Darkness and Despair
Transforming Darkness and Despair
Darkness and Despair
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The Unconscious Mind
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
Q: You've said a couple of times that we're never upset for the reason we think, when we are going on around in our daily lives and certain things upset us or cause us pain (we think). At that moment—since we're so in that darkness—how can we transform?
Kenneth: All right, we've already talked about how when we find the world too much with us and we realize that nothing here works and we say, as Bill had said to Helen, "There must be another way."
Whatever words we use there is some element of despair in us that everything here is wrong; it's not working, and I don't know the way out but there must be something. I don't know what it is. I don't know who it is. That's the invitation to the Holy Spirit that the Course talks about, and that's when we begin to let some light into our minds, and that light takes the form of saying, once again,
"The world you see is an outside picture of an inward condition," and the inward condition is the decision maker having chosen the ego. The world we see of pain, suffering, sickness, death, conflict is the wrong-minded thought system projected out.
What this means on a practical level is when you find yourself getting upset, whether it's something trivial or something that seems to be significant, is to recognize that it's not what you think it is. That's all you have to do.
We're told that the Holy Spirit only asks of us a little willingness. It's the little willingness to begin the process of questioning what heretofore we had taken to be gospel truth, namely, that the world is the problem, the body is the problem, other bodies are the problem, that I'm really upset or I'm distressed or made to feel dis-ease by something external. Or, on the other hand, I'm made to feel happy and peaceful and joyful by something external.
The name of the game in terms of awakening from this dream is going from mindlessness to mindfulness; that's the purpose. If you keep that in mind all the time it will really help you, not only understand the Course, but to begin to live it meaningfully day in and day out.
You don't have to believe it entirely. In fact, in the introduction to the workbook, Jesus...the only thing Jesus asks of us is to do the lessons. He says, You don't have to believe in them. He said, You may not even like them. You may even find yourself in active resistance against them. Just do them, he says. It's a case of saying, "A part of me believes this and part of me doesn't."
So you're acknowledging you have a wrong mind that is resistant to the truth, and you have a right mind that wants only the truth. And so be aware increasingly as you go through your day of your split mind; that is so helpful. You don't have to let your ego go. Don't fight against your ego; that's the worst thing you could do. Don't struggle against it. Don't agonize about it, but do acknowledge that part of you is very much attracted to the ego thought system of separation and sin, guilt, and fear... and then projection and victim and victimizer, and then see how you play it out.
Looking at the ego without judging it, whether it's your ego or someone else's ego, is in fact the choice for the Holy Spirit. You don't have to actively choose the Holy Spirit. You don't have to actively choose Jesus. If you could look at your ego without judgment you've already chosen them, because the ego would never look without judgment; never, ever look without judgment. So if you're able to begin to look at someone without judging, and if you're able to begin to look at someone and recognize that even if you can't do it right now, you realize there's the potential to see that person as the same as you, you are already in your right mind. This is not any kind of mysterious thing.
And what does it mean to look without judgment? Very simply it means in that you recognize the temptation to make somebody else different from you, and to judge that difference. All you have to do is be aware that that's your wrong-minded interpretation and there is a right-minded interpretation, and even if you don't want to choose it you could at least know it's there... and that right-minded interpretation is that everyone who walks this earth does so feeling uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear. Everyone!
Everyone in this world has an ego that they're running away from.
Everyone in this world has a right mind that they're also running away from, and
Everyone has a decision-making mind that could choose.
That's all you have to do. This course asks you to do so little. It just asks that you look! You don't even have to choose the right mind; you just look. And as you continue to do that you'll become increasingly aware that there are two ways of looking at everything, and if you find yourself really angry, really depressed, really anxious, really fearful, having all kinds of physical symptoms...you can't sleep at night or you're sick all the time...all you have to do is be aware that "that's what I'm choosing."
No judgment, no calling yourself dirty names, but recognizing "I'm so afraid of the truth, I’m so afraid of the love that's in my mind that I am willing to go through this hell that I'm going through."
Stop; don't do anything else.
Remember again that very important line (two lines):
"Forgiveness is still and quietly does nothing.
It merely looks, and waits, and judges not."
You should write that on a piece of paper, put it on your refrigerator, put it on your car mirror, put it on your forehead, put it on your underwear... put it on every place!
Whenever you are tempted to do something think of that line: "Forgiveness is still and quietly does nothing."
Why does it do nothing? Because there's nothing in the world to be done. We are mindless creatures who have to be reminded we have a mind. So the way we're reminded we have a mind is we don't do anything in the world. We look, we wait patiently for our fear to abate, and we don't judge. That's the heart of forgiveness. That's the heart of the daily practice. And then when you don't do that, forgive yourself for judging, forgive yourself for becoming mindless again and wanting to do something and fix something in the world, and say, "I'm just crazy again."
To quote King Lear, "That way madness lies," and boy, I'm going right for it. And I'm going right for it... I'm going right for it because I'm afraid of the truth. Do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth? No, I don't want to see it; that's why I denied it in the first place, stupid. Don't ask me the question. I don't want to see it because I'm afraid of the truth."
It's okay if you call Jesus "stupid." Don't call yourself "stupid." Don't call yourself names; just acknowledge, "I'm fearful." And if you could practice that as diligently as you can day in and day out in time your mind will become conscious. You'll become aware that "I have a choice." "I could see peace instead of this, but I don't want to." But at least I know I could see peace, and I'm not judging myself for choosing my ego.
The problem right at the beginning was we believed the ego and called ourselves sinful for having the tiny, mad idea. We took it seriously. That was the problem. The problem was not the tiny, mad idea; it was taking it seriously, and taking it seriously is calling it dirty names, and then calling ourselves names too. "I'm sinful, I'm guilty, and I deserve to be punished." The problem is you're taking it seriously, which means operationally that you're giving it a power it does not have. The only power in the entire universe that could take God's peace away from you is this blue dot. That's the only thing that can do it. The only thing in the entire universe that could return you to the peace of God is this blue dot. The ego can't take it away from you... anyone else's ego can't take it away from you. God can't give it to you...Jesus can't give it to you... this book can't give it to you. Only you can give it to you because only you took it away when you chose the ego. That's all you have to know.
And see how quickly you give your mind's power away to something or someone in the world, and then when you become aware of that look at yourself for having done it and say, "That was just another silly mistake. I must be really afraid of love today." And say it almost the way I just said it, matter-of-factly, with no judgment, with no anger, with no anxiety. It's not a sin to be afraid. It is silly, however, to be guilty because you're feeling afraid.
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