Removing the obstacles to love's presence, post 3
As you know, the Course talks a lot about denial. My eyes were opened to my own need for healing when I discovered the depths of denial within me.
First, let me tell you a little about Regina Akers (as I let my mind see myself) before A Course in Miracles. I was successful. I was the director of a training department for a national company. When I became director, the team was in poor shape. They had a bad reputation within the company, their work was barely acceptable and often missed the mark completely, and they didn't get along with each other. I had my job cut out for me.
So, I took everything I knew and everything I felt through intuition and began to build a new team, from the bottom up. Within a year, our team was happy with themselves and we began to see a lot of respect for us within the company. People called on us for help, and then praised us to others so that they began to look and take notice. My team members began to win awards within the company. Within three years, we were winning national awards and being invited as experts to speak at national conferences. We went from the bottom to the top under my leadership, and everyone gave me the credit.
My personal life seemed to be going just as well. I had fulfilled my dream of adopting a Chinese daughter, and she was beautiful. We lived in the town I wanted to live in (most desired town in the Boston area) and my daughter went to the school I wanted her to go to (she had to win a lottery to get in to this particular school).
I really thought I had it made. I was happy. I was on top of my own world. This was me as I saw me when I started A Course in Miracles. Everything was great!
And then, the course comes along and starts talking about denial and repressed guilt and extreme unhappiness. I had no idea what it was talking about. I literally felt, "not me." I mean, that may be true of others, but not me!!!
However, I also gave my willingness to see differently if I was wrong. That was the little crack that the Holy Spirit needed to teach me.
After giving that willingness, I became acutely aware of how often I became annoyed. I became aware of varying degrees of annoyance from mild to outright internal rage. This was very uncomfortable. I began to see myself as a time bomb that might blow up in any second hurting any nearby innocent person, most likely my daughter. I noticed it more and more and more, and I didn't understand it at all. It was insane. It came out of nowhere. I became madly enraged over the tiniest things. I seemed to have no patience or love in me at all.
Then there was that first cool morning in October. I wanted my daughter to wear a coat to school. She didn't want to. We stood at the bus stop discussing it. I had her coat in my hand as I told her repeatedly that she needed to wear it. She continued to refuse. To the casual observer, there was probably nothing unusual going on at the bus stop that morning. We continued our conversation until she gave in and put on the coat. But to me, there was something very strong going on. I could feel it welling up inside of me. It was rage . . . loud and very ugly rage. I was infuriated at my daughter for not taking the coat and putting it on immediately.
I sat in my car before driving to work that morning and asked myself, "What just happened there?" And the Holy Spirit must have taken my hand, because we looked at it and discovered what I had been denying. Here's how we did it
I asked, "What was I upset about?"
Answer She wouldn't put on the coat.
I asked, "But why did that upset me?"
Answer She wasn't listening.
I asked, "But why did that upset me?"
Answer She wasn't obeying.
- - - - Now we were getting somewhere. The word "obey" implied I wanted control. - - -
I asked, "Why did I want her obedience?"
Answer What would others think of you if she shows up at school without a coat on this cool day?
- - - - Bingo! This wasn't about Jasmine or the weather or the coat. This was about trying to influence how others would see and think of me! - - - -
I asked, "Why am I afraid of what others will think of me?"
Answer You don't want them to discover what you have always tried to hide. You aren't as good as they are.
Oh my! Bingo again. Ding, ding, ding! There it was. I was enraged because I was trying desperately to cover up my own sense of unworthiness, and that disguise that was so important to me was threatened by my daughter's unwillingness to put on a coat on a cool October morning.
I was stunned into silence.
This began weeks and weeks of discovering just how deep this denial went. Annoyance after annoyance, no matter how far removed it seemed to be, could be traced back to my effort to hide my own unworthiness. I believed in my own unworthiness more than anything else. Hiding it was the driving force in my life. I hid it from me and everyone, but it was always, always there.
I came to discover that most of the major decisions I made in my life were made through this denial. I couldn't even guess what decisions I might have made if I had believed in myself. Who knows? I had never believed in myself, and so I had never made a single decision out of self-love. This went deep. Very, very deep. At the core of my being, I believed that everyone was better than me. I was the big loser in the world. Me.
But then a funny thing happened, I began to see that everyone else felt that way to. Person after person came into my office with problems and upsets of all kinds. No matter what it was, as I questioned them, we could trace it back within them to the same denial. They all thought that they were the big loser on earth.
Everyone . . . we were all hiding from the same belief. They weren't looking at me and thinking "loser." They were looking at themselves and thinking, "loser." And I thought they were fine. I saw no reason for them to look at themselves and feel that way. They were all perfectly fine. So, if they were OK and only imagining their own unworthiness, could it be that I am OK and only imagining mine?
That was the beginning of the end for me. After that, whenever I felt the feelings of unworthiness within me (& I did feel them, because they weren't denied anymore), I chose not to believe them. I chose to remember that unworthiness was just imagination and had no basis or foundation in truth. I let the feelings pass through without buying into them.
At first, the feelings were extremely intense. I felt strong, strong self-hatred, but I let it pass through. Then, after a month or two, the feelings weren't as intense. Now, a little wisp of unworthiness will pop up and I let it pass easily. I do not believe it about me, and I don't believe it about you. To me, it is nothing but a lie that we made up and believed about ourselves. It is in no way true.
This is why I can look at you and say, "I love you." It's because I have learned to love me by realizing that I am lovable. I am. And so are you.