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Week Intensive part 2 - Becoming Aware of Resistance
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.
David: It sure can seem like a stretch if there’s a real strong body identification or if I really believe that this is my reality, not only the body but the private mind that goes along with the body. If I really believe in private minds, that this is my identity then all those lessons that “I am as God created me” or “I am the light of the world,” can seem like a big stretch, almost unfathomable. It sounds sentimentally nice. Someone who has a real strong investment in the body will say, it sounds good. But, what we want to do is to question so deeply the beliefs and just throw everything out on the table. The ego can’t hide when it’s laid out on the table so to speak.
Friend: There was one point, my friend, when we were just reading one of the lessons that I just realized my mind wanted to be drawn to other places and I wasn’t even listening to what was being read.
Friend: Right, it was the lesson 162 and we read two others that had the same topic and I could stay with those and I got to that one and my friend finished reading and I thought I don’t know what she said.
Friend: Didn’t hear a word.
Friend: Do you remember what it was because I remember you looked, read it again to yourself and said, “Where was it that I went off?” And you recognized where it was.
Friend: I remember it all came back to the idea that you thought you were going to have to give something up to experience that “I am as God created me,” that there was going to be a sacrifice called for.
Friend: And that sacrifice was me. That’s how it was perceived.
David: That’s precisely what the deceived mind thinks is going to be the cost of salvation.
Friend: I have already forgotten it totally.
Friend: I thought it was really good that you were able to go back and see what you read and you said, “Ok, no thank you. I’m not going any further.”
Friend: Just shut down totally because when she finished I thought I’ve got to read that again because I can’t meditate on that because I don’t know what she said.
Friend: And that was good for you to be able to recognize that resistance, to start to uncover it a little bit because we talked about this exact thing. It was Why would I not want to know about “I am as God created me”? Why would I be resistant to that? That sounds wonderful. Why would I want to wander off somewhere and not hear what He has to say?
Friend: It has to be because what I perceive as the cost of that is something that I value dearly.
Friend: And that’s what you identify with. But, that’s a great place to start because that’s certainly a big one that has to be looked at.
Friend: What I think Tara Singh sort of points out too is that sometimes you get into denial because the Course says, “If this thought is held firmly in mind it can save the world.” And to think that you are as God created you is such a tremendous thing that in our littleness we couldn’t possibly be all that, that we couldn’t be as God created us; perfect sinless being that has everything, not promised but already has it.
Friend: Who’s saying that, the Christ? I’ve got a long way to go. I’m not there yet. I don’t think so. It doesn’t quite go together.
David: So, we have to question personhood. We have to question private minds. We have to question linear time. And also this thing about giving up me; to be as God created me, I have to give up this seeming sense of self. Another angle to look at it would be… I was sharing with a friend this whole thing of relationships, in the sense that it seems like two people come together and like you were saying “I want the house to look nice. I want it to be clean. I want to make a good impression.” We could call it the initial meeting and the initial dating is about making a good impression. “Don’t unload everything about yourself on the first date. You may never ever get the second date so let some of your positive aspects shine and come through; carefully discern and be discrete on what you reveal.”
Friend: Feel your way along.
David: Yes, feel your way along so you don’t blow it on the first date and then maybe on the second date share a little bit more and then a little bit more as you go along and then… You what!? Well, I never knew that about you. I’ll have to think about that one. And basically, it’s like… the book that was written one time Do I Have to Give up Me to be Loved by You? that the ego wants the sense of closeness and of intimacy. Let’s share a certain illusion. Maybe we have certain things that we believe in or certain things that we can pursue that seem in the world like commonalities. And that’s seen as good news in a relationship. That’s seen as a stable relationship. We don’t want to completely fuse according to the egos logic because that would be losing a sense of self. That would be giving me up. That would be losing my uniqueness. That would be completely fusing and that’s the last thing that the ego wants—a total union. What it wants is; it wants the bodies to be together. It wants the companionship as it defines it and everything and it wants to keep the separate minds. Even so called the best of marriages… Well, we don’t agree on everything. What can you expect? We’re human beings.
Jesus is saying to come to awareness of the right mind, to come to Divine Mind, that you need to come to a place where there is a total merging or a total agreement. In other words, what would that be? It’s like Wow that seems like an awfully high goal, to have perfect union and harmony in a relationship. In the old way, you’ve got take the good with the bad. You’ve got to compromise. I always thought compromise was a pretty good term. That’s a good thing for relationships—you’ve got to compromise. Not with the Course; Salvation is no compromise of any kind. That’s the Holy Spirit, that’s the union and the harmony. That would be to accept the Holy Spirit as the goal for your relationship as the sole goal. Any separate interest that I have I would want to bring to the Holy Spirit so that I could be right minded, so to speak. That would be the merging. That would be the higher super ordinate goal that’s above the specific separate interests. The Holy Spirit is above persons even. The Holy Spirit is a reminder that minds are joined, or you could go beyond that; Mind is one. And again to the ego the Holy Spirit is the biggest threat to the relationship. It wants the relationship to be bodies together. I’ve talked about it, bodies under the same roof; you’ve heard of those marriages where two bodies are together for fifty or sixty years. The quality of life or the communication may be limited to watching the grass grow together or…
Friend: Watching TV.
David: Hey, what do you think about so and so? Or What do you think about that sport team? My, isn’t it lovely weather today? Then two hours later. Don’t you think it’s a nice day today? Then two hours later. My, isn’t it a lovely day today. The ego’s kind of like That’s safe.
Friend: Or even taking it away from that extreme and saying we have really good communication. We talk about our feelings and we talk about what we think and we talk about everything, almost. There are some things that’s not good to get into because things blow up. Finances—we don’t get into that, but we can talk about the kids and we can talk about what house to buy. But, these things, it’s best to just kind of avoid it or tiptoe around. You do your thing. I’ll do mine. I won’t ask you any questions. You won’t ask me any questions and then we’ll be happy. To me that seems to be away from the extreme and more of what at least I’ve experienced to say Well, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing, it seems ok to have my interests apart from you and my things that I do. You may not agree, but, you don’t have to agree with everything I do or everything I buy or everything I think—I’ll do what I do and you’ll do what you do. You go your way and I go mine.
Friend: In other areas, we can come together and we can have what seems like this union. It seems like Oh, this is union. We’re joined in these things but there’s a few that just we’ll never agree on everything—and who does? That’s the best you can expect.
David: It’s kind of like bringing someone to a family picnic and saying Now when we go in, whatever you do, don’t bring up politics. Or just pick the topic area because there’s this big hot bed. There’s this strong seeming opinion. People are saying I’m right about this. I know this candidate or I know this party is better. Just pick your spot.
There are all these areas that are hidden and that’s what’s so great about coming together to examine things. It’s great, if you want to bring up the realm of politics; if you want to bring up the realm of environment, ecological issues, if you want to bring up abortion; if you want to bring up racism... if you want to bring up sexism, if you want to bring up nuclear disarmament or the military... Any of those things, anything that seems to be crossing your mind or if there seems to be charges on it, or if you really seem to have a pretty strong opinion on something, those would all be excellent things to bring up during our week seminar. It’s not personal, that’s the beautiful thing about looking at the ego is there aren’t any personal issues and that’s the thing that people seem to fear the most about revealing… We had a woman who said, “Gosh, I can’t believe what I’ve said today. I just spilled my guts. For twenty or thirty years I’ve been holding these little things around and thinking I’m just stupid. I’m dumb to even hold on to them and I can’t tell anyone about them because they’re too dumb anyway.” And she just started and she got rolling. She just emptied it out. It was like it wasn’t personal. She wasn’t carrying that baggage of stuff around and also to do something with it. Again we were tracing through it and unveiling it. Yes, this is just ego thinking. This isn’t your thinking. This is ego thinking.
Friend: And it only felt like a load because it felt like her thinking to her. It felt like that’s who she was. This is how she thought of herself. I noticed thoughts I’m having is that I wonder how this is for you, my friend, with all the ideas that have been brought out, that we’ve been talking about. Because you said before we started that you haven’t really studied the Course. You bought the book this week and flipped open a little bit.
Friend: The only problem I’m having at this point is staying awake. I have to admit that. This is my time in the afternoon and so I probably just need to get up and get some oxygen in my blood stream. But, as far as the concepts I’m trying to catch up. I’m constantly thinking Yes, I don’t have that background. I’ll just listen a little longer until it starts to be clear. And I’m catching up. I’m open anyway. So, I’m not having any problem with what you’re saying. I’m just trying to understand where it’s coming from so that I can start putting it together.
Friend: That was my problem last night because as soon as I walked in it was like I’m exhausted. I really can’t stay here. I was too tired to listen and I missed ninety percent of everything that was said because I knew when I walked in the door I didn’t want to do this. I shut down. It wasn’t about being physically tired.
Friend: There was a time where I could have put myself in that very same mode. I was tired and yet we were up until twelve thirty last night and I felt awake but I thought I probably shouldn’t do this. But, it was a choice.
David: Yes, this whole thing of resistance or fatigue. That’s to be expected as you’re going into these ideas. I know that was probably my major defense when I would work with the Course. I would just read and be excited and then it was like a lead weight was on the eyelid. We will take periodic breaks. I feel one coming on quickly, but again too, it’s just to look at those thoughts even with that. That’s what I would do instead of fighting myself when I was feeling that with the Course; I would go take a walk or get something to eat, take a snooze, or call someone on the phone. I wouldn’t sit there and try to fight the ego because the ego likes to fight. It’s the same with meditation when you’re trying to just be still and you have a lot of chatter going on, it’s nice to just stay with it for a little while just to see if it passes, if you can get beyond that. But, it’s not really helpful to continue pushing on saying I will, if I have to sit here for an hour kind of fighting against it. So, I think that’s another good thing just to point out as we go into that.
Friend: And then there’s another level, where there is no effort put into it, because the more you effort at it the more it sort of falls apart, because it’s not in what you do. I guess it gets back to that wanting to do something is only in the area of ego. Only in the area of ego does that doing get done and not necessarily in the area of the Holy Spirit because that’s a place that I see more of a being than a doing state of mind. At least that’s a wrong and right mind perception because you’re still at that level.
Friend: So, if you can just choose to be right minded and change your mind and have that take care of your need to be tired—that’s great and if you feel like you need a little help, a little outside help, to do that whether, getting up and taking a walk, or do whatever seems helpful.
David: It’s good to mention that when we’re going into things like this it’s a real free flowing, and there may be times where even one person may seem to want to do that and that’s fine too.
Friend: You don’t have to wait until we all take a break at the same time.
David: I don’t have expectations and we don’t have a lot of expectations of having to think Well, I really could do with a stretch or having a cup of coffee or going to the bathroom… or all those things about group expectations. But, I’m in the middle of a group so I’ll hold it. It’s real free flowing because we’re going to be going so deeply into things and things like that will come up so feel free as we go along at any time to do anything like that.
The last thing I want to talk about real quick because our friend here brought up the thing of effort and I think it’s something that we could take just a quick look at. Jesus says that when the mind falls asleep and is conditioned to the ego, it is conditioned to backwards thinking. I call it backwards thinking. It seems as if what is happening out here on the outer ring, or what’s happening out on the screen, to use our projector analogy, is causative, and the state of mind is the effect. In other words, the mind seems to be at the mercy of external forces. That is the one characteristic that identifies the ego. That is the ego’s backwards thinking. So in one sense forgiveness is just turning it around, all this backwards thinking where causation seems to be on the screen or seems to be external, turning it around like this to see where causation is the mind. The mind is causative and the screen is not causative at all. There’s nothing on the screen ever that’s causative and that’s why the process seems to be a turning around of cause and effect.
Now, to get to the thing of effort; Jesus says, if your mind is aimed in this direction [to the screen], so to speak, just really attached to backwards thinking, that initially it’s going to take an effort to turn it around. Now you get into mind training, as Jesus will say in the lessons, “Try to do this three or four times a day. If you forget, try again.” He really is calling on effort. He’s calling on that little willingness and initially it takes the effort to start to begin to turn it around, and just like with anything once you pass the half way point so to speak, or once you really start to transfer the training and you start to really remember Oh I thought the problem was so and so but that’s not it. I need a miracle. Help me see this differently. The more consistent you become with that, the more you’re able to transfer that to seemingly more specific situations. Cause and effect gets turned around. Once you really start to complete the turn around so to speak then the effort ceases. You see the falsity of the ego and the resistance of attempting to fight the ego. Attempting to hang on and justify one thought system using the perception ceases. And that’s the point where Jesus says you start to see that the ego and the Holy Spirit are mutually exclusive. Before it seemed like a vacillation. But, with a lot of mind training you start to see Wait a minute. This is simple! And you withdraw your mind’s allegiance from the ego and then at that point there’s no effort required. So, there is an effort that’s required for the mind training initially and that starts to cease and also it’s not an effort in terms of form which is what the mind is so conditioned to. I’ll push through this. I’ll read the Course so many hours each day and the effort can seem to get transferred to forms and rituals. Uh, oh that’s a signal. If that’s starting to take place then it’s like trying to change the form or trying to do something again in form or get a hold of a ritual or change the screen and that should be an immediate red flag. Wait a minute; the ego looks like it’s getting involved. I’m giving in to the ego if I’m trying to change the screen again.
I’m glad you brought up that whole area of effort because it’s one of those that you have to get a close feel for.
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