All of us regularly feel bothered by certain conditioned responses we know we would rather not choose, but which we just can’t seem to control. Such responses usually come down to some sort of condemnation, followed by associated behavior. Without exception, pain follows in the form of rancor, guilt, or regret. When the conditioned responses become too painful, we seek counsel with a psychotherapist. However, as long as the underlying attraction to stubbornly keep clinging to such conditioned responses (as this affirms our precious unique individuality and superiority to others) isn’t laid bare, no psychotherapy will ameliorate the pain.
The “Being-oriented Therapy” is one of the very few therapies I know of that helps the patient lift his consciousness “above the battleground”, as A course in Miracles names it (T-23.IV), without having to dive into any metaphysics, nondualistic principles or oneness vagueness. Briefly summarized, the therapist invites the patient to seek and find that “one percent” of the consciousness that is able to independently look at what’s happening – right now – with current thoughts and emotions. If you can train yourself to non-judgmentally observe the thoughts that lead to the conditioned impulses, without “automatically” being dragged into them, this must mean that you are not the conditioned self you believe you are. It can be quite a peak experience to realize that for the first time!
Once the patient’s mind has reached that “place on high”, from that “one percent” consciousness state of the observer, you’ve now become what Course scholar Ken Wapnick has coined the decision maker who can choose either one of two guides for the thought stream: either the ego (the voice for special separated autonomy) or the Holy Spirit (the voice for the Oneness Love that is God). In fact, the entire curriculum of A Course in Miracles is aimed at having us remember that we have a decision maker in the mind that has the power to choose to be guided by either individual selfishness or by oneness love. From the perspective of what the Course calls content, there are no other options than these two.
Since we all share the (firmly repressed) burning desire to re-unite with our Creator, only the choice for oneness love (i.e., following the advice of our Inner Teacher called the Holy Spirit) will lead us to the eternal happiness that we all seek for as long as we think we are living here in time and space. It’s only when we have fully learned the Holy Spirit’s Lessons of love and have accepted the Atonement for ourselves completely (i.e., no dark spot in the mind remains to hide the face of Christ in anyone, without exception) will perception give way to the happy realization that duality was merely a silly dream, and that nonduality is much, much better. However, then we’re back in the abstract realm of metaphysics again…
From the perspective of Being-oriented Therapy, though, we need not have fully mastered the abstract concepts of nonduality to experience lasting inner peace in this dream world. Remember, experiencing inner peace here and now reflects the eternal peace in Heaven. That experience will eventually automatically fuse into knowledge once we generalize the principle of forgiveness to all situations and all people all the time. This is why that “one percent” of our consciousness that can observe the thought stream, can truly be called liberating. The question to ask from that state of consciousness is simple: “Will the impulse that I usually follow (but now pause to look at) lead to pain or pleasure?” When that question is asked, the decision maker has been put in the position to choose again, and the best choice to make will be obvious.
This ‘best choice’ is the choice for the miracle that gives Jesus’ curriculum its title. The miracle is the effect of choosing to replace that “ancient hatred” (of the separation) with the “present love” of forgiveness (T-26.IX.6:1). This is the way all past hurts are unmasked and forever undone. In terms of Being-oriented psychotherapy, by activating the observer in the mind, the patient comes to realize that choosing to hold on to perceived hurt only keeps the currently experienced pain intact. That fuels the motivation to change the self-sabotaging conditioned responses that we chose just to keep the sorry picture of an unfairly treated separated self intact, to much better responses that assert that you and I and everyone else are still the same loving Son of God. That’s liberation!
Let’s conclude by quoting the lovely passage in section IV of chapter 23 in the text about choosing to activate that liberating one percent of consciousness that allows us to look at the battleground, evaluate it, and then make the better choice for inner peace: “Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it [the battleground]. From there will your perspective be quite different. […] Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. […But] How can a battle be perceived as meaningless when you engage in it? […] Whenever the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above [that’s the liberating one percent]. Even in forms you do not recognize, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When they occur, leave not your place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder.” (T-23.IV.5:1-6:5).
See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:
See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).
Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.