Day 309: The word Mistake
It’s interesting to me that it’s happened a few times when I looked into the heart of a memory and into a specific timeframe moment within it, at the point within that moment, in which I made a significant decision, that what my eyes were focused on, were words, was some physical writing that was before me in the physical world, and persisted in the memory.
Same as in this example to come: and even though I see the words upon the paper, I can yet so far within my memory not access the words specifically. But the words together: they represented to me an expression of myself in imaginary skills and ingenuity, as part of a school exam, it had seemed to me this had been a question that was made for me, and I had dived into it, and written extensively.
It was a piece of work that I was proud of, and I had been glad to hand the paper in. Getting the paper back, a few days later, was not such a happy story, where instead of good marks or praise, I got instead what felt like a physical assault on my writing; a red diagonal line pressed deep across the page, where what had once been like a reflection of my treasure had been brutally dashed out, I imagined, in a stroke of irritation – as being irrelevant.
This example of mistake had been that I had also imagined the exam question, and not double checked what exactly had been asked; in that moment I had been distracted, been elsewhere. In the classroom I was constantly longing for the time to pass, my eyes would rove towards the windows, and a day that was meanwhile going on outside, that I was missing, out there.
So I had developed habits of momentarily slipping away, and I was now showing myself that this had got to such an extent that now I had completely messed up this exam. So I was quite alarmed about that, seeing that I had put my trust into an idea in my mind as a reference to what the question was, in reality, and as a consequence seeing and realising the magnitude of this mistake, writ large, in my mind as a reference to the experience that I was as and in, so that the word mistake contained all of this, together with wrong, and I took the teacher’s apparently terse graphic as a judgement on me, I took it as a definition of myself, that who I am through the frame of mistake, seeing that the teacher had no other comment, I interpreted that to be contempt, that is who I am as the self created experience of contemptible, within the domains of my design within and operating as the word Mistake.
Looking into it now, it seems astonishing how a miss take could gather up such emotional baggage, where in the simple processes of learning, the miss takes are such natural components. But back then, in this commissioning process in a way, of this, my accepted upgrade of the word mistake, with my experience of myself within it, was one of diminishment and shame.
And who I was in relation to the word mistake was to avoid it, to avoid experiences in which the word might arise within me. Structuring the word thus, I was unknowingly setting up a pattern for my future life, in which I was to shape my life by the decisions that I made in relation to learning, where within the learning process there would necessarily arise the word mistake.
But back then, or within this memory now, what was going on was that I had taken in judgement of contempt, derived from my interpretation of a single red line of ink, and I had gone into shame, and within that, in relation to shame, it was: keep quiet, keep it secret, from the boys behind my back before whom I had erected a front of understanding to protect me from their taunts.
My acceptance and allowance of this whole blame design gave to me the delusion that what I was experiencing was an inner truth about myself, like an unpleasant revelation, and I was upset inside myself with this collapse of good feeling about myself as part of this school experience into a shrinking self contempt, and again, the longing for the time to pass.
And walking through the door and down the corridor after the end of the lesson I was being mindful of this new development within me, something serious that I must now take into consideration, as if it were a new fact about this me I did not previously know or realise, but must now accommodate and in that shame I made the decision that I must now get away and be alone.
The process of self definition itself: I had given into the hands of others: getting away from proximity with the reactions of others was a priority. Getting away to a place in which I was not being defined, by mockery for example, in the face of which looking back now, I see I had separated from the strength to stand.
It was thus to me as if in this alien environment of School, I was like a water that could be poured into a vessel of any shape, and I needed to get away and protect myself from that, consolidate the latest information, see how I could possibly go on, touch base within myself in my relationship to the world, that was beyond the gates of the school, beyond the town, up to the very edge of the sea, where the breathing pulse of crushing waves and cries of birds became like a comfort to me.
This was the experience that my longing reached for within the constrictions of the classroom, when my eyes would flick from the clock to the window and then to the sky beyond it. My perch upon the cliffs was like my place upon a stadium to watch the natural powers at work within the world, where through Stadium I fashioned this observational relationship to the world, to the incident of life and to the living edge of darkness.
That I was actually creating my life through these words that I was living out, did not occur to me. How through making a miss take in miss reading an exam that I had then, in shame imprinted into the word Mistake my emotional reactions, that would then become from that time onward, until I changed it otherwise, a part of my living vocabulary, was an awareness that I did not have.
That my path through life that was to follow on from this would be shaped by my relationship to School and Learning and within that, to Mistakes, was a perspective that I did not have. Immediate developments within my life at school were that I would use my imagination and my ingenuity to fashion systems of truanting and cheating, so as to avoid the experience that I had put into the word mistake.
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