I am affected only by my thoughts
The ego thought system v Holy Spirit thought system.
T-3.VII.1. Every system of thought must have a starting point. It begins with either a making or a creating, a difference we have already discussed. Their resemblance lies in their power as foundations. Their difference lies in what rests upon them. Both are cornerstones for systems of belief by which one lives. It is a mistake to believe that a thought system based on lies is weak. Nothing made by a child of God is without power. It is essential to realize this, because otherwise you will be unable to escape from the prison you have made.
A “thought system” is a system of thoughts. The word “system” means a “set of things working together as part of a mechanism”. So, the ego is the “mechanism” which is based on guilt and fear and “the set of things working together” are its thoughts that come into our mind.
The ego thoughts all support the belief in guilt and fear. These thoughts form a system that have at their starting point or base, guilt and fear. This is the egos foundation – the BELIEF in seperation. The egos thoughts all rest or “arise from” the belief in separation and thus all thoughts based on this idea, bring or hold ideas of guilt, sin and fear.
This ego system of thoughts all repeat the same theme using different words and ideas. In summary, the ego is all the thoughts in our mind that speak to us about ourselves as bodies, maintain that we are guilty and sinful or unworthy, say that we are little and vunerable and that God is unloving and is not available to help us. Any thoughts that we have that are based on fear, guilt, blame, comparisons, unworthiness, lack, scarcity, sacrifice, littleness, body identification or being unfairly treatment – we can label these as ego thoughts. This is a system of thoughts or beliefs - all based on or the pre-supposed idea that separation is real. It is important to understand exactly what the ego is because it helps us to choose against it. If any of the thoughts that are in our mind that are thoughts that are not based on love and joining mean they are based around the central belief or idea that we are separate from each other and from God.
As we practice the courses lessons and we learn to quieten our mind and go within, we start to notice and become more aware of the thoughts that cross our mind. We can notice that thoughts arise, are believed, then dissolve. We can notice that each thought that arises in our mind, will probably relate to the preceding thoughts in some way, because it is a “system of thoughts that work together”. Try to notice that these thoughts all have particular themes running through them. Try to watch the story or theme that the thoughts weave. Become like a scientist studying the thoughts in your mind. Try to see what story or system they have as they all group together to maintain the belief in separation.
You might notice that one of the egos popular themes is how unworthy you are and all thoughts in this theme will compare you to others. This group of thoughts offered to us, is based on the idea of unworthiness, which has in its origins, the idea that we are guilty for separating from God.
The error we make, is we think that these ego thoughts are our thoughts and they are about us. We think this because they seem to be in “our mind” and seem to be referring to “me”. At this stage of our mind training, we may believe every thought that comes into our mind. This means that we will be effected by every ego thought that the ego sends into our minds, but if we are practicing the lessons, we might be getting more awareness of the thoughts in our mind and be more able to choose other thoughts. At this early stage, we may not have the awareness that we don’t have to believe every thought. We may not be aware that we have a choice to believe it or not believe it.
Part of the mind training program is for us to become the observer of our thoughts. This is the way we can start to notice or watch thoughts rather than believe them straight out. The Holy Spirit is the one we invite in to help us as we go through this period of mind training. We invite Him in to help us to replace the upsetting thoughts with his loving right-minded thoughts.
We will eventually easily observe our thoughts this way and after a while, they will simply stop arising in our mind. This is how the ego is undone. Without our power of joining the thought, it simply falls away. This is what forgiveness is. “It merely looks, and waits, and judges not”. (What is forgiveness? Page 401 FIP)
One practice that really helped me become the observer of thoughts, rather being at the effect, was…
A helpful friend asked me to quieten my mind and asked me to see if I could tell him if I could see or know what my next thought would be. I concentrated on my mind and I tried to notice if I could know what my next thought would be. I became the witness to my thoughts. I sat and waited for a thought to come into my mind to see if I could see it. I waited. No thoughts were there to observe. Finally, a thought arrived. I noticed that I could not have known that that thought was going to be my next thought. The thought that arrived in my mind was not one that I could tell what it would have been.
He then asked me “Why would you think that that next thought is “your thought” if you cannot know what your next thought would be?”. I had a huge ah-ha moment as I noticed that I could not know what my next thought would be. Try as I might, I could never know what my next thought will be.
If this is true, as I had witnessed it, the thoughts that I thought were “my thoughts” could not be my thoughts. For, if they were, I would know what they would be. This helped me see that the thoughts that came and went in my mind, could not be my thoughts. They had to be ego thoughts that were not my true thoughts. I was then able to watch the ego thoughts like a procession of thoughts in my mind. Try this for yourself, sit quietly for a while and get comfortable. Shift your awareness to your mind. Now wait and see what your next thought will be. Wait for it to come in. Notice that you are waiting for a thought to arise. Notice that you don’t know what it will be. Notice that you can’t know it. Then ask yourself why you think that the thoughts that arise in your mind, would be “your thought” if you couldn’t know them. This maybe the first time you have entered into the awareness of being the observer of your thoughts rather than the one effected by them.
This realisation that thoughts are coming in by themselves and are not actually selected by us, helps us realise that we don’t have our “own thoughts”. This can be quite unusual and even startling when first realised. Jesus says we have only two thought systems we can choose between – the egos thoughts based on the belief in guilt, fear, blame, unfair treatment and body identification or the other thought system of the Holy Spirits based on truth, love, joining and our divine nature. He says that we have no private or personal thoughts of our own and that we can only choose between two lots of thought systems.
Even though Jesus says we are choosing our thoughts, what we are really doing is latching onto the ego thoughts that are arriving in our mind. We come to see that the ego is offering us its thoughts based on it “system of thoughts”. The egos “thought system” is based on past ideas only. We can know this by looking at each thought. Does every thought the ego offers you, talk about you as a body and everyone else as a body? If so, we are under the influence of a rotten thought system based on separation, because each thought is based on us as “being a body”.
We then come to see that each thought of the ego thought system brings us the experience of sadness, anxiety, anger and frustration and each thought of Holy Spirit thought system brings us the experience of happiness, joy, peace and joining.
A good analogy is imagine ourselves in front of two tables of food we can eat from. The food items are the thoughts that we can choose from. The food on these tables are available to eat from in every moment. We can either eat from the food that makes us sick or the food that makes us feel happy. This is our only choice. We do not have our own private food (thoughts). We can only eat from either of these two tables and our power of decision on which thoughts we choose, is the only power we have.
If we eat the thoughts of guilt and unworthiness, we will feel upset, fearful, sad and depressed. When we eat from these rotten dead past guilt thoughts we wonder why we feel depressed. Luckily we have been shown another way.
Jesus tells us to eat from the Holy Spirits table of thoughts. This table is full of beautiful, lovely food (thoughts) which awaken us to the holiness that is our Self. It lifts us above the battle ground and gives us the experience of peace, love and joy so great, there is nothing else like it.
Let us eat from the alter of the thoughts of divine love which join us with our Creator. This beautiful and loving Father envelopes us with His Love and his loving Mind and we are Home. He gives us healing thoughts that replace all the rotten dead thoughts that were based on false guilt from the past. New fresh alive thoughts come forth to water the flowers in the garden that is now our Mind.
Love and hugs everyone