I rode a roller coaster once and it was a jarring, stressful experience. At some point during the ride it occurred to me that I should stop resisting, that I should simply allow conditions as they were happening instead. I did this and immediately experienced a sense of physical and emotional relief; the fear I was feeling dropped considerably and I completed the ride, and then rode again — much more comfortably this time.
The Power Of Allowing
You make what you defend against, and by your own defense against it is it real and inescapable. Lay down your arms, and only then do you perceive it false.
From A Course in Miracles, Workbook, Lesson 170
Allowing is an extremely powerful method for getting to peace. Allowing is a trick, a secret, but only because so few people are aware of how effective it is. Most people practice the opposite of allowing — engaging and investing — which reinforces unpleasant experiences that, in truth, they would prefer to be free of.
There are two steps in practicing allowing:
1. Go inward, and become aware of your mental stream. Tune in and hear your thinking, particularly thinking that upsets you; tune in and notice your emotions, particularly emotions that cause you distress. Make this awareness of your internal mental stream a habit, so much so that it becomes second nature to you.
2. Whenever you should hear a thought, particularly a thought that upsets you, allow it. Whenever you should feel an emotion, particularly an emotion that upsets you, allow it. To allow is to do nothing; to be passive and simply let it happen.
The Usual Response
Most people respond to their thinking and their emotions by either accepting them as true and / or embracing them; or labeling them as false and / or trying to push them away. Both of these responses are engagement: they engage thinking and emotions versus leaving them alone and simply allowing them to be. Engagement is an investment of mental energy.
Mental Energy Investment
Your mental energy maintains your unhappy moods; your mental energy maintains your difficult life situations. This is hard to accept because conventional thinking says that worldly circumstances, external circumstances, is the cause of our moods and life situations. This, however, is not so. Your mental energy, your thinking and your focus, is causative and creates a barrier between you and your genuine state of being: peace and joy.
Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see. It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.
From A Course in Miracles, Workbook, Lesson 23
Withdrawing The Investment
If investing your mental energy creates a barrier between you and peace and joy, ending the investment will remove this barrier. There is nothing you need to do to be peaceful and content, to be happy — this is your inherent state, your true state, of being. To be peaceful and content you must stop doing. And what must you stop doing? You must stop investing energy, mental energy, in what what blocks you from your natural peace and happiness.
So do not mentally invest in thinking and emotions that deny your true state of peace. When these come up, simply allow them rather than engaging them.
There may be a notion that allowing will maintain unwanted conditions. As an example, if one allows an experience of depression to be then the depression will remain indefinitely. I want to be rid of the depression, so I must act against it!
This is a reasonable assumption but it’s wrong. When we allow upsetting thoughts and emotions they dissipate, usually quite quickly, and eventually disappear. They may be replaced by future upsetting thoughts and emotions, yes; but you will find that, as you more and more allow, your peace will more and more expand. Also, over time, your life conditions will feel improved because you are not investing in blocks to your well-being.
Try allowing and see these results for yourself.
You have an angry thought, or you feel angry.
Allow: Mentally allow the angry thought or feeling. Do nothing with them, at all, except to allow them.
You have a fearful thought, or feel afraid.
Allow: Mentally allow the fearful thought or feeling. Do nothing with them, at all, except to allow them.
You have despairing thoughts, or feel depressed.
Allow: Mentally allow the despairing thoughts or depression. Do nothing with them, at all, except to allow them.
You have shameful thoughts, or feel ashamed or inadequate.
Allow: Mentally allow the shameful thoughts or shameful feelings. Do nothing with them, at all, except to allow them.
Scan your mental stream, on an ongoing basis, and when you notice discomfort there — anger, fear, grief, despair, annoyance, etc. — mentally allow it, fully. As an advanced form of this exercise begin to allow everything that comes into your mental stream — allow, without engaging or investing — and in time you will be filled with silence and peace.
Questions And Answers
Questions and answers help everyone to get clear. Do you have questions about what you’ve read here, and how to apply it? Ask them Here.
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