Ordering of Thought
This transcription is a segment from a gathering with David and several participants. The subject matter covered in this dialogue includes; the ordering of thoughts, hierarchy of illusions, the split in the mind, and judgment. The reading comes from A Course in Miracles. This dialogue is from the MP3 titled, Laying Aside Judgment.
David: To even see a world, to even perceive anything, there is an authority problem going on. Ultimately, that’s the basis of why the mind judges, and why the mind orders the illusions, why it makes hierarchies of illusions is because it wants to be the author of itself. There is a very deeply rooted belief that reality can be selected from and that’s what all judgments in this world seem to be. `I choose to go here or there. I choose this, I prefer this and I choose to avoid that.’ The assumption underneath all that is that I can choose reality, and that reality is not something that I can accept, but that it is something that I can select from. There are parts of it that I want, and parts of it that I can actually reject. You see how that denies the wholeness, it makes the split seem real by the judging. That’s what maintains it. When we move into this realm, we can think of ourselves more as a mind. We start to see the fallacy of all of these things that we thought we were as a person. `I did this, I didn’t do that. I’m hoping to do this in the future and so on…’ It takes it out of the personal context into the context of, `I’m a mind and I have all these concepts and ideas that are just images. Thoughts are just images that I have made. The thoughts themselves are not the problem, but it is the ordering and the arrangement of those images that keeps me from seeing that they are all equally illusory.’ It isn’t that a cup in and of itself is good or but, it’s just that if I believe that a car is more valuable than a cup, or this body is more valuable than that body… you can see where it’s the arranging the images is where the problem is.
Participant 1: It’s the decision.
David: The decision to judge presumes that reality is mine to choose from, to select from. Therefore I must believe that reality is mine to choose from if I continue to judge.
Participant 2: What about valuing anything? I thought that the whole idea was to recognize that there was no value in anything that is not eternal.
David: Yes, but you can’t do that without allowing the Holy Spirit to reorder the mind, and give up one’s own thoughts and images. As long as you talk about having no value in the world and you still hold onto judgment and ordering of images, then you are giving it value by that.
Participant 2: So, you’re not saying that what we want to do is value everything equally…
Participant 1: There’s no value.
Participant 2: …in the sense of everything having value. But it’s the opposite. It’s like recognizing that there is no value in everything.
David: Well, I think it’s more likely to be the first. The only way that the ordering can be given up is to give one meaning to every image. You don’t just try to say that, `Nothing I see means anything.’ because without saying that, there has to be a purpose, the Holy Spirit’s purpose, that unifies the perception.
Participant 2: That’s the valuing you give everything.
David: That’s the value it has. Equally. Literally the Holy Spirit gives that equal meaning to a lamp a body, a car, a trailer. Everything all has one purpose. What we are saying is that in the Holy Spirit’s eyes, so to speak, the idea of these things having meaning in and of themselves is meaningless. There is no such thing as a microphone defined as the deceived mind perceives it because that always has to do with speaking into and voices… that’s the body. You see how there are a bunch of concepts. Or with a couch. A couch is where bodies sit down. Bodies are just images too. They are images like the couch.
Participant 1: Sitting on another image.
David: Even the `sitting on’ is another image because there’s a relationship there. The Holy Spirit knows that there’s no relationship between the images and the only meaning that any of the images have is the meaning that the Holy Spirit gives to the images. In that sense the miracle sees that they are all false. That is why true forgiveness is just seeing that false is false. Seeing that it has no cause to it, it’s just a bunch of images. This puts us up into a higher realm of speaking and describing things in terms of persons and behaviors. Now we are going up into the metaphysical realm of, `I’m a mind and I’ve got these thoughts, and it’s very disordered. I want to learn to perceive correctly, to allow my mind to be reordered by the Holy Spirit.’ This is to say that the same meaning will be given to everything.
“Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable. What you made can always be changed because, when you do not think like God, you are not really thinking at all. Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them. But you are wrong. The function of thought comes from God and is in God. As part of His Thought, you cannot think apart from Him. Irrational thought is disordered thought. God Himself orders your thought because your thought was created by Him. Guilt feelings are always a sign that you do not know this. They also show that you believe you can think apart from God, and want to. Every disordered thought is attended by guilt at its inception, and maintained by guilt in its continuance. Guilt is inescapable by those who believe they order their own thoughts, and must therefore obey their dictates. ” ACIM.
You can see where the guilt is coming in. Once thoughts are believed to be real, once the mind identifies with the body. Such as, `Well, I did hit so-and-so, and I did yell at them, and I feel guilty for doing that.’ What it’s done is it’s taken the body thoughts of Person A and Person B and it believes that it is responsible, that there was a real attack that took place. If those thoughts… body, Person B, yelling… if all those thoughts were just seen to be illusory thoughts, not part of my right mind, the part that thinks with God, where would the guilt be? Literally there could be no guilt. It’s the association of the mind with those thoughts that brings the guilt because as soon as we do that we also look back on a personal past history that’s filled with a closet full of things, with our children or anyone… that we wished we’d done, that we did do or wish we hadn’t…. The whole point of the Course, and the moment of release is simply seeing as a mind that those aren’t real. They never have been and they never will be. Nor are my fear thoughts about the future, about being provided for… all those thoughts of the future are just as equally past tense. To believe in linear time is just to take thoughts from the past and project them in another directions and calling it the future. Projecting them and giving them another name, `future’. When really, it’s both past. The future past. You can see where the fear comes in. If I am identified as one of those thoughts, which is a body and I believe in all the conditions of the world such as economics and weather and financial… that’s where the fear comes in, believing those are real thoughts instead of just seeing the unreality of it. When you start to see some of these things it is really coming to a release. Seeing that `my mind holds only what I think with God’ and `I am as God created me’.
Participant 2: It’s only the mind’s identification with the unreal thoughts that make them seem real?
David: Right. And it believes it can order them [thoughts]. We’re back to that ordering thing. Before believing in them, it’s the ordering them that makes them seem real. That is why I have to give up the judgment or ordering…
Participant 2: …to recognize that they are not real, they’re not me.
David: Right. That’s why it’s important to notice even the tiny things, even the little preferences. Until you get the metaphysics down you can’t see how it makes any difference. What we are doing is getting down to that basic point that all ordering is maintaining that split. They mind has to be identified with form and thoughts and believe they are real before it can feel guilty. It is the choice of the decision maker to choose to identify with the wrong mind, and then it gets played out into various scenarios. But that is just symbolic, the world is nothing but symbols.
Participant 3: So level confusion then is trying to put wrong minded things into the right mind?
Participant 2: I think of level confusion as having the cause and effect as opposite of how it truly is. If I think of something being causative in form, which is impossible, then that’s level confusion.
Participant 1: What I think of is that I am feeling so comfortable that the ego thinks it will creep up on me and see what I do.
David: We have to go really deep into this here. If we can get clear on this level confusion, that’s the thing. It is not bring the wrong mind into the right mind, because the right mind is the miracle, the Atonement. When there is any causality given to the world of form, or as long as there is ordering… when there is ordering the mind cannot be in the right mind. As long as there is hierarchies in anyway, a slight preference… you can’t be in the right mind and have a slight preference for anything.
Participant 2: What’s the relationship between having a preference and not being able to see that form is not causative?
David: Having a preference has to do with the hierarchy of illusions. It’s impossible to think of that preference without a hierarchy. That’s what it means to have a preference, to have some higher priorities and some lower priorities.
Participant 2: A ranking.
David: And that hierarchy is impossible without a split. The mind does not want to see that the split is in the mind so it projects out these images and is in chaos and panic having projected out the images. It then tries to order the images to try to bring some sort of security and control into a very wild and chaotic kind of situation.
Participant 2: Within the split is the idea that everything that is projected is causative. The ordering or referencing is trying to bring order to the chaos..
David: The split in the mind is horrifying and it [the mind] tries to project the split to give itself some relief, the illusion of relief. As we go on with this passage, it will get clear about this ordering of thought that has to be ended for the split to get healed.
“Guilt is inescapable by those who believe they order their own thoughts, and must therefore obey their dictates. This makes them feel responsible for their errors without recognizing that, by accepting this responsibility, they are reacting irresponsibly. If the sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself, and I assure you that it is, then the responsibility for what is atoned for cannot be yours.” ACIM.
This is a major area of level confusion that is easy to get into where people will say, `I invented the world I see! And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for and receive as I have asked. I am responsible for my cancer. I am responsible for the starving children, I’m responsible…’ He is saying right here that the responsibility for what is atoned for… the projection. The self concept itself cannot be yours. The dilemma cannot be resolved except by accepting the solution of undoing. So all we are responsible for at any time is always for accepting the Atonement, for choosing the miracle. In the ultimate sense that must be the way out. If I am responsible for the starving children or this or that, then guilt has to remain.
Participant 1: What if someone doesn’t feel responsible for the starving children? I don’t feel responsible for the starving children.
Participant 3: Maybe that just seems to far away, but what it’s really saying is that you’re not responsible even for your wrong thinking. I do feel responsible for my own thinking if I feel I have hurt someone or attacked someone or…
David: The starving children is just one example since ideas leave not their sources and thoughts and images are one in the same. One subtle example was when you flipped the thing on the suitcase up and you went, `What have I done?’ Just a twinge, even a minor twinge indicates that we are responsible for doing it, for something in form.
” You would be responsible for the effects of all your wrong thinking if it could not be undone. The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. If you accept the remedy for disordered thought, a remedy whose efficacy is beyond doubt, how can its symptoms remain?” ACIM.
`The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only’. What in the world does that mean? We can go to our little chart [referring to a drawn-up chart] … Here’s the past, and you can see it’s black. Its dark down here, it’s the wrong mind in the projected world. And here’s the Atonement. To save the past in purified form is simply to be here, to be the dreamer of the dream and see that all the images are false and that there’s no ordering among those images. You are just watching a bunch of images on a screen. Of course you are defenseless if you are just dreaming it and you know that it is all false and it’s all past and you’re up here living in the present and watching the past from the present, then you are saving the past in the purified form. We are still talking perceptual, but we are talking about saving the past in the purified form. That is simply, being in the right mind is not to be caught into the figures or into the ordering of thought… not to be caught in the illusion in any way.
Participant 2: Just to see it for what it is, that’s the purified form?
David: Exactly. It’s simple.
“Perhaps you have been aware of lack of competition among your thoughts, which even though they may conflict, can occur together and in great numbers. You may indeed be so used to this that it causes you little surprise. Yet you are also used to classifying some of your thoughts as more important, larger or better, wiser, or more productive and valuable than others. This is true of the thoughts that cross the mind of those who think they live apart. For some are reflections of Heaven, while others are motivated by the ego, which but seems to think.” ACIM.
There’s the thing on the ordering that we’ve been talking about. We are also getting into the mind projecting out the world and trying to bring order into chaos by ordering those images. It tries to judge and order to bring it some security, some sense of wholeness into this chaotic situation. What is the chaotic situation? It’s believing two thought systems that are completely irreconcilable. Sweeping light and dark and yet trying to order it.
Participant 2: That first sentence, `lack of competition among your thoughts’. It doesn’t seem like there is competition among my thoughts….
David: When you think one thing and you thing another thing. It just happens so often I think he is basically saying that you are so accustomed and familiar with this back and forth `Do this. No, do that.’ The clear mind can get sorted our between true and false. The chatter is usual, the chatter goes on all the time and after a while it becomes accepted and familiar.
Participant 3: That’s the lack of competition? When you just become used to all this conflict in your mind?
David: When it thinks this and then this, it doesn’t say, `Wait a minute, it can’t be both!’. The clear mind would see that there’s something that needs to be discerned here, that these are competing thoughts but they seem to be coexisting.
“The result is a weaving, changing pattern that never rests and is never still. It shifts unceasingly across the mirror of your mind, and the reflections of Heaven last but a moment and grow dim, as darkness blots them out. Where there was light, darkness removes it in an instant, and alternating patterns of light and darkness sweep constantly across your mind. The little sanity that still remains is held together by a sense of order that you establish. Yet the very fact that you can do this, and bring any order into chaos shows you that you are not an ego, and that more than an ego must be in you. For the ego is chaos, and if it were all of you, no order at all would be possible. Yet though the order you impose upon your mind limits the ego, it also limits you. To order is to judge, and to arrange by judgment.” ACIM.
That brings together some of the ideas that we’ve been talking about. That the mind believes that it can order it’s own thoughts. It’s still into the hierarchy. That’s what’s keeping reality and happiness, our true function, obscured from our mind.
“It will seem difficult for you to learn that you have no basis at all for ordering your thoughts. This lesson the Holy Spirit teaches by giving you the shining examples of miracles to show you that your way of ordering is wrong, but that a better way is offered you. The miracle offers exactly the same response to every call for help. It does not judge the call. It merely recognizes what it is, and answers accordingly. It does not consider which call is louder or greater or more important. You may wonder how you who are still bound to judgment can be asked to do that which requires no judgment of your own. The answer is very simple. The power of God, and not of you, engenders miracles. The miracle itself is but the witness that you have the power of God in you. That is the reason why the miracle gives equal blessing to all who share in it, and that is also why everyone shares in it. The power of God is limitless. And being always maximal, it offers everything to every call from anyone. There is no order of difficulty here. A call for help is given help.” ACIM.
That is the very first principle of the Course, that there’s no order of difficulty in miracles. But as long as I have a hierarchy of illusions, as long as I am ordering my own thoughts I can’t choose a miracle. I am literally choosing my judgment, my ordering, in place of a miracle. They can’t coexist. That’s why in healing whenever there is concern for symptoms of the patient, it would have to do with ordering of thoughts. `I know what a healthy patient looks like, and I know what a sick patient looks like. I’ve given meaning and I say that that looks sick. I’ve ordered the symptoms of what a healthy body is and what a sick body is.’ But the sickness is the ordering of thought. It brings it away from the realm of behavior. Even a lot of the Teacher’s Manual is written at more of a metaphorical level, for the mind that still believes it’s a body and believes that there are other bodies. Some are called healers, some are called patients, some are called teachers and some are students. But what we are doing is we are pulling back to my mind, and the ordering of my thoughts versus being in my right mind. You see how all of that dissolves when you come up to that level. It gets simpler and simpler and it gets very empowering because you realize that it’s not complicated. There’s nothing to figure out in the world of form.
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