Forget About Whether or not It’s Working, by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD.

“There is a saying, ‘To catch two birds with one stone.’ That is what people usually try to do. Because they want to catch too many birds they find it difficult to be concentrated on one activity, and they may end up not catching any birds at all!”
-Suunryu Suzuki, Soto Zen Monk

We can get into an anxious state of mind where we want to know if we will fulfill our goals in life. In spirituality, this is manifested as a desire to know whether or not the practice is working, and so we examine ourselves for signs of some sort of enlightenment. This could be true whether we are saying mantras, chanting verses, or sitting for zazen or dhyana. The trouble is that stepping back from the practice actually makes it more difficult to engage with the practice. The hard thing is to just do the practice and not worry about whether or not it is working, and to be fully immersed in life.

Try not to compare yourself with the yardstick of spiritual experiences you may have had in the past, perhaps when you first began your favorite practice. You are not the same person that you were ten or twenty years ago. It’s not that those experiences don’t matter: It’s just that they happened to someone else a long time ago. Try to focus on the realization that you might have today, in this moment. Make today a new occasion for expanding your capacities and increasing your awareness.

From: A Mindful Morning, by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD.

Everything Falling Into Place, by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
-Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Westerners have become accustomed to thinking of time as an arrow, moving always forward in a linear fashion. We think of ourselves as perched on the razor’s edge between a never-arriving future and an always-gone past. This concept of time would be foreign to most of the people for whom ancestors are every bit as present as those alive today. In Asian societies and many indigenous traditions, time is cyclical in nature, not linear, as the patterns repeat over generations. The person close to you in this lifetime might have been close to you for many previous lifetimes.

The arrow of time concept, which goes back to the Ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea, causes much anxiety, since everything must, by definition, be done now or not at all. But what if you were to shift your thinking to believe that everything is already implicitly done? What if you believed that you were living in a present that is already past, already accomplished? Sometimes such a belief is criticized as fatalistic, but it also produces a good deal of freedom. As you set about your morning, picture everything already accomplished, from your first deep breath of the morning to closing your eyes at night. Picture everything falling into place, as it was always meant to be, as it has already been written.

-From: A Mindful Morning, by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD

“Don’t Change” by: Anthony De Mello

I was a neurotic for years. I was anxious and depressed and selfish. Everyone kept telling me to change.

I resented them, and I agreed with them, and I wanted to change, but simply couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried.

What hurt the most was that, like the others, my best friend kept insisting that I change. So I felt powerless and trapped.

Then, one day, he said to me, “Don’t change. I love you just as you are.”

From: The Song of the Bird, by: Anthony De Mello

“Stopping Self-Torture“ by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD

“Seek the unknown way, for the known way is an impasse.”
-Heraclitus, Ancient Greek Philosopher

If you cannot sit quietly and be contented within yourself, no amount of searching in the world will ever be any comfort. If you cannot delve into the space of a few minutes of silence and emerge with some new point of view on the world, you will be condemned to live in derivative belief systems borrowed from others. Silence restores our relationship with ourselves, and, in this way, it also becomes curative for our relationships with others. From this one still point, this center, all other interactions take their character. If I am impatient with myself, I will also be impatient with others. If I am angry with myself, I will also be angry with others, And yet, who is this “I”? It is a series of interactions that can be either harsh or peaceful, either frantic or calm. So we can choose the tenor of our lives from the quality of our mental states.

Practice being gentle with yourself this morning. Can you give yourself the same unconditional love that the great religions of the world recommend as a way to treat others? this may feel odd at first, but try it anyway. You should begin to feel a relaxing, a loosening inside like you have more room to breathe. As you go easier on yourself, you will also begin to have more patience for others.”

From: A Mindful Morning, by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD

I like sharing things that I read when I strikes me as significantly significant and I feel strongly that it could have that same significance for somebody else. As long as I cite my source, it’s ok to post someone else’s words, right? It’s not like I’m trying to claim them as my own. Most of the stuff I post is “self-help” type stuff, so the author would probably be happy that his/her words are being shared and potentially helping more than they would have had I not shared them….right? Of course they’re being robbed of what you, the reader, would have otherwise been forced to spend to read the material, but then I consider myself to be doing the author the favor of advertising. Hopefully, by sharing their words, you, the reader, will be encouraged to go on Amazon, or even better, to your local bookstore or bookstore’s website (given the times) and order the book for yourself. I HIGHLY recommend EVERY book that I “advertise” on my blog.

Now, my own words in regards to the words I borrowed from Dr. Dillard-Wright. It was really the first sentence that packed the biggest punch in my reading. “If you cannot sit quietly and be contented within yourself, no amount of searching in the world will ever be any comfort.And then the second sentence was thought-provoking: “If you cannot delve into the space of a few minutes of silence and emerge with some new point of view on the world, you will be condemned to live in derivative belief systems borrowed from others.”

ACIM: Lesson 7, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I like how today’s lesson provides a “rationale” for all preceeding lessons. Brings them all together, like pieces of a puzzle and we’re now given a glimpse of the big pictures, rather than feeling the overwhelm of all the individual pieces.

I see only the past. Isn’t that the truth?!

In my concerted efforts to be mindful, to sit in meditation, to reflect and be in the moment, then of course this would not apply. But these lessons aren’t meant to apply to those times. These lessons are meant to apply to what is the majority of the time. In those other times, the minority of times, we are able to see more clearly and see the truth in these lessons. As I let those words sink in, “I see only the past,” and then look around the room and apply it to what I see, like the coffee cup example, it becomes more and more clear to me that it is the truth. It also becomes more and more clear to me how this lessons brings more clarity to the preceeding lessons.

The sentimentality I feel towards this house, this family home, is largely based on the past. Sure, I can see a future living here, but I am not as attached to the future of this home as I am to the past of this home. If I am able to ignore the past, then I can just as easily and happily see a future in another home.

ACIM: Lesson 6, Monday, April 6, 2020

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

Yesterday’s lesson said that “I am not (emotion) for the reason that I think.” Today’s lesson takes it a step further and says, “not only do you not know why you’re upset, but the reason you’re upset isn’t even real! You made it up!”

Wow! I wonder how much time I’ve spent upset for reasons that I made up on my own? As in, I didn’t have to be upset, but was choosing to be, basically.

  1. I am anxious about money because I see something that is not there.
  2. I am afraid of the Corona Virus because I see something that is not there.
  3. I feel resentment toward my siblings because I see something that is not there.

Again, I felt hesitation including the fear of the Corona Virus, but:

  1. “There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.”
  2. “I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go. For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them as all the same.”

What does it mean to see something that is not there? It means that I am imagining it. Creating it. I have heard it referred to as “rehearsing.” Like before a speech or a performance, you practice what you’re going to say, or how you’re going to act ahead of time. You imagine it and see yourself living it from the beginning through to the end. I think we do that in life too. We spend our time worrying about the future or the past, when neither the future or past are here NOW. Why be upset about something that isn’t here now?

Mindfulness. Living in the moment. We can’t change the past and we don’t know for sure what’s coming in the future. I also think, that if we spend our time worrying about the future, we’re actually LESS prepared for it when it arrives. There is a difference, of course, between worrying and planning. Let us plan, rather than worry. Let us live in the moment, here and now. If you are hungry, eat. If you are sleepy, sleep.

See only what is there.

  1. Nothing I see means anything.
  2. I have given everything I see all the meaning that 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 that I think.
  6. I am upset because I see something that is not there.

ACIM: Lesson 5

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Is it, in fact, true that all forms of upset are the same?

Is it wise for me to question that which is taught in these lessons?

Perhaps if I had a more solidly educated grounds from which to pose my protest, other than simply being afraid to emerge from my “snow cave of the familiar.” For the purposes of following through with these lessons and the course as a whole, I will instead practice my ability to obediently absorb the information. Therefore, yes, all forms of upset are the same.

Upon reflection, I feel anxious about money. I feel afraid of the Corona Virus. I feel resentment toward my siblings.

  1. I am not anxious about money for the reason that I think.
  2. I am not afraid of the C.V. for the reason that I think.
  3. I am not resentful of my siblings for the reason that I think.

5.4.1 Yes!!! I definitely find it difficult to be indiscriminate in the application of this idea. I feel the fear of the C.V. is far too unique and extreme to be considered in the same way as the more trivial concerns of financial anxiety and family drama.

5.4.3 “There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.”

5.6.3 “I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go. For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same.”

And now this lesson makes a bit more sense. As I walked through the lesson again, more slowly, I was able to sort through the hesitations and confusion to achieve a clearer understanding of the lesson’s intent.

It is not for me to decide what I should and should not be seeing or feeling. I do not need to judge myself too harshly . All that I feel is okay. No single worry or emotion is any greater or lesser than another. They are all the same and all deserve the same level of respect.

Also, my problems are not for me to solve. At least not yet because I can’t understand them yet. I don’t feel these emotions for the reasons that I think. And for today, I will sit with that.