My coaching client Jamie was very fearful, believing that the world was out to get her, expecting the worst from everyone.
One day while Jamie was waiting in line at an auto tollbooth, the car in front of her was taking an unusually long time with the attendant. Jamie grew irritated at yet another proof that people are selfish and inept. When she finally reached the tollbooth, the attendant informed her that the driver in the car in front of her had paid her toll, and he waved her on.
A Course in Miracles asks us, “Do you prefer that you be right, or happy?” We all like to be right. Yet we must be careful about what we choose to be right about. If you insist on being right about what’s not working, you will find more and more of what’s not working. If you wish to be right about being blessed, you will become only more blessed. The quality of our life depends on the kind of vision we choose.
Late one evening I went to turn on my computer, but it would not work. After trying several times, I complained to Dee that the computer was broken. “Why don’t you just put it away and try again in the morning?” she suggested. I was tempted to argue that the computer would not just magically fix itself, but then I remembered advice from Richard Bach’s book Illusions: “Argue for your limitations, and, sure enough, they’re yours.” I decided I would rather have Dee be right about the computer working than for me to be right about it being broken. I decided to zip my lip and wait until the morning. When I tried then, the device booted.
When confronted with a daunting situation, I like the maxim, “Pray to be wrong.” Pray that your limits, grievances, and troubles are not the final truth about you or your life. Pray that your judgments are incorrect, and forgiveness will work a lot better. Pray that your negative versions of your spouse, parents, children, and family are not who they really are. Pray that your world will change as you upgrade your perception.
Paranoia is the belief that the world is out to get you. Benenoia is the belief that the world is out to let you. Sure, people do unkind, hurtful acts, and things can go wrong. But there is always a bigger picture than the problem. Miracles are problems transformed by applying higher consciousness.
For a powerful exercise, write a list of your upsets, complaints, and problems. Then hold the paper between your hand and pray, “Please let me be wrong about all of this.” A Course in Miracles tells us, “Forgive, and this will disappear.” Problems remain in force because we keep focusing on them. When we find more reward in the solution than the problem, the solution will reveal itself and replace the problem in our experience.
There is indeed a conspiracy running the world, but it is a good one. The word “conspiracy” means “breathe together.”
Everyone who breathes is being animated by God. Every soul has the capacity to express love, kindness, and healing. While we may fear that people are trying to hurt us, a Higher Power is trying to help us. We can’t simultaneously be right about fear and love. One blocks our entrance to the freeway, and the other opens the gate.
Alan Cohen, M.A., is the author of 28 popular inspirational books, including the best-selling The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, the award-winning A Deep Breath of Life, and the classic Are You as Happy as Your Dog? He is a contributing writer for the New York Times #1 bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, and his books have been translated into 25 foreign languages. Alan’s work has been featured on Oprah.com and in USA Today, The Washington Post and 101 Top Experts. His monthly column From the Heart is featured in magazines internationally.