"I do not perceive my own best interests."
PRACTICE SUMMARYExercise: 5 times, for 2 minutes or so.
With eyes closed, search your mind for unresolved situations about which you are concerned. For each situation, try to carefully and honestly uncover the various outcomes you want. Say: "In the situation involving______, I would like______to happen, and______to happen," etc. After uncovering as many hoped for outcomes as possible, say: "I do not perceive my own best interests in this situation." And go on to the next situation.
Remarks: These exercises require more honesty than you are used to giving. Covering a few subjects honestly and carefully is better than covering many in a cursory fashion. If done properly, you will realize that in each situation you have many contradictory goals which cannot all be met.
COMMENTARYOur actions in any situation are determined by our perception of the situation, and as we have been seeing for the last 23 lessons, our perceptions are, to put it mildly, unreliable. The lesson says it more bluntly: our perceptions are "wrong." There is no way, then, that we can possibly know what our own best interests are in any situation.
The exercises for today are designed to bring four things to our attention (Paragraph 6):
- We are making a large number of demands on the situation that have nothing to do with it.
- Many of our goals are contradictory.
- We have no unified outcome in mind.
- We must be disappointed in regard to some of our goals no matter what the outcome is.
The more I have worked with the Course the more I realize that this is not just a beginning lesson; it is something that applies to nearly every situation I get into. I am constantly reminding myself that I don't know what my own best interests are in one situation after another. I find it most important to do so when things seem to be relatively clear, when I think I do know what I want and need. If I think I know my best interests, I cannot be taught what they really are. The best mental state I can maintain, then, is, "I don't know."
I can acknowledge my preferences, I can admit that I think I would like certain things to happen, but I need to learn to add, "I`m not certain this is the best." If I pray for something, I can add, "Let X happen, or something better." I remain open-minded, ready to accept that what I think about the situation may not cover all the bases, and probably does not. That is the intent behind today's idea: to open our minds to the possibility that we may not know, and may need assistance.
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