All around me was a buzz of activity. Books opened, books closed, pages flipped about frantically, nervous giggles, faces scrunched in concentration, lips pressed into a thin line. I looked around. Almost everyone seemed to be drowning in a sludge of anxiety, so thick it was impossible to come up for air and find relief. My body felt numb, my mind was at its overactive best. “You will flunk. You will fail. You have not done your best. I wish I had made you work harder for your exams. It doesn’t matter how you do as long as you do your best.” Dad, Mom, Grandma. Their words ran over each other as they raced past my head. Where were my thoughts in this mess? What was I feeling? I didn’t know. I was not allowing myself to think too much.
Throwing my books into my bag, I placed it outside the classroom along with the other bags. I saw a couple of my friends look at me incredulously with a “What! You are not going to utilize these last few moments optimally!” look. I gave them a “as though you are going to achieve anything great” look as I walked into the classroom.
“You really spend more time on the screen than books. Do you even know what hard-work is?” Dad had asked.
“I wish I had disciplined you better. This is all my fault. I have never been strict enough with you. Will you get a good score or not?” Mom had asked.
“This is your life, your future at risk, dear boy. You know how important these exams are right. Do them well and you can come here to the US for your vacations,” uncle had said.
I tried to find my thoughts in between these. They were an assorted bunch. “I can’t let them down. I am going to let them down. But I did my best. I studied so much. Maybe it is not enough. But how much is enough? What is the point in even thinking about this? I can’t breathe. What if I am really underprepared?”
There they were. I did not like them. My heart began to race, and I felt light-headed. Focusing on my breath, I reminded myself that my thoughts do not mean anything. It was like a parade passing by and it was my choice if I wanted to watch them, participate or let them all go by. I wanted to be free. Free to do as the moment demanded. The fearful mind was never up to good.
My thought about failure does not mean anything. My thought about success too does not mean anything. Let me remember this to release all that I now believe in, I told myself. As the examiner arrived with the papers, I felt ready. Bring it on God.
(This is part of my guidance experiments with ACIM lessons. If you like this, do visit the Lessons of Love Page for more writing like this.)