This topic looks at how we think about our mind and the "we" who are having thoughts.

The term mind refers to the activating agent of spirit. Everything we see reflects our thinking and our thinking but reflects our choice of what we want to see.  --A Course in Miracles

When I am consciously aware that my experiences are perceptually, not circumstantially, derived, my responses/reactions are correspondingly altered: What was experienced as anger from one point of view  is now clearly seen as a mistake to be corrected not attacked.

Our idea of ourselves includes the way we think. We experience thoughts and the assumption is that these thoughts are taking place in our mind which is in the part of the body called a brain. Since these thoughts are in our mind they are "our" thoughts. If indeed they are "our" thoughts---Try to stop them. You soon will realize you can't stop thinking. Thoughts are continually in your mind whether you are aware of them or not. The painful thoughts seem to be more difficult than others to let go of.

So, it seems that we have thoughts, which seem to be "our" thoughts, yet we don't seem to have much control of them. In fact they seem to control "us." Who is the "you" who are having these thoughts?

It's time we brought into our awareness the current assumption we hold about our thought processes. The description I get from people (when forced to think about such things) is one fundamental system of belief which organizes our experiences to be consistent with this system of thinking. We could call this belief/perspective: "The world is cause and I am its effect." I will refer to this as fundamental belief system #1. Within this are sub-systems: economic, environmental, biological, social, psychological, political, philosophical etc. However, they all reflect this fundamental perspective.

It is my experience, however, that, as absurd as this may sound, we have another fundamental system of belief organizing our thoughts. As I mentioned earlier (Process For Seeing and Understanding), my perceptions are interpreted by my chosen perspective and when I am consciously aware of this I am coming from a fundamental belief system/perspective: "I am cause the world is my effect." I will refer to this as fundamental belief system #2.----If you really get what this means, someone should be helping you up from the floor.

To have two fundamental perspectives, which are mutually exclusive, yet maintained in one mind, leads to very conflicted and chaotic experiences.  Is this a familiar experience of yours?

As with our experience of the wave-particle duality of light, I cannot simultaneously interpret my experiences from two mutually exclusive systems of belief. When I am coming from one of the beliefs, experiences which would have been possible from the other are totally excluded from my awareness.

I would now like to ask you to bring into your awareness a situation that happened yesterday. Observe the people or person. What they look like, their/your expression, what was said, your attitude about it and where all this took place. Please do not read on until you actually do this exercise.

Having done this exercise, you will have noticed that apparently an aspect of your mind can listen to/observe your mind.

To briefly summarize:

  • I don't seem to have control of my thoughts, they seem to control me.
  • I have two mutually exclusive fundamental systems of belief which give meaning to the perception of my experiences:
  1. The world is cause, I am it's effect (Fund. Belief #1)
  2. I am cause, the world is my effect (Fund. Belief #2.)
  • An aspect of my mind can listen to/observe my mind.

In view of the foregoing, my view of mind is:

  • Mind chooses to identify with one of two fundamental belief systems and my experiences in the world will reflect this choice. (You may wish to select Model of Mind chart)

Perceiving the world from belief system #1: "The world is cause and I am its effect," my experiences were/are as follows:

  • What I perceive teaches me what it is.
  • There seems to be no real meaning and purpose to my life. In the grand scheme of things the universe is indifferent to my life.
  • I don't experience clarity as to my role in the world.
  • My life seems to be circumstantially derived, being the effect of the world.
  • The world seems to be a battlefield upon which the soap opera (battle of survival) is played.
  • I seem to be self-destructive rather than self-healing.
  • Peace, love, joy and happiness have a complimentary aspect whereby the opposite of these emotions are seen as coming from the same source: That which brings me peace also causes fear; love turns to hate; happiness to sadness and joy turns to pain.
  • What seems to be choice is merely a shifting from one form of fear (situation and circumstance) to another. Hence, the fear itself remains.
  • Our experiences are constantly reactive not proactive.

These type of experiences indicate that we are dealing with effect not cause. Our psychological experience is that for tens of thousands of years the world, which is the cause of our experiences, is a battlefield in which we try to survive as long as possible. Where choice is merely more, better and different versions of experiencing the world, however, the battle or soap opera of our lives continues and peace, love, joy and happiness are sought but not really attained. Brief interludes of relative peace is really fear masquerading as peace.

Perceiving the world from belief system #2: "I am cause the world is my effect," my experiences are as follows:

  • What I perceive witnesses to my accepted perspective and therefore is a witness to what I taught myself.
  • Since my perceptions of the world reflect my interpretations, I see that I am responsible for my experiences in the world.
  • My experience of the world is meaningful and purposeful.
  • The world is the setting within which I correct my mistaken beliefs about my self image and the images I have of my fellow brothers.
  • I shift from being self-destructive to self-healing.
  • I am responsible for my interpretations of the world. These interpretations are not the truth, they are my interpretation of the situation from my point of view. If I am upset, this experience reflects the belief: the world is cause I am its effect and I will feel a victim and respond accordingly. I realize this is a mistaken view. Instead of feeling a victim, I see that my upset is caused by a negative belief I denied about myself and projected onto some aspect of the world. I now have the opportunity to: (1) look at this and heal this image of myself and (2) respond to the situation from a state of mind of peace, being present and appropriate to same. Responsibility is not seen as blame, shame or guilt for what I am experiencing. Responsibility is the ability to respond, not the necessity to react.

1. The bad news is:

     As long as we look at our experiences from the belief system: "The world is    cause and I am its effect," we have no reason to believe peace, love, joy, and    happiness will ever be attained.

2. The good news is:

Reality is not as we have perceived because our accepted belief system/perspective "The world is cause and I am its effect" is not reflective of the truth of our experience and therefore a mistaken perspective which must be let go and replaced by one more useful. Such a perspective is: "I am cause and the world is my effect". However, it is only by perceiving the world from this perspective that its results can be experienced (If we don't actually subject light to the wave perspective these properties will not be experienced.) OUR ABILITY TO EXPERIENCE PEACE IS A FUNCTION OF WHO WE BELIEVE WE ARE, NOT THE SITUATION WE ARE EXPERIENCING!

These are not just theoretical ideas for me. When I interpret my perceptions from perspective #2: "I am cause the world is my effect," peace, love, joy and happiness are my experience solely as a function of acceptance and application of this perspective in my moment by moment experiences. When I am not experiencing peace, love, joy, and happiness, I now realize I am making a mistake, take corrective action: Shift perspectives. The result is true healing, peace is my experience. This and this alone confirms that I am dealing at the level of cause and not just effect.

I now realize that sustained peace (and there is no other kind) is absolutely attainable, not just some illusion one seeks and never finds.