Life seems to present us with a never-ending series of hurdles, issues, difficulties and out-and-out disasters, does it not? Well, actually, no! There is nothing that happens to us that cannot be seen, once we change our minds, to hold a gift or a miracle within it.
The ego and the Holy Spirit, mutually exclusive, are two parts of our minds. The ego is not a malevolent being; it is merely a belief we hold. To the ego, there are problems. To the Holy Spirit, there are no problems – only opportunities. It is up to us to decide which we listen to.
Everything that happens in my life happens for a purpose. I can choose the purpose. I can choose it to serve the ego’s purpose – to keep me stuck, in pain and turmoil – or I can use what happens for the Holy Spirit’s purpose, as an opportunity for learning and growth.
For example, I recently taught a workshop in Norway. Having established all the details several months in advance, I was all set to go. Two days before my departure, I learned that my co-facilitator and I would receive only a small fraction of the pay we had expected. Unbeknownst to me, a residential retreat weekend had been arranged; the participants provided with two nights’ lodging and two days’ meals – paid for out of the workshop fee. My co-facilitator and I would, consequently, be paid only what was left. In effect, we would be paying for participants’ board and lodging out of our pockets.
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I was shocked, angry, disappointed and bewildered in equal measure. When I told the Norwegian promoter how I was feeling, she asked if I wanted to cancel the weekend. Without hesitation, I replied that we would be there and that I was sure it would work out. I was determined to see this differently and to accept it regardless – but I felt sick.
It turned out that the retreat centre was beautiful, located amongst wooded hills 100 miles southwest of Oslo. It had been snowing and the setting was idyllic. The group of 14 participants was delightful, the food provided was wonderful, and the workshop was a great success. I had an excellent weekend. It was a gift.
On the Sunday night following the workshop, the promoter invited my co-facilitator and me into her stunning home, where we stayed for two days. That night I sat with her to discuss the issue that had arisen. Even though I considered the weekend a gift, I hadn’t yet forgiven the mix-up and lack of communication. We both shared how we felt about the events five days earlier. As I heard her speak of how ashamed she felt and how much she believed she had failed by not informing me what was being planned and how it would affect us, my heart went out to her. Suddenly, I felt nothing but warmth, empathy and closeness to her. It was a beautiful moment of joining – my second gift.
I could have chosen to see the situation as a problem, even as a disaster, and closed myself to the miracles and healing opportunities available. I am grateful that I chose to see it differently, receiving the gifts that were the inevitable result of changing my mind.
Perhaps we can begin to welcome problems for what they truly offer us, opportunities to let go, to forgive, love, and remember the truth.
Ian Patrick is Manager/Coordinator of Miracle Network, publisher of “Miracle Worker” magazine, serving students of A Course in Miracles in the UK since 1994.
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