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One of the things that keep coming up for the past few months is the patterns in the mind around punishment. We recently did the 5 Day Challenge to End Self Sabotage (we’re doing it again starting on Saturday) and most of us who engage in self-sabotage and self-medication have an awareness that there’s an aspect to it that feels like self-punishment.
Medicating with food, alcohol, sex, TV, anything that leaves us feeling hungover, helpless, worthless or ashamed feels like punishment on some level.
The ego thought system has an ugly thread of punishment all the way through it. And even the most dedicated spiritual students aren’t aware of it.
For instance, do you look at the political or cultural scene and see folks who are acting out in ways that seem mercenary, egotistical, and unconscionable? And when we think of them, do we think they should be punished? I notice that it seems almost like a knee-jerk reaction.
A Course in Miracles calls for correction rather than punishment.
That’s the loving and compassionate way, but it’s definitely not the ego’s way.
If we see someone doing something that we label as wrong or bad, then we actively want to see them be punished. Very often, the thought of supporting them to see the effects of their choices, to practice true forgiveness and to help them discover why their choices were hurtful or destructive in order to redeem them on a spiritual level – these things are not practiced much in our culture and society.
They also aren’t practiced much in our families. Or, with ourselves.
For me, it’s been so helpful and so life-changing and relationship-changing to ELIMINATE the need to punish anyone who has behaved in an unkind or unloving way. Instead of getting angry and upset and telling people how I don’t like what they’ve done and blaming them for how I feel, I’ve been practicing taking responsibility and extending compassion.
In making this shift, I’ve really had to retrain and relearn, but thanks to the Higher Holy Spirit Self, it’s been miraculous and easier than I could ever have imagined – of course, having a true willingness makes the difference.
It also helps to be vigilant.
I woke up this morning thinking about the Responsibility For Sight section in the A Course in Miracles Text, it begins like this, “This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you.”
I remember reading that for the first time and thinking, “WOW!! THANK YOU!”
It goes on to say, “Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:” And that was another OMG, Here it comes! And then, here is what we are to say:
“I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for and receives as I have asked. Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.” T-21.II.2.
My shorthand for this became:
I am responsible for what I see,
And everything is just as I wish it to be.
I’ve said that to myself thousands of times and it’s helped me to snap out of the delusion of the illusion an into the power of loving choices. That’s no small thing.
If we’re not taking responsibility, we’re probably to blame, and then we’re the victim. The victim always believes in punishment. Some people who believe they are a victim are convinced, deep down, that they are being punished for their sins.
We can put an end to all this stinking thinking. That’s what my life and work are about, helping myself to unwrap these gnarly patterns as quickly and easily as possible by truly LIVING A Course in Miracles and then sharing what I’m learning to support others.
Many believe that the pains they experience in this world are the punishment for their sins. If we believe that, it’s because of the unconscious guilt we’re all undoing.
Sometimes I think the greatest sin that ever was is the idea that God was a being or a system that would punish us. I’ve come to see that all punishment is self-inflicted even when it seems as though it’s coming from outside.
I used to feel punished and as I eliminate the wish to punish anyone, the feeling of being punished has dissolved and resolved.
I cannot wish to punish someone else and not feel punished myself, because there is only one of us here. There’s no way out of experiencing what we project. There just isn’t.
However, we can heal the habit of projection and self-punishment.
We ARE healing it. And that’s such a good thing!
We’re walking the talk, we’re living the Love and we’re rising above!
Masterful Living starts TOMORROW, MONDAY, January 25th. You can jump into my year-long Masterful Living program right now. We’ve still got BONUS options. You can talk with a spiritual counselor to see if it’s right for you right now. There’s no charge.
TODAY, you can join me for our Sundays With Spirit celebration. I’ll be giving the talk this week. We’re coming together to share our inspiration in many ways. We’ll have a spiritual celebration together with message and music – we call it Sundays With Spirit. Please invite your family! If you can’t join us, you can catch the replay! Because we’re going to be live on Zoom, you’ll have to register to get the details. All are welcome, there’s no charge, but you do have to register unless you’ve already registered in the past.