In this blog I explore some insights from Lessons 24 and 25 in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles.
In the situation involving ___ , I would like ___ to happen, and ___ to happen …If these exercise are done properly, you will quickly recognize that you are making a large number of demands on a situation which have nothing to do with it. You will also recognize you have no unified outcome in mind, and that you must experience disappointment in connection with some of your goals, however the situation turns out. L-25.5
In the situation involving my two children fighting over who can have the chocolate chip cereal bar for their packed school lunch, I would like my son to be gracious and let his sister have the bar, and I would like my son not to back down and give up easily in an arguement with his sister. Just to explain there was a very yummy other cereal bar on offer – but you just can’t beat chocolate chips!
I had two conflicting goals. One was to facilitate the experience of pleasure giving to others and the other was to support my son to stand up for what he wants and what he thinks is fair. He let his sister have the cereal bar after my promise that he could have one the same later in the week. He did stand up for himself but you could tell from his eyes that he had enjoyed watching his sister get into a state.
In the situation involving my income, I would like it to double and be dependable so that I am secure.
Here it is obvious that I have demanded that money meet my need for security. Can income bring security when the world is not a dependable place and situations are always changing?
In contrast a unified outcome could be described as wanting to experience forgiveness, joining and a shared purpose beyond individual need.
Another way of describing the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with “personal” interests. Since you have no personal interests, you goals are really concerned with nothing. In cherishing them, therefore, you have no goals at all. And thus you do not know what anything is for. L-25.3
We can easily accept that our goals, interests and needs are of a personal nature : my body, my career, my relationships, my family, my emotional health and my spiritual development. What does not come easy is the statement ” Since you have no personal interests, you goals are really concerned with nothing”. Jesus is telling us we do not really exist as individual separate people!
The title of lesson 24 “I do not perceive my own best interests” means that I am so identified with my personal interests, that I do not know what my best interests are because they are covered by the personal. The only way to discover my best interests is to give up the personal.
It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything. The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than “good” or “bad” is the only way to accomplish this. L-25.5
Now giving up or letting go of personal goals cannot happen when we are attached to them and believe they are valuable. Our identification with personal interests is meaningful to us because it is who we think we are!
Jesus is gently asking us to reconsider the personal. He asking us to look at personal interests and see that they result in conflicting goals and place meaningless demands on the situation. He is asking us to reconsider life identified with the body and open our minds to another experience.
The only way out is having the little willingness to look at our individual needs and recognize with the help of Jesus that they are meaningless. If we are judging the outcome of situations as “good” or “bad” then we are making individual differences important and real.
How difficult is it to have true vision that overlooks the personal? “Impossible” without the help of Jesus, the Holy Spirit or another symbol that represents for us an non ego presence. “Impossible” without out our willingness and humility to be taught. How willing are we to learn not to take ourselves so seriously? We need to be open to new experiences of a shared identity so that the fear of loosing the personal becomes less and less. When we can stay in the intuitive flow of the shared purpose of forgiveness, who “I am” no longer matters.