Posted on February 6, 2012 Filed Under Rev. Jim | Comments Off
Sequethia’s hands shook as she held the envelope an opened it. As she pulled out its contents, she saw the standard cover-letter on the standard company letterhead but her eyes were so filled with tears that she couldn’t see the print. She then decided to look at the other contents instead.
She was surprised to find that the other contents included details about her Life Insurance Policy, and other benefits. She was puzzled to find these contents, as she fully expected to see information about COBRA Insurance, and a referral to an executive outplacement firm. She then focused on the letter once again to clear her confusion only to find that she was being promoted to Vice President, and the one of the many benefits was a company paid life insurance policy of $1M, and upgraded healthcare package, and other benefits that Company Officers received.
The world of “Sequethia getting fired” was a savage fantasy that existed only in Sequethia’s mind. It was not true. It was not real. It was just a savage fantasy. This helped Sequethia to realize that God did not create a meaningless world, but we create it every day with our thoughts. She began to understand what A Course In Miracles meant when it used the term “meaningless”. In the lexicon of A Course In Miracles, meaningless refers to a world where the meanings that she placed on things was not true or real, so these “meanings” were actually meaningless. She was able to use this situation to understand A Course In Miracles Lesson 14: God did not create a meaningless world. In that lesson, the Course says “The world you see has nothing to do with reality. It is of your own making and it does not exist.”
As a result of her experience, Sequethia could begin to understand how that statement could hold some element of truth. She began to realize that although the physical world existed as she experienced it, her perception of this world was largely determined by her consciousness, and that she could change her consciousness and experience the world differently if she chose. She was then able to at least go through the motions of saying “God did not create that war, so it is not real. God did not create that plan crash so it is not real. God did not create this thing that causes me anxiety so it is not real.
Of course Sequethia didn’t fully believe this craziness, but she could see how her mind, spinning out of control could land her into a savage fantasy world of her own making, and she began to contemplate the idea “what if this whole world was one big savage fantasy and wasn’t true or real in the eyes of God?”. What if this whole world, and the savage fantasy that it depicts, was just a nightmare and I can now wake up to a new truth that could cause me to experience peace and joy?”
You, too, can wake up from any savage fantasy that you’ve created, and A Course In Miracles can help to gradually, comfortably shift the way you think and the way you see the world so that you can see peace instead of chaos.
Posted on February 1, 2012 Filed Under Rev. Jim | Comments Off
Sequethia could not believe that her “blowup” with Rich Yablonski was meaningless, and the conflict that this radical idea caused had lead her down a path of self-pity, fear and dread (she was afraid she would be fired). Her downward spiral caused her to stay away from A Course In Miracles for almost a month, but as her annual evaluation loomed closer, she realized that she needed help because she was in a deep depression, dreading the outcome of her evaluation.
On the day of her evaluation, Sequethia wore her new black, St. Johns suit, thinking, “If I go down, at least I’ll look good”. Her evaluation was scheduled for 11:00 and as the time approached she steeled herself for what she thought was inevitable. However, despite her taking multiple Gas-x tablets and trying to pray and meditate (she hadn’t gotten good at it yet) she could feel her stomach churning and the perspiration under the armpits of her beautiful coral silk blouse.
Her boss, Jim DeMartini, was one of the smartest, kindest men she had ever met. He was also one of the toughest. Her mind kept going back to the time he brought her into the office and told her “You are going to fail, and this is why…” In that moment she hated him, but she took his advice and earned one of the biggest bonuses in the company that year as a result. He was the only one who cared enough about her to tell her the truth and “straighten her out”. She knew she was about to be “straightened out” again.
When she faced Jim at 11:00, she knew something was up the moment she saw his face. He was joined by Mary Kunkel from HR and He didn’t mince words. He started by reviewing the “blowup” she had with Rich Yablonski, and how the whole Vice Presidential Review Board was stunned by her behavior. He shared that they had never seen anything like it, that it was unacceptable, inappropriate, and vulgar. He mentioned that the whole Review Board agreed that her presentation overshadowed the excellence of all of her prior work (which had helped the company make millions) and showed a new level of insight into the business that was invaluable. Her blowup showed that she was also, always willing to tell the truth, no matter who it might offend.
Then he handed her the large manila envelope, which she assumed was her termination package……
As she reached for the package to open it, she was enflamed with a fear that she had never known before. She knew that her life, as she knew it was now ending so she took a deep breath and opened the package…….
Sequethia then understood more clearly Lesson 13 of A Course In Miracles: A Meaningless World Engenders Fear. The fear that engulfed her was because of her assumptions about her behavior in the Vice Presidential Review Board Meeting and her assumptions about what was going to happen to her as a result.
Posted on January 24, 2012 Filed Under Rev. Jim | Comments Off
Each time Sequethia McQueen remembers the blowup she had with her bosses, she gets “hot under the collar”. She still remembers her rage boiling to the surface when she told Rich Yablonski where he could shove his “guesses”. She also remembers fearing for her job the moment those words (and others) flew out of her mouth. Even though this situation caused her to review A Course In Miracles, lesson 12 “I am upset because I see a meaningless world” she couldn’t quite wrap her mind around this concept just yet. She had done the previous exercises, where she looked around and said, “this chair means nothing, this desk means nothing”, etc.). However, in her gut, this concept still seemed foreign and uncomfortable, even though she understood it intellectually. As a result, she couldn’t quite shake the feelings of rage she still carried about the blowup, and she couldn’t quite escape the feelings of fear and hopelessness that this situation created for he each time she thought about it because she believed it would cause her to forgo any raise (at best) and cause her to be laid off (at worst). The feeling of dread that this created within Sequethia seemed like a low grade fever.
Sequethia knows what to do when she gets a physical fever….. she takes a Tylenol. However, Sequethia didn’t know what to do when she got this emotional fever triggered by an emotionally trying event. She thought about this a bit more, and realized that there was some wisdom in A Course In Miracles lesson 13. She realized that her “false-ego” (the part of her that identified with her gender, her race, her experiences of discrimination, and her own view of how the world would treat her) was attaching meaning to the experience of her “blowup”. She realized that A Course In Miracles was trying to tell her that this blowup was “meaningless” and her ego couldn’t believe this because the altercation still resonated with her emotionally.
She then saw that her “false-ego” had an “investment” in seeing the world as a fearful, hostile, sad, wicked crazy world. The truth of A Course In Miracles was trying to convince her that this wasn’t true, that it was “all in her head” and this conflict was more than she could deal with. It was as if her ego was at war with the truth of God espoused in the Course. This conflict caused her to stay away from the Course for the past month.
IN that moment, Sequethia had an “A-HA” moment. She realized that there was a battle for her mind. Her ego’s perceptions, were at war with a new way to see the world that could bring her more peace. Even if the world around her didn’t change, she could choose to think and feel differently and could have peace, no matter what. This made her understand what A Course In Miracles meant when it said “A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God.” It meant that she could see things through the eyes of her ego, and this perspective was now feeling “threatened” by the truth.
Sequethia was still reeling from the ideas that had polluted her mind during her “break”. She realized that her mind had run rampant and caused her so much anxiety, depression and fear that she could barely make it home from work. When she made it home, and realized that her “meaningless” thoughts had created a “meaningless” world she could finally accept that these thoughts were “meaningless” because the meaning that she placed on everything she saw determined how she felt about it. As a result, SHE was upsetting herself because of her thoughts about what she saw. Once she looked at A Course In Miracles more closely, she began to relax, because she then knew she could correct the thoughts that caused her so much anxiety. She silently thanked her cousin Gail for giving her this book as she opened it to Lesson 12.
Sequethia then asked herself, what was the key thought that was “meaningless” for me today? She realized in that moment that she had been running a “low grade” fever of anxiety because of her finances. The sponsoring thought that caused this “fever of anxiety” was that she wouldn’t get a raise because of the blowup she had in her business meeting. That meeting showed her an outer reflection of what she thought of the world. She had always seen herself as a victim, because of her personal attributes (her gender, her race, her marital status, the fact that she had been a “party girl”) and she realized that she believed that the world would always be hostile to her because of these things. As a result she thought she would always experience a dangerous, hostile, wicked, difficult world and that her life had to be a continual struggle filled with pain and drama.
What she failed to perceive was that despite her blowup (which is described using the link blowup) her job performance was stellar. Her research had allowed the company to make decisions that saved the company millions of dollars and her forecast had been more accurate than any forecasts the company had ever seen due to her keen business insights and her experience. Despite this overwhelming evidence to the contrary, she was convinced that she would be laid off.
She went into meditation, and the truth about her job performance became apparent to her. She then was able to own that most of this was her own projection, and that she created what she perceived by how she interpreted events. This caused her to become more committed to A Course In Miracles.
Sequethia decided to “come back” to stay. She was now ready to move deeper into the Consciousness of Miracles. Are you?
If so, ask yourself, “what is a key thought that takes me out of my peace today?”. Ask yourself, “what meaning have I placed on this thought?” You will find that YOU are writing the script for your life and that you can change it.
As Sequethia left for work, she remembered the book, A Course In Miracles that her cousin Gail gave her before she passed (for more information on Gail you can click on Gail’s name anywhere it appears). She remembered her struggles “getting into” the book, with all its radical theories, and inverted language. She wished her thoughts could return to “normal”. So she decided to have a “normal” day with “normal” thoughts and left the house.
On the way to work, she had the “normal” thoughts about her finances and the fact that 3 credit cards were maxed out and she had to pay her real estate taxes, and she probably wasn’t getting a raise this year because of her infamous blowup in the marketing meeting (for more information on the blowup, you can click on this link: blowup ). She had her “normal” thoughts about meeting a man, and got depressed knowing that at her age, there seemed to be few eligible, available men (and she had the underlying thought that she needed a man in her life in order to be “happy”). She had her “normal” thoughts about her friends, some of whom only seemed to call her when they wanted something, or needed a listening ear, and she became aware of resentments and grievances she held against many of the people who were “closest” to her. She had her “normal” thoughts about her daughter, and how her mother (were she still alive) would be appalled at the way Sequethia had raised her and the knot in her stomach grew because of the shame and pain that she still carried about her Mother’s passing.
By the time she got home that evening, Sequethia was exhausted by her ”normal” thoughts. She realized that most of what she thought about all day was based on anxiety about the future, or guilt and grievances from the past. She realized what a debilitating effect on her mental (and physical) body and she realized that her vacation back into “reality” had been a vacation back to hell. As a result of her vacation back to the “hell” in her mind, Sequethia was now ready to once again pull out the book” A Course In Miracles” and do the exercises.
She realized that her thoughts had been “meaningless” because they were all based on guilt about the past and anxiety about the future, because of the “meanings” she projected onto everything. My uncertain finances, and my regrettable professional performance “means” that I will always experience more economic turmoil, anxiety and suffering, and I deserve it because I’ve made poor decisions. The statistical shortage of available men means that I won’t meet one and I can’t be happy because if I am not partnered it “means” that I won’t be happy. My friends only call me when they want something, and this “means” that I really have no value to them unless I give of myself until it hurts and I resent this. My daughter (who I spent $48,000 a year educating) does not have a job and this “means” I am a bad parent and will never have my Mother’s approval (despite the truth that she’s gone now).
She realized that she created her “hell” by creating what each of her situations “meant”. Yet these “meanings” were only in her mind. She had made them up and they had influenced her view of herself, her view of the world, and her ability to be happy.
When she got home she “flew” to that bookcase, got A Course In Miracles, and worked with Lesson 11 “My Meaningless Thoughts Are Showing Me A Meaningless World”. As she worked with this she was able to reduce her level of stress and anxiety.
You too can reduce your level of “stress and anxiety” by working with the thought form “My Meaningless Thoughts Are Showing Me A Meaningless World”. You then begin to realize (on a deeper level) that your thought projections create your reality and if you change your thought projections, you can change your experience.
With the realization that she saw nothing as it is now, Sequethia became extremely frightened. She had the thought, so what is really true, and what is really real? If my thoughts and feelings aren’t true or real, am I true or real? This was just too much for her to bear, so she said, “aaaaah, screw it” and went on with her day, hoping that her thoughts would return to “normal” so that she wouldn’t be so uncomfortable.
As she left for work, the book “A Course In Miracles” that her cousin Gail gave her before she died, crossed her mind. Gail and Sequethia had always been close, and their close relationship is described in this link (Gail). She had looked at the book from time to time, but always put it down. It seemed to echo many of the realizations that Sequethia had, yet it seemed so foreign to her.
Quite honestly, she had actually thrown the book down several times because the information in it was so radical, and so startling that she had a violent reaction to it. It seemed so full of double talk, inverted sentences and senseless words.
She then realized that A Course In Miracles was actually a gradual, stepwise way to begin to release her from the tyranny of her thoughts, so she decided to pick it up again. She thought maybe this book can finally help me to master these thoughts so that they no longer terrify me. On her way out the door, she grabbed the book, and randomly opened it to Lesson 10 “My thoughts don’t mean anything”.
This idea, “My thoughts don’t mean anything” crystallized what Sequethia had come to realize during her most recent experience. She knew that by repeating that truth “My thoughts don’t mean anything”, she could begin to release herself from all the unproductive, erroneous thought patterns that didn’t serve her.
So can you.
As Sequethia finished her morning tea, she realized what a shocking set of memories and feelings she got simply from a cup. She was so alarmed that she threw her cup into the sink, as if to throw away the old, unsettling (and frankly, embarrassing) memories she associated with that Cape Cod vacation. She threw it so hard that she broke the cup and chipped the enamel on her kitchen sink (Good, she thought, I wanted a stainless steel sink to match my new appliances ANYWAY).
Then she had a most startling realization: If she didn’t see the cup as it is now (she saw scenes of the Summer of ’86), then she saw NOTHING as it is now. Sequethia was amazed. This stunning, yet simple realization overshadowed her consciousness in a shocking way. She remembered how when she first saw the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, she was shocked when the previously black and white movie became a Technicolor Masterpiece after Dorothy landed in Oz. Suddenly, Sequethia’s world became colored differently because for the first time, she knew she could have a choice in what she saw, what she felt, and what she created with her life.
Just like Sequethia, you have the power to change the way you see your world, how you feel about your world and how you feel about yourself. You have the power to shift your consciousness. You can choose to be happy, peaceful and fulfilled. It just takes a few small steps a day that will continually shift your thinking, and shift your experiences.
Today’s small step is to begin to train your mind to believe (in a very practical and constant way) what Sequethia has realized. She realized “I SEE NOTHING AS IT IS NOW”. So can you.
To deepen this realization, you can look around you and respond to everything you see in the following way:
I do not see this phone as it is now
I do not see this lamp as it is now
I do not see this chair as it is now
And continue looking around you, and do this exercise when you remember during your day. This will begin to free you from the tyranny of your thoughts.
When Sequethia’s mind “snapped back”, she realized that she had been totally transported back to the summer of 1986. She remembered more details about her powerful attraction to Chester (the Molester), and these details are available by clicking on his name). She had plenty of fights with Crystal, some of which are recounted when you click on Crystal‘s name. She remembered arguing with cheap-assed Melanie over the hotel bill. Melanie apparently forgot that settling the bill also included paying your share of taxes, tips and surcharges – not just the nightly rate, because she had such a consciousness of lack. She remembered dancing at the Boatslip when the Hat Sisters made their appearance. Her memory of the Hat Sisters was as vivid as the picture you’ll see when you click on their name.
She was “thinking” but in truth her mind wasn’t working. When our mind is preoccupied with the mirage of the past or the fantasy of the future, we are blinded to the only thing that is real, which is the present moment.
Just as Sequethia was blinded by Chester’s charms, our minds are blinded to the power, beauty and grace of the present moment (where we find the presence of God) when we are preoccupied with past thoughts.
A Course In Miracles Lesson 8 can help us break this addiction to the past.
In today’s practice, you can use the following thought form:
I seem to be thinking about ___________________ but my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts. If you do this several times during the day, you will begin to become aware of (and break) your addiction to the past.
During her morning tea, Sequethia randomly chose a cup she was given in the Summer of ’86 during a memorable vacation with her girlfriends on Cape Cod. During this trip, there were hurt feelings, competition, disputes over money, as well as the wild and crazy times that would put the cast of Jersey Shore (the beachside reality show) to shame. In an instant Sequethia was transported back to the summer of ’86, and there was a miracle waiting to happen.
It was amazing! For several minutes, she relived all the drama, intrigue, “he said – she said”, dancing, drinking and debauchery of that trip. She remembered the fight she had with Crystal over that guy Chester (the Molester) who liked to take advantage of young things back then. She remembered arguing with cheap-assed Melanie over the hotel bill (Melanie apparently forgot that settling the bill also included paying your fair share of taxes, tips and surcharges – not just the nightly rate). She remembered dancing at the Boatslip to Bananarama’s “I’m Your Venus” and singing “I’m your penis” instead because she didn’t really know the lyrics
It was as if her coffee cup was a time machine and she had been magically transported back to that time and place. She felt all the feelings, re-lived many of the scenes, and even remembered the clothes she was wearing during that time. When she snapped back to reality, she thought “all that just because I picked up a coffee cup?”
Now that Sequethia had gained more awareness, It was fascinating to her that her mind had relived this whole vacation in a matter of seconds when she picked up the coffee cup. However, we do this all the time. When we see or think of an object, we don’t see the object for what it is (a coffee cup). We don’t see the object or person for its current purpose and intention (to deliver a jolt of caffeine in the morning). We project the past onto everything and everyone we see, and this blinds us to the purpose that this thing has in the present.
The miracle that is waiting to happen is the miracle that happens when we learn to stop projecting the past onto everything. Instead of seeing all our past lovers in the potential lover that we meet (and retreating in fear) we will see the promise of a new start. Instead of seeing the same challenges and blockages that we’ve experienced in the past, we can start a new experience with the trust and confidence that comes when we are not hobbled by the fear that the past will repeat itself. Then we can have the joy, ease and success that we really want from every endeavor.
To create this Miracle, we must first realize that everything we see is just like that coffee cup, and that we see only the past. Once we realize this, we must then make a concerted effort to consciously reject those past projections that have become a habit. Only then can we approach every person, experience and endeavor with a “clean slate” that is not hobbled by a fear that the past would repeat itself. This is how we create success even when the past has “failed”. This is how we create joy despite the pain of the past.
A Course In Miracles Lesson 7 is “I SEE ONLY THE PAST” and helps us to understand why we are so often frozen in a pattern of fear, when joy awaits us on the other side of the fear. We need a miracle move us from pain to pleasure, and the miracle can happen when you look around you and say:
I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in this cup.
This exercise helps you to become consciously aware of how habitually you project the past onto everything you see. When you become aware of this habit, you can break the habit and see only the potential for joy, peace and abundance in all things and this is how you can create your miracle today.
This morning, Sequethia was struggling to print something from her computer at home. She really needed to print and fax the document before she left for work. It was supposed to be completed the previous day, but after printing several drafts, Sequethia decided to “sleep on it” before printing the final version. She clicked the “print button” and expected the printer to respond.
Sequethia flew into a rage. You see, her 24 year old college educated daughter Sapphire, who Sequethia was trying to get to leave the house, was “always” breaking her printer, and she wasn’t even printing the resumes she needed to find a job and get out on her own. Sequethia started screaming at Sapphire about breaking her printer “AGAIN!”
Sapphire, who had gotten used to her Mother’s upsets, came into the room to see what was happening. Then and only then did Sequethia see the message that was flashing on the screen “printer out of paper”.
Instead of seeing the message in front of her, Sequethia saw only the image that had already been “hard wired” into her mind, which was “My daughter is always breaking my printer”. She saw this mirage instead of the truth and it upset her.
We all do this. We fail to see what is in front of us because we have a pre-conceived notion based on the past. We selectively perceive what conforms to our past image instead of perceiving what is right in front of us. Unfortunately, the things from the past that we so easily perceive instead of the truth are the most unpleasant of experiences because they are the ones that “stick” with us because of their emotional resonance.
A Course In Miracles, Lesson 6 helps us to understand how we do this. This exercise asks us to name the type of “upset” that we experience, and realize that we are angry at something that is not there. This begins to break the habitual pattern that our mind has created (in the same way that people tracking over a lawn eventually wear away a path in the grass). Once we stop our minds from running along the same barren path, we can “re-seed” our minds with new thoughts, but for now, our task is to realize that we often are upset by a mirage.
I am angry at ______________ because I see something that isn’t there.
I am worried about ________________because I see something that isn’t there.
As usual, let’s apply this lesson to everything we see and experience remembering that there are no “small” upsets because each upset takes you from your peace no matter how big or small it is. If you do this exercise for a few minutes several times today you will begin to realize how the mirages of your mind have taken you out of your peace. Then you will be ready to find a new way.keep looking »