In the beginning, there was perfect happiness. Sometimes this state is referred to metaphorically as the Garden of Eden, but it’s really a state of mind that’s pure bliss. Ecstasy! No judgments, sadness, anger, or sickness existed...only love.
Then arose a very silly thought: “Is there something else?” That was the beginning of doubt, and as the Course suggests, “No one has been sure of anything since” (ACIM, ch. 3, section V).
Exactly when did this mistaken thought occur? The answer is: just a moment ago.
It’s happened countless times before, but the only time that counts is the most recent one because the only time that matters is now.
What Are You Thinking Now?
We are constantly thinking that we are separate from God, removing ourselves from the love that is our true nature. That’s why we remain in such a painful world. How long we’ve been there is really beside the point.
If you want to live your happy instead of being trapped in a world of separation, you have to understand that you’ve created all the big deals that keep you in a separated state. Here are just a few of the typical, familiar big deals:
“I can’t afford my taxes.”
“Modern politics are ruining the country.”
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“The system is rigged against me.”
“I have to go to court.”
“He didn’t text me!”
“I didn’t get the job.”
“I lost my driver’s license.”
You believe such problems are real, buying into them and giving away your power. It appears that something is happening outside yourself, and you worry about it day in and day out, even lose sleep over it.
You may be thinking: But my problems are really happening! I have to deal with them. They exist!
I used to feel that way, too, until I began to look past the form of things and see the bigger picture. Gradually, I became aware that if I kept believing in the form of all my problems, I was going to keep losing my peace and never get it back.
The Good News Is...
The good news is that even though it seems that we have separated from God, we are still with God and in God. Our Father holds us in such high regard that he would never ever make this sick, sad, depressing world real for us. You might consider it God’s will that we must suffer in order to learn and grow, but is this what a truly loving parent would do?
According to the Course, God is not some faraway divine person who sits in judgment of us and doles out punishments or rewards. God is simply the capacity for perfect love that is always within each of us. Forgetting God means forgetting who we really are.
Forgetting ourselves means looking at the world through the eyes of fear, when we have the choice of looking through the eyes of love. Looking out with fear is very common, but it’s not compulsory!
The Solution to Our Problems
The way to solve problems begins with understanding where they are not. Our problems are not “out there” in the world; they are in our mind. When we believe our problems are out there, they will rapidly grow in number and intensity until it feels like we are living in hell.
Hell is not some awful place where God sends people for being bad; hell is unhappiness, right where we are right now. The simple fact is that we create all of our own experiences, and we can start creating better ones right now. To live our happy, we have to face all our big deals and forgive them. In other words, we let go of all the crap we keep telling ourselves.
For instance, in 2009, four years after I got married, I became a divorce statistic. At the beginning, I felt a lot of loss and sadness, and I did not deny those feelings. I let myself cry, vent, and even scream! The same year, I began my studies at Pathways of Light, where I went to heal my pain about my lost marriage. The Pathways material helped me deal more effectively with my feelings by teaching me to give them over to my inner guidance.
Pathways and the Course eventually got me unhooked from thinking, Oh, this is such a big deal — I am getting a divorce, and my life is over! I began to release the big deal through accepting what I felt, and then giving all of it over to something bigger: God.
I couldn’t heal all by myself; I needed inside help. That help enabled me to avoid self-destructive thinking, such as: Something is wrong with me because I am about to get divorced.
Shift in Perception
The Course defines a miracle as a “shift in perception,” meaning that we choose to see things in a different way. Once I had allowed myself to feel the initial pain of my divorce, I was able to make some choices about how to see it. These “shifts in perception” included the following:
I chose to see how much I grew in the relationship, how it made me both more humble and more confident.
I chose to see how it taught me what true team-work is.
I chose to see that loving my husband meant being willing to let him go to find his happiness (and then I could, too).
I chose to see that we both became better people because of our marriage.
I chose to appreciate that now we have the ability to extend more love to the world because of our growth together.
Finally, the most beautiful gift of my “big deal” divorce was that it brought me to find my purpose. Seeking healing after my divorce led me to Pathways, where I began studying to become a minister — which was definitely not in my life plan before I married!
One Of The Great Lessons Of My Life
This is how I learned one of the great lessons of my spiritual life: Extraordinary gifts can be hidden in events that appear to be hard or ugly.
To look for a miracle means facing those dark places in yourself where you still need to heal. Then you can learn to let go of the barriers that keep you from recognizing the love that you are — that is, God within. This means recognizing the “divine order” in even the most difficult challenges of your life. You have to allow for a miraculous shift in perception to see that order, so you can live your happy!
Here’s a lesser “big deal” that still taught me something valuable. I once received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service informing me that my corporate taxes were late and that a penalty would be assessed. If I refused or didn’t meet the deadline, I was threatened with fines, garnishing of my bank account, even jail. Yikes! I was ready to freak out, but by this time I had some practice in not allowing big deals to upset me.
Instead of buying into all the threats and reacting with fear, I simply sat down and wrote a calm, factual letter to the IRS explaining that I was not aware of the filing deadline, as my accountant had not alerted me that it was earlier than my personal filing. Then I dropped worrying about it.
Within a couple of months I received a letter notifying me that the penalty would not be assessed on a first-time offense. Because I didn’t fall for my own fears, the IRS suddenly turned nice!
Please note: The key is to be happy no matter the outcome. If I had received opposite news from the IRS, I would have reminded myself that the real problem was within, and then let go of thinking it was such a big deal. Then I could have dealt with whatever I needed to do in joy.
In short, there is a way to keep doing the happy dance no matter what happens....Rumbaaa lalala rumbaaa!
©2017 by Maria Felipe. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.
www.newworldlibrary.com or 800-972-6657 ext. 52.
About the Author
Rev. Maria Felipe, a Cuban American born in Miami, found success as a model and actress before following a spiritual path that led her to study A Course in Miracles. She became an ordained minister at Pathways of Light and now leads monthly services in both Spanish and English at Unity Church in Burbank, California. Visit her website at MariaFelipe.org