Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lessons in Perception

If I were to make a resolution this year, it would be the same as the previous few years - get through all of the lessons in A Course in Miracles.

ACIM has 365 lessons, one for each day of the year, obviously. I generally start with a bang and then lose traction somewhere along the way. This past year, I made it all the way into the fall! Woohoo! Go me!

I wonder if maybe I would hold myself more accountable if I started highlighting the lessons here on the blog. Maybe you guys would hold me to it? Do you even CARE to read about spiritual lessons? It wouldn't be an every day thing... just maybe once in a while?

The funny and most awesome thing about these lessons is that every time I go through them, they're different. Every other student says the same thing. It's kind of like life, ya know? We get the same lessons over and over again and every time, they're a little different because we are too.

***

The whole point of a spiritual journey is to stop doing what I've always done that has brought unhappiness so far. Part of stopping the action is to stop the thought behind the action. This is why the spiritual paths I've taken have been mostly about retraining my thoughts.

The first few lessons of A Course in Miracles start with that challenge.

Lesson 001:
Nothing I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] means anything.

Lesson 002:
I have given everything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] all the meaning that it has for me.

Lesson 003:
I do not understand anything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

Lesson 004:
These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

Lesson 005:
I am never upset for the reason I think.

If you click through the links to the lessons, each lesson is explained in greater detail.

***

I remember when I started my ACIM study group, I used a great example to prove these first lessons to the students.

I set an object on the table and asked each student to tell me what the object made them think of. Every single person had a different experience and therefore different perception of the innocuous object. Each perspective was based on past history with the object.

Basically, these first few lessons relate to perception. Everything we see and think is based purely on our past history and experience with it. It doesn't mean that it's a correct or incorrect perception. Then everyone would be both right AND wrong. But they are all DIFFERENT perceptions. The whole point is to realize that WE give meaning, and therefore power, to innocuous objects and thoughts all of the time. We're just not aware that we're doing it.

The point of these exercises is to clear the mind of past associations. Perhaps it is time to see these thoughts and things a little differently. Maybe we don't understand what we're looking at or why we think what we think after all? If all forms (things or thoughts) can be given different meanings, then the question becomes "What does it REALLY mean?"

Lesson #5 happens to be one of my favorites. I am not upset for the reason I think. If I am giving power to things and thoughts based on past history, perhaps I am not seeing clearly. Maybe there is something I could be missing.

***

I've read book after book that reminds me not to hold on to thoughts that are no longer relevant to me. I still, consciously or subconsciously, believe things that I was told as a child. Harmful things about not being good enough or worthy.

These lessons help me to remember to think again, to question each judgment or thought that disturbs my happiness. They help me to allow more goodness and more love in my life.

The first few lessons alone help me in disagreements more than anything else. Every time I'm insisting that I'm right about something, with another person or even the Universe, I can now stop and say, "Hmmmm... well, I could be wrong..."

That's a pretty powerful statement. In MY experience.

8 comments:

  1. Perception is a powerful force, isnt it?

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  2. This really gets me thinking. As I am beginning to write about "My Story" on my blog, how will others view it differently than me? Will they read about the things that I think are just horrible and think they are no big deal? Maybe they really aren't such a big deal, and I'm just making them out to be. It's very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Ok T- I really would like you to do a lesson of the day. You know that this is a huge interest to me right now.
    As I was reading those lessons though, I think I get the point, but I may be reading too much into them. Imagine that? LOL
    I am making it too difficult I think!
    I do know that we all percieve things based on our own experiences and we need to understand that that it can cause a break down in people and communication. I really need to delve into this!

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  4. This is awesome. a friend of mine keeps trying to get me to read a book, that is supposed to help re train my brain and how i see things. so that I will have better /stronger self worth.

    Its never really gotten thru to me till i just read this.
    thanks

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  5. Hmm... out of all of the objects in my home it's my couch that is symbolic for me. How weird is that? But, it's because I'm the type of person who takes pride in her home and who always wanted to build a home for herself. My house was never a home until I finally got rid of the hand-me-downs and bought my own furniture. I always wanted a nice cozy couch to fill this space and make it feel like home.

    What a weirdo.

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  6. I would definitely like to follow with you as I know I have many lessons I could learn. :)

    {hugs}

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  7. I am not upset for the reasons I think. Hmm. That one makes me think. It's so true. And I love the honesty in your writing. I need to take a page out of your book!

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  8. I would enjoy reading more about the lessons and your reflections throughout the year. Whatever is relevant for you in a given moment will probably resonate for me as well, so please do share! Thanks!

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