Living the Soulful Life
By Scott Kalechstein
Resting My Case “In my defenselessness my safety lies.”
-A Course In Miracles
A courtroom is a place where judgment is rendered, and a courtroom is what my mind becomes when I take my own or someone else’s judgments to heart. While I have been well versed in both prosecuting and defending myself, these days I am more interested in getting off my own case and settling my trials out of court.
It is interesting to see how other people’s thoughts about me can end up being used as evidence in my internal courtroom. Being in the public eye, I have ample opportunity to practice remembering that both positive and negative judgments are projections. Praise and blame smell the same.
In the past when someone has blamed me, I have inhaled it deep into my beingness. For instance, one time I received a letter from someone who hated one of my concerts and told me so. I was very shaken up and it took me weeks to recover and build up my confidence again. To get some perspective, I covered my floor with appreciative fan mail collected over the years and placed the one angry letter in the pile. “What shall I give my attention to,” I asked myself, “the fifty happy letters or the one angry one?” I noted how people’s opinions of me could cause my self-esteem to go up or down like an elevator. Talk about having one’s buttons pushed!
At my men’s group the other night someone pressed my lowest floor and sent me for a ride to the basement. “Scott, I find you completely self-absorbed, ...it’s all about you.” That stung, mainly because I have an inner critic who has been fond of castigating me with similar words. And I find it just as hard to not take it personally when someone praises me. Upon arriving home that night, I checked my e-mail and found an enthusiastic expression of appreciation from a woman who thought me to be “so generous to be giving so much of myself to so many.” I felt a warm glow in my belly as my ego and I basked in the thought that she was right and he was wrong.
It was interesting to be handed two such diametrically opposed judgments on the same night!
Imagine seeing someone speaking rudely to a clerk at a supermarket. “What a jerk,” you think. A moment later you see the same person outside, attending to a small child who is lost, going out of their way to help the child find her mother. Is the person a jerk or a sweetheart? The question is impossible to answer, because people are not fixed objects, capable of fitting comfortably inside labels. We are not saints, sinners, good, bad, right, wrong, selfish, generous, or any of the labels our minds can come up with. Human beings are in process, not static. We are action verbs, not stationary nouns. Judgments, whether positive or negative, freeze the moment, like taking a snapshot of something moving and assuming that the photograph is an accurate picture of reality.
Swami Satchinanda has said that we all start out fine, and then we get de-fined by the world, and the path of awakening is a process in which we re-fine ourselves. I am getting tired of asking the world to define me. It is insane to believe that people who don’t know who they are can hold an accurate perception of who I am. In the eyes of others, one moment I am enlightened and the next I am a fool.
What would it be like to be so engaged in the process of living that I didn’t seek definition or validation from others? What would it feel like to live as if God validated my parking ticket the moment I was created, and that my space in the universe is mine by birthright — not something others can take away, or that I have to struggle to earn?
I have been in a struggle to prove my worth. My thoughts about myself have resembled a courtroom drama. There is a prosecuting attorney presenting a case that I am guilty and worthy of punishment. He has an abundance of incriminating evidence to prove his case. Opposing him, and fighting to build a case for my innocence, is the defense. He has also collected plenty of evidence, and both of them are usually in the heat of conflict. My hope has been that my defense lawyer wins the case, but I am beginning to realize that, as long as I am attending the trial, I am missing out on life! Trying to prove my worthiness is a never-ending battle. There is a consciousness shift available every moment, which is akin to settling out of court. It is about being willing to leave the courtroom while the verdict is still being deliberated and cross the street into another world.
Across the street from the courthouse is a playground. It is teaming with happy children, bursting with life. They are too busy creating and having fun to worry about their self worth. They are not in courtroom consciousness. They are in Heaven.
And so am I when I rest my case.
I enter the heavenly realms when I get tired of making value judgments about myself — or others! I wake up to the Kingdom when I realize I have been my own judge, jury and prosecution, and laugh at the seriousness of what I’ve been playing out in my mind.
What am I
collecting evidence for in this moment? Whatever it is, I will always find
plenty of proof to support my position, for that is the nature of the mind.
Thank God there is a higher court than my ego, and thank God for its consistent
and changeless verdict: “You have been found guilty of believing you are
guilty, and of taking your own life personally. You are hereby given a life
sentence, and are condemned to live out the rest of your existence letting love
and levity replace the gravity of judgment and guilt. Child of God, lighten up!
Case dismissed!” “Heaven is a decision I must make.”
-A Course In Miracles
Scott Kalechstein is a counselor, coach and entertainer who is fond of singing, speaking and Thai food. He indulges in all three pleasures as he travels through the United States, Canada and Europe with his gifts. He can be phoned at (760) 753-2359 or e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org . Check out his wacky and wonderful web site: www.scottsongs.com
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