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“Throw roses into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.” ~ Nietzsche
How do we attain a permanent state of gratitude? Is it even desirable? A Course in Miracles says: “Love is the way I walk in gratitude”. (W-195)
Today we are bludgeoned by fearful thoughts, horrid images, devastating information all pointing to the ‘monster’, Covid19. Nietzsche, not readily recognized as a diligent Course student, suggests we throw roses at the monster in gratitude for not ”swallowing me alive”. How is the Coronavirus swallowing people alive? No, not because so many have died and so many more will die, no, we are being swallowed up by fear. Fear is the opposite of Love.
Fear is the monster, not the virus.
How to undo that fear? Isn’t that what being alive is all about? Isn’t that what the essence of the Course is all about?
Now, the challenge is to work my process from where I am at right now. It does not serve me to spout platitudes such as: “What are you worried about, you’re not a body?” or any variety thereof. If, and only IF, that is truly my experience I will probably not be saying anything like that and anyone would immediately see that I Know. If that is not my experience (and rest assured I am not alone, you and I are one of the 99.99%), I have to be brutally honest with myself and be open to feeling the fear. Feeling the fear is essential in my process of undoing it, but only if I do not at the same time explain why I am afraid. In other words, in order to find the belief that has chosen ‘fear’ I must be willing to sit in that fear and ask what it is teaching me about me. Not about Covid19, not about what might happen to my body, not about the possible collapse of the world economy, no, that fear is giving me a message about the little ‘s’ self I invented. As such this ‘fear’ is a huge gift. Once I am willing to receive that message without a desire to mask it, without giving in to the impulse to cover it up, without becoming a ‘bliss ninny’ through denial, then I am finally ready to discover a part of the ‘self’ I made up and then, and only then, am I ready to practice true forgiveness.
True forgiveness has nothing to do with what I may have done or what I think you did to me, no, true forgiveness is simply a recognition of the fact that what I made up about myself is a mistake. A mistake calls for correction not punishment. Brent Haskell states with such clarity: “Forgiveness is just the awareness, beyond your thoughts, of the meaninglessness of all that seems to cause you pain.” Am I willing to look at everything, all the threats the Coronavirus seems to bring, all anticipated suffering, and know in my deepest being that everything the virus has stirred up is ‘meaningless’?
What we are witnessing in the world the last few months is the idea of punishment taking flight. If I am not willing to see the Coronavirus as a gift, then I have no choice but to see it as punishment. Is that a familiar reaction? Do I habitually react to whatever happens in my life that brings discomfort as if it is punishment? Who do we punish? Guilty ones. Why do I perceive myself as punished? Because I am totally addicted to my identity as both guilty and victim. ACIM says: “The witnesses to sin all stand within one little space. And it is here you find the cause of your perspective on the world. Once you were unaware of what the cause of everything the world appeared to thrust upon you, uninvited and unasked, must really be. Of one thing you were sure: Of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them. Nor did you in any way request them for yourself. This is how all illusions came about. The one who makes them does not see himself as making them, and their reality does not depend on him. Whatever cause they have is something quite apart from him, and what he sees is separate from his mind. He cannot doubt his dreams’ reality, because he does not see the part he plays in making them and making them seem real.”(T-27.VII.7)
So, now can you see how Covid19 is exquisitely designed to help you recognize the real ‘monster’: the guilty, miserable little ‘self’ I invented, a ‘self’ I defend at all cost, a ‘self’ I protect even unto death. So, now can you see how all the suffering, all the misery, all the loss you think you see and experience is nothing other than the symptoms you have called forth of an imaginary guilt.
Now is the time to finally learn (and integrate) the most beneficial of all questions: “What is this for?”
Inherent in that question is the rock-solid faith that everything has always been and will always be for the best. Yes, agreed, that is a faith based position and cannot be ‘proven’ to the satisfaction of my ego. If I want to get an inkling of what it would be like to live with that faith, I can ask myself: “How would it feel if this were True? How would it feel if everything has always been FOR me?”
ACIM (T-17.VI.6:1-7) “The goal of truth requires faith. Faith is implicit in the acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and this faith is all-inclusive. Where the goal of truth is set, there faith must be. The Holy Spirit sees the situation as a whole. The goal establishes the fact that everyone involved in it will play his part in its accomplishment. This is inevitable. No- one will fail in anything.”
The section from Chapter 17, Section VI of ACIM called “Setting the goal” teaches me that we can be at peace regardless of what the situation is. That is radical teaching. I can choose to be at peace. I can choose to be at peace and know that peace is an inside job. I can choose to be at peace even though my entire world is teetering on the brink of irrevocable change.
“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” (T-I.2). If ever there was a time that I needed to embrace that teaching, that I needed to surrender to that radical concept, this is it.
And, ultimately, it does not matter what brings me peace of mind, whether it is the brilliant, psycho-spiritual teaching of A Course in Miracles or simply resting, sitting with my back to a magnificent Fir Tree. If I am truly at peace at this time of universal, Corona driven fear, I have remembered the Self and surrendered.
Diederik Wolsak is the founder and program director of the Choose Again Attitudinal Healing Center. He is the lead facilitator of both the Vancouver and Costa Rica arms of the organization. He is an international workshop leader, public speaker and relationship counselor with years of experience in group facilitation.
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