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One of the early lessons in A Course in Miracles is that we’re never upset for the reason we think. We’re actually upset because we’re believing something that’s not true.
One of the very first lessons of living the principles of nonviolence is learning how to keep one’s cool in the face of upset. Every master teacher that ever lived has reminded us to be cool in one way or another.
St. Abba Dorotheus, a sixth-century monk, explains it eloquently: “Over whatever you have to do, even if it be very urgent and demands great care, I would not have you argue or be agitated. For rest assured, everything you do, be it great or small, is but one-eighth of the problem, whereas to keep one’s state undisturbed even if thereby one should fail to accomplish the task, is the other seven-eighths. So if you are busy at some task and wish to do it perfectly, try to accomplish it–which, as I said would be one-eighth of the problem, and at the same time to preserve your state unharmed–which constitutes seven-eighths. If, however, in order to accomplish your task you would inevitably be carried away and harm yourself or another by arguing with him, you should not lose seven for the sake of preserving one-eighth.”
Set your intention now. Today, if you feel your cool slipping away and the urge to explode wells up in you, remember: I’m never upset for the reason I think. Keep your eye on the prize: Being loving. Today you can learn the one-eighth rule and in doing so substantially deepen your daily practice of living masterfully.