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Week Intensive part 11- Tracing Back Upsets 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.

(Note: The document Instrument for Peace is referred to in this transcript.)

David: So “number 3” is “I want to learn that there is a way that I can without guilt see the part I play in thinking A…”

Friend: So you just repeat. What you’re thinking (A), feeling (B), who you’re blaming and what you’re fearing (C).

Friend: Yes, the first one would be “or in blaming my sister-in-law” and the second one is “fearing more of the same.”

Friend: I wondered why you put those both as “C” because I’ve had other people ask me and I was wondering the same thing.

Friend: Well, because sometimes you will be using this Instrument for Peace not on something that has seemed to have already happened but you can use it to address fears and feelings that come up, related to something that you think is going to come up in the future. And so when you use this worksheet addressing something that’s coming up in the future you probably will not fill in that first “C” because there won’t be someone you’re blaming but there will definitely be some fears associated with what will occur in the future that you’ll be addressing.

David: Future thoughts like “I could lose my job,” for example.

Friend: So, like when I think about the company cutting back on employees I feel nervous. I feel scared. I feel whatever I feel because I think that so and so is to blame. Maybe you will or maybe you won’t have somebody’s name to put in there.

Friend: What if you put in your own name. I think that’s something I might say because I think I’m to blame.

Friend: And be sure you put your name in there. Don’t put “me” lest you confuse who that is.

Friend: Put your name.

Friend: Because you may think you are a person if you put “me” down there.

Friend: So my name is the ego rather than “me” the spiritual Self.

David: Yes, it’s more of the persona, the name, the personality.

David: So “number 4” is “I release my wanting to be right about my perception of all of this (A, B, C, D) I want instead to be happy. Through the ego (distorted thinking/seeing) I perceive the cause of my upset and its resolution as outside my mind. This projection seems very real. Its purpose is to distract my mind from looking inward.”

Friend: That’s that thing of do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

David: And it can be that in “C” a lot of times that you put your own name in there. You seem to be convinced that your self is to blame and it can seem to be very strong. It can seem to be, I’m to blame and I’m right about this and I know I am.

Friend: Now, this is where I am: I know there’s nobody out there to blame. It is me, me, me. Now I want to be right about that so it gets back to that self hatred. So I could see me not ever put anybody’s name there because there’s nobody out there that I can blame. But, I could see me putting ‘me’ in there a whole lot now at this level.

Friend: So just be sure you put your name. That’s why on the guide sheet it says somebody or something outside of “ME”, capital, and bolded. That “ME” refers to my true Self and so even when you put your name there; that still is somebody outside of your real Self.

David: Number 5. “If the cause of my upset and its resolution were outside my mind I would, in fact be powerless to change my state of mind. My use of projection of seeing outside what I don’t want to see within is why I seem powerless, why ‘C’ seems to be the cause of my upset.”

Friend: Alright, let’s look at the first sentence: “If the cause of my upset and its resolution were outside my mind I would be powerless to change.” Is the cause outside my mind?

David: That’s what we’re questioning. If it was purely my sister-in-law and I’m going to have to keep going over there. Aside from trying to fix my sister-in-law, and put my sister-in-law through a rehab program or something; that would fit into “its resolution.” Seeing its resolution outside my mind: If I’m in an alcoholic situation, a lot of times it’s like, Let’s send the alcoholic person to AA or whatever and our whole family problem would be solved because they had the problem, and the resolution is them going through a rehab program.

Friend: It doesn’t quite work.

Friend: For me it’s been a great gift to see that if there’s anything outside my mind that has power over me then I might as well just give up right here and right now because I can’t change the world. I’ve tried. I know that that will never work. I can’t control people and I can’t control situations and I can’t control outcomes. So, if that’s true then it is hopeless. So, that’s very empowering because if it’s in my mind I always have the power to change it.

Friend: Is it my ego’s mind?

Friend: Yes.

Friend: Oh, that’s where I’m confused…

David: I think a simple way to regard it is with the Course’s terms right mind and wrong mind. So to bring it back, first of all, off the screen, of blaming, wanting to fix other people and to say Oh, it’s the wrong mind. The choice for the wrong mind is where the problem is. And the right mind is the answer to the wrong mind. I heard it talked about earlier at the dinner table. You were saying “well, if I was in my right mind…” and you were mentioning that, and people have used that a lot but that’s a good way of talking about sanity. Sanity has to be within us and that has to be our right mind.

Friend: A lot of times that’s used way out of context. “If I were in my right mind I would have told that S.O.B. to get out of here!” [laughter]

David: Really it’s wrong minded thinking, yes.

Friend: Yes, any “my mind” that’s referred to here is really the wrong mind.

Friend: I could for my purposes just substitute the word “ego.”

David: Yes. To just summarize “number 5”: “Projection is why my sister-in-law seems to be the cause of my upset.” By projecting it onto my sister-in-law, the old term is scapegoat, where you try to find a scapegoat. In the Bible they tried to get rid of the sins of people by finding a goat and that’s where the term originally came from. They would put all the sins of all the people on the goat and then run the goat out of town and then hopefully symbolically everybody would be absolved and at peace, until next year and another goat.

Friend: In that “seeing outside what I don’t want to see within,” that would just refer to the buried guilt and fear and conflict that comes from the belief that I separated from my Creator.

David: It starts to give you a glimmer of the idea that there are a lot of thoughts that are part of the ego’s system. Like you were saying, my sister-in-law seems very aggressive, and aggressive is a thought; aggressive, aggression or maybe bragging, she seems to be bragging about all those things. Whenever you were describing those adjectives, it’s good to work through these things with some of those adjectives in mind because if I’m seeing it in my sister-in-law I first have to believe it before I can see it. Like that old saying If you spot it, you got it. It’s a quick little line to help to remind you Oh, if I’m furious and I’m seeing it out there in some person then I have to believe it first. If I didn’t know what aggressive was how could I see it? If I didn’t know what lazy was how could I see laziness. There are a lot of these concepts that I’m believing in. If I think I know what a slob is, I’m seeing Oh, there it is. That’s a slob over there. Then it just gets back to questioning all the concepts in my own mind.

Friend: It’s all those boxes that I’ve got people pigeonholed in it’s like Well, I’ve got you figured out. I know right where you belong.

David: But the mirroring is not at the behavioral level. It’s not that you are a slob because you see a slob, like, Wait a minute, I see clearly that this is a slob and I am not a slob. I am neat. It’s a mirroring of what’s in my mind or more exactlywhat’s in the wrong mind, what’s in the ego mind. What’s the belief?

Friend: A way that helps me to understand that is by contrast. When I think of the aborigines for instance; they have no box in their mind or concepts related to time as we may have. So, they don’t have a box marked late or tardy. That isn’t a box for them and so they would never perceive anyone as showing up late because that has no meaning to them.

Friend: Or winning or losing, yes. My knowledge of the aborigines is through Marlo Morgan’s Book, Mutant Message Down Under and she’s on a walk about with them across Australia. She wants to teach them some American games and one of them is that of racing. We all line up and we all race to that point and whoever gets there first wins. They just didn’t understand what was fun about that. They had no concept of winning and losing. It was like how could it be fun for one person to get there and they called them the winner and everybody else wouldn’t.

Friend: That’s the way of helping me see it. It really is just a made up concept in the wrong mind.

David: So, “number 6” is pretty much just a restatement of “number 2.” It gives you a chance to write it out and however you feel it coming whether you started out with something or it’s more in an abbreviated form. “Thinking A, Feeling B, and blaming/fearing C results from my belief in lack taking the form of an image of self/other/the world, D.”

Friend: So, in this case it’s going to result from my belief that I’m out of control.

David: “Number 7: I’m only upset at someone or something when they or it mirrors back to my mind a belief which I have denied from awareness.”

Friend: Now what does that mean, “…that I’ve denied from awareness?”

David: Well, to take yours of being out of control. It’s not something that you probably think about as you wake up in the morning and go through your day. I’m out of control, I’m out of control. The deceived mind thinks It’s a pretty stable world that I’m in. I’m a person living in the world. I’m functioning. I’ve got a job. I’ve got a pretty decent life here and this feeling of being out of control just seems to surface at certain times but it’s not something that remains in conscious awareness.

Friend: Yes, I feel pretty together most of the time. I know how to handle most things but this is kind of like the exception.

Friend: It’s not that I’m out of control but there’s a belief in my mind that I do have a lack of control and that most of the time I keep it out of awareness. The belief comes and goes. It’s not like it comes when my sister-in-law is there and it goes when she’s gone. But, the belief is in the mind all the time and it only comes to awareness when there are situations that I perceive as saying Oh, now I feel out of control. And then it’s over and I go to the next situation Now I feel fine.

David: If you take it a little bit deeper, the first time that the out of control seemed to appear was when the ego, remember I gave you the little passage “Into eternity where all was one there crept a tiny mad idea at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh”? T-27.VIII That was the original out of control and now that’s just the wrong mind but there’s layers and layers. So, it doesn’t seem like every time I feel like I’m out of control or I’m feeling a little anxious, that it’s just because I’m choosing the ego or choosing the wrong mind. It’s because it seems that there’s something out there on the screen; if this person wasn’t that way then I wouldn’t feel so out of control or if things had gone differently in the world I wouldn’t be out of control.

Friend: It’s a belief that’s buried very deep in the mind.

Friend: It seems like the problem isn’t my belief in being out of control. It seems like the problem is this scenario. That’s why we keep calling it tracing back because it’s like you’re starting with your sister-in-law and the scenario and you trace it back. You’re tracing it back from the perception of the scenario to the feelings that you’re identified with, to the thoughts and what you’re fearing in the future and then to the belief.

Friend: And it’s the ego belief.

Friend: So that’s the tracing back because the point you want to get to is the middle to see where’s the core of this problem because until I get to the core it’s just going to keep coming back even if your sister-in-law dropped off the face of the earth tomorrow it’s just going to come back in another form.

David: “When I blame/fear something in the world it is to avoid seeing the upset and the resolution as they really are; a decision in my mind, and to instead maintain an image of self/other/the world as I wish.” The upset and the resolution; the wrong mind is always the source of the upset and the right mind is always the source of the resolution, or to use Course terms the Holy Spirit. “This mind trick may seem to displace guilt and fear but actually maintains feelings of upset. To blame/fear an image of self/ other/the world requires that I believe I am limited to a body and world of bodies and denies the spiritual abstract reality of my being. As a first step in letting go of all upsets I want to see in my mind what I thought was outside it. Being upset about A is only another attempt to make C the cause of my guilt and fear.”

Friend: I want to find a cause out here because as long as I can say Well, the cause is out there then it takes the responsibility away from my mind.

Friend: Because it’s too hard to change the mind when you start thinking about it. How can I change? How can I see differently and I ask myself that question. Well, that means I have to choose the right mind so that means I have to go to this concept called forgiveness and the way the Course explains forgiveness is really difficult to comprehend at this level of my experience, but I’ve been beginning to understand it more and more and being able to see it. Like I’ve realized some things here that sort of made some shifts for me. So, I guess what I’m saying is it’s just so hard to give up what you believe and think is right and true because you had it all this time.

Friend: That’s what you identify with. That’s a very important piece here.

Friend: It’s a self concept.

Friend: And then what we do is we find somebody who joins us in that self concept and most people will. If you go tell the story and you tell about your sister-in-law, in this group we’re not going to buy it but if you go to a group of your friends, they’ll say, You’re right. How did you deal with her? You are a saint! Get rid of her! [laughter] So you come here and we’re saying we love you too much to buy it and so we’re going to work this through. But the world wants the world to be true. That’s really important too: joining. Joining in the conflict and you can find a bunch of people to join in the conflict or you can join in peace.

David: Number 8. “Upset seems valuable and justifiable when A runs counter to what I want/ed. What I want/ed and expect/ed is E.” How I wanted “A” to be the solution or how I wanted the scenario to go.

Friend: In this case, you could put “peace” in there, right?

Friend: Well, how you want the gathering to look.

Friend: Specifically, for your sister-in-law with these family gatherings

Friend: That she wouldn’t attract attention to herself or whatever.

Friend: What’s the ideal scenario?

Friend: “Upset seems valuable and justifiable.” So, this isn’t my upper mind talking, this is my lower mind.

Friend: All this is your lower mind. So, what would your lower mind say would have been the ideal situation?

Friend: I’d like her to keep her mouth shut.

Friend: That your sister-in-law would just be …. ?

Friend: Normal! [group laughter]

David: Then write that in E. “Just be normal.”

Friend: Now we got to the bottom of it.

Friend: That your sister-in-law would come in and say, “Hi, how are you?” And then sit down and never say another word?

Friend: You know, normal! Polite!

Friend: Not boisterous. Ok, we got her there sitting quietly.

David: That’s our action or situation or event.

Friend: I still believe in some form of lack!

David: “I still believe in some form of lack D. And so I think I need E. to be happy, complete and at peace.”

Friend: If she acts normal I will be happy, complete and at peace.

Friend: That’s all it will take, right? That’ll do it!

Friend: Sure, my ego will buy that.

Friend: And that will make me consistently happy, consistently complete and consistently at peace for the rest of my life. As long as my sister-in-law stays quiet!

Friend: Or [stays at] home.

David: So that leads us to the last sentence. “Is this belief in lack or resulting expectation more important to me than PEACE OF MIND?”

Friend: Is it more important for your sister-in-law to be quiet and act right than….?

Friend: That is my peace of mind! [giggles]

David: “Number 9. Everything in the world works together for my good. What I think is the cause of my upset is not the cause at all. The choice to be upset is the choice not to see the cause. My belief in separation/lack is a present decision in my mind. It’s an attempt to see the cause in the past/future and the present as its effect.” So, the first sentence really gets to that. There’s a line in the Course, and there’s even a line in the Bible, about all things work together for good. You’ve probably read about it in other spiritualities, they talk about everything is happening for the good and divine order. That’s just a basic metaphysical principle.

Friend: That’s very reassuring, you might add.

David: Yes, so you even go back to scenario “A” which is the scenario of what seems to be: here’s this party or this gathering of the family and that’s all working together for my good. But, when I have a belief in lack and I’m reading meaning into the scenario, so to speak, and according to this meaning that I’m reading in there’s a villain there. Am I willing to question the meaning that I’m reading and am I willing to take a look at it? It’s all happening for my good. There’s a lesson there in this whole thing and that is just; how can I perceive this differently?

Friend: The sentence says, “The Choice to be upset is the choice not to see the cause or my belief in separation/lack as a present decision in my mind.” Then the “It’s an attempt,” that refers back to my choice to be upset? “An attempt to see the cause in the past/future and the present as its effect.”

David: In other words, just thinking about your sister-in-law; you’re thinking about the scenario and the emotions are coming up, frustrations, anger, being boxed in or cornered or whatever those feelings are that don’t feel very good. Then there’s an attempt to say No, It’s not my belief in separation/lack. The cause is either in the past or the future. It could be just thinking about the past, that scenario or it could be thinking about Oh gosh, we’ve got to get together next week and this is going to happen again. So the mind is not in the present.

Friend: So, you’re upset right now even though your sister-in-law is not anywhere near this room but you’re just thinking about what happened in the past or anticipating what’s going to happen next time you see her.

Friend: So, I could just reword that slightly and say, “It’s an attempt to see the cause in the past/future and the present emotion is its effect because it’s my present emotion that I’m in fear of…”

David: Present state of mind.

Friend: And it says it’s an attempt to see it that way.

Friend: Yes, Ok.

David: “Number 10. What I want right now above all else is peace. I question D. and I voluntarily let go of E…” “E” is a good one because I think of “E” for expectations. It helps me to remember that. So, I have to question my underlining belief in lack however I see it and my expectation that springs from that belief. Things should turn out this way. It should be this way, “… in order to reconnect with my one goal: peace.”

Friend: That doesn’t do it.

Friend: We have two more steps to go. We still have a chance. [laughter]

David: And once again we can say here’s A Course in Miracles, 1200 pages that people have been studying for years and aside from just the Course the whole journey to awakening through Buddhism and all the different paths. It seems to be a forbidding challenge that many people have attempted. And this belief that we’re talking about in “D”, and all those expectations that spring from that belief it runs real deep. So a lot of times even as you go through it, it can be a loosening and some shifts taking place and know that it’s helpful. Even if you do get to the bottom and still feel like there’s something there. A lot of times, I’ve seen people get out another sheet and say “Ok, let me work with this.”

Friend: I write in the margins. I have one that I’ve wrote that the entire back was filled in.

David: Like a journaling?

Friend: Yes, just anything that came through my mind.

Friend: So, when you say that doesn’t get it for you on “number 10.” Are you feeling like you’re not able to let go of the expectations? Is that what you mean when you say, “It’s not getting it” for you?

Friend: I don’t have any reason to. I haven’t worked into it. Peace would be nice but it’s not that nice.

Friend: In other words, Peace doesn’t seem more valuable to you now than holding onto her behavior to be a certain way.

Friend: Yes, what I have to find is the mechanism to get me there. I have to really feel and understand what I have to gain and I suppose how you allow yourself to save face in in order to have the end result.

Friend: That’s another belief.

Friend: That’s another worksheet! [laughter]

Friend: “Saving face,” oh, that’s a favorite of the ego.

Friend: Again remember that you’ve got to move into right mindedness and that’s where forgiveness comes in and forgiveness, to me, as is basically a three part thing. The first thing I have to do is a shift in perception where what I perceived as special love or special hate or enemy or lover, as a brother or friend. Then I have to go to “number 2” and withdraw the projection. That means I have to come off of the screen and back to my mind. I have to take all the guilt and all those perceptions that I’ve placed out there and follow them back to the mind. And then my third step is that I have to see that what I think they’ve done to me I did to myself and what I did to myself was that very thinking that saw it out there on the screen. And I’m beginning to understand that to some degree, and the feeling sort of changed once you understand that to some degree. I haven’t got it all worked out, but it just sort of falls away to some degree when you understand that.

Friend: I understood what you said but I think when I bring it back to my mind and look at this situation, I realize I did it to myself. I allowed her behavior. I personalized it and did it to myself. But, what I haven’t been able to figure out is maybe how to intellectually deal with that? How to let it go? How to let that behavior go? In fact, other people have remarked to me about that. This woman that I ran into used to work with this gal who, when she found out how we’re sort of related, said, “Oh, I used to get tired about hearing about that swimming hole!” I’m not trying to justify my behavior by this. She affects a lot of people that way. What was my point?

Friend: Your point is—it gets back to, ok, we’re at peace. Do I want peace or do I want to be right? Now you’re still asking your question there because you said something—“Saving face,” and the thing is what you’re thinking is; If I let this go I’ve got to be crazy. My sister-in-law really does these things and if I show you all a video tape with this thing and if I show that at every house in this neighborhood, then 95% of them are going to say, ‘Nancy is at fault. You have every right to be upset.’ That’s the way the world works.

Friend: But, I understand that regardless of if 100% of them say, “This woman is something,” I still have to be able to intellectualize it and make it ok for me.

Friend: Experience it, not intellectualize it because we are intellectualizing it in a way right now. That doesn’t help. You’ve got to be able to experience it.

Friend: Now, what do you mean experience it?

Friend: Be at peace without her changing.

Friend: I have to experience what gets me to that point.

Friend: You have to experience the whole thing. Otherwise, all it is is intellectualizing, and intellectualizing is a step, it is not helpful.

Friend: It’s not the whole solution.

Friend: No, there are a lot of intellectuals out there. There are a lot of intellectuals that understand the Course from top to finish.

Friend: It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to do something out here on the screen.

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