"What is meaningless is neither good nor bad. Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you? If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be. It is this you see in it. It is this that is meaningless in truth. Beneath your words is written the Word of God. The truth upsets you now, but when your words have been erased, you will see His. That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises."
I have been using the above quote from lesson 12 (ACIM) as a foundational teaching in circles and sessions lately. I have come to realize (yes, I am slow) that what we learned in the 1930's, and the last 5 or so years again, is that a repeated message, true or false, becomes true in the minds of the reader over time. The message I glean from the above quote is that I have to train the 'decision maker' to step up and recognize that the information coming from the ego will at all times be consistent with my core beliefs. Once that recognition is accepted I then have to learn to turn to the Loving Self, patiently waiting within, and ask: "Is there another way of seeing this?" I, the ego, has an immediate assessment ready but that information will never lead me to a peaceful approach to whatever seems to be happening.
When I use my definition of Love - joyful surrender to what Is - I am speaking to just that process: surrender to the interpretation the Self is at all times ready to provide. The reason that is inevitably a 'joyful surrender' is that the Self will always provide an interpretation that leads to healing. The meaning that the Self gives to whatever seems to be happening is always one that would make me "indescribably happy". There is something astonishing and enticing in those words: "indescribably happy". Who would not want that? Well, very few it turns out. The resistance to ignoring the ego's judgment is tenacious. The ego is the only thing 'I' (the ego) trusts, what a surprise.
There is also a strange reaction to the idea of being 'indescribably happy' and that is the ego invariably will say: "that would be boring" and then the old red herring of constant sunshine being boring is tossed on the table. "I like my feelings, just like I like the seasons." And, then, when asked: "If you had the choice to be gloriously happy right now, or stay in your current state of depression (or anxiety, or rage, or worry), a person will always answer that happiness would naturally be preferred, just not constantly. It re-boggles the pre-boggled mind.
Give yourself the discipline to practice the above paragraph, it will change the way you react to any potential upset and is a perfect adjunct to the Six Step Process. A wonderful New Year's resolution would be: "I am going to question everything I now believe to be true and I am going to ask the Guide within to help me see what IS True under all circumstances."
Diederik Wolsak is the Founder and Program Director of Choose Again and author of Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom.
Are you feeling stuck in unwanted patterns of emotions and behaviour?
Could it be that your coping skills are keeping you there?
There is a downside to coping. By facing emotions head on, rather than pushing them away you can become unstuck and actually thrive. I’m going to point to a transformative way of dealing with difficult emotions.
At this challenging time in human history we’ve all needed to fall back on our coping skills to get us through unusual circumstances such as lockdowns, zoom overload, or working from home without a dedicated office space. These situations have given rise to feelings of isolation, overwhelm, anxiety and countless others.
Coping is how we deescalate a situation or turn down the volume on unwanted emotions. Whether it is counting to ten to avoid bursting with anger, downing a glass of wine after a stressful day of working from home, or binging on Netflix to quiet anxiety over endless bad news, we have found ways to get by. The problem is that this is a temporary solution and the root cause of our emotional reactions has not been tackled. There is a downside to merely ‘coping’. The same emotions will keep coming up and the pattern is held in place.
There is a better way that will allow you to thrive rather than just survive. Our emotions can help us get to the root cause of our upsetting feelings and heal them there where it can actually produce lasting change. That’s where the Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom come in.
Here are the necessary steps (for the complete version see Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom by Diederik Wolsak):
Whenever we are experiencing an emotion (other than love, joy or peace), we can be considered to be upset. Our emotional reactions are driven by the negative beliefs that we formed about ourselves in early childhood events which we have experienced as being traumatic and these are stored in our systems. We can therefore feel our way back in our memories to find the initiating incidents and the beliefs about ourselves we made up as a result. It is not true that you are unlovable because you broke your grandmother’s favourite vase or didn’t win the spelling Bee. We can forgive ourselves for making up negative beliefs that were never true and remind ourselves of our Inherent Worth. Reassure yourself that nothing you do or say or did or said can change the truth of that. This realization frees us and changes our behavior patterns. You will find that you are no longer triggered to the same degree when your adverse childhood experience is reinterpreted in this way.
Coping skills by nature help us to avoid looking at root cause of emotional reactions. There is a time and place for them – they allow us to survive, but to thrive you can revisit painful emotions and use them to heal old limiting beliefs that you made up as young children. The Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom provides a proven path to calm and self-realization.
To recap, here are the steps:
Turn surviving into thriving in any situation by welcoming the emotions that coping skills downplay. By following emotions into memories (using the Six Steps to Freedom), you can go to the root cause of the discomfort that COVID-19, relationship problems, climate change, and other challenging situations seem to provoke in us. Practicing the Choose Again Six Step process regularly will lead to the ability to stay calm rather than needing to ‘cope’.
Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom by Diederik Wolsak RPC, MPCP
Choose Again online Circles
Mastering the Six Steps online course
Everything is a Neutral Fact
Lessons you can share with your kids or with your inner child.
By Anne Andrew
#1 Everything is a neutral fact
These are just facts:
There’s nothing inherently upsetting about these facts, but we may feel good or bad about them because of our thoughts about them. The good news is that we can change our thoughts – we are in control of our thoughts. That’s pretty good to know!
Facts have no emotion attached to them in and of themselves. However, we react to facts based on our beliefs (ideas) about ourselves. It is your thoughts that cause you to feel bad. So, if mom or dad yells at you, you are likely to be upset – not by the yelling itself, but by what you think it means about you.
It is just a fact that the person in front of you is going red in the face, looking angry and speaking at a higher volume than usual, but you are upset about this if you have a made-up idea about yourself that is being triggered.
The following made-up ideas would likely be triggered by this scenario:
I’m not safe
I’m not loveable
It is almost certain that you have all these beliefs and more. The reason is that you were a tiny being when you came into the world and you are looked after by big people who share these made-up ideas. It can be terrifying at times! It is important to know that these ideas are not true.
List your ‘triggers’ as statements of fact. So, for example, if you were upset by something your friend said to you or the reaction of your sister, or something you did that was clumsy, just
My sister laughed when I broke my favorite model airplane.
My friend called me stupid (or whatever it was).
I spilled juice on the carpet.
Now look at the list and see that when these are stated as facts they no longer have the same emotional charge.
Wanting things to be different than they are is painful. By stating facts, you now know that this thing happened. Wishing that it didn’t doesn’t help at all.
Actually, the fact that the trigger event happened can be a really good thing because if you have an emotional reaction to any event (or fact) you’ll know that you have an idea about yourself that isn’t true. You can learn how to find and fix those mistaken ideas. Eventually you may even be able to welcome triggers! We’ll work on that another time.
Anne Andrew is the author of What They Don’t Teach in Prenatal Class: The Key to Raising Trouble-Free Kids and Teens and teaches workshops for parents in person and online. You can find this blog and other teachings here:
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