Everybody knows how a computer virus can disable a computer. Some viruses are so subtle in how they work that you hardly notice anything is wrong— most of your usual computer activities seem to be normal. Other viruses make their presence very obvious—they so greatly impair the programming that the computer just does nothing at all. Other viruses hide and remain dormant until activated to do what they were designed for—either by an outside signal or by some sort of activity on the computer that triggers their activation.
Something very like this happens within the human mind and spirit. When a mental or spiritual virus penetrates or activates from within, it can impair or take over at least partial direction of a human mind and soul.
Cruelty in all its forms and the fear it engenders, over-kindness in all its forms, phoniness in all its forms, inappropriate versions of parenting, politics, organized religion, education, or advertising; ambition, fixation on money or power or honor or pleasure or on a cause or idea, hyperactive thought and feeling, being induced to trust an expert rather than our own insight, all of it—and our improper way of relating to it, all too often deliver us into the hands of one or more spiritual viruses—with a life of their own. Sometimes these experiences activate programming that was dormant within us. Sometimes they implant and activate a new one.
A central component of each virus is built-in distracters from seeing the virus in its constant or intermittent or even once-in-a-lifetime operation. Sometimes what the virus does is shut down a critical function, like closing one eye, or, more subtly, blurring the vision in one eye. Taken together, scripture and the writings of many clear thinkers in all fields describe the contents and functioning of several of these viruses in excruciating detail, with great accuracy. We are very good at describing the malfunctions in those we regard as our “enemies.”
What most malfunctioning people do, once they observe part of this in another person, is to figure out how to enable the continuing malfunction of that other person, sometimes by adding other viruses to the mix (both within themselves and the other person), so they can milk the person for money, adulation, election to office in church or state, a sense of life, support, continued relationship, the sick joy of resenting—you name it. And they somehow think that all of that will enrich or empower or improve themselves. But when we do that, all we really do is ENWEAKEN ourselves and each other—though we and they may be in the grip of a delusion that makes us see it as just the opposite. Many (not all, by any means) of the apparently successful and powerful are really the sickest, blindest, most tragically deluded people on the earth.
Harry Truman, a very wise and strong person, said to a 1930’s crowd in central Missouri, in reference to the need to extend civil rights to blacks, that you can’t keep or leave another person in the gutter without really being down there yourself. Something similar applies to keeping someone up on a pedestal where, with their feet not on the ground, they can and all too often do become puppets on a string, candles in the wind, and so forth. (You think you are keeping them up there and so are really up there with them—when they are a star, you are a star. It’s not real, and both they and you know it, deep down.) Elvis Presley and Mother Teresa twisted in the wind like this and suffered greatly, even as they shared their gifts with the world. Alice Miller describes the tortures of this trap in her revised edition issued during the early 1990’s, I think, of Prisoners of Childhood: The Drama of the Gifted Child, and in many of her other books.
Fortunately, there is an anti-virus. To enable the anti-virus we use the process of observation of self and others contained in Roy Masters’ Be Still and Know observation exercise and other similar exercises he has produced. The procedure the exercise shows you and helps you to practice loosens the grip of the tangle of the viruses within your own mind and spirit. You can get your own copy for $19.95, plus a couple dollars shipping, at fhu.com.
Surprisingly, the key to all of it turns out to be watching and resolving your every resentment in the present moment. Both conscious and unconscious resenting is the glue that keeps us bound to all the other unhealthy viruses. In fact, the resenter within us is the master virus. If it can be dislodged or weakened, all the others are weakened. (This may be surprising to those of us who have thought that we need to use angry energy to fight the problems in ourselves and others.)
The patience that overcomes resenting—by enabling you to see and confront the resentable in yourself and others without being fooled into resenting it. The simple procedure in the exercise enables this to happen, and activates the master antibody that allows our spiritual immune system to overcome the harmful viruses already within us, and to resist the invasion of new ones. New ones can’t get in, and older ones gradually loosen their grip and leave us.
The exercise has been more effective for me than all the other education, religion, treatment, talk therapy, medicine and upbringing I have ever received put together. In fact, with that ingredient added and active, all the meaningful parts of my life experience, including my education, religion, treatment, talk therapy and upbringing, are falling into place and becoming fully alive. I had looked high and low in the worlds of philosophy (east and west, ancient and modern), religion, psychology, law, history, political science, mathematics, physics, and deep into my own mind, and submitted myself to the care and treatment of doctors of all stripes and their panoply of treatments and drugs. Admittedly, I found much bright light along my journey. But I have also found that all too many academics, theologians, doctors, businessmen, politicians, philosophers, media owners and other experts have largely transformed what they are immersed in, into a mass of confusion and distraction profitable to them and others (so many of them seem to think, but it is not really good for them or anyone else, and many of them have healthy misgivings that something may yet be missing).
Many of these people started out life wanting to make things better—yet see how many have ended up. Of course, ordinary people in their ordinary lives are just as susceptible to these problems and influences—this is not an affliction only of the expensively “educated” and the apparently “successful.”
Mr. Masters has described how the viruses get in and are transmitted among us and has also (re)discovered and articulated a method that works (in a great many people, at least) to bring about the necessary awakening and to activate an immunity against future virus invasions. I am sure there are other strong and wise people (both famous and obscure) whom I have not yet encountered, and almost everyone (no, not almost everyone—but everyone) gets a glimmer or two of understanding from time to time. Once you have found one or two good people or glimmers, you can begin to build a life. You would be wise to gain what you can from them and not waste your life in continuing to run about looking blindly for you-know-not-what.
By shining a light of awareness on the existence and functioning of each virus and really seeing it and attending to it and recognizing that, though it is in us and operating through us, it does not belong, and then ceasing our often entangling struggle against it (or some of its attributes), we enable the repair process. God or our higher power or our deeper self (doesn’t matter what you call it or even if you don’t mention it, it’s there) then cleanses us with the necessary anti-virus software, leaving in the end a freer and more highly functioning person.
It usually doesn’t happen instantly, but it can. Your job is to stay out of the way so the transformation process can happen. No farmer ever thrived by going out into his fields and stretching his plants so they would grow faster or bigger, or by giving them food or water or fertilizer or insecticide they did not yet need.
There are, of course, many cases where outside help is required—sometimes to restrain us from trying to uproot or stretch the plant out of panic, sometimes to moderate the dangerous over-activity of the virus, sometimes to completely deactivate or shut down or disconnect from the Internet a computer that has gone bonkers and presents a clear and present danger to itself and others.
Before we can live and help wisely, and do more good than harm, we must learn to discern and understand what we are really dealing with in ourselves. We must first and foremost learn to abstain from being enablers and perpetuators of weakness and blindness in ourselves and others. Giving up our resentments is the key—not just pretending to do so, but really doing so, and practicing that first and foremost in every moment of our life.
Shunning confrontation leads only to a phony (and very unstable), not to a genuine, peace—inevitably a great explosion will occur. Appeasement makers are NOT peacemakers. They are really deluded war mongers.If even once a week, each person on earth would be kind enough to level with another person by pointing out something one can see that the other is not noticing—firmly and clearly but gently, respectfully, without trying to force a brick into a head so to speak, without trying to pull rank in any manner, and stand his or her ground calmly against whatever confusion or other response the virus tries to throw up in its own defense, the human world would slowly transform itself into a quite happy place. (Sometimes such encounters produce interpersonal or even world war, so you have to pick your fights prudently and be timely in your interventions, but you must not shun confrontation of the darker side of yourself or of others.)