Letting go of defining the meaning of everything

Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022 3777 words 16 mins 47 secs1 comments
An A Course in Miracles Blog  © 2022 Paul West

I have been noticing in myself lately that I keep being judgemental. My thoughts feel like judgements. Even just basic thoughts of "what something is" feels like a judgement. I wondered to myself why I seem to be judging all the time. I hadn't realized just how judgmental I seem to be all the time.

This could be in the form of just having some opinion about everything. It didn't even necessarily need to be in terms of anger or projecting blame, just a kind of incessant "believing I know". Just constantly and consistently labelling everything in terms of what I believe it means.

I would just keep labeling everything in course terms. "That's an illusion", "They're level confused", "This is unreal", etc. I seemed to be just using the whole course to add a layer of naming and shaming to everything I was aware of.

I noticed also that I couldn't seemingly just look at something without "coursifying it". I couldn't just enjoy something or do normal activities without having to have an ACIM commentary running alongside it. Just constantly trying to "counteract" the world and everything I see with statements, trying to deny it, trying to change it, trying to push it away.

This also seems to be tied into a general sense of unhappiness about everything. My ego would sometimes really flare up with attack thoughts which clearly were attempts to increase separation. It increased a sense of being alone, and further justified a sort of seeming "bitterness" about the world. It kind of felt like kind of slipping down further into hell rather than rising out of it.

I also have been growing weary of ACIM, quite honestly. I've chewed on its words and metaphysics and have written about it to such an extent that I was becoming tired of it. Tired of thinking about it. Like I'd done it all and seen it all and there was nothing left to figure out. As if figuring it out, or understanding it, was the whole point.

I wanted some kind of more direct, simplified experience. Something more practical that works. Something more direct, that didn't have a layer of interpretation or second-hand thinking alongside it. I didn't want more affirmations or course statements flying around in my mind. I didn't want just another commentary or people just parroting the course's words as if knowing what it means. I and I didn't want to keep doing forgiveness on the basis of some bunch of statements, trying to use words to fend off ego attacks.

I had to step away from all this for a bit to just settle down and get a sense of something more basic and simple and fundamental. And this is when I started opening up to wanting the Holy Spirit to inform me of a better way. I wanted to see things how he sees things and to join with him more, to just very simply take some small little step that would be enough to fix my mind without all the psychobabble. Some kind of simple something I could just "do" that would produce a happier experience without all the course crap alongside it.

I saw that having conversations about the course just wasn't really working. Everyone's just talking about it. We use its statements as if they are magic wands. But I wasn't seeing a satisfying effect from this. Just figuring out what it means and repeating its words didn't do much. I didn't want to be just another parrot regurgitating the same stuff while staying entirely confined in this same "way" of trying to apply it. I wanted something much closer to my being, that I didn't have to think about. Something much more basic and intimate that I could "live" without mental gymnastics.

This is when I started to discover that I was in general laying an entire interpretation of everything on top of it. This interpretation was based on my thinking that I knew what things were. An attempt to understand it. I saw that I was giving everything meaning through this interpretation. I was deciding that things sucked or were negative and was then reacting to my own decision as to what I thought it was. My interpretation of everything was being mistaken for the thing itself.

So then I considered the fact that every single time that I was less than happy in any way, it was a part of this "way" that I was interpreting. I was filtering or translating or changing, twisting, whatever was "out there", into some kind of decided-upon "version" that I was then experiencing as my "perception of it". Because if you remember, "perception is a result not a cause" and "projection makes perception".

It's really what I project that produces perceptual issues. If I perceived a result or conclusion of "unhappy", I must have projected and wanted that. If I was interpreting that something happening "meant" that I should be afraid, I must've decided that it meant this. I gave it this meaning. And this meaning changed my perception and produces "experiences" or effects which were generally unpleasant.

In the truest sense, I was doing this to myself, as in the secret of salvation, because it was this whole "layer" of interpretation, coming in between me and the world so to speak, that was responsible for causing my "experience" of the world to be faulty. I was willing to consider that any time I was not happy I MUST have mis-interpreted and had come up with some kind of MISTAKEN opiniion about what it MEANS.

I had to be willing to recognize that it was my chosen interpretation that was entirely responsible for the "effects" of that interpretation upon myself, the seeming ego reactions or fears or upset emotions or any kind of annoyance or disturbance. All of my suffering was really rooted in that layer of interpreting, NOT in what lied "beyond it" as the world. And that meant that I was making a lot of mistaken interpretations, resulting in a lot of unhappiness.

Light a light-switch, I then found that simply by recognizing I had made an interpretation, and just being willing to admit that it was the entire reason why I was not happy, my mind would become open to just "letting that interpretation go." I didn't seem to have to do anything else for this to happen. As they say, "illusions recognized must disappear." My interpretation IS the illusion. It was a way of turning "reality" into something it's not. Just recognizing it as an illusory, self-made, made-up, filtered "view", was enough to make it disappear.

As soon as it would just disappear, immediately my mind would light up with light and happiness. It would seem as though a higher me, rooted in the "back" of my mind, would suddenly shine outward. It was as if secretly behind all my ego upset sense of self, there was this higher me that was just always happy and filled with light and wasn't taking anything seriously. It seemed to already be there. I didn't invent it myself. Perhaps this was the real me.

This has started a revolution in my mind and in my outlook and in my way of experiencing the world. It isn't a forgiveness based on some kind of long-winded, elaborate story that I have to tell myself, trying to deprogram myself, trying to counteract perceived problems with a long litany of affirmative statements, or trying to remember course principles, or trying to grasp at straws to make it go away.

It was very very simple. It was much more a sort of change in how I EXPERIENCE what's going on. And that was far more immediate. More like just a kind of attitude change. Not something "thought about", or arrived at through understanding, or made out of complicated metaphysics, or logically deduced. It was a kind of forgiveness that was just a much more intimate matter of psychological engagement.

Either I was interpreting or I wasn't. Either I had chosen to invent some kind of "meaning" for something, or I had let it go. Either I was filtering and believing I knew what something was, or I was just willing to stop doing it. It wasn't a matter of replacing it with something or justifying it or explaining it or writing a book about it. It was kind of like just stepping back. Getting out of my analysis. Stopping my self-made attempt to determine what something is.

The bizarre thing is just how effortless it is and how immediately a whole world of low-level ego experience, suffering, upset and darkness, is immediately overruled by a much much higher bright light of happiness and lightness.

It almost seems wrong, in that the light-heartedness of it doesn't even seem to care to "address"the many doubts and fears and concerns that the ego had. It just sort of leaps above it and pays no attention to it. Like, who would have thought THAT would be a solution? Not to change the ego but to just get OUT of it? To just leave the desert without even dealing with all the many loose ends and questioning fears.

I think for a ton of years now I've generally been locked into the ego mind. Regardless of how lofty my thoughts have been, and regardless of efforts to forgive. It's always still been accompanied by ego feelings, upsets, emotions, fears, reactions, ego rebounds.

I was just kind of getting fed up with the fact that every time I tried to do anything with the course, it ALWAYS had a stupid ego rebound afterwards. Catharsis, release, upset emotions, fear reactions etc. It was just so annoying. I was kind of getting tired of the course in this sense because I couldn't seem to do any of it without having this sense of ... I just don't want to do this. My ego self or whatever just is wired against God and does not want to wake up, and can't. "I", mixed up in that sense of lower-suffering-self, couldn't stop being the way it was.

So there's been this tug of war between the part of mind that just basically couldn't care less about the course and just wants to live a normal life in a body, versus this constant barrage of attempts to awaken to some kind of higher life and perspective that's totally incompatible. The contrast between the two was becoming very acute and I couldn't find a way to satisfy both. I had to even take a break from ACIM for a while and just be in "my ego" to just be normal and stop hitting it over the head with a hammer of spirituality.

But I think what's come out of that now is this very very unexpected movement in which I let the ego stuff remain ego and just seem to step outside of it. It's quite odd. Because I now see that within myself there's this sort of self-contained internal bubble of my suffering self, complete with all the ego emotions and upsets, which is generally most of the time unhappy, riddled with fears and grief and uncertainty and so on. And it seems like this is all within my body. And then somehow there's this higher me that is totally outside of all that, shining a light from a vantage point of not even trying to understand or interpret anything.

It has raised questions of, who even am I. What aspects of myself or of my experience actually is "the ego" and should be something to "get rid of", versus what aspects of this is actually a permanent part of my true nature? Are my emotional reactions just an ego thing? Is this sense of "me suffering" the ego? In particular, where do I draw the line?

But I'm finding that maybe I don't actually have to answer that in terms of a description of it. Because what I seem to be realizing is that ALL of that internal seeming "struggling self" is entirely sort of the "byproduct" of this whole "thinking I know" thing. This whole interpretation of everything. Having a judgement about what everything is. Labelling everything in course terms. Trying to describe everything in explicit detail.

That whole approach of trying to "understand" the world and everything in my experience, is precicely what CAUSES all of the suffering. It's as if, when I try to interpret "reality", it produces generally negative forms of consequence, in a cause-effect kind of way. And the outcome of that is what we might call "the ego" in me. It's this collection of reactions, emotions, upsets, perceived threats, fears, guilts, etc... which all seem to revolve around victimhood and being at the effect of something. That all seems to actually be the END RESULT OF, my minds attempts to INTERPRET reality.

So I put out some kind of negative faulty mistaken interpretation or effort to understand what something is, this results in a false perception, which in turn results in a bunch of suffering, which in turn assembles as a collection of unhappy elements that bundle together as an "ego experience". And that ego experience seems like it's somewhat outside of me. And when my mind is going there, it seems that I am the one having this experience, that my identity IS the suffering, that I AM the upset and the unhappiness. And that anchors and confines and limits my whole awareness INSIDE OF that whole viewpoint.

So if my view is so narrow and limited and false, producing heavy false dark perceptions, then my whole sense of self seems to become imprisoned and confined, alone and afraid, small and weak and vulnerable. It seems like my entire life has been spent accumulating sufferings in this little internal storehouse, surrounding and forming this confused and separated-off sense of self or of "my experience" of life. All gathered up in a ball, even which seems to be housed within my body and especially within the "emotional center" in the stomache area.

If this ENTIRE experience of life is the end RESULT, ie perceptual consequence of, the various mistaken MEANINGS that I keep putting onto things, then it stands to reason (lol) that if I fundamentally CHANGE my entire approach and alter the process of "giving meaning", then it's going to totally override that ENTIRE realm of expeirence.

It's going to basically switch off the ego experience, it's going to totally override all the upsets and reactions, all the unhappy emotions etc. Because it was as though, all along, all this time, ALL of my sufferings have been the RESULT of the meaning that I'VE been giving to everything.

I've become very good at describing things, explainig things, analyzing the world, picking apart illusions, labelling stuff, counter-attacking attacks, and generally just reacting to MY OWN decisions. And suddenly I seem to be embarking on an entirely different ballgame. I guess it can be described as moving above the battlefield in a way. It's like a HUGE stepping back and just stopping trying to fucking figure everything out. Not just because it can't be figured out but because the act of trying to do so is BLOCKING me. It shuts down my light and decreases my awareness and turns me into a judger.

So now for me, this whole course thing, it's turning into something very very simplified. It's just some basic sort of flip of the switch thing, between whether I want to carry on with my faulty judgements/interpretations/translations of what's going on, or whether I want to just let those go.

As I let them go, it's like a huge cloud of psychological blockage is lifted away. A bright HAPPY light switches on out of nowhere, as if I'm getting back in touch with the REAL me that is in the back of all this, and has been there all along covered up by all the mental distortions. It immediately feels remarkably happy and light, regardless of how heavy and dark the ego experience was "before" I stepped out of it.

What the ego is, I think it really is just the "effects" that are produced when we try to "narrow" (Jesus interjected) reality down to being this or that, to describe it, to judge it, to assess or evaluate what stuff "is". The labels and meanings we keep trying to give things. And then mistakedly confusing that effort for reality, believing that reality now inherently IS the meaning that WE decided it has. That produces all the ego reactions, all suffering, all unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

When we stop producing these illusions of interpreation, trying to think we know what things are, trying to understand the ego and the world, trying to filter what's happening, trying to insist that something is what we think it is, trying to be right about our labels and projections, all that just immediately switches off the "ego effect" and puts our mind back in touch with cause.

We settle back into reality, we return to our baseline, we get back in touch with who we are BEHIND all these layers of interpretation, and the clouds part and the light comes shining forth. And it feels SO much happier than the deluge of suffering that ALL interpretations produce.

So it's not a matter of trying to get "that ego" to change and grow and wake up and become spiritual, the ego is just the result of "shutting down". If we are to "open up" we have to be willing to actually be open all the time. Because any time we judge or label or describe or analyze or think we know about or seem certain of what stuff is or means, we are actually narrowing and closing down, casting anchors into the wind. And that just diminishes our light and makes us feel dark and alone and afraid.

We step out of the ego by stepping into the light of "not knowing", of forgetting what you taught yourself, or letting go of thinking you know, and of learning NOT to try interpreting anything. When you stop projecting your made-up meanings onto everything, you leave an open space for the Holy Spirit and God to project THEIR meaning instead, in the emptiness that you've left there. In the space you've provided for light to shine through you. Really it's more like, getting out of your own way.

I am finding this is what forgiveness means to me now. It's the simple movement away from having made the mistake of deciding what something must mean, which is pretty much always in error and leads to suffering, and just being willing to not do that. My own meanings are what blocks my sight. My own judgements of reality are what keeps reality from me. This is how we undo perception itself, by undoing the basis for judgement. And it takes no more than a slight willingness to recognize my self-inflicted suffering is coming from my self-imposed meanings, to let them disappear to reveal the light within.

Yesterday I saw for the first time, myself just pivoting differently, in a situation where someone had clearly "done something wrong", breaking some rules. I could've "held it against" the person, and yet somehow I remembered that this entire experience of it being "wrong" or sinful was a meaning I was giving it, and as I stepped back from that I found myself expressing that the person was still lovable regardless of this mistake, and it was only a mistake. It was as kind of "experiential forgiveness", so basic and simple, a psychological act of just "withholding judgement" in a way, that I felt it produced some kind of miraculous effects afterwards. And it felt good.

Ultimately it all boils down to the simple idea that we have en experiential realitionship with truth and reality, and we are either going to be fully open it and let it be what it is without trying to define it, or we're going to narrow our perception and lay judgements and labels on it, trying to dissect it. And as soon as we do that we will shut down our light and go into darkness (ego). If we want light and happiness, we have to learn to just accept reality in the fullness of "what is" (not the world as such), by not "having an opinion about it". Not laying a meaning on it. So that the light can fully shine and illuminate our happiness.

"Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still, and quietly does nothing. It offends no aspect of reality, ****nor seeks to twist it to appearance that it likes.**** It merely looks and waits and judges not. ****He who would not forgive must judge****, for he must justify his failure to forgive. But he who would forgive himself must ****learn to welcome truth exactly as it is.****"

"If you could accept the world as meaningless and ***let the truth be written upon it for you****, it would make you indescribably happy." "In the world you, can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you, to all around you. You can REFLECT HEAVEN here. But no reflections of the images of other gods must dim the mirror that would hold God's reflection in it. Earth can reflect Heaven or hell; God or the ego. You need but leave the mirror clean, and clear of all the images of hidden darkness you have drawn upon it. God will shine upon it of Himself. Only the clear reflection OF Himself can BE perceived upon it. Reflections are seen in light. In darkness, they are obscure, and their meaning seems to lie only in shifting interpretations, rather than in themselves."

"The reflection of God NEEDS no interpretation. IT IS CLEAR. Clear but the mirror, and the message which shines forth from what the mirror holds out for everyone to see, NO-ONE will fail to understand. It is the message that the Holy Spirit is holding to the mirror that is in HIM. He recognizes it, because he has been taught his NEED for it, but knows not where to look to FIND it. Let him, then, see it in YOU, and share it WITH you. Could you but realize, for a single instant, the power of healing that the reflection of God, shining in YOU, can bring to all the world, you COULD not wait to make the mirror of your mind clean, to receive the image of the Holiness that heals the world."

Link to: https://www.miraculousliving.com/blogs/a-course-in-miracles-blog/letting-go-of-defining-the-meaning-of-everything



Thanks for this text. I think lot of students have similar inner strifes (me too).

I think that by practice you actually changed some underlying assumptions which resulted this way.

This shift in perception is called for example by Mooji as centering. He explains it very well so I quote him. I think you decided to set your consciousness in observator place of your judgemental personality. It is still domain of ego (because you still observe something from it) but you don’t actually identify with with observed judgments anymore. Centered you has no agenda different than beingness (because we are perfect and eternal), so it has no need for correcting anything. From my experience it will place you in more stoic position toward the world and it will let you easy forget mistakes of others (and therefore your own mistakes)

About your reflections about tiredness from "coursifying " (fantastic word btw) i think you opened your highways to hell as much as you could, by inviting Holy Spirit so it pushes on you everything it can from below (tiredness, guild, fears etc. etc.) so this process is no so different from other course students. Center, forgive them, don’t be crushed by your own, past creations.

You have my prayers

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