A wrong-mind right-mind dialogue

In the following dialogue, taken out of the life of an ordinary student of A Course in Miracles, “W” stands for the wrong-minded part of the student’s mind, while “R” stands for the right-minded part of that same mind. It’s the split mind we all share.

W.: “What’s that noise out there in the street. I’m trying to study. Haven’t they got something better to do?”

R.: “It’s indeed disturbing, as long as you focus on it. But only if you focus on it.”

W.: “Yeah? Easier said than done, if you ask me. I just can’t seem to shut out such environmental sounds. And I don’t want to be forced to study with ear plugs in, either. People should start to realize just how much of their lives they’re throwing away, while they could choose to spend their days looking inward and undo some ego conditioning.”

R.: “I see your point. But then again, perhaps you are unconsciously afraid you might be throwing your life away because you are studying something you perhaps do not really want to study.”

W.: “That’s not fair. This is not about my study. And I don’t think I’m throwing my life away either. I practice my Course workbook lessons each day. I feel connected to the Holy Spirit a little more every day. The Course has become a real solid rock in the turbulence of my life. No, this is about people who are constantly living on autopilot. It also happened at the supermarket this morning. They’re either selfishly and hastily filling their basket, or taking forever in checking out that same basket and exit the store. It’s a real bother.”

R.: “You know why that happens.”

W.: “Yeah, of course I know. These are forgiveness lessons the Holy Spirit wants me to learn, so I can forgive my own condemnation of them and blah blah. Well, I’d say I’m ready for some other forgiveness lessons. I can handle these by now.”

R.: “No, it’s plain to see you cannot. If you could, you would not still feel upset by these people. You know you could see peace instead of your anger, but you still choose not to see peace. No, please don’t start to feel guilty now. That will push the mastery of these lessons merely further away. What did Jesus tell you to think whenever you feel upset?”

W.: “To recognize the upset as a decision of my own, and then to remind myself that I do not want to feel upset. But their mindlessness upsets me!”

R.: “Any upset in your mind must ultimately be accepted as your own responsibility. You could see peace instead of your upset, if you would prefer peace. But do you? Consider who is upsetting you. There is literally no-one out there in truth; this you realize by now. You’re upset due to a projection of your own mind. So actually, you are upset because of you.”

W.: “And you told me not to feel guilty? Great job you’re doing there, man. I’m feeling upset over mindlessness, and you’re saying I am upset because am mindless. That’s just swell.”

R.: “On the contrary, you have every reason to be very cheerful. You have just realized — one more time — that your distress is never caused from the outside, but it’s strictly your own choice. And you have the power to determine your own state of mind. There is no greater power in the world. And you can employ it. So be glad indeed, and choose once again.”

W.: “So you’re really telling me I am upset because I want to feel upset?”

R.: “Absolutely, and you already know this. Your upset is purposive. You want to be treated unfairly all the time. No, resist the temptation to deny that. As a good Course student, you know very well why you want to be in misery all the time.”

W.: “Well, since you are so all-knowing, remind me of it once again.”

R.: “Very well. You want to feel unfairly treated because this seems to prove without a doubt that the separation is real, but that someone else is responsible for it. If the evil is out there, God will surely punish the evil-doers and accept you back in Heaven. Rationally you think this is ridiculous, but in your gut you know you still believe it, just as you still believe all the laws of chaos. In fact, you have known about this dynamic for quite some time now, but you still persist in pushing that insight out of awareness, because the consequence of accepting it is too fearful.”

W.: “It just doesn’t make sense. You’re saying that all the evil I see around me, out there on the streets and on the evening news, exists only in my own mind. It’s a strange message that I can’t help but feel just a trifle ambivalent about, if you don’t mind.”

R.: “Last week you re-read the line in chapter 11 about looking at illusions. “No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected.” (T-11.V.1) You are still not looking inward at your illusions. In doing your workbook lessons, you do practice on forgiving others — though not all the time as yet — but you are not yet consistently applying that forgiveness to the dark spots in your own mind. Outer and inner are really one and the same. This you also know already. Still, to repeat, the consequence of accepting this is still too fearful to you. No, this is not to make you feel guilty. It’s this way with virtually everyone who still walks the face of this planet. The fact that you are now slowly learning to evaluate all externals as projections of your own mind is a giant step. You also know that in the end everyone will choose again correctly, which will effectively erase all past mistakes. Conclusion: it’s strictly up to you how much time you are willing to suffer from upsets. Remember the preface to the text: “This is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum.  It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time.” So be honest: how much longer do you still want to suffer?”

W.: “Now you are making me feel guilty. You know very well that I cannot trust my own good intentions, as they will not be enough. The text is very clear on that.”

R.: “It is. However, if you read on in that same section, in fact the very next sentence, you will remember that it also says that you merely need to trust implicitly your willingness to be guided, whatever else may enter. Of course you still have shadow thoughts of condemnation. That is why you are still here in time and space: to re-evaluate these dark thoughts and choose once again. You are perfectly correct in reminding yourself that you cannot undo mistakes on your own. Luckily, you don’t have to. You don’t have to do anything on your own. A little willingness to be guided by Jesus (or the Holy Spirit, which is much the same since they are both symbols of God’s non-judgmental love) is all that is asked. This means a letting go of your conviction you know best, and allowing the presence of Jesus in. It’s the willingness to accept that your own judgment may have been wrong, and Jesus’ judgment might be right. But then again, you already know that, too. Perhaps it’s time to shift the focus from merely reading the text and lessons to actually asking Jesus for help. Why not try it now?”

W.: “I don’t know. Every time I turn inward and ask Jesus for guidance, nothing seems to happen. There’s no voice, there’s no presence.”

R.: “When you think you ask sincerely and nothing is happening, you can be sure you are not asking sincerely. Jesus is there for you all the time, but his presence is very easily drowned out by the constant mind chattering. Since you are clearly still upset — or perhaps fearful is a better word — this might be an excellent opportunity to allow Jesus in and give him your upsets. Look at them, and place them in his hands. Just try it.”

W.: “How?”

R.: “Stop interfering. Turn your attention inward and be still. No, don’t start to fight your thought stream. That won’t work. Light up the light in your mind. Perceive light in you. Notice your breath going in and out. Breathe a little slower and deeper. Now in all honesty, recite your favorite prayer and then be still. We’ve already referred to this prayer before. Say:

I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.  [yes, breathe.]
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.   [feel the gladness here.]
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.   [feel that in your gut.]
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.   [another deep breath here.]
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.”  
[great. be still.]

W.: [silence]

R.: “There you go. You feel better instantly. There’s no denying that simple fact. Of course you did not hear any voice. It’s the experience that counts, because it’s experience that convinces. Of course you and I will go through this same process several thousand times more in several thousand different forms. This does not matter. It is inner peace that is valuable. Fear can never be valued save in illusions. And you do not want fear, so you really do not want illusions, although oftentimes you believe you do. What you really want is inner peace. And you have been shown the way to experience inner peace. Your path has been set from the moment you chose to become a Teacher of God, with the mightiest of companions to guide you. Stumbling daily is all part of the process. This will not effect the final outcome in the least. As long as you keep practicing the willingness to allow your mind to be guided, you are doing great. You will increasingly teach only love. And each time you do, you will remember a little better what you are, and feel more peaceful because of it.”

W.: [after more silence] “Until the next time, pal.”

See also “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:


4 thoughts on “A wrong-mind right-mind dialogue

  1. Johanna Burko

    Thanks you J. W. van Aalst! This came at exactly the right time. I’ve just come off a fabulous, peaceful holiday, only to come home to chaos, and a frightful struggle with my ego, which lasted most of the night. My conversation went along the same lines as your blog today. I’m new to this, not a year yet, and I think I was under the “illusion” that I could do better in terms of not reacting to my perceived environmental stimuli. Apparently, I have a ways to go! LOL!! Anyway this blog was so helpful and I repeated the prayer quite a few times. Appreciate you and your wisdom so much, thank you!!


  2. Bella

    Thank you for your post – I love to read them and I can feel the peace and love the word brings. Reminding me about the prayer was very helpful today. I see the peace of God is chining in all of us now. Blessings. Bella


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