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Week Intensive Part 13 – Tracing Back Upsets, Part 4
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.)
Friend: We’re finally to number 12, the last item of the Instrument for Peace.
David: The 12th step: “I am grateful for the realization that the cause of my upset, which I thought was in the world, was actually only an unquestioned belief and decision in my mind. I have decided anew for my Peace of Mind.” We could have a note at the bottom: If not, go back to step one. If you don’t feel grateful…
Friend: … pull out another worksheet.
Friend: I was suggesting that very thing during the break; if you get down to number ten, and you notice that you would rather hold on to your expectation, instead of letting go in favor of peace, then there’s probably more work that will have to be done before you see it clearly enough, and feel the desire for peace enough, that you’re willing to let “E” go.
Friend: There may be another lack, or something more in there that I’m not seeing.
Friend: There is something there that you probably would find helpful to work with, because there must be some scenario coming up in the mind, that you look at and say Oh my gosh, I would be so embarrassed, or, I would feel so….
Friend: When I think about that, I can’t figure out why I used those words, because I can’t… I think it goes back to a power thing, a control thing, but your suggestion is good. My biggest fear is that the next family gathering is going to come before I work this out. One of these days I’m going to explode!
Friend: That’s when you pray. You don’t pray for your sister-in-law to change; you pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you through the situation for peace of mind.
Friend: I was sharing the analogy that you often use, David, of the overhead projector and how the beliefs would be analogous to all of the transparencies that would be stacked up on top of that brilliant light in the overhead projector, to such an extent that what you see out on the screen is quite dark, there’s not much light to it. Symbolically, when I do one of these Instruments for Peace, I’m pulling one of the transparencies off the overhead projector.
Friend: Letting a little more light through.
Friend: Letting a little more light shine through, with the intent to get them all out of the way, so all that’s left is only light.
Friend: That’s another motivation for getting through it, and even for doing this; because, how many workshops have you been to where you’ve filled out all those worksheets? For me, there was a lot of motivation to get through it because I could see there was actually some light on the other side.
Friend: And it might take a few. We were talking about this just the other night. If you do the first three or four or five and you still feel Yuck, what’s the point? It’s like the Workbook, in that you just have to keep doing it even though you don’t see where it’s going, even though you don’t quite have the experience yet that would reinforce it in your own mind, and have the mind want to do it. In the introduction to the Workbook, Jesus says, “You need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter or decrease their efficacy ... Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required.” W-in.9 I feel it’s very much the same with the Instrument for Peace. Just keep doing it and you will see the value in it at some point.
Friend: Another suggestion is to start with seemingly small things and work your way up to some of the bigger ones, because in that way, it doesn’t seem like such a big thing to work through.
Friend: And the principles become clearer. When I’m not so emotionally invested in an issue, there’s a little more willingness to see it differently than when there’s an issue that seems to be a really major thing that I’m hanging onto.
Friend: That’s a good suggestion because it’s so hard to deal with some of those big things, and when you get enough practice with some of the smaller ones, I think it makes it so much clearer.
David: People have asked How would some of this fit with inner child work? Or, I’ve been seeing a therapist, and we’ve been working on different things and issues. How is this processed, and how do these things relate with that? In one sense, a lot of psychotherapy and inner child work has been about trying to get in touch with memories and go back into your childhood and earlier parts of your life. A lot of times that is very helpful, in the sense of talking, and feeling like you’re in a comfortable situation, where you can get in touch with some of those things, if there have been repressed memories that haven’t even been allowed into consciousness, it can be really helpful to just let them come up; but then, what do you do with the memory when it comes up, if it has been repressed? That’s where the Course has been so helpful. The Course says you need to change your perception about it. Again, what produces the perceptions? the beliefs! That’s why the Course is so helpful in tracing it down and really getting to the underpinnings and beliefs instead of trying to redo scenes, or blame, or even in some cases confront! Or thinking of going back and…
Friend: … throwing stones at the house! I was just thinking about Jenny in Forrest Gump.
David: … screaming, yelling, beating something, throwing stones at something, or the idea of confronting; going back to your father or to your mother or to your siblings. The real change has to come from a change in perception, and that means that you have to get to the belief. So it’s not so much in just going back into childhood or into the past, but really looking at your mind.
Friend: Usually the child feels that it’s their fault, but again, it’s a change in perception, that you were not responsible for that, and to change that perception.
Friend: Inner child work is ultimately not to place blame on anyone. It is to come to peace, but sometimes it doesn’t work through everything as deep as this. Ultimately you really need to work it through or you’ll be doing inner child work for the rest of your life, or holding a teddy bear in your bedroom for the rest of your life.
David: It’s a great idea to not have any blame, but again, only true forgiveness works and that has to be carefully learned, because if you believe that it really happened to you, then there’s a lot of anger, because the mind feels that it truly was victimized by something or someone. You want to try to move towards no blame, but as long as the mind believes in the reality of the memory, then there can’t be forgiveness.
There’s a part in Absence from Felicity where Jesus is talking to Helen and Bill, and it’s really touching on what we are talking about, which is letting go of the past. He’s talking about A Course in Miracles, which he refers to as “these notes”, and he says, “These notes are part of your life’s work, and I will treat them with respect. It is true that this will lead to something quite different, because the notes point only to the future. They lead to a future that you will know. There was a past, but it does not matter. It does not explain the present or account for the future. You both have gone over your childhood in some detail and at considerable expense, and it merely encouraged your egos to become more tolerable to you. I would hardly want you to repeat that same error. Knowledge is not won through curiosity, which is an ego attribute. Knowledge can be found only if it is sought to give it to someone else. This means that you are ready to appreciate its real value and have already accepted its worth for yourself. That is what I meant when I told you, 'You cannot go to God with Bill, but you can go for him and bring knowledge back to him.' If this is in the future (going to God), why would you care at all about the past except to the extent that your ego objects to your rightful destiny? Are you interested in healing insanity or in studying its past? That is of concern only if you believe that something that could remedy it has happened in the past. Even my personal history is of no value to you, except as it teaches you that I can help you now.”
That’s quite a statement! Of all the entire teachings that are in the Bible, he’s saying that it is of no value except that it can teach you that I can help you now; that there is this living Presence that’s available to you. “But, no history of irreconcilable viewpoints is helpful in establishing Truth. The Spirit has no history, being the same yesterday, today, and always. The history of a split mind is not a constructive focus for those who are being trained in an integrated and true concept of themselves. I am quite willing to take your question up again when it no longer is of any interest to your egos and if it is of help to someone else. Otherwise it would be much better for you to devote yourselves to knowing God.” [laughter]
That gets right to the point! I heard Krishnamurti say this one time too, that there’s no value in the past. There is none. We often say There are some important things that I’ve learned in the past, but Jesus says it so clearly, “If you thought there was a remedy in the past, then it would make good sense to go searching in the past.” Freudian psychoanalysis always taught that your childhood situations and memories determined who you are, and there have been a lot of variations on that same theme, but Jesus is saying Don’t go hunting in the past for the remedy. Even behavior modification, which would be the whole other end of the spectrum, is dealing with the screen. The Course is teaching that the screen is the past; so even if you’re trying to tinker with the screen and leaving out all these supposed urges and uncontrollable ids that Freud talked about; even if you talked about modifying behavior, it is still trying to tinker with the past instead of pointing to the present. It’s pretty radical. It’s a radical new therapy.
Are there specific questions or topics? There are a lot of things we could go into.
Friend: I just want to touch on or go into this thing of no compromise. We were talking the other day about there being “nothing I would keep.” “The necessary condition for the Holy Instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep” W-15.9.1 What does that mean? No compromise?
David: I’ve looked at it really closely in the Course, and it says “Salvation is no compromise of any kind.” T-23.III.3 He says “To believe that salvation involves compromise is to believe that love is attack,” which is a pretty strong statement. Any compromise attempt in the world, and there are many, many forms of attack that the mind doesn’t recognize as attack, has to be gone through very carefully to get to the bottom of it. The idea of non-compromise comes in because there are two thought systems in the mind. A compromise attempt would be any attempt to reconcile the two, or to choose the ego. A compromise attempt is also the many delay maneuvers in coming to accept the Atonement in the moment. It would be like trying to strike a balance between eternal, changeless, abstract love and the projected world of form. Even attempts to try to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth are compromise attempts. When you really follow the belief in, that there is a way to bring about peace on earth in a form sense; having a happy picture, a happy ending, you need to let go of your way of seeing the world as you see it in order to come to peace of mind. The world was made as an attack on God. It’s not like the world has elements of it that are very positive, and that just by flushing out everything that’s negative you’ll be left with a positive world, which is a common approach.
Friend: How about Disney World? [laughter]
David: Or how about Michael Jackson; he made a menagerie of all kinds of rides and everything.
David: Trying to make it into paradise. The other night, we were talking about how anytime you are using the world or the body for the ego’s purposes, it’s an attack. Yet many of the ego’s purposes seem to be quite nice. That’s why there are many forms of attack that the mind doesn’t recognize; it still believes they are helpful when it’s really still attacking. Probably the most subtle and most deceptive of those is what Jesus spends about nine chapters on, and that’s special love relationship, which seems to be a haven. It seems to offer lots of good things; wonderful feelings of warmth and connectedness. You could say it’s the old you and me against the world. We’ve got barricades up because we have a haven here. It seems very attractive, and it’s not seen as an attack. It still has an ego motive behind it, and any attack is an attack on God. It’s not an attack in Truth, but it’s keeping the mind from the awareness of Truth in reality. So, when it gets to non-compromise, it comes down to following it step by step and really questioning: What are the ways, what are the concepts, and what are the beliefs of attack that I’m still not recognizing? Help me, Jesus, to understand what those are, and help me to lay them aside.
Friend: I guess when I first heard that, I slipped back into thinking about how the fundamentalists are; there’s only one right way to do things, and they are uncompromising in that way.
David: Yes, form and content. We talked about how black or white thinking has bogged down into form: This is the only way. This is the only path to reach God. These are the dos and don’ts in form! These are the sins: you can’t do these and go to heaven; and these are the good deeds, and you need to do lots of these to go to heaven. What we’re talking about is non-compromising in terms of thought or thinking. In a sense, there is only one right way in terms of right-mindedness, but that’s at the purpose level or the mind level, as contrasted with wrong-mindedness of the ego. So, to get clear on that is really important. That’s why we try to go very, very deep in all of our talks and discussions. When we get together, we get down to a real discernment between right-mindedness and wrong-mindedness so that we don’t tolerate ego thinking in our own minds.
Friend: That’s where I go. I still value some of those, and those are the things that I relinquish to the Holy Spirit every morning after meditations. I seem to still value them, and I don’t know how to let them go because they seem to be so real.
David: The question is, What is it for? In some of the passages in the Course, like the one in The Gift of Lilies, he says, “Look upon all the trinkets made to hang upon the body or to cover it or for its use.” T-20.11.1. He goes on and on about things, and I thought my gosh, he seems to be getting awfully specific here; talking about clothes and jewelry and on and on, but the idea is: What is it for? It is about the metaphysics. If I’m trying to draw attention to the body, then what am I teaching? Whether it’s with what might be called some kind of risqué clothing or different things, it goes more and more to: Am I teaching my brother and myself that I’m a body and attention should be drawn to and focused on the body, or am I focusing on the mind and the spirit? Again, until you get to the metaphysics, it may seem like Hey, what’s the big deal, Jesus? What does it matter what I wear? For me, it’s one of those things that I have just followed in.
Friend: I can remember when I went from wearing browns, oranges and tans (earth colors) to these bright, vivid colors when I had my color analysis done and found out what colors looked best on this body, and then I just had the best time! I mean, I love wearing these dramatic colors, and I love wearing really fun earrings. I got lots of attention from people. They were always commenting on my earrings because they were so different, or they were talking about how bright my clothes were. I just ate it up, but at some point when I looked at this very thing that David is talking about, it was like: Wow, what am I doing here? What is my intention for wearing these fun earrings and these bright clothes? Well, the intention was to get exactly what I was getting; attention to the body. When I decided that I really wanted to put my attention on my mind, and therefore, I wanted to model that, then it was incongruent for me to continue wanting attention for my body by using jewelry and bright-colored clothes for that purpose.
David: Perfumes, low-cut dresses, and so forth, you could just go on and on with it. Again, it’s the purpose. Is it the body or the mind? You could also add to that the whole thing of flattery. That is something that’s interesting to take a look at. If you really look at the life of Jesus and read about it, the apostles were saying in the Urantia Book that he was not a flatterer. Jesus didn’t go around complimenting and flattering like you may think. Again, it makes perfect sense from the metaphysical perspective, because he was interested in their minds. He was interested in their thoughts and their coming to purity of thought. He didn’t put his attention on the body. Nor did he focus on sicknesses; the types of sickness, the leprosy, or having been dead for three days. This is about just this idea of means and ends. Jesus was saying If you use your body as your end, if you want to keep all the pleasures, the conveniences, the comforts, and the niceties of the world, what is the receptor of that? It’s the body! It gets to enjoy all of that good stuff (in the world’s eyes), and the mind is a slave to work, to be trained for jobs, to be educated for years, to make money so that the body can get all the bucks and all the comforts and conveniences. Jesus is saying It’s got to be turned around 180 degrees. Your goal should be peace of mind, and you should want to use your body and everything that you perceive in the world around you as a means to help bring about your peace of mind. Wow! That’s a complete turnaround from the other way. It seems like a loosening and a gradual turnaround. For me, it wasn't like one day I was reading about means and ends and suddenly it's Ah! I get it! It seemed like a little bit of questioning in each of those situations. I asked more and more What is my purpose here? Why am I going to great lengths to earn this money or do extreme things? For what?
Friend: I have some thoughts about the clothing thing. There are some people who will wear black or get a mohawk or don't shave their legs because they think that’s a way of making a statement. But I think there’s a place wherever you are teaching that you try to fit in and not draw attention one way or another. I’m thinking about going to the Zen Center and there everybody wear black. So, I wore the closest thing to black that I had, but I had orange socks [laughter] and everybody had black socks, so everybody looked at me. It immediately drew attention to me. From that time on, I asked my girlfriend if she had black socks, and she didn’t have any, so I had to let that go. But when you go to Hour of De Si, everybody’s in white, so if you come in in black, it immediately draws attention to you. So the question is what is your lesson, and what are you here for?
David: It’s good that you bring that up. Initially when you start making these shifts and you are in a work setting with appropriate professional clothing, and you are working on your changing your mind and your forgiveness lessons, it’s not helpful to come to work in rags and say something like, “This is simpler.” That would really draw attention in the work setting.
Friend: They might not want to hear what you have to say.
David: And as you go on deeper and deeper, and you really attempt to give up the world, then you come more and more to simplicity and you won’t necessarily be giving talks to Boards of Directors. There’ll be disciples sitting around you and wanting to hear your words because of the training of the level of the mind.
Friend: Many times, for me, it came in the form of experimenting, which made it fun and also put parameters on it. There was any number of things I could do for a few weeks or days, and it was just a way of getting in touch with my feelings and beliefs. So, instead of taking any sacred vow not to do this or not to do that I found that experimenting with the form was a way to get a closer look at what it seemed to bring up for me and some of the beliefs and feelings that went with it. Like when I stopped wearing makeup. I did it on a trip since I thought I would never see any of those people again anyway. They don't know what I usually look like with make up on anyway, so, they are not going to say, “Oh, my gosh. Are you feeling OK? You look so pale.” So, it seemed like an appropriate place and it was really very easy. I've never wanted to wear makeup anyway, really. It has always been a bother. So, for six weeks I didn’t wear any makeup just to see how I would feel about myself, and it was really helpful.
Friend: That’s where you get the joy, from experimenting. I’m thinking about your hitch-hiking.
Friend: What happens usually is that when I experiment, I don’t choose to go back into my old way of doing it, because I’ve had a chance to look at why I was doing it, what it would feel like not to do it, and just work through some of that stuff. Then I don’t need the old way.
Friend: And you didn’t do it when it would bring you tremendous fear.
Friend: No, I didn’t do it when I was in fear.
Friend: I was thinking about your hitch-hiking. That was an experiment in a way because it was the first time… Maybe you could tell that story.
Friend: I went down to the trailer and left the car down there, and hitch hiked back. I had never hitch hiked before. We have picked up hitch-hikers before in traveling, so I have been related to hitch hiking in that respect, but not as a hitch hiker. It had been suggested, probably a couple of years ago, that I hitch-hike back from the trailer, and it was like Huh? You’ve got to be kidding! That would not be a smart thing to do. There’s no way! Just the fear that came up around that was a real indication to me that I wasn’t to do that. But when the suggestion was made this time, it was like Yeah, why not! I didn’t feel any fear about doing it. I thought Sure! This will be fun. This will be an adventure, and it’s already all worked out anyway. It’s already taken care of, and I just get to see who I ride with!
Friend: Who did you ride with?
Friend: I rode with a trucker
Friend: Yeah? [laughter]
Friend: And it was a great symbol because I had never been in a trucker’s cab; and it’s way up! I mean talk about a vantage point that’s above the battlefield; that’s what it represented to me.
Friend: Wow! Some people would say you were in the battlefield! [laughter]
Friend: What’s that?
Friend: There’s a line in the Course about being above the battleground; above the battlefield.
Friend: It’s a way to be up above, detached from, stepped back from, that dreamer of the dream analogy. It was great, and I would do it again.
Friend: And that’s where the fun comes in that you were talking about, the joy and the fun. Sometimes I have a tendency to look at this so seriously. Lighten up! You know, there is lightness to it, and it’s not bolting and making yourself look like the goal. It’s allowing yourself to flow to the goal.
Friend: “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” W-172.l I’ve been working with that concept for some time now. It’s helpful as a concept at this point. Maybe it won’t be a concept in the future, and I’ll be able to bring it into application. But when it comes to fear and letting things go, I think that’s one of the reasons I want to stay in the prisons because some of the people I fear most are there. Where else can I learn to let that fear go and really be defenseless and just there and vulnerable?
Friend: And to see them, not for their guilt and sin, but who they truly are.
Friend: Only it’s about being invulnerable, not vulnerable.
Friend: Well, invulnerable! [laughter]
David: If you were vulnerable, there would be consequences! [laughter]
Friend: Even the thing about picking up hitchhikers…. Until recently, I had never picked up a hitchhiker when I was driving by myself, and I noticed that I wanted to be able to do that fearlessly. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn't fearless about it, so I just kept opening up my mind to that possibility. Recently, I was on my way down to the trailer, and that is when I picked up a hitchhiker for the first time. It was a great holy encounter, and he was just immensely grateful. It was just the easiest thing. I felt really comfortable with picking him up. I didn't think Do I or don’t I? Is it safe, Isn’t it safe? None of that even came into it. It was just an automatic thing; I just stopped.
David: I think that the more you go into it the more the little metaphysical connections start to take place in your mind. It’s a loosening from judgments or even preferences; everyone who walks this earth has preferences, (food preferences, sexual preferences, climate preferences, relationship preferences and clothing preferences.) You could just say Well, there are all these different things, and that’s all part of that “ordering” and “hierarchy of illusions.” That is what Jesus called it. So initially, when you start out, it’s like Well, this is who I am. This is who I am as a person. The more you start to make the metaphysical connections, you say, I want this to loosen up. I want to question. You don’t go right for the major ones right away, because you’ll fall flat on your face. I know, initially, when we would travel, even things like drink preferences—coffees, teas, and different things like that, you would think, Well, what in the world does what I drink have to do with accepting the Atonement? I’m working on forgiving Aunt so & so, and this and that, and what does coffee have to do with forgiveness or the Atonement? But the more you get into the metaphysics, you start to see that it’s more than just judging your brothers; it’s that whole scheme of judgments. If I am going into a restaurant and I have a favorite desert, cherry cheesecake or whatever, and I have my heart set on it (my “E” = expectations) I expect that they’ll have that favorite desert, and they say, Sir, I am so sorry, but we don’t have the usual. Like after you ask for the usual and they say they don’t have it, there’s a little bit of a dip, a little bit of a let down. That’s not peaceful! You can see in the end how subtle it gets. If I have expectations, even about getting a desert, and they don’t have it, then you could take out your Instrument for Peace worksheet. It may seem silly that you would add on about a desert, but there aren’t any large or small upsets.
Friend: Once you’ve got any more than the one box, you’re fragmented.
David: It has come up too as I’ve traveled and been taken into homes and traveled all over, that it seems as if there are all these different family systems. The way it seems is that families have all these different preferences. So the ego’s way of being nice and fitting in is to wear the chameleon; every home you go in, put on a different costume. And there’s no peace in being the chameleon, of walking on egg shells, of people pleasing to the max. You think in one place: I don’t want to upset this, and in the next place this, and the next place this. The only true peace when you are seemingly in a lot of settings with a lot of different people is to stay with the Holy Spirit. [laughter] The One Answer! What happens is that the more you train your mind you end up into a flow, and it’s a real easy going thing, things just aren’t a big deal. So they serve you this or they serve you that. Well, it’s going to be a great holy encounter whatever they serve you. So you take a car, a train, a bus, or you walk, or you hitch-hike. It seems like there could be some gradations there of going in style, going in comfort, hiking on a 90-degree day... If you’re just looking for these holy encounters, and you’re really tuned in, then it’s like all of that just falls into the background.
Friend: That’s where it’s fun.
David: Yes. That’s where it’s fun.
Friend: It’s a real adventure!
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