Willard explores A Lesson From A Course In Miracles that discusses the idea that we ultimately choose what meaning to attach to each experience that we have. By understanding that we are ultimately deciding what an experience means, we open ourselves to options. There is always more than one perception, and always more than one possible meaning to every experience.
Today we're going to take a look at a lesson from "A Course in Miracles " and the lesson is, “The only meaning that anything has, is the meaning that WE give it."
As I became more self-aware, one of the fascinating things I learned about human behavior and psychology, and one of the greatest gifts that ended up giving me a freedom I never before imagined, is that we are the ones that attach meaning to the experiences in our lives. More specifically, it’s not what happens to us, but it’s how we view it, how we perceive it and ultimately, the meaning we attach to it. We're going to explore this topic today, and if you feel inspired to get into the subject at length, I suggest reading the book A Course In Miracles.
As an example, some of you are aware from other episodes that I lost my leg when I was eight years old to bone cancer. Being a young child and having a very limited perception of the world, I attached a very specific meaning to that experience. The meaning was partially self-generated, but as is often the case, it was majorly influenced by other people's "meaning". I was influenced by the beliefs and perceptions that other people had so it wasn't even my meaning that I attached to the experience.
The meaning that I attached to losing my leg was that I was being punished. Based on the religion that I grew up in as well as the community that I grew up in, that was sort of the answer a child was given. When bad things happened to people, they were being punished. Attaching that meaning to losing my leg affected and directed every aspect of my life for years. I abandoned the spiritual beliefs that I had been brought up with, I actually rebelled against them. I turned to alcohol. I turned to drugs. Along with the meaning I attached of being punished, I also thatched a meaning that I was not worthy of any of the good things in life. Based on this meaning, I embarked on a very self destructive path for many years.
I came to a point when I was 24, much later in life, where I was offered this amazing concept that said, "You know Willard, you are able to look at any experience, and you are able to make it mean what you want it to mean. You can "choose" what it means to you." They said, "Why not choose what's going to best serve you in that situation?" Initially, it was a hard concept for me to accept. But when I did look back at the experience, I looked and saw there were other options, other possibilities, rather than perceiving it as being punished... there was a possibility that there was another meaning. At the first, the opportunity of a new possibility was intriguing. One of the first possibilities I explored was that maybe losing my leg was about leading me on a path that would give me experiences, that I never would had otherwise .
And if there was one possibility, then there surely could be others. I asked, "What could another meaning be?" Another possible meaning was... maybe this was for me to teach. Maybe it was for me to be able to stop other people from following the same path I had taken. All of a sudden, I came up with tons of possibilities of what that one experience could mean. Everything that happens in your life, you ultimately choose what meaning you want to attach to it. Why not choose the one that serves you best? There is no "right or wrong" meaning. Only right or wrong based on whether it serves you.
Take a look right now, at some area of your life where you have attached meaning to something that is not serving you. Maybe something that you've attached a meaning to, that doesn't support you and who you choose to be. Then ask yourself, what would another possibility be? What else could this mean? How could I look at this experience in a different way? All it takes is a small shift, and it can dramatically... dramatically change your life. Again we choose the meaning that we attach and it’s up to you.
I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Choose the next Episode you would like to watch from the list below:
Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: A Lesson From A Course In Miracles
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: Establishing Personal Boundaries; It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode