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Sticks on the Ocean

(The Ocean of My Mind #2)

Ever since my Review 4 experience (see my previous blog on “My Mind Does Hold Only What I Think with God”), I have been making very good use of the sticks-on-the-surface-of-the-ocean image.

Your self-deceptions cannot take the place of truth, no more than can a child who throws a stick into the ocean change the coming and the going of the tides, the warming of the waters by the sun, the silver of the moon on it by night. (Review.4.In.4:2).

Whenever we get upset about something, James and I have been reminding each other that it’s only a stick on the ocean. This has become our immediate response to temptation, and it’s working very well. The immediate response has been bringing an immediate correction––and often a smile and a laugh. You name it; any disturbance to our peace has disappeared just by stopping and reminding ourselves that “it’s only a stick on the ocean.” No matter how small or big… just a stick on the ocean.

One day, James and I both had periods when we were bugged by everything the other was doing. After an afternoon practice period, I told him that, even though we felt unloving, impatient, or irritated and had unkindly thoughts about each other, they weren’t our real thoughts and couldn’t affect our minds or disturb our peace in any way! We could see those thoughts as sticks thrown onto the surface of our minds and choose to let them float far away. They couldn’t really disturb our holy minds anyway!

On another day, we both had computer problems, and each time we felt ourselves slipping into frustration and fear, we stopped and reminded ourselves that our minds hold only what they think with God. If we were upset, it was because we were deceiving ourselves about ourselves. We were seeing ourselves as bodies, beset by problems posed by machines, not as God’s holy Sons whose minds are part of His and very holy.  We could choose to see computer problems merely as sticks thrown onto the oceans of our minds, observe them, and let them pass out of sight––and out of mind!

Yesterday, I got upset about something that seemed quite big to me, and I said to James, “This isn’t just a stick on the ocean, it’s a log. In fact, it’s a log jam! That comment was enough to make me laugh, and then the stick, the log, the log jam was gone. It floated away off the ocean of my mind, and I was restored to sanity once again.

Just to show how displeased the ego is with this new and very effective practice, yesterday I felt quite upset about something, and I said to James, “Okay; this is just a stone on the ocean.” I immediately got what I had said, got the egoic Freudian slip. Stones do sink into the ocean and affect it; sticks don’t do either. I guess something in me had wanted this to be a stone, wanted it to disturb my peace. I laughed, and the stone was gone.

What I’ve been realizing through my practicing of this idea, is that worry, frustration, discouragement, impatience, anger, anxiety––all unpleasant, unloving, unforgiving, fearful thoughts––can be dispelled by me remembering that they are only sticks on the ocean that can’t affect my mind in any way whatsoever. This mind is always here, and I can choose to stay in it or return to it at any time. The key is to prefer the peace enough to remember.