I used to be the kind of man that people loved to hate.
My loathsome behaviour led me on a journey from plagiarist student to utility mapping surveyor and homeless vagrant. It was thanks to a brush with A Course in Miracles that I was able to gain some kind of redemption.
You know the way people talk about James Bond?
I can honestly say that, for the majority of my life at least, the opposite applied to the way I was perceived. Even my closest friends (of which there have always been a limited number) have described my face as ‘punch-able’ something that I attribute to my easy smile and strangely large eyes – together they give the impression of a person who appears to not only refuse to take life seriously, but to be actively mocking whomever they are speaking to. My inherent un-likeability can not, however, be completely attributed to the features of my face.
No – genetics aside, I played a significant part in my development from ‘punch-able’ faced youth to slippery, morally dubious businessman. I believe that human behaviour, how we act and talk, is intrinsically linked to how we are rewarded by our actions early in life. My childhood, although typical in many ways, offered numerous examples of how selfish behaviour was so often rewarded above its counterparts. My parents had divorced whilst I was young. An only child at the age of 4, I was gifted something that I hadn’t expected: a double life.
Mine was a coddled existence with my Mother, I was overfed and protected; cherished as the only good man in her life. Two weekends a month my role would change, from supplicant ‘good boy’ to self-sufficient ‘lad’. My Father would either have a new girlfriend or a new toy each time I stayed with him, his constantly precarious financial situation clearly incapable of supporting both an occasional son and a casual fling – these women were never around for long. Despite his woeful finances, his moods unlikely my Mother’s, would be consistently high. He had gambled all his life and watched with glee as each of these risks paid off, whereas my Mother had placed all her bets on a man whose attention span could not be held for longer than a few weeks.
From my limited perspective, I could see who was winning and I understood where the rewards lay, which path to take.
By the age of 28 I had manoeuvred myself into a position that was certainly enviable amongst my peers. After spending years looking over the shoulders of my classmates I had realised the key to success was not knowledge, but appearing that I had knowledge.
My work life was soon built around my mercurial personality, I focused more on politics than projects and was rewarded for my efforts until I was undone by my own Machiavellian scheming. You see, moving higher and higher up the corporate ladder had its dangers; soon I found that I was sharing the waters with a number of sharks who weren’t afraid to delve into my personal life in order to root out my indiscretions and turn me out into the streets.
All my cheating, lying and deception had soon been laid bare to the world. When it became evident that I had nothing else to offer the world – I was simply discarded. Homeless and without a friend in the world, my saviour wasn’t a book, but someone else who believed in a book.
That person was my wife and that book was A Course in Miracles.
Has this story inspired you? Or has A Course in Miracles driven you to embark on your own personal journey? Let us know via the ‘Share Your Thoughts‘ page.