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Living in Community - Demands and Requests

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.

Friend: My wanting to see you as uncooperative is my wanting to see the Holy Spirit as uncooperative. So it feels to me like it would be real helpful to delve into that. It is like, you know, why do I not want to trust the Holy Spirit? Why do I want to see him as giving me a rough time?

David: Well, you put in a more of a general context; that anytime you feel that there is an upset towards any a person or you feel that anybody is being uncooperative or we have come at it from a number of different angles. The whole idea of respect, even, mutual respect, you know, respect, cooperation, all the different ways you can come at it has to come from within and anytime there seems to be a friction or something that is not going the way I want it to go or anything along those lines, that’s just an expression of the authority problem; of I can still make myself and I can still have things work out to my liking, to my satisfaction. You start with the specifics; you notice that there are specific things that you have an investment in.

Friend: In this case the specific that I have an investment in is having you be cooperative and I think I know what that is or how that is supposed to look or that I would recognize it if I saw it.

Friend: Is that the investment, or is it that the tape has to be a certain way?

Friend: No I do not think that it is about the tapes. I think it is about having our friend be cooperative because as I went over it my mind, what kept coming up was well he is cooperative with this friend when she makes a request, he is cooperative with that friend when he makes a request. Why can’t he be cooperative with me; is this such a big deal?

David: So you have a picture of what cooperation looks like and in the attempt to compare it with others it is still the mechanism that is being used. And again, it is just real simply when you cut past all the other stuff, as we talked about just recently, is you have to realize that the deceived mind will tenaciously try to find things that it can pick apart or that it can find wrong on the screen to hold on and to justify its position that it is right about its own unique identity and its own separate will.

Friend: I mean I feel it; I feel that tenacity of trying to hold on.

David: And how does it feel? You are in the middle of The Rules for Decision. You have to come to the point where you can say, “At least I can decide I do not like how I feel.”

Friend: Well, I don’t. That is why I am here. Otherwise I would still be upstairs lying on the couch.

David: Well, it is like what our friend was trying to get at with the thing about the tapes or something specific and you are couching it more just general terms of why can’t this friend be more cooperative with me. In either case it is still, as The Rules for Decision point out, that if you decide to have a happy day and you are going along having a happy day and then all of a sudden you find yourself or notice yourself upset about anything, anything at all, then the basic statement is that you forgot what to decide or you have asked a question by yourself and you have set an answer in your own terms. And that is what the deceived mind does all the time. It thinks it knows what it needs to have a happy day. In this case you can go back to the original perception of I want you to pause after you make such and such a statement or something and then it has asked a question by itself and it has set an answer in its terms and notice how it tenaciously it hangs on to its own question and wanting the answer to come in its terms and the mind does not even want to back down about that. It does not want to step back and go Oops I forgot what to decide. I tried to ask a question by myself. And you go back to the basic thing of Father, What is your Will for me, or I do not know what clarity is or what Vision is but I am willing to be shown. It is going to keep coming up you will find in varieties and varieties of form where that tenacity is just really wanting to hang onto an individual will or separate self. That is what it wants to be right about. And it will use anything in the world to justify.

Friend: And that is what I want cooperation on, I guess on some level. On the ego level; that is the cooperation I want. I want something that will help me keep that going.

David: That is the ego cooperation.

Friend: Right, yeah. It feels like I want you to be uncooperative when I get down under it a little bit. You know, it probably does not matter what you say or what you do and if was not the request about this it would be something else. And I guess that is what I want to understand more, get underneath - it is like what value does that seem to hold?

David: Well, it is the thinking of the world. We have read it earlier on in this section where it was summarized: “The reasoning by which the world is made, on which it rests, by which it is maintained, is simply this, you are the cause of what I do. Your presence justifies my wrath and you exist and think apart from me. While you attack, I must be innocent. And what I suffer from is your attack.” That is a pretty direct way of stating the egos purpose for the world; that the cause of my suffering; that the cause of my upset is outside myself now and you must begin to understand from specialness that the ego, all special relationships are entered into with anger. That is the egos purpose for all relationships, is anger. It is does not state that on a conscious level or it does not allow that to be brought into awareness, but all special relationships were forged in anger. So this anger that seems to be under the surface that’s just looking to come out, looking to be projected onto somebody or something or whatever. We discussed it a couple of nights ago with our friend feeling this feeling of anger underneath and it is the anger that everyone who believes that they’re here in this world, that is identified here in this world, has. Another way you can say it is that Jesus says that you ask for special favor from God and God said no. He could not grant that special favor. God would cease to be God. Love would cease to be love if it would have said yes to the special request that the split mind or the deceived mind made. It asked for special favor.

Friend: So is that the way I have it constructed?

David: That is where the anger is coming from.

Friend: But how is… I guess I am trying to put this example into it.

David: Well, it is just that it is under the surface. If you think that someone is not fulfilling your expectations or somebody is not living up to the role that you assigned to them, then there will be anger and the perception is you are not living up to my role of cooperation or whatever it is you are not living up to my expectations and if I am angry it is because my mind is constructing it so that is the reason that I am unhappy—because you are not living up to the role I assigned to you. What Jesus is saying in the Course is turn it around and see that you assigned the roles, kind of like you passed them out. Everything that is happening is by your own election. There is nothing out of place. There is nothing that is out there that has the power to make you weak or frail to take away your peace of mind or to make you happy or peaceful. But this whole section, beginning with the very beginning is, “Suffering is an emphasis upon all that the world has done to injure you.” You know, where you forget that you are dreaming a dream and you think that you are on the screen and you think that things are not working out well. You are being mistreated, you are being abused. The specialness of even trying to compare Well David seems to answer to this friend’s request or this and that and all those comparison devices are still believing in that you are not getting a fair shake in this. You have to question the thinking that is saying you are not getting a fair shake, instead of trying to arrange things on the screen in order to get a fair shake. Because there will never be a way to arrange the effects to get a fair shake when as they say in AA it is the stinkin’ thinkin’ that has to be looked at, it’s the beliefs that I can unfairly treated, it is the beliefs that I can be treated as less than. And there is a belief there. If you believe that you are unworthy then you can just look for witnesses for that. You find what you are looking for.

Friend: This all even seems absurd in one respect in the sense that, you know, being the dreamer of the dream makes it so simple. There is only one thing to think about. There aren’t millions of things to think about, there is one. Well that is pretty nice, that I can live with! And all the other benefits that come with being the dreamer of the dream. There is no upset in it; there is no Who did what and what happened when... None of that has any relevance and, on the other hand, being in the dream is just a mess. It is just total mess all the time. Even when we think we have every thing handled and it is running smoothly there is always this feeling that well any minute now something is going to happen. You know, even in that there is no peace. What is it that wants to hang on to that? There is nothing beneficial about it. It does not feel good, it is not fun. It is exhausting. Talk about being so tired all the time it is exhausting to think of a million things everyday and how they relate and how they… I mean I am sitting here thinking Why would I ever want to do that? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Friend: I feel like that is what I am asking. Why do I want to see you as uncooperative? Why do I not want to trust the Holy Spirit?

David: Well, the atonement is seeing yourself as the dreamer of the dream. You have to see yourself as the dreamer before you can accept another purpose for the dream, which would be the atonement. And the atonement, as described earlier in the text, is a total commitment. Well, the deceived mind is not so big on commitment to begin with but total commitment… and it seems as if it really comes down to what we were talking about last night about the Mind Overhaul; that it seems like on one hand I have to overhaul my mind, I have to question every value and belief and I have to literally have a transformation of mind where it is not like I can shift and change and circumstances you know cover over certain things and compromise a little here and there but it is like saying complete no compromise. Where as our friend’s lesson for the day is you must take a stand. Like it is time to take a stand. That stand seems awfully steep. It seems like all these temptations occur during the day and everything is a decision and yet it seems like it is easier to just give in and use some kind of a compromise approach. Pick at something in the world that could be different. It seems a lot easier to do that than to change one’s whole mind.

Friend: To focus my attention on that is easier to focus on this thing that seems too obscure. This [taps something] I am familiar with.

David: This tape thing if I can get that settled then at least I will have that little thing worked out, but to change to everything that I am perceiving, to change everything, my whole perception which means question everything that I believe and everything that I am thinking. It just seems like coming down to the choice of compromising or having a mind overhaul that it seems easier to choose the compromise. It seems easier not to take a stand, than to take a stand. I mean if you talk to people—if you went up to someone on the street and asked, Have you ever, ever in your life considered the questions… What is this all about? What am I doing this for? What purpose does this serve? The questions about death, you know some of those deeper questions. You would probably get responses like Yes, I’ve had those thoughts from time to time but I do not let them occupy my mind very often. What is the point? People will say things like They are unanswerable anyway. Nobody has ever found an answer for them, so why entertain them. That was my experience when I was in college and seemed to be searching and questioning it seemed like I had this sense that there had to be something much deeper and yet it seemed fruitless and pointless at times. It seemed easier to compromise. Just go ahead David, work on you urban planning project or do this or do that, go through the motions, do what everyone else is doing, survive, get the job done, keep the wheels on, and go forward. But these questions would not go away because I did not want them to go away. I really believed that there had to be something that was a permanent or a lasting solution to those. I just believed that there had to be a resolution. And that is where we are coming to now and you are saying Why would I choose to want to perceive you as not cooperating, why would I choose to perceive misery, why would I choose to perceive someone or something as irritating? The mind would rather choose a compromise approach. It would rather set it up and use something on the screen to justify its feeling of unworthiness or lack or guilt.

Friend: Even though it knows that is going to be painful.

David: Yes.

Friend: Because it believes that to be uncompromising is painful I would think. The alternative is more painful than what you are choosing.

David: Yes, which is obliteration is what the deceived mind...

Friend: Because there is the delusion that if I get what I want then the pain will go away. If I get my friend to be cooperative or get the tapes the way I want them done then I won’t be in pain.

David: The thing too about, we could get into a discussion on you know how sometimes we’ll say I am certainly not choosing this consciously. Like with sickness sometimes people say I am not choosing this consciously and then there is this big discussion about conscious and unconscious as if somehow what is unconscious is this ego thing that is so big and so powerful that it just dictates my life. Well, are you willing to just remain in that splitting it off in categories of conscious and unconscious and saying that you are a victim of the unconscious? And here is what Jesus says: this is a little blurb from lesson 136:

“Defenses are not unintentional nor are they made without awareness. They are secret magic wands you wave when truth appears to threaten what you would believe. They seem to be unconscious but because of the rapidity with which you choose to use them. In that second, even less, in which the choice is made, you recognize exactly what you would attempt to do and then proceed to think that it is done.

Who but yourself evaluates a threat, decides escape is necessary, and sets up a series of defenses to reduce the threat that has been judged as real? All this cannot be done unconsciously. But afterwards your plan requires that you must forget you made it, so it seems to be external to your own intent; a happening beyond your state of mind, an outcome with a real effect on you instead of one effected by your self.

It is this quick forgetting of the part you play in making your “reality” that makes defenses seem to be beyond your own control. But what you have forgot can be remembered, given willingness to reconsider the decision which is doubly shielded by oblivion. Your not remembering is but the sign that this decision still remains in force as far as your desires are concerned.”

So you have the belief in separation you know how we were discussing yesterday a belief is just a decision that has become unconscious. Kind off pushed out of mind. That is how beliefs are made they are just decisions—the decision to separate from God. Jesus describes in the Text about the detour into fear and the four things you believe and so on and so forth. That is a decision but that is covered over. And all these other seeming decisions and maneuvers are a part of this “doubly shielded by oblivion.” The mind does not want to remember God. It is terrified of God. So it decides all these things, it believes all these different things, it is all a part of a delay maneuver or a defense against going back to question that original decision. That is what the mind wants to forget. It really believes that it has separated from God and it wants to forget that. It really believes that it is at war with God. But it does not want to remember that. Forget the battle, forget the size of the enemy, the strength of the “enemy” as if God is this vengeful enemy and is going to come and get the mind for what it has really done wrong, it really believes. So all this stuff that is on the surface, whether it is about the taping equipment or whether someone is being cooperative or not, someone being respectful or not, all the things that are on the surface are just part of the smoke screen to try to forget.

Friend: Not wanting to trust the Holy Spirit, is not wanting to be mistaken about how I think I separated from God.

David: The whole world you could say… it comes down to you can say I have either been mistaken about this whole world this whole cosmos as I have constructed it or I am right about this whole world and the whole way I have constructed it, and I am right about me, tiny me. That is really what it comes down to. The mind wants to right, the deceived mind want to be right about what it thinks it is which includes the whole cosmos as it has been set up. We just read that sentence at the top of page 540, “All that is needed is that you look upon the problem as it is and not the way you have set it up.” The way that it is set up is that there is a world that is external to me, ideas have left their source; there is a world of duality, conflict, competition. I seem to be teeny, unworthy, lacking, scarce and all these other things and the way it is set up, the problem is not seen where it is, which is just a false belief in the mind, so all the solutions that it seeks are solutions of the world. Including, I am making just a small request, all I am asking is that...

Friend: Pause. It seems a lot easier to get a pause than to change my mind about my mind.

David: And you can tell by the charge that it is not a request. It is a demand. It is inconceivable of thinking of Jesus making a request when he was in his right mind, fully awakened, making a request of one of his apostles or someone and then them saying, No sorry. And having him get a charge on that You are my apostle do you know what I have just told you to do? [laughter] Do you know who I am? You know it would be ridiculous to think of Jesus doing that because that would be a demand instead of a suggestion or a request. And many times you know again as we talked about being here with the children and all kinds of different things come up. If you make a suggestion and you feel that there is a charge when that suggestion does not seem to be carried out or you feel like someone is violating something or someone is bringing irreparable harm because they are not paying attention to the suggestion then you need to turn it around and look at your own mind. Is this truly a request or is this a demand?

Friend: I have to question if I ever make requests or if there is always the wish that it be honored. I think that there is always the wish that it be honored. That is why I said I would not make it. I mean what is the point of saying it or what is the point of asking for something unless it is something you think you do want. It doesn’t make any sense.

David: Well, again, we started to address this before and I do not see it that way. I mean I perceive you as often miracle minded. I have seen you in many different actions with many different brothers where you have made suggestions and where they have said, “Thank you, what you said was very helpful and meaningful.” You know when the requests are being made through you instead of by you so to speak, or when the requests are not coming from a personal standpoint they are very helpful. But you do not feel a charge on those that are being done through you.

Friend: I do not even remember any of those right now.

Friend: I thought that is what you were keeping that journal for—to remind yourself of that stuff.

Friend: Those are not so much... You are talking about times I have made suggestions without any attachment to the outcome. I have not done that for a long time.

Friend: Yeah, but any time you are trying to be truly helpful, I see that as what you are talking about.

David: In correspondence, if you have invited someone to come and see for yourself; that is a request. If you, at times have said to someone, you would do well to listen; that is a request. If you have invited someone to stop by or whatever; that is a request. The key is, how do you feel in the charge? You have had many times, I am sure, when you have invited people to come by or drop by or call or come and be with us where in the worldly sense there has not been someone dropping by to be with us where you have not felt the feeling of uhhh, a real upset or charge about it. I think you just forget about all those times. It just seems that when you get focused into an upset or whatever it is just as if none of that ever happened.

Friend; I think you are thinking of requests as personal.

Friend: Yeah, I am.

Friend: The ones you are referring to, I do not see as personal request.

Friend: I guess in my mind there is a distinction between suggestions and requests.

Friend: Why?

Friend: Request is asking for something that you want and suggestion is making a suggestion about something you think is helpful. It is the I wanting stuff that gets into request.

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