V. C. Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom, P 7
7 The third step is thus one of protection for your mind, allowing you to identify only with the center, where God placed the altar to Himself. Altars are beliefs, but God and His creations are beyond belief because they are beyond question. The Voice for God speaks only for belief beyond question, which is the preparation for being without question. As long as belief in God and His Kingdom is assailed by any doubts in your mind, His perfect accomplishment is not apparent to you. This is why you must be vigilant on God’s behalf. The ego speaks against His creation, and therefore engenders doubt. You cannot go beyond belief until you believe fully.
Right now we are learning to distinguish between the untrue beliefs in the mind, and the beliefs that are in alignment with truth. Ultimately, we are being guided to a place beyond belief, because belief implies question, and what is of God is not questionable. As long as there is still doubt and uncertainty in the mind, we will continue our vigilance on behalf of God, allowing our mind to be healed of all ego beliefs.
You cannot go beyond belief until you believe fully. I have been watching my mind very consistently for several years now and I am good at it. I more often than not catch the ego thoughts before they take hold, and it is in catching them quickly that I am able to release them with relative ease. Still, there are some ego beliefs that are harder for me to release than others. This is because I still believe in them, and because I still value them.
I’m re-reading Untethered Soul by Michael Singer and I like his description of the process we go through with our thoughts. What I learned from reading his chapter on clinging (clinging to a thought) is this. Thousands of thoughts pass through our mind and most of them go unnoticed. Michael Singer says, “Now let one object stand out above the rest. It catches your attention and draws the focus of your awareness. You immediately realize that the more focused you become on the object, the slower it moves. Until, eventually, if you focus on it enough, it stops. The force of the consciousness ends up holding the object stable simply by concentrating on it.”
When the thought stops and we give it our full attention we can get so involved in it that we forget everything else. This is like being in a movie theatre and becoming so interested in the move, so involved in the drama and the characters that we no longer notice the seat, the temperature, the people around us. I have had that happen to me and so I can relate to that idea.
When I narrow my focus to a particular thought I can easily lose all perspective. I can forget what I know to be true while I am focused on a different belief, but only if that belief is meaningful to me. Sometimes I have thoughts about being lonely and wishing that I was in a relationship. Those thoughts might catch my attention but only momentarily. They slow down while I think about them, but they don’t stop because I don’t have a lot of interest in them.
On the other hand, if I notice a thought about one of my children being upset about something I will nearly always give it my attention. It slows down on its passage though my mind and I think about the implications of their problem. If I narrow my focus enough, that is if I continue to look at all the ego thoughts around the situation and if I believe those thoughts, I will obsess about the problem until I can think of nothing else. Maybe I will try to think of solutions. Maybe I will become sad or fearful. It can be very hard to pull myself out of this.
Here is what I usually do now. I notice the thought that my child is upset and it grabs my attention. As I consider the ramifications it slows down and more thoughts show up. I notice the feelings that are invoked by these thoughts and now the thought has stopped completely and my focus is narrowing to this one thing. I start thinking of ways I can help them, advice I can give. But because I have been practicing mind watching and because I have a strong desire to be healed, and because I am learning to be more vigilant for God than for the ego, I make a decision to let that thought go on by.
Certainly the longer I hold onto the thought and the narrower my focus the harder it will be to shake it off, and that is why vigilance is important. As soon as I notice what I am doing I ask the Holy Spirit for another thought. I ask that He help me to see this differently. Recently when this happened I was reminded of a passage from A Thousand Names for Joy, in which Byron Katie talks about her children. She says this:
“Why would I give my children advice when I can’t possibly know what’s best for them? If what they do brings them happiness, that’s what I want; if it brings them unhappiness, that what I want, because they learn from that what I could never teach them.”
Because I desire healing more than I desire to cling to my ego thoughts, I received an answering thought as a memory of what I read in this book. This thought is closer to the truth than the one that said I should be anxious for my child and that I should advice her on her problem. With this new thought it was easy to let the old one go on by. This is the way in which I am vigilant for God and return my mind to the center. It is the way I protect my mind. When I am fully certain that I want only the thoughts I think with God, I will be ready to go beyond belief.