Original logo of FIP, later adopted by the FACIM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am not the victim of the world I see.
–A Course in Miracles, Lesson 31
I am a student of A Course in Miracles. Sort of. Actually a relapsed student. While I agree with many of its points I still find that some are hard to take in. Fortunately there is no requirement that I have to accept everything verbatim. The Course is really about trying on new ideas and new ways of interacting with ourselves and others. It is a kind of spiritual psychotherapy.
The central theme of the book is summed up as follows:
“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
So what does that mean? It means that the only thing that is real is God’s love. Period. Anything that does not come from God is a form of attack upon ourselves and others. The aim of A Course in Miracles is to learn how to get rid of our psychological blocks to God’s love and to release ourselves and others through forgiveness. Forgiveness of others is defined as learning to recognize their innate innocence as Sons and Daughters of God. Whatever “evil” they have done is due to their psychological separation from God and His love. This applies to us as well.
Although I find the Course intriguing, I will confess that I find it hard to understand because of its’ very intellectual format. However there are many books and websites commentaries that I have found very helpful as far as understanding the concepts and how to apply them to my life.
One of them is ACIM Mentor. Here he answers a question about victimhood:
“The personal thought system (ego) in your mind has a story for you. A Course in Miracles refers to this as your individual or personal past…This is your “personal story” and it is not an obstacle to peace in itself but functions as one when you identify with and are attached to it because it is not reality.”
What better way to describe my turbulent emotions I experience with my depressive disorder? And also the fact that I frequently flash back to the emotional abuse that I experienced as a child? And what about the pervasive guilt that tells me that I am no good, that I am a mistake and no one would want to be around me?
“You know that you identify with and are attached to a personal story when you feel that it defines you and that you have to defend it.”
Yes I do identify with my bipolar disorder. It is a part of my story. However I am not sure that all of my problems are due to this insidious disease. It is too simplistic to say that every problem I experience is completely out of my control and that I cannot make changes to make my journey easier. Plus there is more to me than just having bipolar disorder. I am not a disease. I am a child of God.
“When you identify with it you feel under attack by others, the world, and sometimes even your own “nature”. In other words, you are an innocent “victim” surrounded by cruelty and you are powerless. You are hurt easily and you take everything personally. You see everything that happens around you, like neutral events and other people’s actions and words, as being about you.”
Guilty as charged.
“Some roles, like “victim”, are interpretations that always function as obstacles to peace because they are the result of you projecting your own thoughts onto others. The personal thought system projects from its personal story into the present to perpetuate the roles that it has assigned to you. For example, let’s say that your personal story is that your father left your family when you were a child, leaving your mother to struggle to support you and your siblings. You have grown up thinking of yourself as a victim of abandonment. You view your relationships with others through this filter. You expect abandonment and interpret others’ actions through this expectation. You may also be attracted to others who are likely to abandon you so that you can perpetuate the victim role.”
In my own life the story has been about feeling abandoned by my mother because of her harsh judgments on me. I have been reenacting that scenario with my sister and brother-in-law for years.
“Inner peace is the result of being aware of the Truth (God) within you. When you first invite Truth into your awareness you experience a magnificent peace, but you soon find that it is hard for you to maintain an awareness of Truth and to stay at peace. The reason is your belief in and attachment to your personal story for yourself.”
Perhaps this is one reason why I have been sporadic in my studies of A Course in Miracles. It seems too hard for me to change. However, the Course is not about instant change. It is about gradually learning to see ouselves in a different way.
“So when your peace is disturbed you must look at this story and all of your conscious and unconscious beliefs in and attachment to it so that you can recognize how this affects you now. As the Truth becomes more real to you, you will find that you can let go of this story because you have Something with which to replace it. In time you will simply rest in Truth within and let the personal story unfold in front of you, without judgment on it or attachment to it. You will recognize that it is not you, but only an idea in your mind.”
Read the entire post here.