Dr. Michael Ryce – A New Beginning, and Guy Finley – Leaving Happy Valley
Last week and this week, the Mindshifters group watched a lecture by Dr. Michael Ryce titled A New Beginning: A lesson from A Course In Miracles, www.whyagain.com, and we listened to a story by Guy Finley about a woman who lived in “Happy Valley” and was trying to leave and “move on” with her life, www.guyfinley.com.
One of the essential messages from Dr. Ryce’s talk was the idea that if I want things to be different in my life, I have to find a way to do things differently. Therefore, if I rely on the same processes of my thinking and logical mind which produced the situation I am in, I am not likely to find a result that is any different than what I have already produced. My unhappiness or discomfort in any moment is the result of what I have chosen to focus my awareness upon. If I keep focusing my awareness on the outside events and what others are saying and doing, and assume that these things are causing what I am feeling, then I am doomed to continue feeling the same kind of pain and discomfort.
Dr. Ryce relates that A Course In Miracles suggests that I decide “Today I will make no decisions by myself. I will make decisions with my life today, instead of my past.” Then throughout the day I should tell myself the kind of day I want to have, and keep reminding myself of the kind of experience I want to have. Then when things begin to happen that don’t seem to produce in me the kind of experience I want to have, it is suggested that I say to myself, “I have no question. I forgot what to decide.” This will keep me from the pattern of automatic response based on my past experiences, which has produced discomfort and unhappiness within me, every time something like this has happened in my past.
It is also suggest that when I am unhappy or uncomfortable in any way that I say, “I hope I have been wrong.” Because the Truth is that happiness does not depend on being right. Happiness depends on being Love! If I can get myself to realize that no matter how hard I have worked at proving that “I am right!”, it has not led me to being happy, then I can begin to suspect that there may be another way to look at my situation.
Guy Finley tells the story of the woman who lives in Happy Valley and is no longer satisfied with her life. She decides to “move on”. She tells her friends that she is going to leave Happy Valley and they tell her she can’t because there are guards. She thinks this is silly because she has never seen any guards. She then realizes that she has never tried to leave before and so maybe that is why she never noticed any guards. She decides to think about this for a while and gives up the idea of leaving Happy Valley. But eventually she gets tired of all the tension, frustration, gossip, competition, anger, pride, and sadness which define her life in Happy Valley and once again decides she needs to leave and “move on”.
When she finally tries to walk out of the valley, she is confronted by someone walking towards her from a distance. This scares her her and she decides to go back to her house and think it over. Eventually a number of years have passed and she has gone through several attempts to leave the valley and each time she did, the person confronted her sooner and sooner, until she finally saw that the person was actually someone who looked just like her. Finally she decided to confront the person face to face and when she did she realized it was just a mirror. She was relieved at first, but then scared again when she tried to walk around the mirror and it moved to be in front of her. Eventually she gave up trying to go around the mirror and went home.
After many attempts to sneak out of the valley and finding that the mirror was confronting her sooner and sooner each time she tried, she opened her door one day to leave and the mirror was in her doorway. She got so angry she threw a stone at the mirror and the mirror was not harmed at all. In fact, the stone bounced off and hit the woman. With great fear and frustration, she reached out to touch the mirror and when she did her finger passed right through the mirror. She instantly felt all manor of strange sensations – many of them were not comfortable. She wanted to run away again but there was nowhere left to run. So she pushed her finger further into the mirror, fighting back the fear and “pain” and realized that this mirror was a passageway to some other place.
With great fear and doubt she pushed forward and walked right into the mirror. Instantly she was transported to another place, outside of Happy Valley.
Guy Finley then talks about how the resistance we feel is greatest just before the moment of transformation. He discusses how we have been tricked into thinking that emotional pain is the same as physical pain and that the proper thing to do is avoid it, rather than sit with it and explore it. This simply leaves us in the same cycle as the woman who wanted to leave Happy Valley, repeating the same useless escape mechanisms over and over again. In truth, the resistance, emotional pain and discomfort we feel is the signal that something has come along to reveal to us something about ourselves which is keeping us from moving forward and knowing Life more completely. The Truth is that we can release those things within us which keep us from knowing Life more completely, only by accepting them as simply self-caused, by the process of avoiding and denying resistance.
We come from Love, we are made of Love, we are Love. Everything else is false.