Today’s lesson is a continuation of yesterday’s idea: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts. Logically, this makes sense. If how I see things affects other people than certainly what I think about things also affects them. I, of course, like to think of myself as this positive influence in the world and while this in not untrue, there is nothing like doing one of these exercises to illustrate to myself that I am not as lily-white as I’d like to think I am. Like everyone, I have my shadow-side (that’s called being human folks). Humans live in duality and duality by its very nature has opposites, so you can’t have a hero without also having a villain and each of us is both of those things.
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.
The idea for today is obviously the reason why your seeing does not affect you alone. You will notice that at times the ideas related to thinking precede those related to perceiving, while at other times the order is reversed. The reason is that the order does not matter. Thinking and its results are really simultaneous, for cause and effect are never separate.
Today we are again emphasizing the fact that minds are joined. This is rarely a wholly welcome idea at first, since it seems to carry with it an enormous sense of responsibility, and may even be regarded as an “invasion of privacy.” Yet it is a fact that there are no private thoughts. Despite your initial resistance to this idea, you will yet understand that it must be true if salvation is possible at all. And salvation must be possible because it is the Will of God.
The minute or so of mind searching which today’s exercises require is to be undertaken with eyes closed. The idea for today is to be repeated first, and then the mind should be carefully searched for the thoughts it contains at that time. As you consider each one, name it in terms of the central person or theme it contains, and holding it in your mind as you do so, say:
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought about _______.
The requirement of as much indiscriminateness as possible in selecting subjects for the practice periods should be quite familiar to you by now, and will no longer be repeated each day, although it will occasionally be included as a reminder. Do not forget, however, that random selection of subjects for all practice periods remains essential throughout. Lack of order in this connection will ultimately make the recognition of lack of order in miracles meaningful to you.
Apart from the “as needed” application of today’s idea, at least three practice periods are required, shortening the length of time involved, if necessary. Do not attempt more than four.
One of my latest library books is The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self. In it Deepak Chopra says, “To have a shadow is not to be flawed, but to be complete.” It is permission to notice the places where my thoughts are less than charitable and not beat myself up for them. (Thank you, Deepak!)
It’s amazing to me, how daily I catch myself. I want to be beyond all that – to be loving all the time. And while I am hardly opening hostile, I still find myself judging.
I tend to make me feel guilty. It is a question that comes up just about every week in our little Course group: why do we even have an ego (what this book refers to as the shadow) if the damned thing wreaks such havoc? In the introduction of this library book, I found this: “It is only by embracing our duality that we free ourselves of the behaviors that can potentially bring us down. If we don’t acknowledge all of who we are, we are guaranteed to be blindsided by the shadow effect.”
You have to own it before you can heal it.
So as I do these exercises I notice that. No judgment. No condemnation, just noticing.
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought about the presidential candidates. I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought about my finances I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought about disease.
Disease is always a hot spot. My husband has diabetes. My niece has lupus. My sister just had an operation on her hip. Thyroid issues run in the family. I’m allergic to shrimp (it is what triggers my trouble swallowing episodes I finally figured out!).
Disease is always the toughie because none of us sit down and decide we are going to invite in some dis-ease. It is a symptom. It is information. I think in some cases it’s a life contract, something we decided before we got here.
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of these thoughts about why diseases manifest.
I am not alone if experiencing the effects but that doesn’t mean that I need to feel bad or guilty about the thoughts. It means I need to embrace my humanity. It means I am being given an opportunity to see what needs healing. It means that I am calling for love; I can’t give it to myself if I’m mired in guilt for being as I am.
Choose again. Notice where you’re failing, girl, and choose again.
Returning to The Shadow Effect, Debbie Ford (one of the authors) says this: “If we fail to take responsibility and extract the wisdom that has been hidden beneath the surface of our conscious minds, the shadow will take charge, and instead of us being able to have control over it, the shadow winds up having control over us, triggering the shadow effect. Our dark side then starts making our decisions for us, stripping us of our right to make conscious choices whether it’s what food we will eat, how much money we will spend, or what addiction we will succumb to. Our shadow incites us to act out in ways we never imagined we could and to waste our vital energy on bad habits and repetitive behaviors. Our shadow keeps us from full self-expression, from speaking our truth, and from living an authentic life.”
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of these thoughts. Oh well. You are not alone in experiencing the effects of your thoughts. We are all in this together and we are here to help one another. It’s why we have community. It’s why we need family and friends – so if I forget to forgive myself, you can help me remember that I am already forgiven in God’s eyes.
Choose again. And then for God’s sake, let yourself off the hook. We are not alone in experiencing the effects of these thoughts. But that includes the good ones, too.
One loving thought can create a miracle, and after all we are studying A Course in Miracles.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.