structure in this online group
I was just thinking about the D.U. guidelines that are posted monthly and for that matter also thinking about what can happen if going to the airport and discussing something like a bomb. Discussing a bomb in an airport will have consequences, even if it is just a joke. That is simply a fact in this world. Joking about another’s post can definitely be seen as an attack or can feel disconcerting in a group such as ours. Sometimes it can feel like a bomb, even when I have goofed up something in my own post.
In order to have this group run well and consistently we consistently do a few things which does include behavior at times.
Currently, the issue of our behavior/attitude is not discussed in our monthly notes that post automatically. It is assumed that members will be respectful of one another and will not play rough or have posts with a harsh or a deliberate attack, even if it is viewed by the writer to be a joke. Where is the respect if we joke about another’s post? We can have a hard enough time figuring out tone of voice with the written word online. Sometimes they are difficult to read and judged differently than intended. So we want to make an extra effort to be clear and kind enough with each other.
We are all in different phases of our process and do not benefit from joking jabs, though humor expressed kindly can do much to lift the spirit and can lead to joining and laughter.
In order to have consistency in the group one must have trust.
Being a moderator sometimes calls for limits to be set. Members need to be prepared for that. There are unmoderated groups out there if one prefers that. The mods are here to keep the group running as smoothly as possible. So yes, there is minimal expectation regarding behavior/attitude. If one post doesn’t go through try again, a slight change in attitude can make all the difference.
If one wants to prove the mods are wrong for not posting something one can put energy into that. We all get wonderful opportunities for forgiveness here. I would actually like to officially apologize to Harold as I read Freyr’s original response to Harold’s post and I put it through, knowing something didn’t feel quite right about it to me. But I saw that he said he was just joking and at the time it felt ok enough for me. However I didn’t take that extra moment to see how it may feel to be somewhat of a newcomer to the group and have that response. So although it was good to have all of this come out I am sorry to have left Harold in that possibly awkward or uncomfortable spot. I also wish I had gotten in touch with my co moderator, Lyn, at which point we may just have decided to sit another day thinking about the post. I spent the day feeling that I had let Harold down until I contacted him and Lyn. It was an interesting spot to be in as one way or another someone might feel let down no matter which way I responded. That is sometimes how it goes in this world. I appreciated Freyr’s post today with the two columns. It was well done and world’s apart from the post that didn’t make it in. Sometimes I too trash a post for something much more relevant to all members here. The post that didn’t make it in may have been quite useful to Freyr for his personal use.
As Kenneth has said, in the title of one of his recordings, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That includes all 5 of us in this case, Harold, Freyr, Lyn, myself, and all group members as witness who perceived the experience in one way or another.
All is well. I don’ bring the past into the present moment. I go from this now on. I feel at peace with all involved in this group and with myself for my quick reaction to nothingness. Yes I could line my mistakes up across this state. There are more times I have regretted speaking than not. But I also realize “Those who push our buttons teach us our greatest lessons.” I smile as I type this, J wants us to be humorous and happy.
Note: The Creative Commons license that applies to all my words does not apply to the above two messages, which are included without permission for forgiveness purposes and to provide context.
Nice to see that everyone is playing their part perfectly. I know that’s always the case, but it’s nice to see it.
Having no unwillingness of my own, I am quick to find the limits of others’ willingness, when invited. I was invited with Marcy’s “It would be great to have you visit more as well if that’s in the cards.” Such an invitation I cannot resist.
The phrase “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind.
I will not make any jokes in this email. I will be sincere. Therefore this is no-longer a freyramble.
Here are some Freyrisms:
- There are no technical or social problems, only forgiveness lessons.
- There is no form in Heaven and no content in the world.
- There are no kind or unkind actions or words, only kind or unkind thoughts.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
This is very helpful. But remember, it’s a class of one. There’s only one of us here. So who are you being kind to? (yourself, obviously). Just as the traditional notion of forgiveness is forgiveness to destroy, so our traditional notion of kindness is kindness by sacrifice. It is a ‘kindness’ based on perception of separate interests.
But real kindness understands that there are no separate interests. Kindness to you is kindness to me, and vice versa. When kindness is about bodies, interests must be seen as separate, because bodies are separate. When kindness is about thoughts, interests are seen correctly as shared.
The way to “be kind” is to choose the right mind as our teacher. Then we will only have kind thoughts.
The reason to choose kind thinking is because when when we choose unkind thinking, we are miserable.
There’s nobody out there!
“Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” would be true if there were any separate people to meet, but while we think we are here in bodies meeting separate people, the idea that those others are fighting a hard battle is very helpful because it helps us to see their innocence. It helps us to see ourselves in them. Why? because we are fighting a hard battle. We can relate. And when we see them as the same as us, we think kindly, and are at peace.
Being kind is not about behaviour. It’s about the thoughts (from which behaviour come). The world is obsessed with behaviour (form/bodies) and largely unconcerned about thought (content/mind).
Ken doesn’t teach behavioural ethics, but often counters the mind-level things he’s saying, with a sort of side note “that doesn’t mean do x, if something something is happening, be kind, be normal” because there’s always going be people in his classes who try to apply the Course on the level of behaviour. Who try to behave forgiving. Or those who use the Course to justify a particular behaviour. But the Course isn’t about behaviour, it’s about the mind, and always to be applied on that level. This is a course in cause and not effect.
There is no good behaviour or bad behaviour as far as the Course is concerned. It does not judge behaviour. It is amoral.
So then the question is, how do we deal with one another?
If behaviour cannot be justified or condemned objectively, then how do we talk about it?
We can still express our preferences. We can ask for what we want without justifying it. We can make rules without justifying them. Just like Ken says it’s fine to get angry - just don’t justify it.
It’s okay to want things a certain way. We don’t have to be backed up by moral authority.
Not demanding anything of others (at least, not sincerely) is core to my practise. I don’t need anyone to change or do things my way. But I also don’t like the way most people do things, so I choose not to interact with most people.
Let’s talk about jokes.
Note: I wrote this section about a joke that I now realise was part of a message that didn't get approved. So it's a bit lacking context. Nevertheless, it still seems worth saying.
note note: in the blog post version, it doesn't matter.
We have all gotten our metaphorical panties in a twist over the original joke: the tiny mad idea. An idea so preposterous, that had we laughed we might have filled Heaven with our laughter.
A joke is a dance with the absurd. To call one person’s path slow and another’s fast is absurd. There is no time! We are all in the same place, watching this movie together! When J woke up, we were all there already, waiting for him.
Everyone’s Atonement path is perfect. We all play the part we are meant to, and seemingly ‘travel’ at the exact ‘speed’ that serves the plan best. “faster” isn’t “better”. “slower” isn’t “more sinful” (there is no sin!). Timing is always optimal.
In Lifetimes When Jesus and Buddha knew each other (am I butchering that title? also, do we have a short acronym?), they talk about how those two souls could have completed their journey in that lifetime, but it wasn’t what was called for. They took another entire lifetime over it.
It does not matter how long we take over anything. Because there is no time. Taking seemingly longer, does not make us more guilty. Doing things quickly does not ameliorate our sin, because there is no sin to ameliorate.
When we practise forgiveness, are not undoing guilt. Guilt isn’t real, so how could it be undone? It is our belief in guilt that is being undone.
So, that’s the “you must be slow” joke explained. Believing in neither guilt nor time, I found it hilarious.
It was an interesting spot to be in as one way or another someone might feel let down no matter which way I responded.
That is the ego’s “one or the other/kill or be killed/separate interests” thinking and I want no part of it. I would have you make no sacrifices for me. Do not be concerned for my feelings. I will be as happy as a pig in sh__ regardless of the outcome. If approving my message gives you the slightest pause; if there’s any fear or guilt, then don’t approve it. That’s what I want. I want you to do whatever you need to do not to be afraid. I don’t want you to do anything you would feel the slightest guilt about.
If there is a line to be drawn, draw it where it won’t impinge upon your peace.
Thanks so much, Freyr!
These are really deep.
I need to remind myself all the time, especially of the technical problems, the kind/unkind thoughts, and the fact that there is only one of us.
This one’s a keeper!
Thanks, Ute :)
I tend to forget that while I immediately understood everything in DU, the Course and everything Ken says, many people struggle with these ideas and need them repeated over and over in different forms to really get them.
Very helpful to be reminded.
It was the first and only explanation of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that made perfect sense to me, without any contradictions.
I didn’t come from a Christian background. For me the Course is less “Christianity without the hate” and more “Buddhism without the complexity”.
when I first bought the book, even though I fully agreed with it, I couldn’t read and study it. It is very, very difficult to do that on your own.
That wasn’t my experience at all. I got through (devoured, feels like a more discriptive word) the Text in a few months. Study group came later, and we didn’t do any studying.
We need to retrain our thinking. And that takes time.
This has also not been my experience. At least not directly. To change our thinking requires readiness. We rest sinless in our unreadiness.
The analogy that works best for me is figure skating. You see these people do perfect quadruple jumps in front of their audiences. It looks so easy and effortless. But we all know how much practice and training it took for them to get to that point – and how much continued effort it takes to maintain and perfect their technique. I think it’s very much like that with the Course!
This also doesn’t correlate with my experience.
Unkind thoughts require an enormous amount of effort to maintain. Giving them up is the easiest possible thing. The pinacle of Coursey achievement is not some artificial performance that must be constantly and vigilantly held in place. At some point it’s more like rolling down a hill or lying in a river drifting out to sea. Our only part is to allow it to happen, by not holding on.
There are stages of not holding on, that we go through. It starts with the slightest loosening of grip, that leads you to recognise on some level that you are gripping onto something (the secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself).
In the stage I’m at, I am able to fairly consistently not hold on, but I am not yet at a stage where I can stop monitoring myself. self-monitoring is not nearly as much effort as the great struggle of the previous stage. I’m not actively fighting J. But neither can I stop paying attention. It’s like being a security guard in a warehouse. Nothing much ever happens but I have to be there just in case.
One day the warehouse will be so peaceful that I can hang up my hat and retire.
That probably won’t happen until J has finished reorganising it.
But neither can I stop paying attention. It’s like being a security guard in a warehouse. Nothing much ever happens but I have to be there just in case.
I said it wrong.
It’s more like. I as a security guard have the easiest job in the world. So long as I am there, no one tries anything. My mere presence is enough to deter all thieves.
But the moment I pop out for a cigarette break, there’s a break in.
Maybe my analogy is all wrong.
Not necessarily. Figure skating is an art like any other. When an art is mastered, it becomes effortless, like breathing. Side note: breathing is also an art.
Unless you’re a master of an art, it’s impossible to tell whether another artist (such as a figure skater) has mastered their art. Any stage much beyond our own is imperceptible.
I’ve been thinking about Beethoven’s string quartets. Ken talks about them sometimes. They were some of the last work he did, and nobody understood. I tried listening to them and I didn’t like them. They are beyond what I can yet appreciate.
Back to figure skating. Perhaps you see effort because that is your way of thinking about how to get good at something.
Another way of getting better at something is to do it badly very often. When you do something you’re not skilled at a lot because you enjoy it, your skill improves quite naturally and rapidly.
To me there’s nothing more fun than the thought system of A Course in Miracles. So how good or bad I am at it doesn’t really matter.