The Certainty of Being Right – from A Course in Miracles Study Group

I have studied A Course In Miracles many times and continue to participate in groups focused on its great teaching – this story is one that has been told in many ways that continues to resound in me and I hope it will for you as well:

The traveler arrived at the airport eager to get home yet lamenting the long wait prior to boarding. To help pass the time, she purchased a short mystery novel and a bag of cookies from the mini bookstore. Upon returning to the crowded boarding area, she found an open seat next to a middle-aged man. She placed the bag of cookies under the arm of her seat, propped the book open on her lap, settled in for the wait, and began reading.

Within a few minutes, the man next to her reached into her bag of cookies, took one out, and ate it. The woman was a bit surprised at the man’s poor manners, but decided to let it go and went back to her novel. She ate a few cookies herself, rather loudly, just in case the man didn’t realize they were her cookies.

But the inconsiderate fellow did it again. He reached right in, took a cookie, gave the woman a curt smile, and began chewing. Once again, she reached in and ate several more, audibly clearing her throat and making it known she wasn’t happy.

Back and forth this went, with the man clearly demonstrating no regard for the woman’s property. And with each passing minute, the woman became more and more enraged. It came down to the last cookie. The man reached in the bag, pulled it out, and smiled shyly at the woman. He cut the cookie in two and offered half to the woman, now visible stunned.

The woman was so furious she jumped up, grabbed her items together, and stormed off. By the time she boarded the flight, her anger had barely subsided. She got to her seat on the plane, buckled her seatbelt, and opened her bag to take out the book. And in the bag was a full container of cookies.

It turned out that the man in the boarding area had his own bag of cookies. And she had been eating from his bag. And she had kept on eating from his bag. And not only did he never utter a complaint, he even offered to split his very last cookie with her. The woman’

It’s a tale that’s been told in many cultures with very relatable implications. How often have we been so certain of being right only to find out we were completely wrong? And how frequently do we feel our emotions are perfectly justified – only to learn that our understanding was incorrect?

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