Ask: How did I create terrible things in my life that I did not want to happen?

I don’t see how I've created my own life. Some terrible things have occurred and I didn’t want them…

            (In A Course in Miracles “to create” means “to extend” or “to be one with”. ACIM uses the word “make” for what is meant by “create” in this question).  
Your choice for the limited, imperfect, disordered experience of not-Truth (universe of form) was not made by you personally or individually. It was made by the split mind of which your mind is one projected version. On the individual level you become aware of yourself as a mind in a specific form among a multitude of diverse forms. But you are not without choice or power. Form has no power over you and cannot cause you either conflict or peace. That is a choice you make with the mind. If you want the personal experience to be your reality you will experience conflict. If you want to be aware of the Truth (God) because It is the Truth you will experience peace.
The personal experience has no meaning in itself. Being not-Truth it is inevitably limited and painful. But suffering over it is your choice. Your projections of meaning, or judgments, from the personal thought system (ego) are what cause you to suffer. Instead, you can let these go. You can watch the self’s pains and pleasures come and go while you rest in peace in your awareness of Truth.
On the individual level you do make choices and decisions that make up the self’s life in the world. Your conscious and unconscious beliefs (thoughts) determine the personal self’s attitudes, behaviors, choices, and energy. These determine its relationship to the world and the world’s relationship to it. If you look back honestly over the self’s life in the world you will see how you are responsible for certain choices, unconsciously or consciously made, that resulted in certain outcomes. You won’t be willing to see this, however, if you confuse responsibility with blame, as the personal thought system does. When you can lay aside guilt and blame you will learn that taking responsibility empowers you.
For example, I was discussing with a client one day her early marriage to an abusive man. (She was long divorced from him by this time). She had married very young the first man to ask her because her self-esteem was low and she was afraid that she would not be asked again. He abused her as her boyfriend but she made the very young mistake of expecting marriage to change him. It did not. She wanted to know how she had “created” a situation where she was abused. I pointed out that she married a man that she knew was an abuser and she exclaimed defensively, “But I was young! I didn’t know any better!” I said, “Yes! Exactly! And this is why you made a life with an abuser. You were young and inexperienced.” I was not judging her, but pointing out a fact. Her guilt, however, made her hear facts as blame. She judged herself as wrong or bad or sinful for marrying an abuser when really she had just made a mistake. This judgment against herself (guilt) had prevented her from taking responsibility, which in turn made her feel powerless over the self’s life. But once she realized how she had made this situation in her life (low self-esteem, inexperience, denial, wishful thinking) she felt empowered instead of guilty. She could change those things in herself that had led to this mistake. (And she mostly already had by then).
            Painful things happen in this disordered experience that you do not individually choose. You are abused as a child. People die. Natural disasters occur. Disease happens. To avoid as much pain as possible you want to learn from these experiences. What part, if any, did you play in what happened to you? For example, if you live where there is often flooding in the spring you shouldn’t be surprised if one May your car is washed away. You took that chance. This is not right or wrong. You had your reasons for living there and taking that chance. You do not need to judge yourself. You do want to re-evaluate your choice and take what measures you can to prevent a similar thing happening in the future. Live and learn. And you do decide whether you want conflict or peace by deciding how you look at what happens in the world. You can use painful experiences to judge and punish yourself. Or you can see them as opportunities to turn inward and grow your awareness of Truth. Your awareness of Truth will then result in you learning at the level of form practical lessons as just described.
Your awareness of Truth also affects the personal self’s attitudes, behavior, choices, and energy. At some point you made a choice for Truth and/or peace. And what you needed at that time came into your awareness: books, teachers, self-help programs, counselors, etc. And eventually A Course in Miracles. Whatever happened in the past, going forward your awareness of Truth will now show up as answers that you need, healthier decisions, and as an over-all more harmonious life for the personal self. If you put aside the personal thought system’s judgments your painful experiences will not be “terrible”. They will be opportunities to grow your awareness of Truth and practical lessons from which you learn.

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Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, and 4 Habits for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.
Coming soon: Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace: A Companion to 4 Habits for Inner Peace
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want the question answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog.

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