It’s all in the looking.
Not a week – and oftentimes not a day – goes by in which something doesn’t occur to completely disrupt our peace.
A bad day at the office with a bullying boss or callous coworkers. Awful news on the economy affecting retirement accounts. News of a serious illness – either for us or a loved one. Stressors in personal relationships.
A sense of sadness and misery naturally ensues. Or does it?
What is so natural about feeling bad?
One of the most challenging concepts to understand – certainly experientially, if not intellectually – is that we choose our feelings.
This concept is so unnatural and sometimes unfathomable that it bears repeating: we choose our feelings.
While we certainly aren’t responsible for what other people do or say, we are in complete control of how we react to those occurrences.
It’s like an unopened gift that someone offers you. Something is in the box – you don’t know what it is yet. In a sense, the box is completely neutral (putting aside the pleasantly generous associations we often attribute to gift-givers). There is no “goodness” or “badness” to the gift – it is just a wrapped box.
Once we unwrap the box and peer inside, at that point judgment enters. Ahh, just what I always wanted … thank you so much. A good gift. Ugh, why did you get this for me – it’s awful. A bad gift.
We give it all the meaning it has for us.
I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me. I have judged everything I look upon, and it is this and only this I see. (W-pI.51.2)
It is far easier to perceive ourselves as victims (or beneficiaries) of external circumstances. This removes the burden of responsibility from us and projects it onto perfectly willing (albeit unaware) accomplices: the world and other people.
Now does happiness become far more elusive. We are searching for it in a place where it will never be found.
Whenever we bemoan our situation, is it not because external circumstances (which includes our body) are not aligned as we’d like them? Yet, consider these powerful lines from the Course:
I am never upset for the reason I think. I am not a victim of the world I see. (W-pI.51;31)
When we finally realize that we choose our emotions – in actuality, we choose the source of our emotions via the ego or spirit mind – then does a world of incredibly happiness reveal itself.
In every seeming stressful situation or tumultuous turmoil, recall these liberating words:
I could see peace instead of this. (W-pI.34)
Join us in Monday’s class where we’ll explore this revolutionary (and radically empowering) idea that we choose our feelings. I look forward to seeing you then.