“Put all your knowledge and assumptions aside and start fresh.”–Jed McKenna
Although my new book doesn’t start with the above epigraph, it could. It’s the perfect summary of what the Course in Miracles teaches. Start fresh. Let go of past beliefs. Release the ridiculous idea that just because something happened yesterday, it’s bound to happen again today.
We are literally blinded by our preconceptions, our damned fooled stubbornness that we know for certain that this is all we can expect from life, this is how this person’s gonna act.
Cognitive scientists tell us we develop perceptual shorthand that pre-processes everything we encounter. The upside is it keeps us from having to remember what size pants to buy. Or how to get to our favorite coffee shop.
The downside is it greatly limits what we’re able to see. Or rather what we don’t. We notice we’re looking at say, a dog or a sunrise or a chair and then we fill in the blanks with our stereotypes, our caricatures, the stuff we “already know” about dogs and sunrises and chairs.
We’re so used to seeing life in this way that we grow unwitting of its influence on our vision, on our way of being, on our regard for others. Particularly certain “others” who we coded a particular way in our cultural coloring book.
Doing the lessons in the Course opens our eyes, helps us see what Virginia Woolf called “a revelation of some order behind the daily wool of cotton life.”
Believe me, it’s extremely liberating when you start to realize life is SO MUCH MORE than you’ve believed it to be.
On another note, I’ve begun reviewing the applications for this year’s 222 Foundation grant. And wow! There are a lot of cool projects out there. Naturally, I want to fund every single one. I finally managed to narrow it down to 15 candidates, all of which I’ve contacted for more information.
One of the applicants sent this beautiful quote from Erich Fromm that seems like the perfect period for ending this post. Take it away, Erich Fromm.
“Man does not suffer so much from poverty today as he suffers from the fact that he has become a cog in a large machine, an automaton, that his life has become empty and lost its meaning.
“Giving is the highest expression of potency. In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This experience of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, hence as joyous. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.
“What does one person give to another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has, he gives of his life. This does not necessarily mean that he sacrifices his life for the other – but that he gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives him of his joy, of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness — of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other’s sense of aliveness by enhancing his own sense of aliveness. He does not give in order to receive; giving is in itself exquisite joy. But in giving he cannot help bringing something to life in the other person, and this which is brought to life reflects back to him.”
Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World).