This Week’s Q&A actually comes from a question and further discussion in our current “The Light Within” class. The question on resistance was on the practice of meditation.
In looking at the idea of resistance, this is what comes to mind to for me.
If we feel vehemently opposed on an idea, (the practice of meditation or the symbol of the “light”) or any idea, we have to remember it is a defense. After all it is just an idea. Why would it disturb our peace if it is only an idea? Yet, if we are disturbed we have not made this idea neutral. We have dug our heels in. We attack the other position (however subtly we may) and we defend strongly our own opinion. The more we defend our opposition, the more bricks are laid in the wall of separation. As Jesus tells us in Lesson 170:
You make what you defend against, and by your own defense against it is it real and inescapable. Lay down your arms, and only then do you perceive it false.
Only the ego would defend itself. Truth needs no defense.
This is resistance. We want to be aware of our resistance. The ego does not want us to learn this course! It opposes God so an idea that leads to God the ego will fight tooth and nail to oppose and will shout it loudly in your ear. It may even whisper it in your ear. The ego will keep us safe and comfortable in our old beliefs and patterns, and it will surely remind you of the safety it can provide. Yet, if we open our hearts and minds a little more we may begin to have a greater and more fulfilling experience. Our feelings and opinions can be so fixed, yet we do not see that they are based on nothing.
At our Wednesday class this week we spoke of the recent election. In the past some students admitted they would have been almost distraught because of the outcome. They wanted their candidate to win for if the other candidate won, all would be lost to hell in a hand basket. How do we really know? We only think we know because we have based the belief in the future outcome on the past and those opinions have created a safety net for us. In our class yesterday, one student shared how even though she didn’t care for the outcome of the election, how does she know it will not have a good outcome? How are we to know? We may not like a candidate but that candidate (or other person, etc.) still is the same as us, the Son of God. We are all still love. We can choose to see in that person the love. Everything and everybody presented to us is an opportunity for us to remember the truth. We may not like it, but it is true.
If I am opposed to someone, is it really their viewpoint? Their personality? The words they say or how they act? Is it I prefer to see the inequality (victim/victimizer/superior/inferior)? Or is it resistance to seeing us both as one? Is it resistance to even seeing myself as God created me?
Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something “outrageous,” do it [because] it does not matter. Refuse, and your opposition establishes that it does matter to you. It is only you, therefore, who have made the request outrageous, and every request of a brother is for you. Why would you insist in denying him?
The point in this passage I shared is not to just do what is asked randomly without thinking, but to look at the WHY in opposition and the WHY we insist otherwise.
We have to pay attention to our reactions, to be observant to what is said by another person, what we read, a situation or experience. If it’s not love, it is fear. Here is a beautiful gift in the moment if we choose to see it. Let me offer to you the Rules for Decision here to relate to this idea.
If we remember in the Rules for Decision (Chapter 30, Section I) we are asked to make no decisions by ourselves for if we do, our day will go off track. Of course first off we are to decide what type of day we want. So if I am disturbed by someone else’s opinion then there I am, I discover I am not at peace and certainly unhappy. I can always choose again by realizing I don’t like what I feel right here and now. I can decide to see the situation or myself or in this case the idea differently. I hope I have been wrong in my judgment and I am willing to have another way to see it. Then at the very end he tells us, “Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking?” I can never lose by seeing the other side. It is taking a step out of the well-worn groove we have made for ourselves in our mind and learning something new.
In the Rules, it is always about deciding for peace or conflict. It is not about decisions we make in the world, like what to eat for lunch. This course is a course in healing our mind and not a course in behavior. Jesus will not tell us how to behave in the world because in itself it does not matter. What matters is the content of our minds and our intention. When I approach the material in the Course what is in my mind? Is it fear or is it love? I can tell by my reaction.
Since this class is about meditation, if you find resistance to sitting for a meditation, to doing the practices as I have outlined them for each day, or to even journaling, ask yourself, “Why am I resistant?” It could be a list of reasons.
I can’t sit still.
I have monkey mind.
I have an expectation.
I don’t have experiences like others.
I just don’t want to do so.
I dislike writing.
I never receive anything from it.
I don’t agree with it.
I have said that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you to do it. But be certain that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other. Foolish requests are foolish merely because they conflict, since they always contain some element of specialness. Only the Holy Spirit recognizes foolish needs as well as real ones. And He will teach you how to meet both without losing either.
Now, stretch yourself a little, try and offer the little willingness to see a new perspective on it. Have Holy Spirit see it with you. He is there to show you what is true in everything you encounter. As I stated before, there is no one right way to meditate and there is no one right way to have a meditation experience. It is individualized and always perfect. However, if you do have resistance, ask yourself, “Can I really lose by trying to see this differently?” This you can use with anything in the world you find resistance. You don’t have to agree but you can at least give it a chance by seeing it with the Eyes of Christ.
If you find whatever it is not for you, then so be it. At least you had the opportunity to not remain close-minded. You opened your heart and mind and received a gift of peace in the process.
Rev. Deb Phelps