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Going Deeper part 2 


Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited to bring clarification to certain points of the dialogue and for easier readability. For this reason, it does not match the corresponding audio mp3 word-for-word. However, the overall content and the expressed ideas remain unchanged.


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Recognising the Problem in the Mind

Everyone in this world seems to have his own special problems. Yet they are all the same, and must be recognized as one if the one solution that solves them all is to be accepted. Who can see that a problem has been solved if he thinks the problem is something else? Even if he is given the answer, he cannot see its relevance.

That is the position in which you find yourself now. You have the answer, but you are still uncertain about what the problem is. A long series of different problems seems to confront you, and as one is settled the next one and the next arise. There seems to be no end to them. There is no time in which you feel completely free of problems and at peace. (W-79.2-3)

Speaker: So that’s a good starting point for us because whether we talk about personal issues or problems, perhaps feelings of anger or hatred or grievances with a person, or perhaps there are medical problems or seeming problems with the body. Perhaps there are different aches or pains or diseases or sicknesses. We may be talking more on a collective scale with social issues like abortion and gay rights and so on. There seem to be a wide array of problems. What we’re going to do this morning is bring it back to the mind and redefine what we perceive to be the problem.

So the first thing we have to do is to really bring it back to the mind. We will have a little discussion about what the mind is and how that is differentiated from the world that the eyes see and the ears hear, the world of change and constant fluctuation. We have the term ‘mind’, the mind is not contained in the world. The mind is not analogous to the brain. Mind is, according to the ACIM definition, the activating agent of spirit. It is very powerful and is the place where the mechanism of decision-making is contained. It is abstract. There’s nothing that we can use as a metaphor or a really good analogy that is in the world because the mind is not limited. Everything in the world that we see is limited or fragmented in some way. So maybe we can take a particular type of issue that you have or a particular question and work it back using our framework that we have just set up that there are no problems outside the mind.

Participant: Why don’t we take a look at the situation that I was looking at last week where I was staying with the boys and being in an environment that was much noisier and much more active than I often am? There’s still a thought that I still need to be in a quiet external environment to have my internal environment quiet. I still have the thought that my internal state of mind was dependent on the external conditions like volume level or activity level.

Speaker: OK, you perceive the problem as a problem with the environment. If we bring that back to the mind where we began our discussion with the presenting problem; if you perceive the problem as there being certain situations or circumstances as outside of yourself that are undesirable; then we bring it back to the metaphysics of the Course and see that one of the basic premises is that there’s nothing outside of you. The inner world and the outer world are not different. They are actually one and the same, simultaneous. The belief that they are different sets up a situation or a conflict, in that it would be more conducive to me if I were in a different situation or a different place. So it gets down to that belief first of all that I’m in that environment. As we look or listen to our words they really convey what we believe. They can be used as trigger points or clues to what we really believe. First of all to believe that one is in an environment it gets back to that belief that I am a person who is in the world and moving distinct from the world. There is a belief that I am a person and can act on the world and the world can act on me. In the deepest sense we have a subject/object split. The “I”; I am a subject in the world. I subjectively perceive the world. I have emotions. I have likes and dislikes. I have the ability to make decisions as a person and I believe that others have the ability to make decisions as a person. It’s that split between subject and object that gets to the discomfort you feel in those situations where there is seeming activity and high noise levels. The problem as defined in the world seems to be: if it was quieter or there was less activity, then I could be at peace.

Participant: My mind could be at least more still than otherwise.

Speaker: So when we listen to how that’s described in that definition, it’s obvious that the state of mind is dependent on the environment in this case. And to take it one step further as we have just done, the environment is something that is not me. There is something that is apart from me that is in a sense objectified. There is something that is an objectifiable environment. For example the house or the boys you’re staying with as being part of that objectifiable environment in which you find yourself.

Participant: That’s where the split comes in between the inner and the outer in my mind.

Speaker: It’s a very basic split. It’s a subject/object split and the subject is seen to be ‘I’m a person’ and the object can be another person or another object.

Participant: Everything outside of me; outside of what I perceive as me.

Speaker: Right, everything that’s outside of you, what you perceive as you. So in a sense there is a split that’s taking place. And this split is in the mind, it’s a choice, it’s a way of perceiving that the mind has chosen. Now to fuse the split, to see no duality between oneself and the world can seem to be a big leap. It can seem to be unfathomable, impossible, as if there is no experiential grounding or basis for it. But really the first step in transcending that split or letting that split go in the mind is to take a little bit of a look at the dynamics of why. If it’s a very basic split that I have chosen to make, then why does the mind make that split? Do you have any idea of that from our previous discussions as to why the mind makes that split? What purpose does it serve the mind to make a subject/object split?

Participant: I think all the duality that is projected is the mind’s attempt to relieve the pressure of different opposing and conflicting thought systems that it was trying to maintain within it. The mind tries to throw one thought system outside of itself in an attempt to ease the pressure and make it more comfortable and more manageable and less confronting. In throwing it outside of itself, that’s how the duality is set up. The duality is experienced as being outside of the mind instead of inside the mind, where it’s intolerable. It doesn’t really go away inside the mind but there’s this kind of pseudo belief or misconception that it will in some way relieve that conflict in the mind to get it outside of itself.

Speaker: You say intolerable. Are you gaining a sense of the force of the mind, of the strength of this intolerance as you go along moment by moment, as you do experience these instances of wanting to define the problem in the world? It has to be an indicator that there is a tremendous amount of fear or there is something that is attempting to be run from or hid from or avoided that makes it continue the projecting game of blaming or in all kinds of ways looking to define the problem in the world. The mind is insistently trying to define the problem over and over again as being in the world.

Participant: Are you talking about the basic fear that’s in the mind; the fear of God, the fear of love, and the fear of the punishment that’s deserved from the guilt of the belief of having separated from God?

Speaker: Yes. That can seem very abstract. A common thing people say is that they’re not in touch with that. They don't really see that they’re afraid of God or afraid of love. In the metaphysical connection that’s made this is what it comes down to. In this hypothetical or presenting problem that we’re talking about of wanting the environment to be in some way different. In some way it’s stating the problem as I’m not a peace and I could be at peace if something were different in my environment. It’s one example of the core of what goes on in this world as a defence against coming to know that there’s only one problem and one solution.

Participant: So is that a question?

Speaker: No. I think you answered that with the idea that there’s something that runs very deep and it’s very persistent. Whenever a situation arises, and it will reoccur until we can really see what’s going on, that whenever a situation arises that I want to be different than it is, then to just bring it back and remember that it’s a perceptual problem.

Participant: I remember thinking that it could be a great opportunity for experiencing something different, and feeling like it would be so helpful to have some experiences of being in an environment where externally it seemed active and noisy and not what I previously considered conducive to maintaining a still mind. Because I can say that there is a way to be at peace regardless, but without experientially knowing what that feels like then it’s just talking about it.

Speaker: So if you take that idea that you have just mentioned of experiential vs. talking about and bring it back to our holy encounter, our coming together right now, are there unresolved problems, situations or uncomfortable thoughts that you can get in touch with? If we do a free association kind of thing.

Participant: So you want me to just spew out what my thoughts are right now even if it doesn’t have anything to do with anything.

Speaker: Yes.

Participant: Well, I have the thought and some consciousness in taping this. Wanting to completely ignore it and just be in dialogue with you and just let it flow and not feel self conscious. I guess I’m feeling self conscious.

Speaker: Maybe we can explore that a bit. You’re feeling self conscious. You’re feeling a sense of uneasiness with the recorder going. If you go into that, what is the uneasiness about?

Participant: Usually when we’re just discussing and dialoguing, I’m just thinking about the thoughts. I’m only thinking about what we’re talking about, although there are distractions. I feel like I am really able to give my attention to that. And I notice that with the microphone setup I am not nearly as attentive to what we’re saying to each other.

Speaker: So if we bring that back to the subject/object split that we’re talking about, it does come back to the belief that I am a person and you’re a person and we have had these dialogues and discussions in the past that seemed a certain way, that seemed to be very attention focused, and somehow the microphone and recording equipment are making something different.

Participant: Not that that’s doing it. Obviously something’s going on in my mind that I would think that it’s different.

Speaker: It can get down to this thing about recording or videotaping, or even to the belief that if there was a third person here it would be different, that the dynamics would change, that there are different dynamics with three people speaking than there are with the two of us speaking. There are so many subtle ways in which the subject/object split can manifest itself in the sense, and those are beliefs. You really believe that there is a different factor added on now. Then believing in that factor, attention gets focused on it or sometimes distracted by it or away from our intention to come here and cut through things. Is there anything else when you feel self conscious about that? Is there a sense of censorship about what you say when it’s on tape as opposed to when it’s not on tape?

Participant: Maybe I’m just more aware that it could be helpful if I was as clear as possible when I’m speaking. I guess I’m kind of trying to be more attentive and sensory of what I say and how I say it.

Speaker: Perhaps it can be more helpful to reframe the whole thing as if it’s an exploration. Our words that we speak are helpful to us in this cutting through the deceptions and distortions and getting in touch with what we believe in. So often beliefs are unconscious, we aren’t consciously aware of everything that we believe. The beliefs have been built up. There is a belief system in operation and there are a lot of assumptions and premises that are tied into that. We use this dialogue as an exploration of that as something that we can go back to and hear yourself. It can for example be used like the technique of someone looking in the mirror. It’s like someone noticing how tired they are or tired their eyes look or seeing something that they were not aware of. It can bring awareness to something that’s going on that is much deeper. In that sense this is not a taping session for someone else but it’s for you. It’s just another tool that can be used.

Participant: I notice that it feels different to me if I think that I’m the only one that is going to hear this tape, than if I think that this is something that is going to be shared with other people.

Speaker: That’s a good point because that really gets into the subject/object split and the self concept. It’s saying that there is a world outside of me, of my mind, that is apart from the personhood- who I am. My identity is very locked up and tied up in that environment, in those other people that I call friends or acquaintances. The thought if other people will hear this is what will they think of me? Are my words accurate? It’s almost like trying to live up to a standard or put on a front to be a certain way, whether it’s a spiritual front or an image of myself of how I want people to see me. That needs to be questioned as well.

Participant: I think that all my editing stuff kicks in. There are ways of saying things that are much more helpful or clearer than other ways. So I think I’m mentally editing myself as I speak, thinking that if I do that it will perhaps be more clear and helpful.

Speaker: There’s a strain in observing words and observing behaviour. The whole point of our discussions is to bring it back to the mind to get in touch with thinking that appears to be backwards or reversed or distorted. Fear based thinking. In fact it’s a sense of relaxation that it’s not so important what the behaviours are or these words, but to really have a connection of minds to really start to look at the ideas. That is what we’re doing. That subject/object split runs very deep. It covers so many things and it is to just start to see that; to be aware that I am objectifying the recording equipment or this situation.

Participant: So when you say objectify you just mean I’m making it apart from myself.

Speaker: Yes. As soon as there’s a subject and an object then of course the mind has to make up a reason to be afraid. It has to protect the small me or the self that I see as apart from the world. It sees the world as encroaching upon it and weakening it. I.e. the tape being shared with someone else and them making comments on it or having judgments, if there’s a fear of that happening it’s just a demonstration of the subject/object split. As soon as I believe there is something outside of me then I need to click into an awareness of that and a defensiveness of the small self that’s apart from everything else.

Participant: So how do I look at that or what attitude do I have to not objectify?

Speaker: It’s the intention. It takes a willingness to step back in the mind and to start to even begin to grasp that everything I perceive with these eyes and with these ears and smell and taste and touch and so forth are simply thoughts in my mind. They are simply thoughts in my own mind and they are unreal thoughts. They are thoughts that are not eternal not changeless and not infinite.

Continue to Part 3

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