Experience is a great teacher. How quickly one learns life’s lessons is up to us.
Last Sunday afternoon, immediately after the service, I joined friends for brunch at a local golf course. We had an umbrella but I chose the side of the table that had a mixture of sun and shade. I was really enjoying our conversation and the warmth of the sun on my back. Several times my friends asked if I was okay in that location. I did notice my left arm was getting a little warm, but I felt perfectly fine. So I stayed where I was.
Sunday night, I noticed that I was a little flushed, but determined that all was well. I didn’t even look at my back. Monday morning my step-aerobic friends asked about the sunburn that I had on my back. By then, I was starting to feel it.
For the rest of the week I felt it.
The funny thing is that I did a similar thing last year. It was a much cooler day and earlier in the season, but a friend and I sat outside in the bright spring sunshine and I got burned.
I have been here in southern California for 25 years and have had very little over-exposure to the sun. If I know I am going to the beach, or even out for a walk, I put on sunscreen and a sunhat.
So why didn’t i learn from my last experience?
I believe that both instances had a similar reason: I was enjoying the conversation and company so much, I put my common sense on the shelf.
I think that spiritually there is a similar reason when I misuse the law of mind. I get so involved in the situation I fail to remember that all thought is creative. And thought plus feeling equals faster results. An example that comes to mind is when I am first made aware of a healing that is calling to be revealed. For instance, someone I love is abandoned, or loses their job, or is diagnosed with a catastrophic illness, like many empathetic people, I feel for them. I relate to them. I can literally feel their pain in my body and emotions. (This is spiritually incorrect, but in relationships it is understandable.)
We want our friends and family to be empathetic, because empathy usually results in kindness and deep listening. Empathy helps us bond with each other. But on the other hand, it is absolutely imperative that as a practitioner I see any issues as an effect and remember that effects can be changed. I have been trained to see all disease and unhappiness and loss as effects. When I see life with God’s perfect vision, I am helping. When I worry, gossip or fret, I have added my emotion to the situation in a negative way.
The good news is that it is never too late to learn from our mistakes. It doesn’t matter if you slipped once or twice and it doesn’t make you a “bad” practitioner. It simply means that you had temporary amnesia about the spiritual truth. Next time when you hear discouraging news, hold the high ground, see the situation in God’s pure light.
Let’s practice together. I will wear sunscreen when I am going to be outside for the rest of the summer, and next spring I will remember that my skin is fair and tends to burn when exposed to direct sunlight. I will take appropriate action. Even more importantly, I will remember to see Good everywhere, in every situation. I will first do the work in consciousness then we are certain to see and experience a world that works for everyone.