One of the beautiful things about practicing the daily lessons from A Course in Miracles is that they acknowledge our humanity without condemnation. “You may feel hesitant about using the idea, on the grounds that you are not sure you really mean it. This does not matter.” “You will probably miss several applications, and perhaps quite a number. Do not be disturbed by this, but do try to keep on your schedule from then on.” Today’s Yesterday’s lesson is “Above all else I want to see.” (Today’s Above all else I want to see things differently.) It is the acknowledgement that we are not seeing now. We are perceiving. We are filtering life through our beliefs and our judgments. We are not seeing through the eyes of Christ which look on everything with unadulterated love.
I have finally finished reading Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul and one of the things he writes about is how the nature of this reality (finite) contains the seeds of awakening (seeing) by embracing death. He says, “Learn to live as though you are facing death at all times, and you’ll become bolder and more open. If you live life fully, you won’t have any last wishes. You will have lived them every moment. Only then will you have fully experienced life and released the part of you that is afraid of living. There is no reason to be afraid of life. And the fear will fade once you understand that the only thing there is to get from life is the growth that comes from experiencing it.*
Lately, I find myself noticing whether I am living or avoiding. I have long history of avoiding and so it is taking some effort to break that habit. But I realized while reading the part about death that I have allowed myself the luxury of wasting much of my life because I have, for many, many, many years, been convinced that I shall live to be 106. I don’t know why. I just believe that I will live to be that age. It’s not unlikely, especially in this day and age when living past 100 is more and more common, and the most common group of those are white females living in the US. But I realized that my frequent mental calculations regarding how many years I have left has given me permission to be wasteful. I literally started reading the section on death and told myself that I didn’t need to worry about it for a while.
What you focus on expands so I certainly don’t want to start focusing on dying!
But what if instead of thinking about it as a morbid thing, I started thinking about it as a barometer to measure how much I was participating in my own life. I have spent way too many (judgment! Scratch that!) hours “wasting” time.
“Don’t you want to live before death comes?” Singer asks.
One of my friends has been lamenting lately that death is in her face way too much. It makes me wonder, is it simply a wakeup call?
“Don’t be afraid of death. Let it free you. Let it encourage you to experience life fully.”**
I am fortunate enough to still have both of my parents, but I lost my brother thirteen years ago. We weren’t particularly close, but his death affected me because it sharpened my awareness that I was spending time being somewhere I didn’t want to be; sacrificing myself for a boss who regularly asked me to be out of integrity.
Death, that call to the awareness of the finite nature of earthly existence, called me to life.
The interesting part for me is that in the circles I travel in we often reiterate that there is no death. In fact, Lesson 163 in A Course in Miracles says, “There is no death. The Son of God is free.”
I very much believe that. I know that my Self is eternal. It is only my small self/ego that can (and will) experience death. I am studying Emma Curtis Hopkins in a class I am taking at church (Unveiling Your Hidden Power) and one of the daily affirmations is “I am governed by God, the Good, and so cannot sin, nor can I fear sin, sickness, or death.” One of the practices is to deny illusions – there is no matter, there is no power of evil, there is no sin, there is no sickness, there is no death.
But what I am realizing is that there is value in simultaneously recognizing where it is that I am squandering time because I am in the habit of seeing past the limitation. As Wayne Dyer always used to say, “We must die while we are alive.”
The funny part to me is that this avoiding life BS is really just an ego ruse. Ego takes the “no death” idea and uses it as a means for honoring fear. It seems to say, “Sure, let’s stop being afraid of death. There’s no death so, you don’t need to do ________,” and promptly reinforces the fear of life.
“Above all else, I want to see things differently.” I want to be aware of where I am not seeing because I think I already know something. “You will not question what you have already defined.”
The nature of human being is that we value the scarce. Limitation creates structure. It creates focus. Tell someone that they have all the time in the world and the chances are nothing will get done. Tell them they have only a week to live and they suddenly prioritize very well.
“Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities. The idea that you can do anything is absolutely terrifying.” – Austin Kleon
So I am practicing remembering that even though there is no death, that the illusion is counting down; time is finite. I don’t want to live from fear, but I do want to focus on the things that truly matter to me.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.
*Singer, Michael A.. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself (p. 161). New Harbinger Publications. Kindle Edition.
**Singer, Michael A.. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself (p. 163). New Harbinger Publications. Kindle Edition.