Practical Levels of Mind

During a Meeting When Upset Arises

Recently, I was on a video call having a meeting for an upcoming project. During this talk, I noticed how I started to feel very anxious, so I went within to inquire and to become aware of the thoughts and beliefs underneath this feeling of anxiousness.

I perceived someone to be leading the session and the others to be sharing about the logistics involved. As the leader started asking them questions, judgments arose in my mind thinking she wasn’t being loving and kind to them. Suddenly this event turned into me thinking and believing that people can mess up, be mistreated and that I am not safe. Since I was believing that there was an attacker and someone being attacked, I noticed I wanted to say the right things in order to compensate and protect myself.

I had gotten into defense mode in my mind even though I wasn’t speaking, and I no longer felt able to be truly helpful. I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to say or what was really coming from my heart. After, this brought up even more unease in my mind as now the ego started bringing in all sorts of memories to prove and back up the belief that I am a victim, that I keep doing it wrong, and that I will never be truly safe. 

The state of mind that I was listening to—the egoïc mind—doesn’t know what true safety is. It has built up a whole world that evolves around its unloving rules and as long as the mind believes in the ego it will run under its fear-based system. The only thing I could really do was question everything going on in my mind.

“What was really going on here? Did the ego make up a whole story around what one said and how the other responded?” 

Yes, it absolutely did.

It wasn’t until I slowly started going through the levels of mind, tracing it back from the emotions to the thoughts, then the beliefs and eventually the core desire, which I discovered, is the true cause of this experience of suffering. I was able to truly identify what lens I was looking through, the ego’s rather than the Spirit’s, and choose to see things differently. 

What was happening during this video call—perceiving someone to be a victim of the situation—at first seemed to be the cause for my stress and anxiety. As I went inwards to inquire and question the thoughts and beliefs underneath, I became aware of what was desired and held to be true deep down.

I was believing to be a separate figure where love and happiness are fleeting, characters seem to come and go and have a mind of their own separate from each other. I was believing that the characters can judge and harm or be kind to each other, which is just the ego’s misinterpretation, and I can, therefore, either mess things up or do something right in both the past and the future. These were the ego’s conclusions.

Time and space, the belief in separation, was believed to be real and so happiness is always something that is limited and changing. It can come and go just like the characters, depending on what is happening in front of me. Since I was believing this, I felt like a victim of this world and the perceived situation.

I observed the ego’s emotions, thoughts, and beliefs in my mind and recognized that they were the false cause of my distress, but I wasn’t able to fully withdraw my belief from them. There was too much fear thinking, thinking all of this to be true and the ego brought in many memories of similar situations to prove its point. So I got to connect with Dylan and shared my explorations with him. Before he even said anything, my mind already started to relax into the inquiry.

Together we looked at the central desire that was underneath all these egoic emotions, thoughts and beliefs and saw that the upset, all the thoughts and emotions were solely coming from the desire to believe that I was a victim of something in this world. I desired to side with the ego in my mind, rather than peace in that moment, and ran with all the judgments about the situation instead.

Inquiring into the upset I got to take responsibility for my state of mind, now tracing the projected beliefs off of the situation and the one’s involved to draw it back off of “the screen” back inward to the ego’s lens I was choosing to look through.

Dylan also reminded me of the first 5 lessons from A Course in Miracles,

“Nothing I see means anything”

“I have given everything all the meaning that it has for me”

“I do not understand anything I see”

“These thoughts do not mean anything”

“I am never upset for the reason I think”

I had a choice to be peaceful right away. In seeing that the only cause of my suffering was the lens—the central desire—that I was looking through, I could drop all I was thinking and believing onto what seemed to have happened. I came to the realization that I am essentially the Space that is behind the ego’s emotions, thoughts and perceptions appearing and disappearing in the mind. I can simply choose to mind watch and observe them as they arise and not latch onto and misidentify with them.

Just like how images come and go on a movie screen, leaving the screen completely unaffected by any of it, the Spirit or true Self was also completely unchanged and unaffected by what the ego had believed and projected onto my friends and the situation. I was now able to see them in a pure, non-judgmental light and recognize that whatever happened was exactly how it had to happen. No one did anything wrong or right for that matter.

My mind was silent now and was resting in the Space behind all ego emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. Any thoughts arising were simply noticed but not held onto and I could hear the inspired Guidance of my Inner Teacher/Spirit instead, Who’s Thoughts always feel wholly loving, accepting everything exactly as it is.