Thursday, July 13, 2006

Don’t react to the temporary

I had another experience with my dad (wrote about him earlier this week) that taught me about personality, and this lesson I’ve applied in many many situations.

At one point in our relationship, those quirky tendencies of his really bothered me. Everybody has weird things that they do, I guess, and my dad’s assortment would just get under my skin. I loved him, but it was like fingernails on a chalkboard to be around him sometimes.

In my spiritual study I was learning to differentiate between what I saw with my eyes and heard with my ears, and what is genuine from a spiritual perspective. The sensory evidence about anyone is not the final word on them. Each person we deal with has a spiritual identity that is permanent and perfect. The human personality we perceive with the limited senses is not permanent—it is in fact temporary.

I spent some time with this thought in Science and Health: “What is termed material sense can report only a mortal temporary sense of things, whereas spiritual sense can bear witness only to Truth.” Basically, this meant I couldn’t trust my senses. Specifically, what my senses were telling me about my dad.

I remember having a sense of revelation one day about this whole issue. It suddenly struck me like a thunderbolt that all the things I objected to about Dad were temporary. None of that was a permanent part of his being. Spiritual sense confirmed that he is actually without fault, fearless, and whole. So why was I allowing myself to get into such a snit about something temporary?

In that moment, my relationship with my dad came into focus. Somehow I had become convinced that if only he would change, we could have harmony. Now I saw that it was my view of him that had to change. I realized I could stop reacting to his negative behaviors as if they were permanent, and I could start responding to his spiritual attributes, of which he had many but my irritation had blocked me from seeing.

Science and Health also says this: “Material man is made up of involuntary and voluntary error, of a negative right and a positive wrong, the latter calling itself right. Man's spiritual individuality is never wrong. It is the likeness of man's Maker. … Personality is not the individuality of man.”

So I went cold turkey. I adjusted how I looked at my dad, and found a wonderful man there waiting for me to see and appreciate. To me, now, it's like he's a whole different guy.

This tactic of refusing to let the temporary influence how I feel about people has kept me many times from rejecting others who I would have found irritating before this. I’m on the whole less irritable, thank goodness! Which I suppose was a temporary part of my personality that had to go.

Embrace the permanent spiritual likeness in those around you, and let the temporary be like water off a duck’s back. You may be surprised at who you’ll find looking back at you, for you’ll see the Divine more clearly.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 7/14/2006 10:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great article!! I found it especailly helpful for me this week.. I have a wonderful husband who is at times (many, my I add) very abrasive and irritating to me.I will take to heart your advice on not reacting to the temporary. It's an ongoing struggle, but certainly well worth the work!!

At 7/19/2006 12:06:00 PM, Blogger kindli said...

In the last few years my Father and I have had a somewhat strained relationship. During one particularly difficult time in the months during his health crisies (and several times in the months before my marriage) I found myself turning to S&H's Glossary and looking up the definition for Father which reads Eternal Life; the one Mind; the divine Principle, comonly called God. Across the page from are the definitions of God and Gods.

I found this really helped pull things back into perspective for me. We all have the same Divine source for our inspiration, and there is no disharmony in God's universe. We're all God's children, and we are all working to realize that.... even my somewhat difficult Dad.


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