Step Fifty-Four

Whispered Wishes

Step 54. I Will Not Live In Idealism.
What is idealism but ideas of things that are hoped for based on disappointment? Your idealism includes yourself, your relationships and the world in which you live. It includes God and life and all realms of experience that you can imagine. Without experience, there is idealism. Idealism can be helpful at the beginning, for it can start you moving in a true direction, but you must not rest your conclusions or your identity upon it, for only experience can give you that which is true to you and that which you can fully accept. Let not idealism guide you, for Knowledge is here to guide you.

In your two practice periods today, recognize the extent of your own idealism. Observe carefully what you want yourself to be, what you want your world to be and what you want your relationships to be. Repeat today’s idea and, with eyes closed, examine each of your ideals. Even though your ideals may look beneficial and seem to represent your desire for love and harmony, they in effect hold you back, for they replace that which would truly give you the gifts that you seek.

Practice 54:
Two 30-minute practice periods.

Here you will find the entire book free for download

Here you will find pointers for getting started if this is your first encounter with this practice: Taking the Steps to Knowledge.

January 11, 2013 Round One: I hope I have curbed my idealism as I move though life, since I understand that idealism prevents me from seeing reality as it really is. Yes, I am inclined to be idealistic, but I am wondering if this is different from being optimistic?

It says in this Step that my ideals may seem to represent my desire for love and harmony, but that this holds me back. I do indeed wish to see love and harmony around me and try to cultivate this feeling by seeing the positive in each situation, looking for good things in other people, not allowing myself to feel discouraged or trampled down. But is this being idealistic? 

I think there is a difference between seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses and building illusive castles in the air that have no foundation in reality and so are bound to end in disillusion and disappointment and seeing the world from an optimistic viewpoint, looking for something beneficial, something good and true, be it in situations and problems that arise, or relationships, or whatever. And most important, asking to be shown the Truth, never forgetting that Knowledge is my guide, always checking back to see if what I think and feel truly resonates with what Knowledge is showing me.

Still it can be very confusing at times.

September 1, 2014 Round Two: This time I think the point here is not so much that idealism as such is a bad thing as long as you actually do something to make your wishes come true and not spend fruitless time in wishful thinking.

“Idealism can be helpful at the beginning, for it can start you moving in a true direction.”

Also I think that it is useful to understand that once you do start moving, you may find yourself moving in an entirely different direction than where you thought your idealism might take you. You need to be prepared for things turning out totally different from what you were expecting or hoping. This requires a certain amount of integrity, for if your ideals and wishes end up not jiving with reality and this causes you immense disappointment and disillusion, even despair and gloom, you will always be living in the darkness of your imagination.

As I practiced today, I understood that idealism is fine as long as it is not the be all and end all, as long as I remain flexible enough to realize that dreams have a way of falling down in mid-flight. But that is fine, for it only means that there is something else, truer, in store. I have faith that I will always be led in the right direction if I keep my wits about me.

I found this thread on Step 54 on the Free School of the New Message Forum to be very useful.

And also this quote from Greater Community SpiritualityChapter 6. "What is the Greater Community?"  "If the understanding does not lead to action, then real understanding does not exist. This is the great difference between Wisdom and idealism. Wisdom leads to action, and idealism leads nowhere. It has no direction. You cannot act upon it effectively, for it is not going anywhere."

During the second practice I thought about idealism related to myself and my role as a wife, mother, translator. There is definitely work to be done in this area. I have too high expectations of myself and want to be as perfect as possible, which naturally leads to feeling disappointed in myself. I am not ideal and never will be, and who wants to have an ideal person in their lives anyway? Too much to have to live up to.
August 16, 2018 Round Three: I got a hot flash while I was reading this Step. This happens sometimes - a gush begins in my head and spreads throughout my body. It is not a hot burning feeling, just a gush of warmth, but not a warm glowing feeling of comfort, rather almost like a warning, as though I am being put on the alert in the face of danger or being made aware of something I need to take heed of. I wish to understand this feeling I get sometimes. This Step tells me not to be guided by idealism, but rather be guided by Knowledge. I don’t believe I live in idealism or have idealistic expectations of myself, my relationships, my world. Of course, I would like to see love and harmony in everything around me, but I am perfectly aware that this is impossible, at least all of the time, or even most of the time. I don’t feel I have ideals. My experience has shown me that ideals are flimsy, life has shown me other alternatives, true things that teach and are assimilated, true learning experiences. My relationship with Sasha is a good case in point - it did not meet my ideals back in the beginning, but it has proven to be the perfect thing. I did not get what I wanted, I got what I needed. 
First 30-min practice - 4.44 - 5.14. I sat in an armchair in the front room. No noise through the wall, no distractions. I remained in Stillness for the full 30 minutes. It was a deep practice. I saw a female admonishing about something. No ideals I have came to mind. My thought was that I have no ideals, which is why my life is so rich. I take what comes to me and make the best of it. Krasnaya Ushna is a good case in point. It is not the ideal picture I had of my place in the country, but it has proven to be the perfect thing (I say it again!). It meets all my needs. It is home. Sasha is home.

I did not do the second practice as such. I was busy all afternoon making tomato and garlic sauce from our tomatoes. I thought about idealism as I worked and tried to be still in action.


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