At Dance Camp Wales I found myself running a 'fringe' ACIM session if only to discover who else there was doing it. About 10 people showed up, and one of them, Ally, happened to be in my circle and very dedicated to the Course.
Me and Ally got into a routine of meeting up every morning for an hour, and half an hour in the evening, to study the text and/or do my lesson for the day and/or talk about how to apply the Course. The session was advertised but nobody else showed up. It all felt very guided and I often found myself going on a Ken-style ramble about some topic. Sometimes I was amazed by what I heard myself say. And one of these things has completely changed my practice.
How I explained it to Jay who knows nothing about the Course and is the least spiritual person I know:
There is a 'right mind' and a 'wrong mind'. The wrong mind leads to suffering, and the right mind leads to peace. The wrong mind created the entire (false) universe of perception and distorts everything. The right mind gradually corrects perception.
The choice between these two minds is on a level we aren't aware of, but we can observe the effects.
I discovered that just as I ask 'Jesus' every morning whether my pain body is active, or whether I have a Brian (internalising), or whether I'm angry (externalising), I can also just ask him if I'm in my right mind, and get a very clear answer.
So I asked him very very frequently throughout the day. Usually I was in my wrong mind and it's fantastic to know that for sure because then I know that all of the thoughts I'm currently thinking are meaningless and don't need to be taken at all seriously.
But then sometimes the answer is that I'm in my right mind. At first it was usually just a moment. But then as I kept checking; kept noticing the wrong mind, I had more frequent and longer right minded episodes. And it has been so interesting to see what my right mind is like.
In my right mind, I'm often very practical, having a clear sense of what next. For example "I want cake; going to the cafe; bye" I can also be quite 'short' with people. No time for chit chat. But as I've kept watching these episodes, the pattern breaks down as my right minded behavior is different depending I assume on what is needed at the time.
I'm in my right mind now for instance. But I just keep writing, I think because that's what I'm (already supposed to be) doing.
And even my wrong minded time is different, because it is interspersed with right minded episodes.
Now I'm in my wrong mind again. What was I going to say?
The last few days have been characterised by an absurd sequence of miraculous timings, skillfully used opportunities to help people, help I need coming to me, and astonishing conversations. It seems absurd to wonder if this is a better kind of life, but since it's the wrong mind that generally does those kinds of evaluations, all I can sanely do is shrug. And it doesn't even seem like a big deal.
I wonder now if. Mmmm
*Freyr fetches Zen Flesh, Zen Bones*
Ah, OK. I think this experience is only possible after passing through the gateless gate (i.e. only at 3 or later).
Anyway, I'm now watching my thoughts semi-continuously, from when I wake up until I go to sleep. And I recognise now that almost every thought I've ever had is utterly meaningless. So I find myself not knowing very much.
The things I know now are things like "it's time for breakfast". Like those ancient Zen masters, I become increasingly concerned only with daily life.
Nothing much else matters for me now except training my mind. All my old thoughts are seen to be worthless.
That was nearly a month ago. I don't check myself so frequently anymore. Right-mind is my new habit and wrong-minded episodes are noticed and dispelled with relative ease.
I'm gonna go through my diary and find all the notes I made about it. These notes are spread (unevenly) over about 2 weeks. They were written as reminders for me not intended to be read by others, so they assume the reader (me) is quite familiar with A Course In Miracles and the teachings of Kenneth Wapnick.
- If the decision making mind chooses the right mind, all your actions are an expression of love.
- I don't need to control my thoughts or words; all wrong minded thoughts are the same and all right minded thoughts are the same. If the decision maker has chosen the wrong mind, there's no use in trying to think better wrong minded thoughts. If the decision maker has chosen the right mind, there's no need to worry since all thoughts will be right minded. The decision maker doesn't choose between individual thoughts but between the right mind and the wrong mind, and all the thoughts flow automatically from that decision.
- Forgiveness is the gentle process that unfolds whenever the decision maker chooses the right mind.
- New practice: "Am I in my right mind?" "am I in my wrong mind?"
- Everyone thinks they are in their right mind. If people could see that they weren't in their right mind, then they would take their thoughts less seriously, and would change their mind.
- When I'm in my right mind I just want to get on with the practicalities of daily life.
- When I'm in my right mind I don't want or need to do lessons.
- log: 3 observed instances of right mindedness. Usually brief. Very practical/unspiritual. make that 4 instances. 5. let's just do a tally instead: ||||| |||| lost track; too many.
- I have many little moments of right mindedness that my checks do not detect. That's why all these miracles keep happening even though I'm usually in my wrong mind.
- It is possible to be in your right mind while mentally ill. very interesting.
- log: 5 mins of right mindedness
- log: someone asked me what today's lesson is. I said what my lesson is, and that I'm not doing lessons much right now, just noticing whether I'm in my right mind or my wrong mind. She asked how I know and I said I've studied the Course for years and trained to recognise it and also I just ask Jesus whether I'm in my right mind or wrong mind. And that when I'm miserable I can just say "well, this is because I chose the wrong mind. No wonder I'm miserable." She said this was very helpful and thanked me.
- log: a few seconds after waking up: "Jesus, am I in my right mind?" "no". Very quick getting up and out and by the time I'm walking through the gate to the main field I'm in my right mind.
- log: bus journey along the coast passes easily with my new right mind/wrong mind game. A right minded moment of marveling at the volume of water in the ocean.
- my game with Jesus has taken on a new dimension: in my questioning, I guess. If I think I'm in my right mind I ask "Am I in my right mind?" If I think I'm in my wrong mind I ask "Am I in my wrong mind?" This way my sense of right minded/wrongmindedness gets even keener. The object of the game is not to be in my right mind (since that cannot be influenced on the level on which this game is played) but to guess correctly.
- reading the Text is easy in right mind and almost impossible in wrong mind. Text is perfect test for right/wrong mindedness.
- this right mind/wrong mind awareness might not be possible for those who haven't passed through the gateless gate and may in fact simply be an unfolding of perceiving the bull. Following the footprints says "unless I discriminate, how can I perceive the true from the untrue?" here now I can tell the true from the untrue.
- T-17.VI.2:5-8 e.g. The ego does not know what it wants to come of the situation. It is aware of what it does not want, but only that. It has no positive goal at all.
- This may be why right mindedness is characterised by certainty about what to do next.
- wrong mindedness is charactersed by a lack of faith.
- log: hours of right mindedness.
- log: out for a walk, semi-continually playing right mind/wrong mind with Jesus
- the decision for the wrong mind is funny and the decision for the right mind is interesting (to me)
- the right mind gradually corrects. While you choose the wrong mind, you correct nothing.
- log: woke up in my right mind.
- log: have I gotten through the layer of grumpiness now?
- log: right mindedness is now the norm, with only brief episodes of wrongmindedness.
- you cannot be kind while in your wrong mind.
- log: I'm now ~ 15% willing
- the right mind does not prioritise.
- log: inspired to do some research on emotionally abusive parenting.
- log: in right mind, inspired to write about my abusive childhood and ask all the people who I could have told back then, to read it.
- A good way to tell the right mind from the wrong (ACIM T-18.V.4:3):
- wrong mind: "I want it otherwise"
- right mind: "Thy Will be done"
- Extension of my game: "Am I thinking with my right mind?"
- New extension to my right mind/wrong mind game: "Jesus, am I in my right mind about person_or_situation_I'm_judging?" If not, "Jesus, do I know anything about person_or_situation_I'm_judging?" he always says "No."
- I don't know anything about myself.
I've omitted almost all the miraculous happenings.
Becky says I used to be like leaves fallen from a tree, easily blown away. She says now I'm hard like oak bark.
Jules says I used to be a bit wishy washy and now I'm er, she does this sort of gesture that expresses directness, certainty, purpose and speed.
I see now how most of the Text is just teaching us to see the difference between the wrong mind and the right mind. Once educated thus, the decision maker changes its decision. And also (here's something I noticed last night) so do Shakespeare's plays. His tragedies like Macbeth teach us about the nature of the wrong mind and his comedies like Much Ado About Nothing teach us about the nature of the right mind.
I have so much more to learn, and the leanings come thick and fast.
There are still many areas about which I'm in my wrong mind. Special hate relationships that I somehow can't look at without judging, yet (and am generally instructed not to look at, perhaps because right now there's more to be gained by looking at low hanging fruit - things that I'm ready to forgive). About them I know that I know nothing. I look forward to examining them in the future when the time is right. And maybe it won't even be that way. It might be more like receiving the entire lesson on a silver platter. Actually it's increasingly like that now. I don't really do much uh, work, anymore in terms of the course. The Holy Spirit serves me perfectly prepared lessons and all I need to do is eat them. I don't get indigestion or full as He feeds me just the right lessons at the right time.
"I wish I could give this experience to others" -- the wrong mind.
Oh, you're still here then?
Are you in your right mind?
It's not really a proper article, mostly I just copied stuff I'd already written. Ally says it's okay; it gives some insight into how I think.
I could rant about the wrong mind and the right mind for hours, and in fact I have done. I guess it's a core part of what I teach/learn now.
The Channel of Wonder
In the right mind, with the goal of truth established, the gentle path to it is clear. So too is the next step in that path obvious.
Sometimes the step is just a change of thinking, sometimes an action is required, sometimes words to be spoken, or cake to be eaten. Everyone's path looks different because the specific form of their situation is different. Yet the eventual destination is universal.
The moment you leave the channel of wonder/path of healing, you are again plagued with many seeming choices. This is because you have chosen the wrong mind and don't want healing anymore. Instead, you want escape, and there are always many directions to escape in - vs the singular direction towards a positive goal.
A characteristic of the Channel of Wonder is that you don't get to choose your actions. In the same way you don't get to choose what the truth is. There's no choice about what the truth is. If you don't like it you can't choose a different one (a different truth) - the only way is to choose a lie instead, but then it's not truth anymore. It's the same with the next step towards truth: if you don't want that step, you are of course free to take a different step, but that step won't be 'wonderful'/won't be healing.
But each next step is specific to the situation, which, person to person and moment to moment may be the same, or may be different. This makes it impossible to anticipate what the wonderful step will be for any person other than you, any situation other than the one you're in and any moment other than this one.
That's not to say an experienced wonderful stepper can't sometimes offer helpful suggestions. After all, a huge amount of error is shared among egos, so there are a lot of common lessons. But once you get the gist, the path becomes extremely individualised/personal.
If you don't know what the next healing step is, its probably the step you least want to take. The one that makes the ego most uncomfortable. Making a website under my full name with the domain "freyrlepage.com" and presenting myself as a 'spiritual teacher' was one such step for me. I imagined what others might think of me, and what I a few years ago would have thought of someone who described themselves that way. The word 'embarrassment' doesn't quite capture the feeling. So it was a clear next step.
However, it has gotten easier. After a while, the feelings one used to avoid are instead chased.
I call it the channel of wonder because when you are in it, it seems like you can do no wrong, and life seems like an absurd sequence of miraculous happenings at which you can only laugh in wonder.
meta comment for Channel of Wonder
I feel like I've missed some important details. Maybe it was this bit from my notes:
You choose not to be in the channel of wonder because you don't want what it asks of you. For example, right now it asks me to rest
Which I didn't manage to work in.
Also unsure whether it should be a separate blog post. It's written over a month later (2018-10-17) when my whole concept of what this blog is for has changed. And it's quite long, but it's also something I discovered back then and just never was in the right place to write about it.
Also it feels written for other people, again.
Thanks Jay for listening to me even though you had no idea what I was talking about ↩︎
Jesus is a relatable (to me, because of ACIM, not Christianity) symbol for the right mind ↩︎
why we call this mental disorder "Brian" is a blog post for another time ↩︎
previously I described myself as ~ 0.5% willing (see T-18.IV The Little Willingness) but I guess a lot has changed without me checking again. As of the time of writing this blog post, I'm 20% willing ↩︎
another symbol for the right mind, again from ACIM, not Christianity ↩︎
technically no actions are truly required, but while we believe in the power of actions, the right mind uses them for our healing ↩︎
this is why there are no prescribed behaviors in ACIM ↩︎
yes I'm just making up terms as I go along ↩︎
technically there is really only one ego, and really really no ego at all ↩︎