Lesson 1 in A Course In Miracles states; Nothing I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] means anything.
For me the power of this lesson is to begin to acknowledge that without my own perception of things I cannot make something have meaning for me. I know that in the grand scheme of life none of us are separate from each-other, but that being said I still have formulated my own ideas of my world around me. So when I look at the chair in my bedroom for example, at first glance it reminds me of my Mom because it was hers, and if I ponder just that thought long enough it evokes many memories. Once I am on the trail of memories my mind can go into a painful grief filled roller coaster because my Momma just passed away. The chair now has meaning, memories, and grief attached to it all because I gave it that power. I can keep going on with the items that fill my bedroom, my house and so on, and soon I am just filled with emotions of every kind, which then starts to affect my physical body.
Staying in an emotional state of mind erodes my health and wellness. If I cannot get a handle on how I emotionally react to everything in my Universe I can spiral into a bad place physically, which actually is exactly what I have done. This lesson allowed me to see how I have a learned belief and behavior to emotionally react to my surroundings. My life has been revolving around my things, and I really saw how it worked when I started to watch a show on cable called "Hoarders". The people on this show who hoard cannot throw garbage away because of all the applied meaning they have assigned to each piece. I was enraged at these people, I wanted to go in to their homes tie them up and gag them and start throwing all the crap they stored in the garbage! What occurred to me was that none of us are separate from each-other, so I had to look at why I was emotionally reacting to these people on the t.v.
I am not a hoarder I am a neat freak but look at the similarity in this, where the hoarder was applying importance to the things they were collecting I am applying importance to the neatness of my coffee table. If the professional organizer was trying to talk to the hoarder about throwing away a broken hanger and the hoarder was flipping out, I saw where I flip out when someone disturbs the way I have an arrangement set up on a shelf. The hoarder and I have placed meaning to the items in our life, and it passes on to the location of the items, the condition and so on. Now this is not just about stuff, it isn't just me and the hoarder, upon closer inspection I see the addict the same whether it is street drugs or prescription, food, alcohol, sex, or whatever the addiction may be. No person on the planet is above addiction either so we are all affected to what we apply meaning to, and whether this meaning triggers an emotional response or not.
Picture a room big enough to hold 100 people and all their things, addictions, or anything that they have given meaning to, is all there together. Now all of the stuff is mixed up and the 100 people are sitting in chairs lined up against the wall across the room from the stuff. Since the stuff is all mixed up it is hard to spot what belongs to the individual. I sat imagining this for a bit, none of the other people's stuff gave me emotional reactions and soon my stuff just became a part of a pile. My stuff was gone but not like loss more like ambiguity, the emotional meaning of my stuff if any at that point was vague. Without the meaning, the addiction, and my stuff I am still here and still me, I saw I had not morphed into a different being, I had not died. By saying that the chair, the painting, the computer in my room for example means nothing does not devaluate the items it just allows me to hold on to the power that I given away when I assigned a meaning.
Written By Dawn, Wellness Educator
Picture by Vincent VanGogh