Monday, February 27, 2012

Me, My Self, and I: Learning to be in the Right Part of my Mind

Little did I know, those many years ago, walking around the playground at my one-room schoolhouse, a little boy, chanting, “Me, my Self , and I,” that I was laying out the typography of my tripartite mind. It took me much too long to come to understand that I had spent a good part of my life knowing full well only one part of my mind, “Me,” the ego, thereby blocking my awareness of my “Self,” not realizing that “I,” the decision-maker, was automatically, habitually, in alliance with “Me,” rather than in union with my “Self.”

Thank God all that changed when I came across
A Course in Miracles, and began to undergo the mind training so superbly set out by Jesus.

This all came to mind a few days ago when I did one of my favorite Lessons,
God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day. This Lesson, like all the Lessons and the Text, is a reminder for me to pay very close attention to pronoun references. For example, look at the beginning of the Lesson.

It is quite possible to listen to God's Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not.

There… whether you are aware of it or not. The pronoun reference for you is the mechanism of decision. Jesus is addressing “I,” the decision maker with the pronoun “you.”

This “You” is always deciding between allying with the “Me,” the ego, or uniting with the “Self,” I am one Self, united with my Creator. (Lesson 95, Title) Now I know that full well, but for far too long I did not realize that “I” had a choice.

The decision to unite must be unequivocal, or the mind itself is divided and not whole. Your mind is the means by which you determine your own condition, because mind is the mechanism of decision. It is the power by which you separate or join, and experience pain or joy accordingly. T-8-1V.5:5-8

And now, Dear Reader, look at how Jesus characterizes “Me,” my egotistic state of mind.

It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world's laws. It is this part that is constantly distracted, disorganized and highly uncertain.

By contrast, here is a description of my “Self.”

The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is.

The great value of looking very closely at the pronoun references is to slow down my mind, so that I am receptive to hear
the Voice for God, speaking to me all through the day. And now, let us proceed slowly.

“Me,” the egoistic state of mind.

The other part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind.

In the following passage, “I,” the mechanism of decision, is referred to as “you,” the implied you, as Jesus uses the Imperative form of the verb, i.e., do this, do that.

Try today not to listen to it. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign forever. Try to hear God's Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son.

Finally, in reference to pronouns, Jesus is with us, right here, right now, helping us to hear God’s Voice, using the pronoun “We.”

We will need at least four five-minute practice periods today, and more if possible. We will try actually to hear God's Voice reminding you of Him and of your Self. We will approach this happiest and holiest of thoughts with confidence, knowing that in doing so we are joining our will with the Will of God. He wants you to hear His Voice. He gave It to you to be heard.

Jesus is addressing our mechanism of decision, "I," holding our hands, leading us to God, lovingly directing us with the Imperative, the implied "You."

Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind. Go past all the raucous shrieks and sick imaginings that cover your real thoughts and obscure your eternal link with God. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world. You do not live here. We are trying to reach your real home. We are trying to reach the place where you are truly welcome. We are trying to reach God.

While these ideas were going through my mind in preparation for writing this essay, I came across this passage echoing these ideas from I AM THAT by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

The world you can perceive is a very small world indeed. And it is entirely private, Take it to be a dream and be done with it. Your world is mind-made, subjective, enclosed within the mind, fragmentary, temporary, personal, hanging on the thread of memory.

I live in a world of realities, while yours is of imaginings. Your world is personal, private, unshareable, intimately your own. Nobody can enter it, see as you see, hear as you hear, feel your emotions and think your thoughts. In your world you are truly alone, enclosed in your ever-changing dream, which you take for life. My world is an open world, common to all, accessible to all. In my world there is community insight, love, real quality; the individual is the total, the totality—in the individual. All are one and the One is all. (Sri Maharaj, I AM THAT, The Acorn Press: Durham, North Carolina, 1973, p. 17)

I wrote this draft yesterday, and today I heard this song,
It’s Only a Paper Moon, and took it as an inspiration to include it in this essay. Here is the first stanza.

It's only a paper moon

sailing over a cardboard sea,
But it wouldn't be make believe
If you believed in me.

Listening to this lyric, I automatically began to play with the pronoun references. What if
believing in me referred to Jesus? In that moment “I” am uniting with my Self, the Christ within, and I am experiencing the peace of God. Now, when I look out at the world, I see a reflection of the peace of God, seeing through paper moons and cardboard seas, just as Sri Maharaj expresses it,

In my world there is community insight, love, real quality; the individual is the total, the totality—in the individual. All are one and the One is all.

And now let us continue reading the lyrics.

It's only a canvas sky
hanging over a muslin tree,
But it wouldn't be make believe
If you believed in me.

Without your love,
It's a honky-tonk parade.
Without your love,
It's a melody played in a penny arcade.

Without experiencing the love and peace of God, we see only our own projections, throwing out thought/images from "Me," not experiencing the reflection of our Self.

It's a Barnum and Bailey world,
Just as phony as it can be,
But it wouldn't be make believe
If you believed in me.

Without experiencing the love of God, we live in a circus.

The world I see holds my fearful self-image in place, and guarantees its continuance. While I see the world as I see it now, truth cannot enter my awareness. I would let the door behind this world be opened for me, that I may look past it to the world that reflects the Love of God.
W-p1. 53.4

And looking at this reflection is the meaning of forgiveness.

And now, I invite you to enjoy the song sung by Frank Sinatra.

Please click here.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Setting the Grounding Line is an Act of Forgiveness

Since I am totally grounded in A Course in Miracles, I am always fascinated to come across writing that expresses the principles of the Course, using a different set of metaphors. Lately, I have been totally immersed the work of Jim Self. In his book, The Shift, he demonstrates how we are shifting from the third-dimension into the fourth and fifth dimensions.

The transformation that is occurring within us is shifting our thoughts and beliefs, and changing the ways in which we experience the world around us. Until now, most of us have measured ourselves by the outside world. Our beliefs about how we look, what is acceptable, what we think, and how we act have all been influenced and established by the third-dimensional world outside ourselves.

Our thoughts create our beliefs, our beliefs create our habits and our habits create our lives. Our beliefs then connect the thoughts that run through our experiences, forming our conclusions. However, many of the thoughts that we think and the beliefs that we hold are actually not our own thoughts or beliefs; they were given to us by mom, dad, teacher, minister and the third-dimensional reality outside of our-selves. It’s not that mom and dad or anyone else around us set out deliberately to mislead us; they were simply passing on what their parents and their parent’s parents (along with most of the rest of society) had taught them to accept as the “truth.” Jim Self, The Shift, (Mastering Alchemy, 2009), pp. 13-14.

In common parlance, "Your father was a liar from the beginning."

Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos. T-In.21.1

Our mind, healed and holy, is our inner guidance system.

There are three main characteristics of the third dimension. The first is the Law of Attraction.

If you believe something is or you believe some-thing is not, the Law of Attraction will respond accordingly. If you amplify your thoughts or beliefs with a charge of emotion, the Law of Attraction will provide you with more of the same in a quicker, fuller manner. What you put your attention on with a charged emotion is what you will receive. Absolutely guaranteed.

The sick attraction of guilt must be recognised for what it is. For having been made real to you, it is essential to look at it clearly, and by withdrawing your investment in it, to learn to let it go. No one would choose to let go what he believes has value. T-15.Vll.3:1-3

The second characteristics is time.

Most of humanity has been taught and believes that time is fixed and linear - past, present, future, and then you die. Although this is the generally accepted belief, it is incorrect. In the third-dimension time operates as a loop. It consists of a flow of thoughts and experiences that we label positive or negative. Either we embrace these experiences and hope they happen again or we resist them and hope they do not. To keep it simple, we take our past experiences and project them into our future and then step into that experience in a future-present-time moment to feel it all over again in a different size, shape or color.

I see only the past. Lesson 7, Title.

And the third is duality.

As we began to experience third-dimensional consciousness, we added into duality the concepts of right and wrong, good and bad, and should and should not. We learned “us and them” and we learned to resist “them.” These concepts of judgment, separation, good and bad, right and wrong and should/should not created a rigid, unforgiving structure that does not allow for flexibility or choice. This third-dimensional belief system bound our thoughts and emotions, creating extreme beliefs in “never” and “always”; rigid thought forms with very little opportunity for change, ease or well-being. In this rigid belief system of heavy thought-form, fear and pain were anchored. (The Shift, pp. 18-22)

In His Course, Jesus begins His Lessons by helping us learn to undo these conditioned, habitual thought patterns. Just look at the titles of His first 7 Lessons.

1. Nothing I see means anything.

2. I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me.

3. I do not understand anything I see.

4. These thoughts do not mean anything.

5. I am never upset for the reason I think.

6. I am upset because I see something that is not there.

7. I see only the past.

Jesus teaches that the only way out of this habit of thinking is forgiveness.

Similarly, in their follow up book, Spirit Matters, Down to Earth Tools for a Spirited Life, Jim Self and Roxane Burnett, introduce 16 Energy Tools to facilitate this shift, this action of forgiveness, and the one I find most useful in experiencing forgiveness is the Grounding Line.

Grounding is not a thought; it is an action, a tool to dissipate noisy thoughts, anxiety and undesirable emotions that run through our bodies. From my perspective, this tool is the most valuable.

And Dear Reader, I urge you to practice it, now.

Energy Tool #1

Grounding Line

1. Recognize when your mind is being bombarded with uncomfortable thoughts. This may sound like an obvious first step, but most people do not pay attention to what is going in their heads and continue to be affected by the chatter. There is a one-to-one relationship between mind and body, balance and imbalance. When the mind is noisy or uncertain, the body is tight and anxious.

2. Find a quiet, undisturbed place to sit down for a few moments.

3. Breathe. A simple, deep breath will begin to effortlessly change direction of your thoughts. Your body will begin to quiet. Intrusive thoughts will begin to lose their grip on you.

4. Bring your attention to the lowest tip of your spine (your coccyx bone). Now is the time to pretend, imagine or make-believe as you did when you were a child. Imagine a line connecting the lower tip of your spine to the center of the earth (it’s not that far away). This
line could be a beam of light, a tree trunk, a chain, a rope or any image that you find amusing.

5. Strongly secure the Grounding Line at both ends. You may visualize welding it, stapling it, tying it or any other method of attaching.

6. Now be aware of your feet on the ground. Create a sensation that your feet are cemented to the earth. Feel connected to the earth through your feet and the Grounding Line. Take a couple of breaths. Notice if you have a sense of feeling solid, or taller, or more certain about yourself. Notice if your awareness has become more defined.

7. Pretend to widen your Grounding Line to a diameter of six to nine inches. You are creating a pathway through which the noise will soon be leaving.

8. Give the instruction to this Grounding Line to become magnetic. You also might pretend there is a switch or handle near the lower tip of your spine that when flipped, will activate the line. When activated, the Grounding Line will automatically begin to magnetically attract the unpleasant thoughts, physical sensations and emotions and draw them down, out of your space, into the earth. This step works best when you don’t try to make it happen. Rather, just allow it to do its job.

9. As you notice specific people, thoughts and concerns passing through your mind, simply grab them with your imaginary hand and toss them down your Grounding Line. These don’t belong to you and they will be much happier in their own heads. Jim Self, Roxane Burnett, Spirit Matters: Down to Earth Tools for a Spiritual Life, (Tree of Life Press, 2008), pp. 21-22.

And now you can see why I gave this essay this title:

Setting the Grounding Line is an Act of Forgiveness; this action is the heart of the Course.

Forgiveness is only experienced now, in a still mind.

Let us be still an instant, and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception that we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away. T-p1.31.12

It is your forgiveness that will bring the world of darkness to the light. It is your forgiveness that lets you recognize the light in which you see. Forgiveness is the demonstration that you are the light of the world. Through your forgiveness does the truth about yourself return to your memory. Therefore, in your forgiveness lies your salvation. W-62.1

By setting the Grounding Line, we let go of all thoughts of attack arising and falling in our brains, allowing these thoughts to be replaced, enabling us to come into the awareness of the peace and love of God.

Remember that in every attack you call upon your own weakness, while each time you forgive you call upon the strength of Christ in you. Do you not then begin to understand what forgiveness will do for you? It will remove all sense of weakness, strain and fatigue from your mind. It will take away all fear and guilt and pain. It will restore the invulnerability and power God gave His Son to your awareness. W-62.3

As often as I can remember, I simply set my Grounding Line as my day unfolds, and my days are becoming increasingly peaceful, no matter what seems to be going on.

I became totally immersed in these books, and only at the end of the second book, did I come across the source of Jim Self’s knowledge.

Since childhood, Jim has retained a conscious awareness and ability to recall his experiences within the sleep state. Over the last ten years, this awareness has expanded into relationships
with the Archangels, Ascended Masters and Teachers of Light. (Spirit Matters, p. 163)

And finally, here is Jesus encouraging us to set the Grounding Line.

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside
all thoughts of what you are and what God is;
all concepts you have learned about the world;
all images you hold about yourself.
Empty your mind of everything it thinks
is either true or false, or good or bad,
of every thought it judges worthy, and
all the ideas of which it is ashamed.
Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you
one thought the past has taught, nor one belief
you ever learned before from anything.
Forget this world, forget this course, and come
with wholly empty hands unto your God.