Saturday, March 15, 2014

The State Of The World I See Reflects The State I’m In

I received many comments asking for more explanations of my use of the “attack” word in my last post [Msg-2-Mar-2014, “I Remember Then Forget To Remember”]. In my post last week, I describe the “reality” I think I know as being only the “… reflections of my memories of an image or illusion. When I am picturing the past or anticipating the future, my mind is actually blank, because it is not thinking. It is only remembering my memories of an illusion.
I wrote on, saying: “This reality scares the bejeezus out of me, which puts me in a state of fear, vulnerability, rationalization, defensiveness, justification, projection, or disbelief – tools I use to protect "my" world. When I use these "tools," I am feeling like a victim or a potential victim or a victor, all of which means that I'm in an attack mode!
“Attack thoughts come from me and at me. They are, however, one and the same. If I can get even, then someone else can get even with me. When I am angry with someone or something, there is always an element of "They caused me pain (attacked me) and that's why I'm angry (attacking them back)." Anger, Fear, Getting Even, Rationalization, Uneasiness, Vulnerability, Apprehension and Worry are all attack thoughts. Attacks coming at me are simply my thought of attack bouncing back at me.”
According to A Course in Miracles (ACIM), there are only two basic emotions: Love and Fear. Fear is the opposite of Love. Personally, I prefer to use the word Acceptance since I believe the word “Love” has become too overworked. Regardless, all attack thoughts or actions are fear-based, and they are all our projections.
Psychology has long understood the defense mechanism of projection. What we cannot abide in ourselves, we place “out there” and then blame or hate or abhor. We don’t feel comfortable with sex, for example, so we begin to “see” sex everywhere – everywhere, that is, but in us.  I remember a great example: This little old lady called the police to report a very lewd neighbor who, night after night at 8PM, would come in to bathe without closing the bathroom curtains. She found it disgusting and a wanton show of exhibitionism. The police came over one night at 8PM. She showed them her window, where they could see the man taking a bath. They could see his shoulders and head. “Ma’am, that’s not lewd behavior. We can only see his head.” “Well,” she answered, “You have to stand on my little box I put here.” That’s an attack.
I do my share of this over and over again. For example, I’m bigoted against bigots. I can spot a bigot a mile away. I focus on them. I read about their hateful attitudes and orchestrated actions. All of these thoughts are attack thoughts. I do not want to focus on my insides, namely, why I am so focused on them. What hatred’s hiding inside me?  It gets more complicated because our social norms seem to support my hatred of bigots as being “righteous.” But in reality it’s only my fearful hatred of people who fearfully hate. That’s all that’s going on and there’s not really much difference between the two. They hate and attack. I hate and attack them. Rather than dealing with my tendency to hate, I deal with all the hatred I think I see. It’s all a function of my ability to project – my ability to keep my focus off of me. It’s an attack.
When I find myself involved in other psychological defense mechanisms – like rationalization, justification, guilt, anger, self-pity, getting even, feelings of apprehension or worry – I am in some state of Fear. There is something inside me that I don’t want to deal with so I am making sure that feeling is projected outside of me so I can attack it as some form of “enemy.” In reality, I do not want to look at me.
I still feel guilty sometimes about the way my alcoholism interfered with my ability to be emotionally present for my children and interfered with my ability to make good, solid decisions concerning them. It still has the ability to sadden me greatly. When I’m in that place, however, I’ll find myself watching grown children relating to their alcoholic parents in ways I envy, These children have been able to accept and forgive their parents. I envy the parents and find myself irritated, thinking, “Why couldn’t my child do that? If he did that my life would be better. Oh! Woe is me.” When I get into that kind of mood (which happens less and less as I continue to grow) I begin to see a surrounding universe that seems to reinforce my image of my  “pitiful me.”  I see all the criticisms people make of each other. I see all the complaints, gripes, whines, and “dear me’s” that seem to explain why my (and their) life is so miserable. That’s what I’m feeling. That’s what I’m focusing on. That’s what I see coming back at me.
I have also experienced the opposite of this. When I focus on my “primary purpose” as a recovering alcoholic and maturing spiritual person, my universe physically alters. When I focus on being as honest as I can, sharing my good/bad and ugly/pretty experience, strength and hope with all, I see kindness. I see errors being corrected. I see people accepting others – or trying to – just as they are. I see very little complaining or whining or griping. I see very little anger or hatred.
What I feel and how I project that outwards, comes back to me. If I feel full of self-pity, I seem to see a pitiful, hopeless world. If I feel full of open, honest Oneness with others, I feel full of hope, trust, contentment, and unity.
I am getting more of the latter since I began sharing myself through these weekly messages.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#3 March, 2014
Copyright, 2014

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