When some regrettable or unfortunate event comes our way, we often ask why. Why did this happen? Or perhaps even Why me?
We may even turn to who. Who did this? Who is responsible?
And depending on the severity, a what comes top of mind. As in, what the hell? or perhaps an even more aggressive turn of the phrase.
Consideration frequently turns to if only. If only I hadn’t done that. If only such and such had occurred.
What we don’t realize is that every one of our questions or expressive lamentations represents some form of judgment regarding what transpired.
Yet rarely do we consider the one question that can make all the difference.
Rather than focusing our attention, energy, and judgment on what happened, we can instead look at our reaction and ask this most important question: What is it for?
But this is not a question relating to the incident. It’s not an exploration into the reasoning behind an occurrence. Rather, it’s asking that question of our response. What is our reaction for?
And what we discover is that our reaction is always a means of fulfilling the ego’s goal of perpetuating victimization.
If we feel guilt, then we are the victimizer. If we feel sadness or anger, then we are clearly a victim.
By asking what our negative emotions are for, we open a tiny gap in our judgment. And in that space is the opportunity to recognize that we give every situation all the meaning it has for us.
As we read in A Course in Miracles regarding the meaning we ascribe to our reactions:
Only two purposes are possible. And one is sin, the other holiness. Nothing is in between, and which you choose determines what you see. (T-20.VIII.9)
We always have a choice. A choice to either give the situation a meaning of “bad-ness” - why me, if only, what the hell.
Or to contemplate a completely different meaning: I could see peace instead of this.
While we have little control over events and circumstances, we have complete authority and command over our reaction to the occurrences.
In our ability to ask “What is it for?” regarding our reaction lies all our freedom.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll explore our ego’s habituated response to phenomena and how we can practice a form of internal questioning that leads to much greater peace. I look forward to seeing you then.