A quote from A Course in Miracles:
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 receive as I have asked.
When I first read the above quote, I was angry and wanted to throw the book into the garbage. I simply could not wrap my mind around the message that I asked for everything that has happened to me. How could I or anyone else be responsible for everything that happens to us?
Rather than throwing the book away, I decided to give this some thought. The Course has taught me that my ego doesn’t want me to see the truth. I knew my reaction to toss the Course, like all negative emotions, was from the ego.
I can’t stop the reactions, but I can choose what I will do with those reactions.
Being responsible for what I see means that I can choose how I see things. I can see an incident as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, imposing, or as a chance to create something positive and loving.
To choose the feelings I experience means that I have free will to embrace the negative emotions my ego offers, or choose to perceive any situation differently. Since I have a fear-based ego and a loved-based spirit, it is up to me to decide to which voice I would listen.
If my goal is to feel fearful and upset, I choose the voice of the ego. If my goal is to master my fearful reactions and embrace all events as opportunities to grow (self-love), then I ask the holy spirit to help me achieve that goal.
When I choose to perceive anything that is happening to me as an opportunity to share and receive love, that is what I will experience.
The Course in Miracles reminds us that we have been given free will and always have free will. We need not blame God for anything that happens. Life happens. Frightening and painful reactions are natural responses to those shocking events. But we always have the freedom to choose what to do with those reactions. We can clamp on to the fear and negativity, or we can open up to the inner-love of the holy spirit.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed hundreds of people who have had tragedy and were able to create many miraculous acts out of those events. Even people whose children have been murdered were able to forgive and go on to start organizations that bring awareness to a higher cause. Two alcoholics founded Alcoholics Anonymous, which has evolved into helping millions of people.
Unnatural disasters have brought strangers into loving unity and a new and better life.
Before A Course in Miracles, I did not like my life. I didn’t understand why I had a miserable childhood, addictions, breast cancer, divorces, and other misfortunes. I could say I didn’t cause these misfortunes, but if honest, I know that’s not the truth. I had a role in every single thing that happened in my adult life. I chose to put substances in my body that caused me to be addicted and sick. I decided all of my relationships. Maybe I even chose my birth family. There were no mistakes, no guilt; there were lessons I wanted to learn.
I learned how to forgive. I learned how to love.
As for natural disasters, I didn’t cause them, but I certainly chose where to live, how to prepare for misfortune, and my attitude about those events. Even now, when it seems a deadly illness and politics have taken over everything, we have the choice to see things through the eyes of fear or love. I can ride my reactions into heaven or hell. Once again, a free will reigns above all.
Regardless of the circumstances, once I chose to embrace misfortune for personal and spiritual growth, I became less attached to having things my way and more attached to growing through whatever life offers up. I then was able to see the biggest miracle of all; that my entire life had prepared me for a life of helping others.
The Course never says we have to do anything; it only teaches us to be willing. If we are willing to allow ourselves to see things differently, love will do the rest.
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Donna Marks is an educator and licensed psychotherapist and addictions counselor in Palm Beach, Florida. She has worked with over 6,000 clients. Donna’s struggle with addiction brought her to a worldwide search for healing. She became licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in 1987. In 1989, she earned a Doctorate Degree in Adult Education, then became Certified in Addictions, Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Hypnosis, and Sex Therapy. Donna developed an award-winning addiction training program at Palm Beach Community College. She co-owned an outpatient treatment program and is a consultant to treatment centers. Donna is the author of the multi award-winning, Exit the Maze-One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure, and created an online course for people who want to be cured of addiction. For 30 years, she has taught A Course in Miracles.
Donna is a public speaker and has shared her methods with hundreds of thousands of listeners on podcasts and radio shows.