He who knows most, knows best how little he knows.
How often have you been in a situation where you thought you knew what was best – either for yourself or for another person?
Our nature is to assess the environment and determine the path we believe will maximize our happiness – or at least diminish the potential pain. By aligning our goals with our circumstances, we feel we can choose a course of action that is best for us.
But what if we were wrong?
In no situation that arises do you realize the outcome that would make you happy. Therefore, you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the result. What you do is determined by your perception of the situation, and that perception is wrong. It is inevitable, then, that you will not serve your own best interests. (W-pI.24.1)
Whenever you think you know [what is best], peace will depart from you. (T-14.XI.13)
That’s the challenge of living in the world. We want to be happy, yet we don’t know what is best for us. Further, once we think we know, we sink deeper into the morass. Quite a conundrum indeed.
That’s why we’ve all experienced the phenomenon of believing that a certain something [job, person, raise, house, test result, etc.] would bring us happiness, and yet once we “achieved” or “acquired” it, we found ourselves similarly disillusioned. It’s the Hedonic Treadmill redux.
In A Course in Miracles, we learn another way of being in the world in which we can properly perceive all experiences and respond in every situation from a sense of complete peace and indescribable joy. But it starts with an understanding that what we’ve previously taught ourselves – at the hands of our malevolent teacher of the ego – has been wrong.
You need only recognize that everything you learned you do not want. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself: I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now. By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given will speak to you. (T-14.XI.6)
By practicing this habit of honestly acknowledging that we don’t know what is ideal, we open ourselves to learning what is – not just for us – but everyone we encounter.
If you realized that you do not perceive your own best interests, you could be taught what they are. (W-pI.24.2)
Join us in Monday’s class where we’ll explore this topic of learning what truly is best. I look forward to seeing you then.