brought to all our interactions without realizing that there are no more or less important issues. Everything that happens is equal in effect and significance. The skirmish we had with a check-out person at the grocery store is equal to the fight we had with a partner.
Why is this concept important to consider? What is it saying? When we equate the important to the unimportant we move towards the realization that all the issues we think about are actually meaningless and fixated on the past. Placing degrees of value to our thoughts keeps alive the belief that thoughts are meaningful. A Course In Miracles wants us to recognize that the contents of our thoughts are not real thoughts. We do not really recognize true meaning in this world yet. We have given all the situations that cause anger all the meaning it has for us. Some situations we have made more meaningful by placing more definitions upon them. Others we have dismissed as unimportant. We dwell on some situations while other situations do not hold our attention. This means that we believe some situations rank as more important than others. A Course In Miracles Lesson 21 wants us to see that all situations rank as equal and all are based in misperceiving reality.
We don’t have to strain to try and hold onto this new concept intellectually. Doing the daily lessons is gradually and gently shifting how we understand this world. Effortlessness is the hallmark of successful shifting. Strain can be put down at once and recognized as not the way. Be determined to let in ease and comfort. Be determined to allow improvement. How else will it ever reach us? Follow the directions stated in today’s lesson and remember at any time when faced with a frustrating situation that, we are determined to see this differently. We are determined to see this in a way that does not generate frustration.
Try not to impose or suppress frustration in an effort to willfully stop being frustrated. That is often called spiritual bypassing and does you no good. Settle for nothing less than true peace of mind. There is no need to pretend to an audience of one (yourself) that you are calm when in truth you are angry, scared, sad… Acknowledge the truth of your inner life and to any tensions say, “I am determined to see this ______ differently.”
With this lesson we are declaring: I do not merely want to be happy, well, and whole, I am determined to be happy, well, and whole.