Friday, August 8, 2014

Dealing With Felix – My Illusionary Me

I am currently trying to use some techniques I first learned in AA to help move me along in my overall awareness of the “real” me – my already-loved eternal spirit called Donnie. Last week I discussed a little bit of having a “higher” and “lower” mind. Although that concept has seemed to work for me for quite a while now, it has gotten to become more and more confusing inside my head. That’s not been helpful.
So, I’m trying something different. I’m trying another approach.
In AA I was taught to do certain things to move my sobriety along. Old-timers would tell me: “If you want what we have, do what we do.” “How do I do that?” I’d ask. “You guys do that because you’ve been at this for a long time. I haven’t.” Their response? “Fake it ‘til you make it.” or “Don, please remember – you don’t think yourself into a new way of living, you live yourself into a new way of thinking.”
I’d scratch my head. “Okay – I think.” They’d laugh.
Well, it worked. I practiced saying or doing what they told me to say or do when I was confronted with anger, or resentment, or disappointment, or fear. I didn’t have to believe it – but I did have to do it. In other words, I faked it. I began behaving “as if....” Slowly, over time (shorter for some issues and longer for others), I was changing and so was my thinking. What had started as deliberate, forced/faked actions had become a new normal for me.
My life, words, actions, and thoughts had changed somewhere along the way. There was no specific time I could point to and say, ”Aha! See, my outlook just changed. My perception just shifted. Wow!” That never happened – at least to me. It did happen, of course, but not in a way that I recognized it while it was happening.
Nevertheless, as I looked backed on my journey to sobriety, I realized the changes that had occurred were truly amazing.
So, I’m using that same approach now with my growth in A Course in Miracles (ACIM). At issue for me is a difficulty in distinguishing the difference between my ego thoughts and my higher thoughts. My ego – like alcohol – can be very cunning, baffling and powerful. The net result? I continue to get fooled – but who is the “I” in this sentence?
In order to help myself, I have decided to name my ego. This helps me distinguish or objectify what’s going on inside me. Rather than saying to myself: “My ego is up in arms – ready to attack.” I now say “Felix, you’re acting out again.” Yes – Felix is the name I’ve given to my ego – which doesn’t really exist, whose perceptions also don’t exist, but whose cunning has fooled me for a long time into thinking, believing, saying, and acting as if its perceptions were very, very real.
ACIM, however, tells me Felix is not really real. But I’ve listened to him for so long that to ignore him feels very, very unreal. I believe that’s a good sign.
I (not Felix) am trying to look at everyone I meet with deliberate and conscious attentive listening, with love, with a surrounding white light, with the thought: “Inside you there is another me.” ACIM tells me that when I do this, the Holy Spirit will take over and things will change. However, that’s not my job. The outcome will be whatever He wants – not what Felix expects.
To do this as best I can and as often as I can requires only that I make a choice dozens of times (or more) each day. If I stray and begin mentally criticizing the person, I am not “sinning,” or being weak and bad, or any other negative judgment I can hurl at myself. I have simply started to listen to Felix or the other person’s Felix, instead of allowing my TRUE me to focus on the TRUE person in front of me. I can simply remake the decision and start actively listening again. I do this, however, not by engaging Felix and telling him to go away, but by simply ignoring Felix by stilling my mind – allowing Felix to “play, snort, holler, do jumping jacks, critique the other’s Felix, or whatever” in the background, while I refocus my attention. 
I realize this sounds awkward and tedious. And sometime it feels that way.
However, I do believe that making a conscious effort to see the Christ in others, which the Course tells me is really seeing the Christ in my True Self, can become a new normal for me over time. As I mentioned last week, as I listen to other alcoholics share of themselves, I always can see a little piece of me in each of their stories. After a quarter of a century of experiencing this in AA, I am seeing little bits of me in virtually everyone I meet. Now, I’m trying to build on that positive experience.
But when I use this new-to-me approach now, I will admit it makes me feel strange, or a little phony, or a little shallow. I felt the same way early in my AA Program. So be it. It’s a start. I’ll fake it ‘til I make it. Since my Higher Power helped my desire to drink disappear and has helped me see bits of my True Self in you, I’ll continue to live myself into a new way of thinking – distinguishing Felix from my True Self.
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.
#2 August 2014

Copyright, 2014

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