Getting to the Bottom of the Belief in Linear Time
A Dialogue with David Hoffmeister about applying the teachings of A Course in Miracles.
The idea of ‘cause and effect’ is an essential element of the metaphysics outlined by A Course in Miracles. This idea must be understood in order to begin the process of thought reversal. Once this idea is fully grasped it must then be transferred from a mental concept to practical application, without exceptions. This is the key element in the process of forgiveness and accepting the Atonement, which is the sole responsibility of a teacher of God. This leads to the experience of Inner Peace, Happiness, Freedom, Joy, and Divine Love.
Note: A Course in Miracles was used for all “quotations” used in the following teaching/learning session. The words of Jesus are in quotes ” “
Thanks to Kerri Lake for transcribing this session and to Jeffrey Lake for following the prompt to have it transcribed. Their efforts and willingness made this transcription possible, and now this teaching session is available for the public in print as well as on audio CD.
Reversing Effect and Cause:
Getting to the Bottom of the Belief in Linear Time
David: We’re going to start with a teaching / learning session on cause and effect. And we’re starting with the section from the Course titled ‘Cause and Effect’.
“You may still complain about fear, but you nevertheless persist in making yourself fearful. I have already indicated that you cannot ask me to release you from fear. I know it does not exist, but you do not. If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect; the most fundamental law there is. I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course. It is much more helpful to remind you that you do not guard your thoughts carefully enough. You may feel that at this point it would take a miracle to enable you to do this, which is perfectly true. You are not used to miracle-minded thinking, but you can be trained to think that way. All miracle workers need that kind of training.
I cannot let you leave your mind unguarded, or you will not be able to help me. Miracle working entails a full realization of the power of thought in order to avoid miscreation. Otherwise a miracle will be necessary to set the mind itself straight, a circular process that would not foster the time collapse for which the miracle was intended. The miracle worker must have genuine respect for true cause and effect as a necessary condition for the miracle to occur.”
In a sense that’s what we’re doing here. Trying to get a clear and genuine respect for true cause and effect. And I think the first paragraph really brings home the point that it’s definitely and inside job, since there’s nothing that can intervene between our thoughts and their effects. Truly it brings it back to our responsibility and nothing else. It’s our own responsibility for our own mind.
“Both miracles and fear come from thoughts. If you are not free to choose one, you would also not be free to choose the other. By choosing the miracle you have rejected fear, if only temporarily. You have been fearful of everyone and everything. You are afraid of God, of me and of yourself. You have misperceived or miscreated Us, and believe in what you have made. You would not have done this if you were not afraid of your own thoughts. The fearful must miscreate, because they misperceive creation. When you miscreate you are in pain. The cause and effect principle now becomes a real expediter, though only temporarily. Actually, “Cause” (capital C) is a term properly belonging to God, and His “Effect” (capital E) is His Son. This entails a set of Cause and Effect relationships totally different from those you introduce into miscreation. The fundamental conflict in this world, then, is between creation and miscreation. All fear is implicit in the second, and all love in the first. The conflict is therefore one between love and fear.”
So without jumping the gun too much we can say that all miscreation is the wrong-mind and that’s backwards because cause and effect are split off and turned around. And it seems as if something in the world or the cosmos is the cause of the state of fear and upset. And all creation or the true cause and effect relationships would be reflected in the right-mind, in which the mind is seen to be causative and not at the mercy of anything.
“It has already been said that you believe you cannot control fear because you yourself made it, and your belief in it seems to render it out of your control. Yet any attempt to resolve the error through attempting the mastery of fear is useless. In fact, it asserts the power of fear by the very assumption that it need be mastered.”
So, we could say that all magic in this world; every attempt to protect the body, shelter the body, insure the body, improve the body and everything else in the world, is in a sense a way to change externals to reduce fear. Then the fear is really not recognized where it is, nor what its true cause is. It is believed to be out on the screen. So if the fear is that I will starve to death or be flooded or blown away by a hurricane… all the barricades that are setup whether they are physical or insurance or medical such as flue shots and preventative maintenance for everything .is all an attempt to master fear.
Participant 1: … by eliminating what is mistakenly believed to be the cause of it.
David: And of course it doesn’t work because the cause of the fear is not in the world. It has just been setup that way so that it will appear to be out there. But every attempt to deal with it is just magic. And the reason that magic is so believable in because it seems to work. If I do make a lot of money, if I do have a lot of insurance, if I do become civilized and tame nature and use technology to seem to surround myself with the best available means of keeping the body healthy, protected, safe and secure then ego error, what is actually going on in the mind, is doubly shielded from awareness because the magic of projection seems to work.
That is why it feels like some people who go to twelve step programs or people who hit a deep rock bottom may be more open and ready for a change of mind, a spiritual transformation, because they have tried certain things and nothing seems to work. They come to the point where they feel like their lives are unmanageable and they need something else beyond them to make a change.
Projection is a subtle and seductive defense. It seemed that in the world there are the underprivileged people, the underprivileged countries, and then abundance is so much associated with material wealth and technology and advances in medicine. It is not seen at all that it is all a cover or a shield for attempting to resolve fear through magic and keep it from awareness. The world is not where the fear is at all. So it’s quite sneaky. True resolution rests entirely in mastery through love. We could say that to choose the miracle is that mastery through love since forgiveness is a reflection of love. Earlier, this past week, we did get into a discussion of desires in the mind and the whole thing about repression and indulgence. To try to repress and block the thoughts from awareness doesn’t do anything because they just resurface. Repression doesn’t get rid of them. And indulgence, or using magic and pursuing the ways of the world to the Nth degree in an attempt to solve the problem or escape from the fear, the loneliness, the isolation doesn‘t work either. Neither one of these defenses work. But true resolution, which would be the miracle, does work. And that’s what we are trying to get clear on. That there is a present decision, which is a miracle, that can be chosen at any instant. And that it will work because it ends the isolation and the experience of fear and anger and loneliness and conflict.
“In the interim, however, the sense of conflict is inevitable, since you have placed yourself in a position where you believe in the power of what does not exist.”
Back to magic again, back to the world.
“Nothing and everything cannot coexist. To believe in one is to deny the other. Fear is really nothing and love is everything. Whenever light enters darkness, the darkness is abolished. What you believe is true for you. In this sense the separation has occurred, and to deny it is merely to use denial inappropriately. However, to concentrate on error is only a further error. The initial corrective procedure is to recognize temporarily that there is a problem, but only as an indication that immediate correction is needed. This establishes a state of mind in which the Atonement can be accepted without delay. It should be emphasized, however, that ultimately no compromise is possible between everything and nothing.”
I think that was part of the discussion we were getting into yesterday when I said that to deny that there is a problem is not helpful. But to have a sense that there is a problem in awareness (ie., I am feeling upset, depressed, uncomfortable, or angry or whatever) is just needed temporarily to see that there is a problem, but then it should be instantaneously given over to the Holy Spirit because there isn’t any value in holding onto the problem or holding onto the grief or whatever the upset seems to be.
Participant 1: And to deny it keeps it twice removed from any kind of solution.
David: From that last statement, “It should be emphasized however that ultimately no compromise is possible between everything and nothing” you can see that all that preceded it was just a stepping stone because as one becomes miracle minded and starts to habitually be able to choose the miracle, then that initial corrective procedure of recognizing the problem vanishes. I’ve used the example of holding a torch out in front instead saying ‘I’ve got a problem where’s my torch?’ More and more as you become habitually miracle minded and as you see cause and effect in their true relationships you can hold your torch (Purpose) out in front. Or as it will say much later in the Course in the ‘Setting the Goal’ section, the goal belongs at the beginning. Then later on in the rules for decision he says ‘you must realize that it is easier to have a happy day if you remember what question to ask and you hold your purpose in front than it is to grasp it back after it has seemed to slip away to try to regain the sense of peace‘. It is much more difficult to regain than it is to just hold firm to your goal and keep the goal out in front. But this is really early on in the text so it is very appropriate to speak of recognizing the error where it is – in the mind.
“Time is essentially a device by which all compromise in this respect can be given up. It only seems to be abolished by degrees, because time itself involves intervals that do not exist. Miscreation made this necessary as a corrective device. “
He’s giving us a hint there, because it seems to be a process in time. But Jesus ultimately says that there can be no compromise between everything and nothing, so that’s how he is foreshadowing that it is going to be one complete instant of forgiveness and that this whole idea of process is a metaphor.
“The statement ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ needs only one slight correction to be meaningful in this context; ‘He gave it to His only begotten Son‘.”
So, if we rephrase that to ‘he gave it to His only begotten Son’ once again from a physical standpoint that would make no sense because God doesn’t know of form. But what we can say is that God gave the real world to his only begotten Son. In other words, when the Holy Spirit Answered the dream of separation the Holy Spirit made the real world. Not created in Spirit, but made the real world as a correction for the distorted perceptual world that was made by the ego as an attack upon God.
“It should especially be noted that God has only one Son.”
So, he starts off the sentence saying that God has only one Son and then he is going to go into talking about parts and Sonship. Once again it has to be a metaphor because the unified Spirit is the Son of God, or Christ. And yet to a mind that believes firmly in separation it is a good stepping stone to talk about all parts of the whole, so to speak, as if there are parts in a whole. And we talk about this on and on in terms of mind. In the Course it’s described generally as if every brother has a mind of his own. And in many sections it’s written in that metaphor… Can the teacher of God change the patients mind? …and this and that. When in fact, the thing that we will be working towards is that ultimately there is only one Son of God, there is only one Mind. And in a metaphorical sense with the ego, there is only one ego. And ultimately, in reality, there is no ego.
“If all His creations are His Sons, every one must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. The Sonship in its Oneness transcends the sum of its parts. However this is obscured as long as any of its parts is missing. That is why the conflict cannot ultimately be resolved until all the parts of the Sonship have returned. Only then can the meaning of wholeness in the true sense be understood. Any part of the Sonship can believe in error or incompleteness if he so chooses. However, if he does so, he is believing in the existence of nothingness. The correction of this error is the Atonement.”
Participant 1: I read that part on ‘Oneness transcends the sum of it’s parts’ and I think of the experience of synergy of joining with another person and holding the intention at that metaphorical level of their being another person. But there does certainly seem to be a synergy when two come together that is greater than two times one.
David: Also I think that this is pretty early on in the text and one could conclude from reading something like, ‘however this is obscured as long as any of it’s parts is missing’ that this is going to be a long, long correction process. One could conclude from that statement that it is a long process. The quote that is coming to mind is ‘just as the separation occurred over millions of years, the last judgment will extend over a similarly long period and perhaps an even longer one.’ So you can take a statement like we just read and a statement from page 30 and say that this correction process is going to take literally millions of years from those statements. But once again that is within a time context. If you really look at what is said in other parts of the text what it says is that time doesn’t exist, that it just takes one instant, that once my mind is healed all minds are healed. Looking at those kinds of things that are imbedded in the later parts of the text and throughout the workbook I would say those statements are much more top of the rung, top of the ladder kinds of statements. This early statement implies that it is going to be a very long, lengthy process. It also gets back to the thing we have been talking about – the perception that if I accept my part in the Atonement then I have done my part but the many parts have to do their part. And when I accept my part completely and return to Creation with my father, that this world of time and space will continue on for millions of years until the time when every part has accepted the atonement, and once again you’re backing away from the ultimate metaphysical reality that none of time-space can ever really exist at all.
How can all minds be healed in all places and in all times? That is what it says in the workbook. If I accept the Atonement then that is how the world is saved, the salvation of the world depends on me, the salvation of the cosmos depends on me. You can see the two angles. One implies that there is no world or cosmos outside my mind and when I accept the correction that takes care of the cosmos. That is a huge leap from the linear sense that as a fragment, as I accept the Atonement, then all of my brothers have to accept the Atonement as well, and this will take millions of years before the mind is healed. But they can’t go together. So one is obviously deeper than the other. And I think this is one of the areas when people work with the Course where there is a lot of confusion.
Participant 1: I was very confused initially by the fact that there are different levels represented in the Course. Just as I thought I was getting a hold of one idea, then I would come across another idea that seemed to contradict what I thought I was starting to understand, not realizing that there were just different levels represented.
David: Once a rung is transcended it seemed to be just what it was, a metaphor or stepping stone that has been hopped off of. And this would make sense because the mind believes that perception is fragmented and it has all these concepts and beliefs and levels. The Course is written with statements at all of these seeming levels of consciousness and ultimately it has built in within the book a statement that says, ‘you will learn this course entirely or not at all.’ Basically what it is saying is that when you reach the top of the ladder that the ladder disappears. This is literally a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. And now, right now, is the only time you ever can accept the Atonement because right now is all that there is. Time is simultaneous. It is not sequential, not linear. When you really trancend those levels then the whole idea of process just collapses in on itself. It makes no sense because it can’t be both an instant and a process. The mind can try to vacillate and fluctuate back and forth and it is just a matter of coming to be very clear on that. And also we are being called, in a metaphorical sense, to be teachers of God – to speak to our brothers experiences that are beyond this world, that what is to come has already happened. That is a pretty far reaching idea but when we speak about this, we will be speaking as the Spirit uses us it will also come out like the Course with different rungs. So if you ended up going back and viewing all of your writings and your tapes or conversations with all the people you would find a mosaic of steps on the ladder much like the Course itself. That is what you do if you read the teachings of Jesus, when you go through Urantia Book or whatever. You see some statements clearly are obviously spoken to the level of the hearer and at other times the author is speaking of a deeper metaphysical understanding. ‘The kingdom of Heaven is at hand’ is a good example of that instantaneous thing we are talking about whereas describing the ‘messengers of the kingdom’ or ‘the light of the world’ or ‘you will go forth and carry my message to all parts of the earth’ and so on, all those statements certainly do not come close to the metaphysical purity of ‘the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ The truly religious fact is that now is the time of Correction, not in the future. There really is no future, and that is quite a leap there.
“I have already briefly spoken about readiness, but some additional points might be helpful here. Readiness is only the prerequisite for accomplishment. The two should not be confused. As soon as a state of readiness occurs, there is usually some degree of desire to accomplish, but it is by no means necessarily undivided. The state does not imply more than a potential for a change of mind. Confidence cannot develop fully until mastery has been accomplished. We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered, and have emphasized that the only real mastery is through love. Readiness is only the beginning of confidence. You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery, but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.”
That’s kind of reminiscent of ‘you may believe that your accomplishment of the Holy Spirit’s goal lies far in the future’ and that can be a very depressing thought. But later on in the text he reminds us that this is not necessarily the case, that time is under the Holy Spirit’s use. It is a whole different way of thinking about time and space. I was talking to Craig the other day and he said, “Maybe I have this backwards because I feel like I had a list of reasons why I wanted to move to Chicago. The Pros and cons. And I have been trying to set this thing up… set this thing up and that thing up… and then if I have enough money, and the right conditions then I am ready to go.”
Participant 1: Into the spiritual pursuit?
David: Yes, more deeply into the spiritual pursuit. And it was when we discussed the idea that all it takes is readiness on our part and willingness to have miracles performed through us, and Jesus will arrange time and space for us. Literally time is in the hands of the miracle worker. The miracle worker isn’t stuck in time, kind of trying to hack his way out the best that he can.
Participant 1: So he can get out and perform miracles…
David: But literally all it takes is readiness and then time and space are set up. Even with the intensives that we do or these sessions we have, it is just our willingness and our readiness that sets up time and space for the teaching and learning for us to extend the miracles and extend the clarity. It’s not that we have to go through a whole process of setting up all these things, and figure out who’s going to come and all this and that. That is the worldly way of doing things, making a production out of it or something. It is a real different sense. All I have to have is the willingness.
Participant 1: That’s when it’s really effortless I think. It’s when that intention is strong and it just unfolds from that.
David: It’s been called synchronicity. From the world’s eyes it looks like things just click and flow so effortlessly, so easily, so in sync. And in a sense for the mind that is ready and able and willing to perform a miracle, everything is just lined up for it.
Okay, well I think that’s the end of that section. The next one is on Chapter 14, section 3. Paragraph five, sentences one through nine.
“The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer, or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.”
Participant 1: So the cause is right-mindedness. And the effect is the miracle. Is that what this is saying?
David: The miracle is just a reminder of Cause. ‘The Holy Spirit looks not to effects, but has overlooked their cause’ – so He sees the falsity of the effects of the world because He sees that they all come from a false cause, and He reminds the mind of the Cause that is present. So when it says, ‘the miracle is not a cause but an effect’ it’s like what you were saying, it is an effect of choosing the right-mind.
Another way we can talk about it is that the world just brings witness to what the mind wants. And if the mind chooses the right-mind, the miracle brings witness to that choice. It brings a witness of guiltlessness and freedom and joy.
The next quote is from the same chapter.
“Those who remember always that they know nothing, and who have become willing to learn everything, will learn it. But whenever they trust themselves, they will not learn. They have destroyed their motivation for learning by thinking they already know. Think not you understand anything until you pass the test of perfect peace, for peace and understanding go together and never can be found alone. Each brings the other with it, for it is the law of God they be not separate. They are cause and effect, each to the other, so where one is absent the other cannot be.”
Participant 1: So in this respect, it is clear that unless I am consistently in a state of peace, I don’t know anything. If I just need to be reminded that I don’t know anything, I can be if I recognize that I am not always in a state of peace.
David: It calls to mind a few different passages in the Course. The one in the text was one that says ‘you still believe that your understanding is a major contribution to the truth.’ It is speaking to the ego mind, or the deceived mind. And in other places it refers to what the Bible called “the peace that passeth understanding”. It is talking about accepting the Atonement, about being in your right-mind. That is what it means to understand. That would also mean to be the ‘dreamer of the dream,’ to have completely reversed cause and effects in all respects. To have no confusion, to be absolved of conflict. And that’s all being equated with understanding and peace. There they are almost used interchangeably. They are cause and effect, each to the other. Where one is absent, the other cannot be. That reminds me of other parts in the text where Jesus talks about ‘a cause is made a cause by it’s effect’. In other words the Father is a Father because of the Son. Not in the sense that the Son created the Father, but in the sense that this is what gives Fathership, through creation. It is just another way of saying that cause and effect are together, that cause and effect are not split off and through relationship they go together.
Participant 1: They’re simultaneous.
David: Yes. There’s no time gap in between them. And in the world, the whole idea of linear time is a gap between cause and effect. As if something has come in between the Cause and Effect, the Father and the Son. The whole point of the Course is to show that this is impossible. Ideas leave not their source, cause and effect are simultaneous. Another way of saying this is that the mind gets exactly what it wants. And when it wants only peace it cannot perceive anything but a peaceful world. But as long as it is not sure about what it wants then there seems to be a gap between cause and effect. It is starting to get deeper into this cause and effect stuff. Yesterday I believe the question was raised about the hypothetical situation, worst cause scenario… and a couple days ago when I was on the phone with Craig he was saying “I just don’t see how you can go along without conflict. What if I asked you to have lunch on the same day that you have already said that you are going to speak at Unity?” And I described to him that listening to the Holy Spirit and following that Voice, this eliminates all conflicts. It is no longer a menu of options. You are following inner guidance and you are at a place where you feel like the dreamer of the dream because you are not trying to change or control the script. You are flowing along observing something that has already happened. That is where the effortlessness comes in. You’re not looking back and saying ‘This could have been different.” or “We need to do this different”. And you are also not looking forward, planning, scheming, straining and trying to get it to work out best for you, to get it to go the way that you want it to.
Participant 1: What seems like a really key factor is that there really is only one thing that I want. The conflict would only come in if I felt like I personally wanted to be with Craig and if I personally felt obligated to be with Unity at the same time. But when my personal wants are not a factor, and all I want is just to listen and follow the Holy Spirit, then it takes the conflict right out of it.
David: The deceived mind really believes that it has options and that when it is thinking about “I wish I was somewhere else but this” then it really believes that there is a ‘somewhere else’. But there isn’t. Cause and effect are simultaneous. There isn’t a hypothetical somewhere else. In a sense, the script is written and the outcome is always what it must be. All things do literally work together for good. The shadows are moving in a pattern of Divine Order and it is just a matter of seeing it as a ‘dreamer of the dream’ or of being back and observing what has literally already happened. And that is where the ease and the peace come in. Strain is believing that you are in the dream, that you are a person and thinking “I could be somewhere else” or “this should be different than it is”. Whatever the hypothetical it is that is going on in the mind when there is some conflict arising, there is a sense of coercion: “I’d be doing that if I really had my druthers, instead of this” and the deceived mind is still trying to split off cause and effect. It is denying that cause and effect are simultaneous, that this is just a projection of thought.
Participant 2: It seems like whenever I wish that I were somewhere else, the thought is that I could have a different effect, if I was doing something else or if I don’t like where I am… not feeling good or I am unhappy then I think if I were somewhere else I think that would change how I feel. And that’s the reversal of cause and effect.
David: Yes, and that’s the egos answer to the belief in separation. It’s always holding out something in form, a thought of something in the future or the thought of some imagined place. If we removed this person and put this person in another environment, or with another person or the conditions were different…etc.
Participant 1: Things would be better if it were different than it is… I noticed myself thinking that last night when we were watching that TV movie and there were so many pauses for length of commercials between segments and I remember sitting there thinking, “Oh, you think it would be better if it was different. You think it would be better if there were no commercials.”
David: That’s a subtle version of the same thing. Ultimately if we bring it back to the self concept and the subject / object split you see what’s beneath… ’I think I would be better if I were in a different place’… is that I am a person. It is not seen that I am everywhere, it makes no sense to think that I can go to another place or situation without the belief that I am this little, teeny fragment, a little person. The ultimate realization is that if the entire cosmos or the entire world is just a projection from the mind, that cosmos is the effect of this mistaken cause or the belief that I am separate.
Another thing too. It seems to be that certain events that are sequential and that some events happened last week, or yesterday or decades ago – like Cleopatra centuries ago. But the Course is teaching us that those things seem to have been projected from the mind in terms of time. Those are seen as happening long ago, and the closer it comes to where it seems to be projected from it is thought of as space. This thumb and Cleopatra don’t seem to have a lot of relationship, and yet, they are both ideas. One has been projected from my mind in terms of time ‘living centuries ago’ and this thumb one seems to be very literally close at hand! This thumb, it is so many inches away. Very close to the projector. Whereas events that seem to have happened many years ago or centuries ago have been projected beyond the mind to time. But ideas leave not their source. Cleopatra is in the wrong mind just as much as this thumb. It starts to collapse time when you start to see that there is no sequential time. That is just an ego attempt to hold cause and effect apart from one another, to make up sequential time and believe that I am a fragment moving in and through that linear time. Or that I am a linear fragment, even, with a past a personal history and a future to come.
Participant 1: So, would you take the TV show example… with my thought that there were too many commercials and it would be better if there weren’t commercials.
David: Well, it gets back to ‘the script is written’ and the script is playing itself out and even the idea that ‘if those commercials had been edited out, that would save time.’ Ultimately what saves time is a miracle. A miracle collapses time. What is a miracle but a look on the dream world or the script from above the battlefield, seeing the falsity of the whole thing. That is what a miracle is, a leap above the battlefield where you just recognize the false as false. It doesn’t do anything,. It doesn’t take commercials out of movies. It just really reminds the mind that what it sees is false and that collapses the need for time.
Participant 1: I don’t think I was so conscious of the time that it was taking. I didn’t feel that I was wanting to hurry it up because there was something else to do. I think my perception was that the commercials were interrupting the flow of the movie. So that was the misperception… I was segmenting, that there was a difference in my mind in between the movie and the commercial.
David: That there was a difference between the movie images and the commercial images… there was an ordering there.
Participant 1: Right.
David: Not just seeing images as images.
Participant 1: And wanting a continuing of ‘this set’ of images, not to be interrupted by ‘that set’ of images. When I think of it that way, I start to see the way it is, the breaking apart…
David: Looks like our next segment is from chapter 16.
“You may have taught freedom, but you have not learned how to be free. I said earlier, “By their fruits ye shall know them, and they shall know themselves”. For it is certain that you judge yourself according to your teaching. The ego’s teaching produces immediate results, because its decisions are immediately accepted as your choice. And this acceptance means that you are willing to judge yourself accordingly. Cause and effect are very clear in the ego’s thought system, because all your learning has been directed toward establishing the relationship between them. And would you not have faith in what you have so diligently taught yourself to believe? Yet remember how much care you have exerted in choosing its witnesses, and in avoiding those which spoke for the cause of truth and its effects.”
So we are starting to get a sense that this whole world is learned, and this whole world is based on upside down and backward thinking where cause and effect have been reversed. Even if you ask ‘where are you from?’ or ‘where did you begin?’… ‘well I was born in 1958’ and so on… that is obviously cause and effect have been reversed already because then my origin is in the time space universe. Or questions like ‘What can of family were you raised in? Was it a dysfunctional family?’ Or ‘What were the social conditions in the time you were born into?’. That seems to be a factor in who you are, the social and cultural conditions. In all of that, the cause of who I am is determined by the time / space cosmos. That has been taught. This world has been carefully learned and built up based on that backward thinking. There has been enormous care in building it up that way, and in choosing it’s witnesses. Whether you are talking about a dysfunctional family, being mistreated in school, having certain horrifying events that seemed to happen, and so on… when someone recounts their personal life history it’s still based on reversed cause and effect. It is believed that these events have ’caused’ a lasting effect on the mind. It is not seen that the mind has believed that it is guilty and it called forth witnesses to reinforce the guilt. Instead, through the ego’s lens, it is seen as if these events and conditions in the world are somehow causative.
Participant 1: It helped me to remember that I told the world what to teach me.
David: And it keeps it in past tense too, because once again, if someone says, ‘yuck!’ and asks that question, ‘why would I do such a thing?’… it is still asking that ‘Why?’ question instead of ‘What is it for, what is the Purpose?’ I can make a different choice right now. The unholy purpose (that the world was made as an attack upon God and as a place to hide from love and to reinforce guilt) was a past decision. That is the past. Right now I can choose to be free of that purpose. That’s what it means to hold on to a new purpose – that right now is offered to me as correction for that. So if you say, ‘I told the world what to teach me’ that keeps it in the past tense.
Participant 1: And that really is just another way of saying that the world is just a witness to my mind… beliefs. So the last time we were talking about this, I was talking about how it’s really the belief that comes first, and you reminded me that even that is just a stepping stone because the belief and the effect, or the cause and the effect are simultaneous.
David: Yes, they’re one. The ego tree truck and the branches. The thought that seemed to give rise to the world, the wish to be separate from God, and all the effects of that wish, the cosmos… are one. It’s all history so to speak. Jesus says at the very end of the Course, “Where is the ego? Where the darkness was.”
Participant 1: And it’s only the seeming linearity of time that obscures the fact that they are simultaneous.
David: Time is the belief that cause and effect are separate. That’s the gap, the gap that doesn’t exist. That’s the point of the whole Course. You’ve put many toys in your gap and now you believe that you can play with these toys and that you brought these toys to life. It’s the Pinocchio thing. You have projected out a bunch of images and this thing that seemed to be a static wood puppet seems to have a life of it’s own. And it scares you when these toys squeak and squawk and do certain things. Maybe you think you have to lock up or avoid some of these events or circumstances or these toys. And it says, ‘these are children’s toys.’ You must see that you made these toys up and by giving another purpose to the toys or to the whole script and dream you can see that they aren’t real. That they don’t have any life… there is no life in the toys. That runs against all the thinking of the world, of making the world a better place… saving the starving children, saving lives, all the dramas on TV with rescues and so on that seem to be so dramatic. Saving life. There is this horrible thing called death that seems to be waiting with a hook to get every living thing at a certain time, and life is precious, life is to be preserved and lengthened, to be ‘saved’. And yet there is no life there on the screen. That’s quite a fundamental thing and as you start to see that, the implications of that are far reaching because then it makes much more sense to sink down beneath the images in your mind and to let them go, let go into the awareness that there is something real… a real world of real thoughts beneath all these wrong-minded attack thoughts and dark shadow images.
“Does not the fact that you have not learned what you have taught show you that you do not perceive the Sonship as one? And does it not also show you that you do not regard yourself as one? For it is impossible to teach successfully wholly without conviction, and it is equally impossible that conviction be outside of you. You could never have taught freedom unless you did believe in it. And it must be that what you taught came from yourself. Yet this Self you clearly do not know, and do not recognize It even though It functions. What functions must be there. And it is only if you deny what It has done that you could possibly deny Its presence.”
To try to teach that the world has existence in and of itself as an objective reality and to try to teach backwards thought is to try to teach an impossible lesson. And literally the mind is without conviction when it is trying to teach the impossible lesson, because some part in the mind it knows it can’t be taught. It’s like a divided curriculum trying to teach that a world has existence apart from the mind or trying to share ideas that can’t be shared because they don’t come from God. They are delusional ideas. And also what that does (the attempt to share ego ideas or to teach the impossible) is denying the Self, denying Reality. That is where guarding the mind comes in, where watching the thoughts very carefully and withdrawing the mind’s allegiance from these backwards thoughts is so important. Why would I want to teach something that can’t be taught? If I want to get clear, why would I try to attempt to teach something that can’t be taught? In subtle ways when you start to get down to some of this cause and effect stuff, you get to watching your mind much more closely. I was talking the other day about ‘Isn’t this lovely? Isn’t this cute?… the different things or little phrases that fill up the gaps of silence. You start to look at even those. Those aren’t just making nice conversation but you start to tune your mind in so much to want to be a channel for the Holy Spirit that there is not that uneasiness of silence that needs to be filled in with those comments or those ‘wonder’ questions. ‘I wonder why it’s snowing so hard?’ or something like that. They seem to be conversation to fill up the dead space, the silence and the uneasiness and the fear of that silence that is there. Just be able to watch the mind, to watch the thoughts and not to give allegiance to them. And just to be able to bask in the silence, to just sink into it.
“This is a course in how to know yourself. You have taught what you are, but have not let what you are teach you.”
In a sense the Holy Spirit is a reminder of our Self, what we truly are. And when He says, ‘but have not let what you are teach you’ that’s what is the attempt to teach and learn a world that is impossible, an attempt to not listen to the Holy Spirit and not let what you are teach you.
“You have been very careful to avoid the obvious, and not to see the real cause and effect relationship that is perfectly apparent. Yet within you is everything you taught. What can it be that has not learned it? It must be this part that is really outside yourself, not by your own projection, but in truth. And it is this part that you have taken in that is not you.”
So we’re back to that wrong-mind again. The ego… all of consciousness, is the split mind and the wrong-mind, and as long as that is taken in, in the sense that the guilt and the fear and the shame are seen to be within (or believed to be within) it’s not seen that they are truly outside of me. You have to sink down below them into the mind and go beneath them to see that they are really outside instead of in. But as long as the mind believes that there is guilt and sadness and blackness and shame inside then it prefers to stay focused and riveted on the screen and believe that the cause of the guilt and pain is out there on the screen, the world remains a good distractive device. A way of avoiding looking within.
It’s really just separating the wheat from the chafe. Separating the profane, the attack thoughts, from the real thoughts. Discernment between the wrong-mind and the right-mind. You can come at it any way you want but that’s what it is. What can it be that has not learned it? It can only be the wrong-mind that hasn’t learned what we really are, that doesn’t realize the cause / effect relationship that is perfectly apparent.
Participant 1: Well my thing is feeling like I don’t want to forget it, or will forget it. The sentence could also read, ‘What can it be that could forget?’
David: Yes. You really get a sense of where that has to be coming from. And ultimately it’s that thing about learning the Course entirely or not at all. There are lessons in the workbook that say, ‘You are not two selves, but one.’ And I was addressing a little bit in the sermon yesterday about ‘I am a spiritual being having a human experience’. What part of that statement has to be forgiven? The latter part! This human experience stuff, ‘I’m only human’. All this justification for error and mistakes. ‘Well, I’m only human’. You aren’t two selves. You think that you’re part good, part bad, part painful, part joyful, part this and part that. You can’t be two selves. It comes down to a big either/or. You are either perfect, infinite, absolute changeless… or what is the option? In the end what else can it be? You can’t be anything but that. It brings it down to that one decision.
“And it is this part that you have taken in that is not you. What you accept into your mind does not really change it. Illusions are but beliefs in what is not there. And the seeming conflict between truth and illusion can only be resolved by separating yourself from the illusion and not from truth.”
The final realization that we can come to is simply that the truth is true. It sounds funny when you read it in there, that you may be expecting some grand thing. But that’s it, that the truth is true. But to see that you have to see what is false. That is why when we talk about the self concept, the self concept is not just little personal beliefs but it is literally the belief that made the world, made the cosmos. All of backward thinking is what’s false. So the self concept is not just a persona, but the persona is just a part of what the mind has wrapped around itself… the deceived mind has wrapped a body around it, and a couch and a room and an area with snowflakes and a lake and some clouds and the rest of the world and a solar system. It has spun a cobweb of time, space and form all around it. And so the underpinning of all that is this cause and effect stuff. The belief that it really is possible to separate from the Creator is what seemed to produce all that and simply by going into the mind and seeing the falsity of that cause then if it is not a real cause then it can’t have real effects. What you are left with is seeing that you dreamed this whole thing up, second of all that I can give a new purpose to this whole cosmos that I dreamed up. And finally in the ultimate sense, there is no need for this cosmos anymore. That is all the purpose can show is that the only purpose of this world is that you pass it by without remaining to see some glimmer of hope in something you believe it offers. It is not like there is some value that is left in the cosmos… that you can have a paradise on earth or some other sphere or whatever. That is where the Course takes us literally beyond all the channeled writings that say that ‘there is a world of perfection where everyone lives in peace and harmony’ and it is still described as persons and separate beings. ‘A perfect government‘… it’s utopia. The closest the Course would come to utopia would be the Real World, which is simply seeing that the entire world is an illusory projection, not finding any inherent value or meaning in any aspect.
The next section is chapter 21, section 2. Paragraph nine.
“We have already said that wishful thinking is how the ego deals with what it wants, to make it so. There is no better demonstration of the power of wanting, and therefore of faith, to make its goals seem real and possible. Faith in the unreal leads to adjustments of reality to make it fit the goal of madness. The goal of sin induces the perception of a fearful world to justify its purpose. What you desire, you will see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realizing all the adjustments you have introduced to make it so.”
In my life, I notice that some people would talk about ‘worst case scenarios’ but I would start off with ‘Well, I have to do this’ and then I would ask ‘Why do I have to do this’ and then I would say, ‘I need to do this because of that’ and tracing it back bringing it back from more subtle things of status and power and fame and so on and then working it back down more and more like Maslow did to basic needs. Those basic fundamental needs of food clothing and shelter. And then when you start to work it down from those into the mind and into the beliefs you get into beliefs of levels, levels of need… that there are different levels of needs that I have; emotional needs, physiological needs and so on. Still the mind is splintered into different levels and different needs. And then you work it down past that to before the belief in levels of needs comes the belief in levels. That is still a belief and beneath that is still the belief in lack and scarcity and sacrifice. Then beneath that is the belief in separation, that the belief in separation is possible. That‘s where the belief in lack arose – from that belief that I could separate from my Creator, that I was suddenly lacking something. That I wasn’t whole and complete. But what is helpful is to look at all the adjustments, the different attempts at magic and the attempts to build a self concept, to become a mature, respected, healthy, responsible adult that has involved all kinds of adjustments in my mind to that very first belief in separation. It is like the old thing where the dam starts to break. A couple pebbles are loose and you start to plug one and then run over and plug another. This world was made as a hiding place. It just seems to require so many adjustments. All of the defenses that the mind uses are based on the underlying belief that there is something to be defended. And that the defenses are necessary and helpful or useful. There is an enormous amount of mind tricks and attempts to use magic and all kinds of things to conceal this despair that is believed to be real. And the only way to lay down the defenses and attempts to use magic is to look right into the mind and look right into the ‘cause’ and see that the ‘big bad wolf’ or the ‘wizard of oz’ so to speak, the one that seems to be this controlling, powerful, dominating thing, is nothing but this little mouse that has no consequence at all. You just quit believing in it. That is quite a release.
Here we go, we are getting down to this cause and effect stuff again…
“When vision is denied, confusion of cause and effect becomes inevitable.”
When the light in the mind is denied then backward thinking becomes inevitable because it is seen as necessary and as a part of that ‘hiding place’ idea.
“The purpose now becomes to keep obscure the cause of the effect, and make effect appear to be a cause. This seeming independence of effect enables it to be regarded as standing by itself, and capable of serving as a cause of the events and feelings its maker thinks it causes.”
So it’s literally a world apart from Heaven where ideas seem to have left their source and where God is powerless over what has been made. It is the birth of objective reality apart from the mind of the thinker. It sets up this whole thing where the dream figure seems to be at the mercy of the dream world. Besides being at the mercy of the dream world, the dream figure also is seen as causative. So it can do things, it can be a cause of events onto other things. So when someone seems to murder or kill or abandon or whatever, it is seen as a causative agent that can act in and of itself. It is not seen as just part of a play and that I am a mind and the executive producer / director, that I have set it up this way. It is seen as if the characters have wills of their own, so they are causative as well. For example: ‘you cause me great misery. You hurt my feelings. You made me laugh.’ It is not seen that the mind has chosen all the emotions and all the states of mind.
“Earlier, we spoke of your desire to create your own Creator, and be father and not son to Him. This is the same desire. The Son is the effect, whose Cause he would deny. And so he seems to be the cause, producing real effects. Nothing can have effects without a cause, and to confuse the two is merely to fail to understand them both. It is as needful that you recognize you made the world you see, as that you recognize that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake.”
That’s the ‘authority problem‘. That is where we’ve come to the point of saying that ‘I was wrong about everything’. To be wrong about the belief that I pulled apart from my creator, and I could make up a world apart from God, and also the belief that I could make myself. That’s the underlying belief behind the so called ‘self improvement’ movement where I am an image of my own making and I can improve and shape the destiny of my own self.
Participant 2: Explain a little bit about the ‘authority problem’.
David: The authority problem is that denial of Spirit. To believe that you can make up a world or make up a self in the direction of your own making is to deny that you are what you are, that you are an Effect of God, that you are Spirit, and that you are as God created you.
Participant 1: And that can’t be changed.
David: And that can’t be changed. Reality is only yours to accept, not to select from. Of course to make yourself, then there first must be the belief that reality is mine to choose from. I can choose to stay with this family or I can choose to leave. I can choose to go back to college or not. I can choose to work out and improve my body or I can choose to let it go. All the attempts to make a better person is perceived from the basic assumption that I can make myself, and that reality is mine to select from. I can choose to live where I want to live. I can choose to go where I want to go. I can choose to retain my cultural or ethnic identity. I can choose to speak the language I want to speak. It’s kind of the value for pluralism. Even this ‘respect for diversity’ still doesn’t go down to the ultimate of wanting to see the sameness that is, or accepting the universal Reality that is. It is still an attempt to cling to variety and diversity, still to cling to the belief that I can make myself.
Participant 1: That phrase that you used, that believing that reality is mine to choose from. That would be equated also with ‘I invent reality’.
David: Yes. I can order my own thoughts is another way of saying it. I can pick and choose from reality. And clearly, Jesus says in the Course that if you believe that you can order your thoughts and then you have this disordered thought system, and then you feel responsible for the chaos and disorder, and then you feel guilty. Guilt automatically comes from a mind that believes it can order it’s own thoughts. It’s inescapable. And it says that ‘God orders your thoughts’. That’s where Divine Order comes in.
Our next paragraph is from Chapter 21, section 7, paragraph 7.
“Forget not that the choice of sin or truth, helplessness or power, is the choice of whether to attack or heal. For healing comes of power, and attack of helplessness. Whom you attack you cannot want to heal. And whom you would have healed must be the one you chose to be protected from attack. And what is this decision but the choice whether to see him through the body’s eyes, or let him be revealed to you through vision? How this decision leads to its effects is not your problem. But what you want to see must be your choice. This is a course in cause and not effect.”
This is a course in thinking and not in forms and behaviors and appearances. And there is that sentence: ‘How this decision leads to its effects is not your problem.’ In other words there is no need to even figure out how vision works or whatever, but it is to have the desire and willingness for vision- that is the whole thing.
We are now on Chapter 24 section 5, paragraph 2.
“In dreams effect and cause are interchanged, for here the maker of the dream believes that what he made is happening to him. He does not realize he picked a thread from here, a scrap from there, and wove a picture out of nothing. For the parts do not belong together, and the whole contributes nothing to the parts to give them meaning.”
That is just another way of saying what we were just talking about. The deceived mind believes that it can pick from, select from, and assemble reality the way it wants it and that’s what it sees. And not only does it label the parts and set them apart from one another but it starts to define how it wants the parts to relate to one another. That is a lot of the learning of the world, not only what the parts are but how they relate to one another.
Participant 1: And there is no relationship between illusions. That has been coming to me a lot lately. And the mind’s attempt to see relationship where there is none is simply the mind’s attempt to order the chaos and make the illusion seem that it’s not an illusion.
David: Yes, it’s very important to get to the concepts. In the kingdom of heaven, the one eternal law is ‘what you extend you are‘. And in this world, the law becomes twisted and adapted to ‘what you project you will believe‘. So the concepts have to be revealed in the mind and let go of because attack thoughts (false ideas) must be projected. In other words, they can’t be held together. You can’t hold onto the Holy Spirit’s thought system and attack thoughts because it is an intolerable conflict trying to hold onto two opposing thought systems. So attack thoughts must be projected. And what the mind projects it believes. That is what we read earlier, that in this sense the separation has occurred because you have accepted it in your mind. You believe it and to deny it would be an inappropriate use of denial. When the deceived mind holds thoughts (delusional ideas) in mind that are not of God, it must be projected… because every thought must either be projected or extended. Thoughts of God are extended and thoughts of the wrong-mind are projected. So it is imperative that the mind let go of or raise to awareness and let go of the concepts that are not of the Father… every concept that is not of the Father, every belief.
Participant 2: I think, and we went into this one time, when I started to read this information and then as my awareness became greater, I began to see all the reversal of the cause and effect and it was almost this bombardment. I felt bombarded by the backwards thinking and I suppose that what it comes down to is me just calling forth these witnesses to say ‘Yes, it is impossible for you to believe this’ but at the same time… I remember….it’s the concern that comes to me when we are looking at it now… the kids walk through the door and start talking about cause and effect, reversed! And Tom comes in and then he starts doing it. And I feel like… How do I fit into this picture? If I am going to totally reverse my thinking and not buy into that thinking anymore, then how do I fit into this picture? I’ll just go sit over in the corner and keep my mouth shut! Cause there won’t be anything for me to say! (Laughing) I
Participant 1: The picture will change though…
Participant 2: I’m sure it will.
Participant 1: As the mind changes, the picture it uses for witnesses has to be changing.
Participant 2: There’s the reversal of the cause and effect too. I am not even sure what it is I am doing but I see that there is reversal of cause and effect in it… that I think that me changing my mind, that that is going to cause a problem.
Participant 1: Because the witnesses to your mind aren’t seen as witnesses to your mind, they are seen as apart from your mind and separate from you as individual minds that will go on caught up in this backwards thinking and you’ll go on thinking ‘How can I go on being around all this backward thinking?’
Participant 2: Or even as a parent, the kids come to me and say , ‘How did this happen?’ or ‘What about this?’ and I think, Wow, what do I say? Give them the expected answer or give them the encyclopedia information or….
Participant 1: Give the answer a teacher would give them, or give them an answer that a teacher of God would give them.
Participant 2: Right. And it’s just separating it out. Instead of just seeing myself as a chance for the Holy Spirit, it’s like I have to know the answer ahead of time and be prepared so that when they ask me the question it’s not like ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to think about this. Can you hang on for ten or fifteen minutes and I’ll get back to you because I’ve got to really work this all out in my mind before I give you an answer’.
David: I think behind the ‘How can I fit into the picture?’ it’s back to the ‘dreamer of the dream’ vs. ‘dream figure’. The basic thing beneath it is, ‘I belong in this picture’. Whether it’s this picture or just in general. This picture of the world or this picture of a home.
Participant 1: I am in it, I am in the picture! And I belong here. (Laughing)
David: And my mind seems to be shifting and seems strange now. Early on for me, the more I plunged into the ideas of the course, that was the friction that I felt. Going to family gatherings, there was all this talk about all this stuff… and just feeling like ‘Oh my gosh if I keep going with this… I feel strange, I feel I am out in left field right now. And it could only get worse’. And that’s the way I perceived it because this is the direction it seems to be going dramatically away from in the opposite direction. And I think what my fear was then, I projected my fear out into the future and I really pictured myself alone. I pictured myself more in the monastic mode of just going off into a hut or something somewhere.
Participant 1: Ostracized by anybody that might have been around before.
Participant 2: Who’d want to be around you?
David: And the surprise, or the turnabout has been that of just feeling Called internally to go places, to do things, to speak, and to meet people. It is like when I described going to Roscoe and having all these meetings in the community kitchen. It was like I was drawing forth witnesses that wanted to hear what was coming out, but before what I perceived as my biological family didn’t care… weren’t in a place to receive.
Participant 1: And even said, ‘I think you need to find someone else to talk to about these things’ right?
David: Yes, once, early on. And it was just following that Guidance and going to Roscoe or the experience with Dorothy, and just sitting and talking and immediately clicking in at a place where there was a ‘You can see it too!’ experience. Just drawing forth a witness to my shift of mind that was bringing back to me those ideas, reflecting back to me those ideas that I was feeling. That really went counter balance to that whole thing that I would be alone, that actually there were those who could hear what I was talking about, and could relate to it and could understand. And then just going with that direction more and more whether it has been with the travels or with the conversations we’re having and this and that. But the pain was trying to fit it into the old picture… this new kind of experience…
Participant 1: That you didn’t really know what it was. You didn’t know what the ‘whatever’ was but somehow you were still trying to plug it in to what was familiar.
David: And feeling like this was a journey or a Guidance that I really had to follow. I really wanted to follow. All along, even when the Voice was through the seeming college years of trying to put something together and make a career out of something, specialize in something or find something to settle down in at least professionally or a vocation and still feeling this Call to I didn’t know what. But also feeling tied along with it was ‘I have to go. I have to go with this Guidance even though I don’t have a clear picture. I can’t project out and know what it will look like’. I think of some of the stories of the different saints and so called wise people, I think of Meher Baba. Just coming to a point where he went into silence. Tara Singh reportedly went into three years of silence and would speak occasionally with people at grocery stores and places. But Meher Baba just went into silence, complete silence. And there was such a light in his eyes and such an attraction, such a strong draw that people would come to sit in his presence. And finally they got him one of these spelling boards, like a Ouija board where you move to the letters, and his teachings came through that. He would go literally, pointing letter by letter. It seemed slow, people were there and they took down what came through. But he literally went into the silence. And in conventional thinking it’s like ‘Come on, what is this? Everyone talks. What you do think God gave people mouths for?’
Participant 2: Just to be willing to do what it takes.
David: Early on in our discussion was when Jesus brought up readiness and mastery. Readiness does not imply mastery but it means that a potential for a real change in mind is there. Readiness is not something that you can cultivate outside yourself because there isn’t any readiness outside yourself. It is really readiness in your own mind. Whereas at times, Tom has said ‘Well, we sit around and talk a lot. Let’s go do something’ or wanting to watch a football game. It’s not uncommon. When we went to the Course in Miracles convention a couple of years ago I remember at the very end of it, it was a rush out to the TV sets to watch the Indiana basketball game. ‘Enough of that stuff now, let’s really get into this Hoosier game.’ I remember the comments about it. It was a real clear example of ’Get out of the workshop and get back to the dining room, enough of this.’
Participant 1: ‘I can only do that so long.’
David: Yes, and that’s not good or bad or right or wrong. But to really go within and focus on watching your mind and to really want to have that mind shift, the shift from readiness into mastery, to really generalize… is a highly internal matter. You know how the Course says the curriculum is highly individualized. When you really look at it in those terms you see that you can’t rush your brother along. You can only go with where you are and it takes the strain out of wondering. I feel that is what Tom is saying a lot of times. He senses that you’re onto something, that you are on to the beacon and he knows at some deep place in his mind that that’s important, that beacon.
Participant 1: Not only for you, but for him.
David: … but for him. And also there is a part of the mind that says ‘I like relaxing and watching a football game. I enjoy a golf match. I enjoy fine dining or hobnobbing with people. I like some of that. I am not ready to generalize. I am not ready to take this thing and generalize it across the board, but I have a sense that you are on to something and I am watching. And beyond that I know that we are connected in a way that I know what you do for you, you do for me and for everyone’. That is the way that I felt when I extended this with a lot of friends. I really opened and tried to make myself available and there was a real attraction and then there was a pulling back… seeing that ‘This is threatening to my everyday life… and threatening to the way I conceive of my life… there are certain parts that I like of the way I conceive of my life and I don’t want to come so close anymore… I am not at the place of commitment. I’d like to be at the place of commitment where you all are…but I am not there and I need to go splash in the pond a little more’. And that’s okay. That’s fine. But the whole point is that it is peripheral to ‘I want to go from readiness to master… I want to get the lesson’. And it takes it away from the peripheral from the whole idea of brothers.
It is like that Raj material where Paul is going through some of those struggles and Raj says basically, ‘the formation of a flock is not necessary to staying on the Homing beacon and there may be a flock, there may not be a flock. There may be some in the flock that will say ‘this leader is crazy and leave the flock and some of those may even seem to get to the destination more quickly in another flock’. None of that is your concern Paul… your concern is to stay onto the beacon… don’t lose sight of the beacon.’ When I read that it was a real helpful thing for myself as well because there is such a tendency to watch the flock around. Whether it’s a biological family or… that’s just a smokescreen for the other ones because as soon as you get into thinking you are part of a Course family or Course community or certain people… the same thing happens there. It is not different. The mind may think that it will be different now because they are Course students or something like that. But that’s not the case either. It still comes down to ‘I have to stay on the beacon and I have to pull my attention away from who is flying in formation and who is not in formation, who is with the flock and who is leaving the flock’ all of the drama of spiritual awakening, so to speak, in the ego sense that is all just a distraction as well. And you have experienced both of those, both with the family frustration there and also we’ve held gatherings and you expressed that one time out on the porch about ‘they say I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready… and they aren’t here! They should be part of this flock! If they really wanted to be on the beacon, they’d be here darn it!’. And it’s that same kind of a thing. Like Raj says, “Say to them, ‘I invite you to fly with me and I invite you not to fly with me. It’s your choice’”. It really doesn’t matter.
I think our teaching / learning sessions are such a helpful thing and we’ve all said that we’d like this to continue and as far as even how, where or when I think any of us that feel guided to be in communication with anyone or anything, if we work with some of the tapes or we feel strong guidance as Beverly has felt at times, to call or to write to someone, to go with that guidance, to really trust in that and if things evolve then… it’s just keeping really open to that. We want to keep getting clearer and clearer through these teaching / learning situations however it unfolds.
So, we’re continuing on with cause and effect and now we’re moving to chapter 28, section 1. The undoing of fear, the present memory.
“The miracle does nothing. All it does is to undo. And thus it cancels out the interference to what has been done. It does not add, but merely takes away. And what it takes away is long since gone, but being kept in memory appears to have immediate effects. This world was over long ago. The thoughts that made it are no longer in the mind that thought of them and loved them for a little while. The miracle but shows the past is gone, and what has truly gone has no effects. Remembering a cause can but produce illusions of its presence, not effects.”
That’s a biggie. That explains a lot of what we have been talking about.
“The miracle but shows the past is gone, and what has truly gone has no effects. Remembering a cause can but produce illusions of its presence, not effects. Remembering is as selective as perception, being its past tense.”
That’s an interesting kind of idea. Remembering is the past tense of perception.
“It is perception of the past as if it were occurring now, and still were there to see. Memory, like perception, is a skill made up by you to take the place of what God gave in your creation. And like all the things you made, it can be used to serve another purpose, and to be the means for something else. It can be used to heal and not to hurt, if you so wish it be. Nothing employed for healing represents an effort to do anything at all. It is a recognition that you have no needs which mean that something must be done. It is an unselective memory, that is not used to interfere with truth. All things the Holy Spirit can employ for healing have been given Him, without the content and the purposes for which they have been made. They are but skills without an application. They await their use. They have no dedication and no aim.”
So that really is clearly stating what we have been saying all along about removing all the purposes that I have given to everything… tables, chairs, bodies, houses, cars, green paper strips, metal discs.
Participant 1: Unselective memory is an interesting phrase.
David: Because all selective memory is using the past and picking out what I want things to mean to me, what I think they mean. Unselective gives the impression that it’s universal, that the Holy Spirit’s purpose is a universal application and that all the things in this world have no dedication and no aim. All particular and specific abilities, skills, objects. It also relates back to what we have been saying that they really have no relation to each other. The are only related, all the specifics are only related through the Holy Spirit’s purpose but they have no relation to one another. So, a couch and a body or a house and a body or a car and a body seem to have pretty strong relationships. Cars are very necessary it seems, in the world’s eyes, to get those bodies around. And yet all objects in the world and all skills have no inherent, intrinsic meaning or use in and of themselves because that whole idea ‘in and of themselves’ is erroneous. There is no specific in and of itself. If this seems pretty steep, the whole world that’s been constructed starts to teeter if that is accepted.
Participant 1: I’m thinking of the analogy you used of beads strung on a golden cord and that the golden cord is the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit’s purpose and the beads are the specific or isolated or individual whatevers that of themselves are just scattered and have no meaning or use with out the cord running through them.
David: And if you took the metaphor a little further you would see that it is a necklace because the cord has really no beginning and no end. And therefore neither do the beads…
Participant 1: Where’s the front and where’s the back.
David: Yes, it’s not linear. If you took the metaphor of just holding onto a cord with the beads strung on you’d have a linear thing whereas the necklace or the circle is the whole thing of the Holy Spirit’s purpose and has no beginning and no ending.
“The Holy Spirit can indeed make use of memory, for God Himself is there. Yet this is not a memory of past events, but only of a present state. You are so long accustomed to believe that memory holds only what is past, that it is hard for you to realize it is a skill that can remember now. The limitations on remembering the world imposes on it are as vast as those you let the world impose on you. There is no link of memory to the past. If you would have it there, then there it is. But only your desire made the link, and only you have held it to a part of time where guilt appears to linger still.”
And that part of time where guilt appears to linger still is the unholy instant. Every time the unholy instant is called and believed to be the present, then the present is denied, the holy instant is denied when the past is brought into the present. So every time you order concepts, order thoughts, every time you judge, then it is still an attempt to deny that these are just images and that the ego thoughts and the projected images are already over and done. They are part of that unholy instant. So the wrong-mind exists entirely in the unholy instant because the wrong-mind is past tense. And the right-mind which would be analogous to forgiveness is in the present. So if we talk about wrong-mind, right-mind, we talk about guilt versus forgiveness… however you do it, it’s past, present. And forgiveness is in the right-mind or in the present moment.
Participant 1: Holy Instant and unholy instant.
David: Yes. And something that has been coming to me the last couple days too has been that the miracle is like a point. The wrong mind is like a line and the miracle is like a point, only a point, always a point. In fact if you use it in a line metaphor, it’s a point that collapses the line. But instead of the step of thinking ‘I am the Holy Son of God, I am One, I am Allness’, the step to get that is ‘I am a point instead of a line’. So whenever I am tempted to think of what I have done in the past or what is coming up I can just think of ‘I am a point, not a line’. It is real simple, it is a geometrical kind of a metaphor.
Participant 1: I like the image of recognizing when I am thinking of myself as a line and then it shrinks down and it is just a point.
David: Also, for some it may be a question of ‘Well, how does that fit with I am everything and everywhere because a point can be in some people’s minds to be seen as very tiny but a point just like a dot can be magnified. The miracle is a perception but it is as if the entire cosmos of time and space is that point. You can observe that point from the miracle and you see that all of time and space is simultaneous. It is not linear and it is all contained in that unholy instant. You can think of the unholy instant as kind of a point that you can observe from the miracle. And in that sense, that includes everywhere that you could possibly be, all included in that point. It takes away the sense of distance and location and place.
“The Holy Spirit’s use of memory is quite apart from time. He does not seek to use it as a means to keep the past, but rather as a way to let it go. Memory holds the message it receives, and does what it is given it to do. It does not write the message, nor appoint what it is for.”
Memory is just like time and the body and relationships and everything else. It’s just this neutral thing that will serve the purpose like everything else in the mind. It’s a skill that was made up by the deceived mind and we are back to ‘What is my purpose? What is it for?’. It has no inherent purpose in and of itself.
“Like to the body, it is purposeless within itself. And if it seems to serve to cherish ancient hate, and gives you pictures of injustices and hurts that you were saving, this is what you asked its message be and that it is. Committed to its vaults, the history of all the body’s past is hidden there. All of the strange associations made to keep the past alive, the present dead, are stored within it, waiting your command that they be brought to you, and lived again. And thus do their effects appear to be increased by time, which took away their cause.”
Now we’ve got some good stuff in there. We’ve used that computer memory analogy and this is a good paragraph for that – where all of the history, all of the body’s past is hidden there in this vault of a very long hard drive, enormous number of mega bytes. And literally when it says all the body’s past we are talking about the ‘past-past’ and the ‘future-past,’ all of the perception.
“And thus do their effects appear to be increased by time, which took away their cause.”
So the ego is a splintering thought and is all of the fragmentation, and we could even say procreation because there seems to be more bodies and more bodies and more bodies. It is a population explosion basically, ‘and thus do their effects appear to be increased by time’. It seems as times go on that there are more and more and more bodies and it says ‘which took away their cause’. It’s still that reversal of cause and effect as if time and procreation appear to be the cause of more and more bodies when really the cause of the entire world including the bodies and all of the fragments and everything, is the ego, the belief in separation in the mind. So time seems to have done a very nice thing for the deceived mind. It seems to have taken on causation. Time seems to have causation, when time is really just a belief that has spun from the belief in separation. So the cause is in the mind, not in time. A lot of times when you here these discussions people ask: ’Is the world getting better or worse?’. Some people will say it’s getting worse and worse with pollution and all the different problems and getting more complex and so on. But that’s still not getting at the issue, that the cause of the world is in the mind and that time is not multiplying the problems. There still is only one problem, that’s the belief in separation. Even though the many hides the zero of everything. It doesn’t matter how many times you multiply an illusion by zero you still have zero, because the cause is not in the world or in time. And still there are the scientists looking with their high power telescopes into the cosmos for the beginning of it (the Big Bang), for they still believe that there is a cause out there on the screen. What we are here learning in the Course is that the cause is in the mind. So now the next paragraph really starts to put time in it’s place, so to speak.
“Yet time is but another phase of what does nothing. It works hand in hand with all the other attributes with which you seek to keep concealed the truth about yourself. Time neither takes away nor can restore.”
So this is a very important idea and like we discussed yesterday, we raised the quote which was from the text which is really very early on saying that “…just as the separation occurred over millions of years, the last judgment will occur over a similarly long period and perhaps an even longer one.” When you read a statement like that and you still weren’t clear about level confusion, about the mind… the right-mind and the wrong-mind, you could conclude wrongly that the healing is subject to time, in fact, millions of years. It says so right here! But what we are seeing here much later in the text is a clear statement that time neither takes away nor can restore. It’s not the millions of years that are going to restore the Sonship back to it’s original place. Time is just as neutral as anything else, it’s just another phase of what does nothing. It’s the purpose that’s given to time that is the crucial thing. If the mind can just accept the Holy Spirit’s purpose completely and wholly in one instant, that’s what it means to accept the Atonement. That doesn’t take any time. That is where the whole idea of process collapses in that one decision to accept the Correction that’s always been in the mind.
Participant 2: So, why would He make a statement like that? That it’s taken millions of years and that it’s going to take millions more?
David: Well, why would He say, “God weeps?”
Participant 2: Right. I can see how that would be helpful but I am not sure… How do you see that as helpful?
David: Well I see it first of all on the context of coming on text page 30… I can see if one was coming in and started reading some of these phrases like we are reading now on page 548 that I may just chuck the book. Without a careful study and application, and insights and experiences that come that make way for the mind to accept an idea like this, the mind is not ready. Remember it’s always an interpretation. The deeper the insights go and the more you become aware of some of the deeper ideas that are there being expressed in the Course, a statement like that is just seen for what it is – a stepping stone. I just see it as one of those lower rungs or one of those stepping stones along the way. There are a lot of things that can be interpreted as discouraging if so interpreted. For example, you could go back to the Teacher’s Manual and some would say, ’Well, if it’s at the manual at the very end it should be pretty far along because that’s the Manual for Teachers.’ Yet there is a statement that is made that’s in the Teacher’s Manual that gets into the ‘stages’ of the development of trust.
Participant 2: Oh, it says ’It will take a very long time to reach this.’
David: Yes, it’s even stated a little stronger than ’long’. It’s on page 10 of the Teacher’s Manual in the old text.
“And now he must attain a state that must remain impossible to reach for a long long time.” So people have used that statement to say, ’Yes, this is going to be a very very very long process’. And in conjunction with this other one, taking millions of years and have concluded with a statement like ’Let’s be realistic. This is going to be a very very long drawn out process’. Certainly there are other parts in the Course that clearly point out that it can be an instant. It can not be accepted in any other time but now!
Participant 1: What appears as discouraging certainly depends on where you are coming from. I’m thinking of the woman at the all-day gathering that we were at in Michigan and she felt very discouraged when she kept reading the idea that it takes only an instant because she felt like, if it took only an instant, why hadn’t she already experienced that instant? And so looking at it is a very short instant was very discouraging to her, whereas someone else looking at it in terms of millions of years or impossible for a long long time could seem discouraging.
David: It’s based on the interpretation. The ego can go on either way and seem to make it discouraging for the mind, that it’s going to take a long long time or it just takes and instant and I can’t do it. I don’t think it’s possible when you start to get a clarity on the ’dreamer of the dream’ and on the urgency that we have been talking about to even have to make an interpretation on a statement because it dissolves.
Participant 1: Just let it go. Use it as long as it’s helpful and then let it go.
David: It is gone. It’s not even an active kind of thing like ’Okay, thank you. You’ve served me well, I kiss you goodbye’. At a certain point, in the insight, in the Aha!… the past is gone, is dissolved.
“Yet time is but another phase of what does nothing. It works hand in hand with all the other attributes with which you seek to keep concealed the truth about yourself. “
All the other attributes… you could throw the whole kit and caboodle in with that… time, space, abilities, skills, personhood… you name it. Size, degrees, attributes, levels… all those are ‘the other attributes with which you seek to keep concealed the truth about yourself.’ The truth about our Self is completely abstract. There are no levels in the truth about our Self, no intervals, no degrees.
“Time neither takes away nor can restore. And yet you make strange use of it, as if the past had caused the present, which is but a consequence in which no change can be made possible because its cause has gone.”
There’s a big sentence because there that just takes the whole underpinnings of the world away. It’s the strange use you give time, as if the past caused the present, that needs to be let go of. And you see that last part of the sentence, ’which is but a consequence in which no change can be made possible because its cause has gone’. That’s how the ego skips over the present. If the past caused the present, then the present is just an effect. There is no way to change it. You are sunk, you are determined. The ego says, just skip over the present because…
Participant 1: There’s nothing you can do about it.
David: There’s absolutely nothing you can do, the ego says, because the past caused the present.
Participant 1: I never saw it that way before.
David: So you can see why linear time has to collapse, the mind has to let go of the belief in linear time because other than that was are back to determinism. For example in psychological terms: ‘you are a product of your environment’ or ‘you are a product of your past conditioning’.
“Yet change must have a cause that will endure, or else it will not last. No change can be made in the present if its cause is past. Only the past is held in memory as you make use of it, and so it is a way to hold the past against the now.”
So if we go back to our computer analogy, the deceived mind keeps calling up programs and there is its use of memory. If on the computer there was a little section that was the memory of God or the memory of the Present or the Holy Instant, the deceived mind never calls for that program. It always goes back to the giant vault of the past and continues to keep asking for memories out of that. Instead it needs to literally call forth the Memory of the Present.
“Remember nothing that you taught yourself, for you were badly taught. And who would keep a senseless lesson in his mind, when he can learn and can preserve a better one? When ancient memories of hate appear, remember that their cause is gone. And so you cannot understand what they are for.”
This just fits in with all of the lessons of the workbook such as ‘Nothing I see means anything’ and ‘I do not understand what anything is for.’ That’s why those lessons are so important because the mind has got to accept those ideas in relation to what the body’s eyes seem to be seeing and hearing. That’s where the disorientation can come in. That’s what life has been constructed as, meaning sequential daily life, and what he’s saying is that as ‘ancient memories of hate appear,’ in whatever form that seems to take, remember that they’re cause is gone and so you cannot understand what they are for. That means don’t try to figure it out. Don’t try to rationalize it or break it apart. You cannot understand what they are for. Stop trying. And it fits in with what you have been receiving in your journal about ’you still think you know,’ and that applies directly to that. You cannot understand what they are for. So now we are going to get the idea of substituting a new purpose or a new cause.
“Let not the cause that you would give them now be what it was that made them what they were, or seemed to be. Be glad that it is gone, for this is what you would be pardoned from. And see, instead, the new effects of cause accepted now, with consequences here. They will surprise you with their loveliness. The ancient new ideas they bring will be the happy consequences of a Cause so ancient that it far exceeds the span of memory which your perception sees.”
We’ve talked about the ideas that are not of God, they cannot be shared in reality, and the attempt to share these concepts and ideas is what seems to make the world have objective reality. The mind not only makes up a dream in which the dream figures seem to come along and reinforce the reality of the world, the mind not only gives a label to that dream figure and calls that dream figure by a specific name, but the dream figure answers to the name. That is pretty convincing, that there is a separate reality apart from my mind, not seeing that my mind is doing the asking and the answering, so to speak, and it’s all an delusional attempt. I see so-and-so and they say ‘Hi!’. They answer to that name. So that is why all the senses and everything that comes through the senses just witnesses to the reality of the world. It seems to be that there are two people or two minds agreeing upon some made up fictitious concept and it seems to have a reality because of that. So our next quote jumps ahead to Chapter 26:
“Cause and effect are one, not separate. God wills you learn what always has been true: That He created you as part of Him, and this must still be true because ideas leave not their source. Such is creation’s law; that each idea the mind conceives but adds to its abundance, never takes away. This is as true of what is idly wished as what is truly willed, because the mind can wish to be deceived, but cannot make it be what it is not. And to believe ideas can leave their source is to invite illusions to be true, without success. For never will success be possible in trying to deceive the Son of God.”
This really relates to Krishnamurti saying ‘I am the world, the world is me.’ iIt s another way of saying, ideas leave not their source, that the world has not left the mind of the thinker. We are speaking of the wrong-mind there. But before the mind can make a clear discernment between the right-mind and the wrong-mind, between forgiveness and illusions, it has to have that clear discernment and see the false as false before the false can disappear. So to make statements about ‘I am the holy Son of God’… to skip the step of really looking at the ordering of thoughts or the subtle means of judgments or of making error real and to try to hop over that to ‘I am the holy Son of God’ is kind of like to try to go from somewhere in the middle of the alphabet to ‘z’. That is why it is really important to have tremendous clarity of what is false. Just seeing the false as false.
Participant 1: So, what transpires to make that transfer over from seeing the false as false to seeing that the false is nothing, that it doesn’t exist at all?
David: Those are the same, those things you just said. What I was referring to is the idea in the Course that says you’ll reach the real world and you’ll barely have time to enjoy it. To say that God takes the final step is still a metaphor that God takes steps, but the ‘step’ that He takes is Creation. The first and only ‘step’ that God takes is Creation of His Son. And so the final step in terms of the Course is really the first step…
Participant 1: It’s a return to the awareness of what’s always been the case.
David: And Krishnamurti said that as well, ‘The last step is the first step’. It’s really not a step at all in the sense of a sequence at the very end.
“The miracle is possible when cause and consequence are brought together, not kept separate. The healing of effect without the cause can merely shift effects to other forms. And this is not release.”
This is another way of saying or talking about magic. All attempts at magic are just an attempt to shift effects to other forms or to heal effects without a cause. To heal something in the world, some consequence, situation, some event that seems not right, by shifting around the forms. Or, as Krishnamurti phrases it: ‘to juggle the contents of consciousness,’ this is what shifting forms is. You’ve got all these concepts and if you keep trying to juggle the concepts hoping that you will arrive at the perfect combination then you are deluded because you’ll never have a transformation of mind as long as you just shift and juggle the concepts. There has to be an entirely different way of looking at consciousness from an entirely different point of view, from the miracle or above the battlefield, before the shift is a meaningful shift.
“God’s Son could never be content with less than full salvation and escape from guilt. For otherwise he still demands that he must make some sacrifice, and thus denies that everything is his, unlimited by loss of any kind.”
Here comes that word ‘sacrifice’ (coming up) in there that Jesus mentions in the Teacher’s Manual. He shares that sacrifice has no meaning in Heaven, but while you believe you are in the world he defines sacrifice as the giving up what you want. And as long as the mind sees some glimmer, even some small value in anything in the world, then it will perceive giving up the world as sacrifice. Even a tiny thing that still is held onto reinforces the concept of sacrifice. If there is even a little bit of ordering, if there is something in the corral that the mind doesn’t want to willingly expose to the light, then it denies that everything is His.
“A tiny sacrifice is just the same in its effects as is the whole idea of sacrifice. If loss in any form is possible, then is God’s Son made incomplete and not himself. Nor will he know himself, nor recognize his will. He has forsworn his Father and himself, and made Them both his enemies in hate.”
More and more it is different ways of coming at the theme of ‘You’ll learn this Course entirely or not at all’. And to me, where that kind of idea can be perceived as threatening through the ego lens, I think more and more that inevitably it’s just a relief to start to come to embrace that idea even though it’s an idea that seemed early on to be avoided. Avoidance is part of thinking ‘this is impossible to transcend the ego entirely,’ part of that ego thinking. Non-compromise dispells that kind of notion. The beginning of that paragraph is the central idea of what we’ve been talking about. The miracle is possible when cause and consequence are brought together, not kept separate. That just really precisely eliminates the past and the future because the past and the future are attempts to keep cause and consequence apart. Separation is where linear time comes in.
Participant 1: In the margin I’ve got a reminder to myself of why I want to see this whole business of cause and effect clearly. Simply that if I can maintain peace of mind in every seeming situation in the world then that is how my mind comes to see that the world has no effects and so what has no effects must have no cause. And that is the undoing of the ego. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to understand the concepts and I kind of forget why this makes any difference. Why I am even trying to get clear about it in the first place, how it really relates to anything.
David: I think too that this idea:‘the miracle is possible when cause and consequence are brought together and not kept separate’ really relates to that section we have gone over before in the text called ‘The Immediacy of Salvation’ where Jesus says ‘Why should the good appear in evil’s form?’ Why are you thinking that God would place salvation in the future? When the mind believes that enlightenment or salvation is in the future, it is separating cause and consequence. It is saying that there was a past, a real past. There is a future yet to come, it is a real future. It is denying that there is cause for freedom now. It is still wanting to hold onto that gap and believe in the reality of that gap of time and to project the solution or the correction into the future. When the mind does that it can’t help but feel that it will suffer fear from now until the time when the correction is accepted. It is simply projecting fear to time and it is saying that old thing about time healing all wounds. Well, it is a new purpose for time, right now, that heals all wounds. It’s not time itself. Linear time has never healed anything. Linear time is part of the problem, not the solution.
Participant 1: That’s one of those old sayings that’s backwards isn’t it?
David: It could be reinterpreted though. Instead of saying that time heals all wounds, you could say that the correct use of time, the Holy Spirit’s purpose for time, heals all wounds because his purpose is to make time unnecessary. The ego’s purpose for time is it’s purpose for everything… death: to maintain the belief that separation from God is real, it has occurred, and it will be punished. So it is interesting to come at this cause and consequence, cause and effect idea from all these different angles, even from the sense of time to see that everything points to: Now is the point of release.
The next section is the ‘Hero of the dream’ in chapter 27.
“The body’s serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The “hero” of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms, and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its “hero” finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more; that it is cause and not effect. And you are its effect, and cannot be its cause.”
Participant 1: There it is.
David: So really, when it says ‘this single lesson’ that is the ego. The ego is a lesson in the mind and the Holy Spirit is a lesson in the mind and the mind that is trying to learn two lessons is very confused. The lessons don’t go together. They are an either/or proposition. What the ego is teaching is that the world is the cause and not effect and that you are it’s effect and cannot be it’s cause. And if the mind is identified with the body or the hero of the dream… in the world’s eyes it is clearly that way… bodies are born from other bodies. From the ego’s perspective you are clearly the effect of this world. And if you want to take it back from just the bodies and procreation, if you take it back in evolutionary terms to the old theories of evolution (the single cell organism evolving to higher and higher forms of life and still somehow they try to say that there had to be the right conditions for that spark of life to arise from the dust ), still what’s behind all those theories is that you had your beginning… whether it is from procreation, intercourse with a man and a woman, or if you take it back to the spark of life, in form. And even the attempts to bring God into this beginning, making man and woman out of clay or dust and so on, reinforce the notion of the body being an effect of the world. Even if you look at it this way that is still bringing God into form, saying that God had anything to do with making form. This whole analogy of the dream brings it back to the dream being the cause and you being it’s effect.
“Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream. But who reacts to figures in a dream unless he sees them as if they were real? ”
It’s such a vast turnaround from thinking ‘I’m just this tiny person in a vast world’ and there are all these other people and personality traits and characteristics and people of different races and cultures, languages, genetic differences. And now we get into the era of Star Wars and movies that are depicting all of these alien creatures, UFO‘s, etc… all part of the one dream that is the projection from my own mind. Talk about turning the table. That‘s such a vast turnaround.
“The instant that he sees them as they are they have no more effects on him, because he understands he gave them their effects by causing them and making them seem real.”
There is that ‘gave’ again. Not give but ‘gave’. The past tense is always important in these sentences because it constantly puts the ego and the whole world that it seemed to bring about into the past tense.
“How willing are you to escape effects of all the dreams the world has ever had? Is it your wish to let no dream appear to be the cause of what it is you do?”
There we are with the ‘fear of consequences’ that we talk about a lot. If you let go of all fear of consequences then truly you can be in the miracle and whatever you seem to do or say is literally automatic, coming from right-mindedness.
“Then let us merely look upon the dream’s beginning, for the part you see is but the second part, whose cause lies in the first. “
This is setting the stage for when he gets into Self vs. self concept and he talks about the part that you gave away. When we talk about the two tiers of the self concept, the first part is the belief that I have separated from God. That’s the belief in mind, and the second part is the dreaming of the world which was made as a cover so as to never have to look down below it. The dreaming of the world is the part that has been given away. The mind forgets it’s a mind and then believes that it’s on the screen. That’s the second part that he’s talking about.
“No one asleep and dreaming in the world remembers his attack upon himself.”
That’s the belief in separation.
“ No one believes there really was a time when he knew nothing of a body, and could never have conceived this world as real. He would have seen at once that these ideas are one illusion, too ridiculous for anything but to be laughed away. How serious they now appear to be! And no one can remember when they would have met with laughter and with disbelief. We can remember this, if we but look directly at their cause. And we will see the grounds for laughter, not a cause for fear.”
So the ego always says, ‘pay extreme attention to the screen and do not go within and look at your mind’. Or if we use the Wizard of Oz analogy, when they finally get to Oz, when they finally get to the room where they see this giant thing on the screen, a huge face with a loud voice, and Toto pulls the curtain in the projection room, what does the wizard say? “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” (laughing) Pay no attention to the thought in the mind, to the true cause, stay focused on the horrifying picture that you see on the screen so you will tremble before it. That movie has so many good metaphors in it. No wonder people love it even if they don’t know why. Because it’s a metaphor for their release. There’s no place like Home. You’ve always had the power to go Home.
“Let us return the dream he gave away unto the dreamer, who perceives the dream as separate from himself and done to him. Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. “
That part is ‘In his forgetting…,’ that is where the accomplishment and real effects seem to occur.
“Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time. A timelessness in which is time made real; a part of God that can attack itself; a separate brother as an enemy; a mind within a body all are forms of circularity whose ending starts at its beginning, ending at its cause. The world you see depicts exactly what you thought you did.”
That’s what we were talking about yesterday in the workshop about the mind believing that it is guilty, believing that it separated from God, and now the world demonstrates to it that separation is real, that guilt is real.
“Except that now you think that what you did is being done to you. The guilt for what you thought is being placed outside yourself, and on a guilty world that dreams your dreams and thinks your thoughts instead of you.”
We are getting down to this daily life and day to day living versus this abstract idea of ‘dreamer of the dream’ and purpose and seeing more and more that we can’t hold onto both at once. That it really is an either/or kind of thing. The fear is that there is still the belief that to give up my daily day to day life conception is somehow going to be some kind of a loss. The status quo is familiar, comfortable, not always the best but still it’s not so bad.
Participant 1: At least I have a handle on it.
David: A seeming handle in the way that things are constructed and the way things work.
Participant 2: And even that it doesn’t seem possible to give it up. Even if I said I wanted to it seems impossible. I can even imagine coming to a place where I say I am ready to give it up… that I can imagine but what I can’t imagine is how that would be, how that would look. And as long as I try to imagine how it’s going to look…
Participant 1: There is no point of reference.
David: It needs to be very free floating. It comes up for me… I was asked more than once I think, ‘Where do you live?’ That comes up a lot and it is interesting to say… I live in my mind and it is a real detachment. There is no box for that. It doesn’t fit in any of the boxes. The follow up question is usually then, ‘Where do you receive your mail?’ or something like that. Let’s nail this down to some kind of a box. It is very different to be in a place of not conceiving of yourself as living in a particular place.
Participant 1: To even come to thinking of yourself as ‘mind’ would have to mean that there is being some transfer of the whole cause and effect idea. It seems like that’s how the mind would come to recognize itself as what it is by recognizing that the cause and effect isn’t what it once thought it was.
David: Yes. When these thoughts come to mind ‘This is interesting now but what about next week?’ or ‘What about next month?’ or next year, how things will be then… those are just more future thoughts in linear time and it can’t be both ways. It can’t be that instant of snipping the care away for holding onto the past and future. It just takes one instant. I think of the lesson in the workbook, ‘I place my future in the hands of God’. When you do that, you give over your mind. When you are giving over the future, you are giving over the past as well. Craig was asking me on the phone what I was going to be doing in December. And I said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t have plans’. He was interested in this whole idea of intensives and workshops and gatherings and it was the same thing we spoke about earlier today, of just getting a strong comfortable feeling, a strong indication to do something. Even scheduling something a month or month and a half in advance, it goes back to Jesus arranging time and space for the miracle to be performed. You could come at it from other descriptive ways such as people having complicated schedules and they need a month or so notice just to fill it in. Or you feel a strong guidance or direction to do something. It’s like it says in lesson 135, ‘It’s not planning on your own but listening to wisdom that is not your own. If there are plans to be made, you will be told of them.’ Even when those things seem to take shape and form and people start coming in, it is still swept into the same category that ‘the script is written.’ It is not like those gatherings and seminars are apart from anything else that seems to happen in the world of form. There is no breaking it up into ‘I have some free time and here is some work time.’ Or even our metaphor of the ebb and flow is still a metaphor because the whole point is to have the sameness. It just takes one decision, one instant right now to do that though. It is not like it must be projected it out, it is just a present decision, a present intention.
Participant 1: That’s the only thing that can make it all the same.
David: Let’s bring it back to practicalities though. If you have thoughts come into your mind… those thoughts of ‘I’m off somewhere else’ or like you said, that when you have different distractions or different idea, what makes it practical is just to take look at those things as they come up. Whether it’s thoughts of special hate which you brought up a couple of days ago or so, or thoughts of ‘How will this work with my family and my kids’ or the daily routines of life in Traverse City or whatever. It’s to start with that, with what my concerns are. Like when we were traveling down to Jackson we got in touch with that idea about still wanting Tom to understand. That’s practical application of it, starting not with the abstract ‘dreamer of the dream’ thing but starting with ‘This is my concern, this is my thought’.
“The secret of salvation is but this: That you are doing this unto yourself. No matter what the form of the attack, this still is true. Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, still is this the truth. Whatever seems to be the cause of any pain and suffering you feel, this is still true. For you could not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream.”
That’s all you need. That’s it. That’s the summary.
“This single lesson learned will set you free from suffering, whatever form it takes. The Holy Spirit will repeat this one inclusive lesson of deliverance until it has been learned, regardless of the form of suffering that brings you pain. Whatever hurt you bring to Him He will make answer with this very simple truth. For this one answer takes away the cause of every form of sorrow and of pain. The form affects His answer not at all, for He would teach you but the single cause of all of them, no matter what their form. And you will understand that miracles reflect the simple statement, “I have done this thing, and it is this I would undo”. Bring, then, all forms of suffering to Him Who knows that every one is like the rest. He sees no differences where none exists, and He will teach you how each one is caused. None has a different cause from all the rest, and all of them are easily undone by but a single lesson truly learned. “
He’s speaking literally of the Atonement.
“Salvation is a secret you have kept but from yourself. The universe proclaims it so. Yet to its witnesses you pay no heed at all. For they attest the thing you do not want to know. They seem to keep it secret from you. Yet you need but learn you chose but not to listen, not to see.”
So if we go back to: ‘yet to it’s witnesses you pay no heed at all,’ this is literally everything that happens. I sometimes say that every brother you meet is a witness, but I am not speaking in terms of form because it has nothing to do with bodies. In fact, as long as you see bodies, you can’t see the lesson because you can’t see the face of Christ and see bodies. You could probably extend this as well not only to persons but to situations… in other words in the Workbook where Jesus says ‘You could receive vision from a table’ means forgiveness does not necessarily involve persons, but really what it does involve is really withdrawing all the meaning or interpretation from the past completely and let the Word of God be written upon it. Or to let the purpose of the Holy Spirit be exchanged for the ego’s purpose. And that is the witness that proclaims it so, that you are the ‘dreamer of the dream’ and that you are but doing this to yourself.
“How differently will you perceive the world when this is recognized! When you forgive the world your guilt, you will be free of it. Its innocence does not demand your guilt, nor does your guiltlessness rest on its sins. This is the obvious; a secret kept from no one but yourself. And it is this that has maintained you separate from the world, and kept your brother separate from you.”
There’s the subject/object split.
“Now need you but to learn that both of you are innocent or guilty. The one thing that is impossible is that you be unlike each other; that they both be true. This is the only secret yet to learn. And it will be no secret you are healed.”
It is obvious in that sense, why any grievance, even a little tiny grievance, is an attack upon God’s plan for salvation. Because a grievance is saying that there is still someone, some person, some thing that is different than it should be, that it’s wrong, that it’s guilty apart from myself. This healing statement is just saying that this is impossible.
Participant 1: There is no ‘apart from myself’.
David: Right. There is no ‘apart from myself,’ and for the mind that believes that there are ‘others’ believes that one could be guilty and one could be innocent. The belief that you are guilty and I am innocent or the belief that I am guilty and you are innocent. It doesn’t matter which way you go. The secret yet to learn is that they must be the same. I remember this past winter maybe last year when we were teaching a class and one fellow was talking about being sick and I remember saying, ‘You can’t be sick apart from me. Either we are both sick or we are both healed.’ He was saying that he was feeling sick and feeling very uncomfortable coming around such healthy people.
Participant 1: That comparison.
David: Feeling very much ‘less than’. Feeling very much like ‘I don’t belong here. I don’t belong coming to this class with you because I am so sick’…
Participant 1: …‘and still believe in sickness and you don’t’
David: It can’t be one and not the other. We are either both healed or we are both sick. And I say we are both healed.
Participant 1: That whole part in there, a few paragraphs before, where you were reading about ‘the secret of salvation and you are doing this unto yourself’… is really what we were talking about over lunch in terms of the child abuse issue. And how can you say that the mind brings witness to itself when you are talking about a two week old baby.
David: In that case, that’s making an exception saying that with adults it’s different. A young child so many months old… that’s the exception. Where guilt is seen as justified because there really has been a real abuse that has taken place, totally apart from the will of that child. And it is all a part of that level confusion in thinking that the mind is somehow related to the body. Bill Thetford went through the same kind of thing when he had difficulties going to conferences or rehab conventions where there apparently were these broken bodies all over the place… handicaps, disabilities, children and these kinds of things. And it was a reinforcer or a reminder in the belief of the frailty of life.
Participant 1: And that’s why he was having so much trouble with it is what you are saying?
David: Yes, and basically what Jesus says is that you have some level confusion going on. Level confusion is making an exception. You are confusing the brain with the mind. The mind is invulnerable. Even if you come to the level of ‘I can be hurt only by my thoughts’… that is just a description of the wrong-mind. But the release is that I don’t have to choose the wrong mind. I am not the wrong mind. My mind holds only what I think with God. That is a description of the right-mind. That is what we are to embrace. That’s the Correction.
Participant 1: Only my loving thoughts are true.
David: “The ancient new ideas they bring will be the happy consequences of a cause so ancient that it far exceeds the span of memory which your perception sees.”
Beneath the span of memory which the deceived mind’s perception sees is the memory of the Present, the memory of God. It is beyond the span which the deceived mind sees. So as I’ve said before, the present isn’t in between the past and the future, the present is before time was. Remember we went over that. That is beyond what the wrong-mind can see. The wrong-mind cannot perceive the present. Now is literally back farther, beyond time. And when he says ‘ancient new ideas’ obvious there he is talking about the real thoughts in the mind that are buried beneath the attack thoughts. And a lot of times someone will say, ‘Give me an example of a real thought’ and a good one you can throw out is ‘I am as God created me’. There is not a hint of perception to that idea. That’s an ancient new thought that’s buried in the mind but literally brings with it salvation because it is not perceptual. Is that the only one? No. ‘I am spirit’ – there’s another one… If you really look in the Workbook you can find them there. There are the real thoughts in there: ‘My mind holds only what I think with God’. Not a hint of perception. There are a lot of the other ones that say, ‘I am determined to see’ or ‘What I see is a form of vengeance,’ and some of those that are clearly pointing to the way that the mind seems to see now. Those are clearing away higher concepts, making ready for the real thoughts which are totally abstract.
Now we see him shift from lower case ‘c’ to capital ‘C’.
“This is the Cause the Holy Spirit has remembered for you, when you would forget.”
So now God is coming into the discussion. He has shifted to capital ‘C’.
“It is not past because He let It not be unremembered. It has never changed, because there never was a time in which He did not keep It safely in your mind. Its consequences will indeed seem new, because you thought that you remembered not their Cause. Yet was It never absent from your mind, for it was not your Father’s Will that He be unremembered by His Son.”
That Cause is literally the memory of God. ‘It was not your Father’s Will that He be unremembered by His Son…what you remembered never was…’ So here He’s speaking to the ego self. This can be confusing at times for people when they are reading the Course because they’ll say, ‘Well, when he says you are the holy Son of God himself, he seems to be speaking of a different ‘you’ than when he says what ‘you’ remembered never was.’
“It came from causelessness which you confused with cause. It can deserve but laughter, when you learn you have remembered consequences that were causeless and could never be effects.”
(Laughing) There we have it! The laughter…
“The miracle reminds you of a Cause forever present, perfectly untouched by time and interference. Never changed from what It is. And you are Its Effect, as changeless and as perfect as Itself.”
So we’re back to the idea that real Cause and the only Cause is God. Now he’s shifting to ’and you are his Effects’ he is not speaking to the ego now. He is speaking to the Son of God.
Participant 1: The true You.
“Its memory does not lie in the past, nor waits the future. It is not revealed in miracles. They but remind you that It has not gone. When you forgive It for your sins, It will no longer be denied.”
‘It does not reveal the miracles’… that’s the difference between revelation and miracles. Miracles are time collapses that are the means or that prepare the mind for revelation. But miracles are not revealing or revelatory in the sense that they are still perceptual. And revelation literally is not a perceptual experience. The mind, when it is in a revelatory experience, absolutely has no memory of fear.
As we come together with our intention we are able to transfer the training to all the seeming separate aspects of the deceived mind’s life including pap smears and food and sex and on and on. In reality there is no separation between all those things because there’s that ‘golden cord’ or the necklace that ties them all together. But to that mind that believes that they are separate aspects that have a true experience and existence in and of themselves, then it needs miracles just to remind it that the false is false.
“You who have sought to lay a judgment on your own Creator cannot understand it is not He Who laid a judgment on His Son. You would deny Him His effects, yet have they never been denied. There was no time in which His Son could be condemned for what was causeless and against His Will.”
At times during the intensive and other times people will raise this question: ‘How could I have done this?’ or ‘Why do I keep doing this?,’ and that is just the ego speaking. That is the ego that has the question. It is the ego that is frustrated and seeming to beat itself up. All those statements are just coming from the wrong-mind. They are statements of a mind that is deceived that is trying to still deny the fact of Christ. ‘You would deny Him His effects, yet have they never been denied’. If you really follow where this is going, this world is a hallucination, and to really see it as a hallucination you must simultaneously, spontaneously spring into Reality. To just see the world in that way (a hallucination) and not think of it as a good metaphor, but just to see it for what it was. Certainly with that kind of an experience the attempting to do anything on one’s own vanishes, because it seems to be impossible. It seen that I cannot act on my own, for that was not me.
“What your remembering would witness to is but the fear of God. “
He is speaking more to the deceived mind here.
“He has not done the thing you fear. No more have you. And so your innocence has not been lost. You need no healing to be healed.”
That seems to fly against some of the other things, that you’re function is healing and so on, but now we are getting down to the nitty gritty.
Participant 1: But, nothing ever occurred that calls for healing is the essence of this.
David: Right, it’s the very basis for the metaphysics. ‘What you thought you did has not occurred. You need no healing to be healed.’
Participant 2: The impossible never happened. (Pause) Something else came to my mind as you were talking about that and it never really occurred to me before even though I’ve heard the metaphor of it being a hallucination and I’ve read that many times. But just as you said that this time, I had this memory of a time when I was in college and I had taken some drug and I had hallucinated and it was so scary to me. I hated it and I thought, ‘That’s the fear’ because things were not as I expected them. Walls moved and distances were altered. Something that looked real short, then when I walked towards it, it would be far away. So my perception that I knew or thought I knew was all distorted.
Participant 1: Unreliable.
Participant 2: Yes, unreliable. And so it was very very scary to me. And I can remember having this feeling of being out of control and like I just wanted to go somewhere and hide until it went away. I thought, ‘I can’t be with people. I can’t do anything. I can’t function’. All those feelings came back to me just now and Wow! All those feelings are still there in this hallucination. It only makes sense that you would feel that way when your perception is distorted, when nothing is as it appears, when nothing is as it is supposed to be. I don’t even know who I am or how I relate to any of this. Just the tremendous fear that is there.
David: Kind of like a magnified, extreme version of the upsets… of the seemingly minor ones of things not going they way you think they should or… you shared that experience of when you went to the Virginia conference and you felt very out of place… the fear, the isolation that came up there. And really what we are seeing is that we have to see is that is the way that the world is constructed.
Participant 2: Yes, and I thought ‘I’m living with that fear everyday!’. But I am just so used to it, that I am not even aware of it anymore. I have just put it aside or covered it up so well that I don’t even know it is there. But just the tremendous fear… when I am really taking the hallucination seriously and buying into it and buying into what my perceptions tell me…
Participant 1: …even though they are all off.
Participant 2: Yes, even though they’re meaningless. But I am taking them as true.
David: And what is beneath the fear of hallucination is… of course the mind chose the hallucination to cover over what it is really afraid of. And as we have gotten into it over the last several weeks and you have had some kind of a fear come up, you start to project fear into the future or feeling drawn with this intention to other things, even thinking of maybe going to Waynesville or family or those kind of things. Or you have gotten into the defense of ‘Hey I don’t have it so bad’ and that’s where the mind will try to cling to this covering over that it has done, saying that ‘I’ve got it good, I shouldn’t complain’ or ‘I should be able to have it both ways. I should be able to hang onto this and that‘, when there is a real fear of going into that Light of just letting go of everything else but that Purpose. That’s what the real fear is. The fear of the hallucination is just the cover for the big one: the fear of Love.
Participant 2: So that gives me some sense of what kind of fear we’re talking about. It’s tremendous. It’s terror and it describes it as terror, but I guess I’d never really felt that or imagined what that really is about and, wow, when I get a glimpse of it….
David: And loss of control. You said you also felt a tremendous loss of control.
Participant 2: Yes, I remember that feeling very strongly. I remember thinking that I never want to do this again because I do not like this feeling. I knew people who thought it was really cool to hallucinate, but not me. This is not for me.
Participant 1: That’s the way I felt when I got drunk. It is like, why do people do this? I don’t ever want to do this again. Because I felt very out of control and I did not like the change in my perception.
David: It is just one side of it. In other words, your self concepts have been focused toward order and control. The flip side of it would be, ‘my life is too in control’. We saw that in something we were watching, watching to loose control and let go. In that sense the interpretation of hallucinogens and marijuana and so forth is like, ‘Yeah, I’m letting go of my inhibitions and control’. So, really it’s just two sides of the defense. And the control issue is the authority problem, believing that I am who I think I am in this world. That I have constructed a world and a self, and I am me. I am unique… I have my likes and dislikes. I have my opinions and conclusions and that’s the way I want it to stay. I want peace, but I want it to be a peaceful ‘me,’ a peaceful “person.’ I want to retain something…
Participant 1: Peace on these terms.
David: Right, on my own terms. And it’s impossible. That’s the joy I see in what we’ve been doing because it is starting to come to see the absolute absurdity and impossibility of control. Trying to bring the truth to the illusion, or trying to mix Spirit and time and space and matter, as if they can be reconciled or mixed. Oil and water, stirring and stirring and stirring -they do not go together. If it seems extreme, it’s extreme. All attempts to reconcile the two are futile.
“In quietness, see in the miracle a lesson in allowing Cause to have Its Own effects, and doing nothing that would interfere.”
Another great support for that idea is the whole section in the Course called ‘I need do nothing.’ It is explained right there in that sentence. That’s the metaphysics behind ‘I need do nothing’.
“… he does not believe that he is Love’s Effect, and must be cause because of what he is.
The Cause of healing is the only Cause of everything. It has but one Effect. And in that recognition, causelessness is given no effects and none is seen. A mind within a body and a world of other bodies, each with separate minds, are your “creations”, you the “other” mind, creating with effects unlike yourself. And as their “father”, you must be like them.”
So if you believe in personhood, in a separate mind… then the whole illusion of ‘other minds’ and ‘other bodies’ that seem to be causative and the whole world of reverse of cause and effect seems to be set in motion just from the belief that you can create yourself. All attempts to deny that I am the Son of God and I am created by my Father… there’s so many different rationalizations like ‘I’m only human’ or ‘We’re only human’. That seems to be a soothing thing, that I’m always hearing. But when you really look at the content beneath that, that is an attack thought. There is nothing soothing about being who you are not.
Participant 1: There is also nothing realistic about being who you are not.
David: That‘s another thing that comes in a lot. ‘Let’s be realistic. Let’s be practical’. But practical in those terms, you’re back to ‘Am I this instant denying the truth or will I choose to accept it?’. These ego schemes get unveiled.
“ Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep, and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself, and but a part of someone else’s dream.”
If we take that sentence and bring it to specifics, we’re back to ‘I try to do the Course the best I can but I can only go so far at work. I can only go so far in my family. I can only go so far because I am a citizen of the United States, after all. I can only go so far because I am handicapped because I only have this much intelligence or only have this degree’ or whatever the rationalization, underneath it is ‘I am dreaming a dream and I am alien to myself but I am part of someone else’s dream’. The people pleasing comes in or the worry about what someone else will think or how someone else will react is basically just a restatement of this sentence, that I am part of someone else’s dream. The ego is saying: ‘I can’t just wake up. There are other people to be dealt with.’ The fear of letting someone down is tied in with believing that I am part of someone else’s dream. I remember when you came down initially to Cincinnati that time, and it came to you like a bolt of lightening that you were to move and step away from your job. And there was that old thought/belief pattern of believing that you are part of a system or a network. ‘People are counting on me‘. Once you get clear that you are the dreamer of the dream you don’t have to constantly compromise to the dream figures because you are not in their dream. Remind yourself: ‘This is my dream.’
“The miracle does not awaken you, but merely shows you who the dreamer is. It teaches you there is a choice of dreams while you are still asleep, depending on the purpose of your dreaming. Do you wish for dreams of healing, or for dreams of death? A dream is like a memory in that it pictures what you wanted shown to you. An empty storehouse, with an open door, holds all your shreds of memories and dreams. Yet if you are the dreamer, you perceive this much at least: That you have caused the dream and can accept another dream as well. But for this change in content of the dream, it must be realized that it is you who dreamed the dreaming that you do not like.”
So we are back to reversing cause and effect, bringing causation back to the mind. And even there, once again, the tense is so important: ‘…it must be realized that it is you who dreamed the dream’. This is definitely a step… this is not reaching the level of ‘My mind holds only what I think with God’ but it is the step that comes before that idea. I have to accept responsibility for it, but also I don’t have to feel guilty for it because it is past tense. And I am in the present. There is a present cause that I can give for the dream. When we say present cause we are not talking about the capital ‘C’ Cause Which dispels the dream entirely, but the Holy Spirit’s purpose (cause) is a reflection of the present. There is no purpose in Heaven (Abstraction), so it’s not a component of Heaven. But first things first.
“ It is but an effect that you have caused, and you would not be cause of this effect. In dreams of murder and attack are you the victim in a dying body slain. But in forgiving dreams is no one asked to be the victim and the sufferer. These are the happy dreams the miracle exchanges for your own. It does not ask you make another; only that you see you made the one you would exchange for this.”
That sentence, ‘in forgiving dreams is no one asked to be the victim and the sufferer’ reminds me of the line ‘those who see themselves as healed make no demands’ and that is a phenomenal idea because in this world the mind can’t even imagine what that would be like, because all of it’s relationships involve reciprocity. Make no demands. You could say that the Holy Spirit reminds, the Holy Spirit suggests… but ever commands or demands. You can see what a wonderful release that would be and how you would have to give up all conceptions of the world as you think you know it. All business relationships, all relationships according to roles that are predetermined have to be abandoned because as long as you have predetermined roles, functions, duties and obligations you are still in an ego reciprocity set up. And Jesus gives us the model for that. Since forgiveness was his only function, he did not claim to be the king of the Jews or hold any kind of earthly position. He did not require anything,. He made suggestions and he said things like, ‘Follow me’ which is a pretty strong suggestion. But not with a sense of commanding or demanding. He didn’t demand anything of the Pharisees or Scribes or Priests – only suggestions.
Participant 1: There wasn’t any sense of , do this or else.
David: Right. No threat involved.
Participant 2: And no implied expectations. I was thinking of the terms that might be used… suggest or invite, but as soon as I put an expectation on it, then that is the demand because I can suggest something to you, but if I have an expectation that you are going to follow my suggestion, that is where the demand lies. Not in the way I word it. Not that I have to say, ‘You must do this’.
David: If there’s an implied expectation in my own mind then that is still a demand. And that is the temptation with the spiritual path as well… the clearer one gets in this stuff it is apparent that as long as there is an ego temptation to still have some type of control, even subtly, over what goes on… that is the ultimate in the guru trap is that in a subtle way the ego still wants to raise itself up in terms of still having a personal identity. Still wanting to give some direction, still wanting to have some element of control over the pupils or the students. It can be a very subtle thing. And once again the whole guru trap is just another form of ego distraction. It cannot exist apart from one’s own mind, but it takes very careful learning and careful watching to stay beyond that because of the temptation. The ego still wants to maintain some type of control.
“This world is causeless, as is every dream that anyone has dreamed within the world. No plans are possible, and no design exists that could be found and understood.”
There’s some implications in the first two sentences. All of the pursuits and the plans that are seeming to be necessary in this world are stated in that second sentence, and we are told that they don’t make any sense.
“What else could be expected from a thing that has no cause? Yet if it has no cause, it has no purpose. You may cause a dream, but never will you give it real effects. For that would change its cause, and it is this you cannot do. The dreamer of a dream is not awake, but does not know he sleeps. He sees illusions of himself as sick or well, depressed or happy, but without a stable cause with guaranteed effects.”
So that is just coming back to what we started off with in this section ‘without a cause there can be no effects’ and ‘a cause is made a cause by it’s effects’. It’s saying that the world is causeless so you can’t try to give reality to the effects. So you can make illusions, but you can’t make real effects. All of the disciplines and the sciences and the attempts to understand the world and how it works, how the cosmos works. That is what they are based on, that is what science is about. All of them presume a world, a real world that has real parts in it and that has real interactions, real cause and effect relationships between those parts. And all of them in one sense just deny the truly religious or spiritual act that Now is the only time that there is. That is where true religious experience (Inner Peace) transcends science, all the disciplines, all the theories, all the schools of thought. It literally transcends all of those. That was the thing for me when I was going through all of my years of searching. What was I to be? This was something I pondered even in high school when I looked into the different menus of the world, the professions and vocations. Out of aptitude tests and career planning they were able to generate a large number, and there wasn’t just a few on the menu. I looked up and down computer sheets and there was nothing there, and I felt very out of place. I felt very awkward. I felt very weird, like everyone else has something leap off the paper and not me. Even when I went on to study Engineering, my heart wasn’t in it. Even though it seemed that there was nothing attractive to do, I believed you have to do something to make a living.
Participant 1: I remember that feeling. After I had recognized teaching wasn’t it and I was working in a social work arena and I remember taking this aptitude career direction test and it indicated a number of different things. I looked at them all and thought…. Yuck. Maybe I can do them but I don’t want to.
David: I had a sense too that I could do any number of the things that I saw on the printout, but my heart wasn’t in it and after ten years of college it was the same thing. I had pursued and gone into education very deeply. By then I had really investigated it all closely, looking at a lot of disciplines and their schools of thought. I had not only tried the hypothetical thing, pondering them, but had actually dabbled in and tried them out. But by then there was a sense that there was something internal Calling me and Guiding me but I didn’t know what it was or where it was going. It was like a mission. I had by then read some of Maslow’s stuff about studying self-actualizing people, and he said they had very strong sense of a mission or purpose or meaning to life… and I related to that but didn’t know what it was.
Participant 2: So how does this relate?
David: Well, when I read a line like ‘the world is causeless as is any dream that anyone has dreamed within the world. No design exists that could be found and understood’ – that the difficulty in trying to work with A Course in Miracles and trying to fit it in. For example taking metaphysics into corporate America or trying to shape Course Principles into a business. I ran into a lot of that in the Association of Humanistic Psychology where they were attempting to take a lot of ideas like that into the structures… and many of the conferences would have those aims and directions. What we are seeing is that as we get into the depth of the Course the basic theme is that there is no reconciliation between Spirit between the time/space/matter continuum which would include daily life as it is experienced, all kinds of concepts including careers and disciplines and institutions, and so on. ‘No plans are possible and no design exists that could be found and understood’.
Participant 1: You can’t bring truth to the illusion.
David: This world is an hallucination. There seems to be healthy well adjusted people walking around on this planet and there seem to be others that are psychotic and insane and sick that are locked up. Anyone who appears to walk this world holding beliefs of separation in their mind is literally psychotic. There has been a break with reality in the sense that the mind is dreaming a world and hallucinating and thinking it sees meaning and life in this world… that there is real life in this world. This world was made as a denial of life. The only life is the Light deep down within the mind. Really when we start to look at that, these kind of sections set up some of the Workbook lessons where Jesus will literally say ‘there is no world’ and repeat it even within a lesson (132). ‘I loosed the world from all I thought it was’. When you look at that lesson, these ideas are the under pinnings for that experience. A lot of times the question comes, ‘It even says in the Bible, to be in the world and not of it.’. But we really have to take a look at that idea ’in the world but not of it.’ And I have also heard it said that ‘I have a feeling that if I keep following this that I am not going to be functional in the world.’ Surely one will not function the way one functioned in the past. It is a complete transformation where there isn’t a separate being perceived as functioning in the world, or walking in the dream world, but it will be a sense of totally letting go and really giving no thought to behavior or doing because that is just an out picturing or a byproduct of holding to that intention that peace comes from being aligned with the Holy Spirit. Being in that Purpose or intention is everything. And the ego will immediately jump back in and say, ‘How will that look?’ It is irrelevant in the ultimate sense how that will look. How will that look to who? If there is no world outside my mind and there is no person outside my mind… I have constructed them all… then that question dissolves. Another way of looking at that aside from a material stand point is Jesus saying ’I am determined to see. I am determined to see things differently. Above all else I want to see. Above all else I want to see things differently’. That seeing that he is talking about… that vision that he is leading the mind to… that is not vision in the sense of the physical eyes. Reversing cause and effect is like turning an upside down world right side up so to speak.
“The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions. No one is afraid of them when he perceives he made them up. The fear was held in place because he did not see that he was author of the dream, and not a figure in the dream.”
That gets to our point: it can’t be both. You can’t be dreamer of the dream and author of the dream as well as a figure in the dream. All fear is held in place by believing and perceiving one’s self as a figure in the dream. It is like saying ’I don’t want to look at the fear inside. I don’t want to look at the cause of the whole dream, but I have already accepted that there is a real cause for the dream and I am a figure in it’. So the fear can’t be released because the fear is held in place, it remains covered over in the mind and unconscious.
“He gives himself the consequences that he dreams he gave his brother. And it is but this the dream has put together and has offered him, to show him that his wishes have been done. Thus does he fear his own attack, but sees it at another’s hands.”
We’ve gone through those sections of ‘the secret of salvation is but this… you are doing this to yourself’ and the deceived mind which seemed to do it is now seeing the world as if it is being done itself.
“As victim, he is suffering from its effects”
“The miracle does nothing but to show him that he has done nothing.”
So, it is seeing… making the metaphysical connections… like the other day we did the workshop and got into the discussion of sexual abuse, and the woman there was saying that you can’t say that it didn’t happen. If you follow this metaphysically that is precisely what you come to. The very thing that seems absurd is what you end up with as being reality. The past is gone and in reality never happened is the short way of saying it.
“What he fears is cause without the consequences that would make it cause. And so it never was.”
Every cause must have an effect; every cause must have consequences. Since it is not a real cause, it doesn’t have real consequences. In the deceived mind it is believed to be real and the effects are believed to be real and seen as causative in themselves. But that doesn’t make them true. Because what the mind believes in doesn’t make it true. Kind of like Eternal Knowledge. It can be kept from awareness but that doesn’t keep It from being what It Is.
“The separation started with the dream the Father was deprived of His effects, and powerless to keep them since He was no longer their Creator. In the dream, the dreamer made himself. But what he made has turned against him, taking on the role of its creator, as the dreamer had. And as he hated his Creator, so the figures in the dream have hated him. His body is their slave, which they abuse because the motives he has given it have they adopted as their own.”
That’s very applicable to what we were discussing about the child abuse. That is the exact word ‘abuse’.
“ …which they abuse because the motives he has given it have they adopted as their own. And hate it for the vengeance it would offer them. It is their vengeance on the body which appears to prove the dreamer could not be the maker of the dream. Effect and cause are first split off, and then reversed, so that effect becomes a cause; the cause, effect.”
This is just another way of saying what we just read in the ‘dreamer of the dream’ section, that the hero of the dream seems to go in and out of all these places that are contrived by the dream and the mind seems to be the effect of all this. The mind seems to have no power over the events that seem to happen.
“This is the separation’s final step, with which salvation, which proceeds to go the other way, begins. This final step is an effect of what has gone before, appearing as a cause.”
In the Raj material it is the idea of retracing steps. What the Course says is that time actually goes backwards instead of forwards. This seems to be an unusual idea because the world believes that time is linear and that it moves forward. But when the images come to me, it is like having walked on a beach and seen the footprints in the sand and then taking a broom and stepping back, back, back, along the beach and sweeping the broom over them. So you are literally retracing the steps until you come back to the final point and are off the beach, so to speak, without any footprints or any trace of anything that has happened. It is important because it is saying here that this is the separation’s final step, splitting off cause and effect and reversing them, with which salvation, which proceeds to go the other way, begins. So when we talked yesterday in our last session, we have to begin with specifics… ‘I am feeling upset right now’ and literally turn it around and say that I am literally projecting this upset to be because of something happening and I have to turn cause and effect around in my mind… right now, take a look at this. That is a retracing, just coming to another realization that in this particular situation or arena or event, that I am seeing that it is not this external thing that is the cause. It is the first step before you come to the transfer of training and before you come to this final generalization or realization that there is nothing outside of me (mind) that can do that.
“This final step is an effect of what has gone before, appearing as a cause. The miracle is the first step in giving back to cause the function of causation, not effect.”
And another way to word that would be that the miracle is the first step in giving back to the mind the function of causation, not effect.
“For this confusion has produced the dream, and while it lasts will wakening be feared. Nor will the call to wakening be heard, because it seems to be the call to fear.”
So as long as the mind believes in backward thinking and holds to it and clings to it, then the Holy Spirit is associated with terror because the Holy Spirit seems to be a threat to the self concept, to the way that the world has been constructed.
“Like every lesson that the Holy Spirit requests you learn, the miracle is clear. It demonstrates what He would have you learn, and shows you its effects are what you want. In His forgiving dreams are the effects of yours undone, and hated enemies perceived as friends with merciful intent. Their enmity is seen as causeless now, because they did not make it. And you can accept the role of maker of their hate, because you see that it has no effects. Now are you freed from this much of the dream; the world is neutral, and the bodies that still seem to move about as separate things need not be feared. And so they are not sick.”
If the dream figures don’t have any sense of will or purpose or intent in and of themselves, then it’s seen that as the ’dreamer of the dream’ I gave them all the meaning that I perceived in them. But they never had a hateful or spiteful intent. That is just something that was once projected onto them. That is why the crucifixion is such an extreme teaching device, because in the world’s eyes Jesus was betrayed, abandoned, torn, hated and eventually killed and he projected no hateful intent onto the dream figures. At that point we could say, at the scene of the crucifixion, that the world is neutral and bodies that seem to move about as separate things need not be feared. It is part of the backward thinking that creeps in with the crucifixion, that there was some suffering involved for Jesus. And what we are seeing here is that there was no suffering involved, no pain involved, nothing in the world that would reinforce the separation being real because he saw that he was the dreamer of the dream.
Participant 1: So there was no more projection.
David: And if he sees the world as causeless then there is no guilt in the mind and therefore there is nothing on the screen that would reinforce that guilt. Certainly pain and suffering are simply reinforcements of the belief that guilt is real.
“The miracle returns the cause of fear to you who made it. But it also shows that, having no effects, it is not cause, because the function of causation is to have effects. And where effects are gone, there is no cause. Thus is the body healed by miracles because they show the mind made sickness, and employed the body to be victim, or effect, of what it made.”
So he is jumping down kind of in a metaphorical level to, ‘thus is the body healed by miracles’. We’ve talked in the ultimate sense that the body can’t be sick and the body can’t be well. Literally the mind in the miracle sees it is not in a body, and therefore the body isn’t being used as an effect or being employed to be the victim. It is seen as causeless and not a real effect and it is perceived to be outside the mind instead of containing the mind. It gets back to some of our other discussions of sickness where the deceived mind so much wants to be right about being a separate self, about being a self concept, that it just uses the body as proof. That is the witness that it calls to the stand. And in the miracle it is seen that the mind was mistaken about what it thought it was and it no longer sees that it is in the body and no longer needs to see the body as a symbol of sin or as proof that separation is real. That is where the patient can rise up, literally, in the miracle and say, ‘I have no need of this.’ because the decision is seen to be a decision of mind and returned to the mind and taken away from the body being victim.
“Yet half the lesson will not teach the whole. The miracle is useless if you learn but that the body can be healed, for this is not the lesson it was sent to teach. The lesson is the mind was sick that thought the body could be sick; projecting out its guilt caused nothing, and had no effects.”
So a lot of times when we are in workshops with groups and someone will bring up the thing, ‘but I feel guilty because I was sick and it seemed like I couldn’t do anything about it’. Underneath that statement is the belief that the mind knows what sickness is and the premise that the body could be sick.
Participant 1: That that’s possible.
David: Yes, that it’s possible. And that’s not really a question, it’s really just a statement that still is saying ‘I believe that I know what can be sick.’ And once again, the lesson is that the ‘mind was sick that thought the body could be sick; projecting out its guilt caused nothing and had no effects.’ It is back to the hallucination. That is the most you could say of it. Not speaking as if it’s a fact, ‘I was sick’ with the flu, or with cancer…
Participant 1: Or, some other body was sick. It’s all the same.
David: It is that thing of staying with the single lesson… staying with the lesson consistently. In the Teacher’s Manual Jesus says that it is rare that the lesson can be consistently applied to all situations. He is pointing to how much vigilance it takes to stay with that lesson that the mind is sick, and that it is impossible for bodies to be sick, to generalize that and transfer that to all situations and settings. It is trying to maintain a vigilance about what can be sick and whenever there is attention paid to the symptoms we are talking about, it is a real temptation, but it is so easy to just go from what we just talked about in our intensive and gone through very carefully to see more talk about it at the symptom level. One of the things today was the idea of trying to maintain a constant vigilance against that. It is very easy to slide back into that. Temperature is another one. There has been a lot of talk when we are in the building about temperature. Up and down and stoves and so on and so forth. Can we keep it in the workshop and watch our minds and watch the ‘blah blah blah’ and then withdraw our minds from all the ego chatter. Try to be very attentive to the mind all the time and keep a close watch. Is there anything in particular that anyone wants to go into today?
Participant 1: I don’t know in what way but I think to go more into the sickness would be helpful for me. I guess I am concluding that because I still seem to have some symptoms that I am not as clear as I could be about all this. Even when I cough part of me feels like I shouldn’t be coughing, that that is a bad example. Every time I cough or blow my nose.
David: So there is a real focus on the symptom. Do you feel self conscious or uneasy or guilty?
Participant 1: To me it seems like a failure to be clear in my mind, if I am coughing and blowing my nose.
David: That’s good. So right now you are saying that you would like to get clear. That is important. You are making an interpretation that is a fearful interpretation and if you continue on without that leaving and feel like you are not doing it, not getting it, feel like you are not teaching what you should be teaching or however you are interpreting it in your mind, it is just a state where the fear doesn’t get reduced at all. There’s no shift. And one person seems to ask, meaning well, ‘How are you doing today?’ and maybe want to fix special kinds of foods and it goes on and on and can seem to be a counter to everything we have talked about in the intensive because it seems to be lending support to something that can’t be shared. That would be something like a dining room workshop example of not sharing ideas that don’t come from my Father and yet the temptation to go right along and go ahead and do it anyway. It has to be clear that it is an either/or thing. It can’t be something that you talk about and give lip service to and then you turn around and slide into something else. When we get into the theme of magic, the whole point of the mixture of magic and miracle is that if the mind is too fearful of the miracle, then that is when a mixture of miracle and magic is recommend. This could seem to play out as taking medication, getting up and leaving… it could be anything external. Doing something on the outside to try to bring about some kind or relief within.
Participant 2: And sometimes they leave too… I’ve found that eliminates the discussion of people…. When I have had symptoms before I deliberately don’t put myself in situations where I know people are going to be asking me about it, or focusing on it because that is not helpful to me. I don’t want people asking how I am feeling or focusing on it if I am coughing or blowing my nose and questioning me about that because I don’t want to discuss it. I think I try to not put myself in positions where that is not going to become an issue, if possible. If there is a choice involved where I can make that choice.
David: Well, in a lot of discussions, we always say, ‘Bring it up’. In other words, where two or more are gathered… that’s a golden opportunity for the mind shift. To be able to bring it up, trace it back with the intention to get so clear with the belief that there can be a shift of mind. It is not like we are coming together with other topics to discuss and we won’t discuss that. But to actually, if you feel willing and comfortable enough, bring it up and use it as something to go into and get clear on. The guilt is coming from the interpretation of the symptoms. What we are trying to get at in the mind is that the body cannot be sick. Like we talked the other day about a pencil or a shoe being sick. The mind is the only thing that can be sick, metaphorically. The wrong-mind is sick. But it is starting to see that the learning device cannot be sick, and there is only a faulty interpretation of the learning device. Imagine comparing a refrigerator sound to a cough… and the guilt coming from the interpretation that is being given to what is happening on the screen. It has nothing to do with anything per se.
Participant 2: And what the Course is telling us to do is overlook the mistakes that are made. We overlook the ego. So what David is saying is that if someone is coughing it is just a matter of my overlooking it. If I make an interpretation of it, then I am making the same mistake as the person coughing. So it is just another opportunity for me to overlook a mistake that seems to be coming from a brother. It is a reminder for me. That section in the healed relationship that we read has been in my mind since the day we talked about it. It says ‘the Holy Spirit appreciates your efforts…he recognizes your good efforts on your behalf and he has overlooked your mistakes. Have you been willing to do the same for your brother?’ And for myself: Have I been willing to do the same with mistakes and appreciate the good efforts? That had a real impact on me because I haven’t. I recognize that is something I really need to work at because I don’t overlook mistakes and instead pick them out even, point them out to myself. And so a cough or any symptom is just another mistake. Its getting into that order of difficulty too that is saying that if you cough, that is different than if you have breast cancer. Then your mind is healed or more healed. It is just a mistake.
Participant 1: So the mistake is that I associate coughing with sickness, that is the mistake.
Participant 2: The mistake is that you think the body can be sick.
David: When we get to our question of purpose, when you get to the idea of how to look on the body, what you are using it for, and you can take it to a broader realm of looking at your whole life under this thing of Purpose, how you use and see the body is what is important. Do I see it as insignificant and completely apart from me and as a learning device or are there ways in which it still seems very important to me. That is why it is important to go into that deeply. We can use the vehicle of talking about sickness and go into it and go as deeply as we can to get clearer and clearer on this. To see a chair as a chair is sick. To see a clock as a clock is sick. Because in the ultimate sense to see anything as if it has a separate existence in and apart from everything else is sick. It’s a sick interpretation. But you see how different that is from in the world’s eyes as maybe seeing a body as sick. To the world a chair is a chair a clock is a clock and a sick person is a sick person because they have symptoms that let us know that they are sick versus a healthy person. Yet it’s the mind that is breaking the world up into little boxes and categories. That is sick. That is what we have to start to see. That is where the sickness lies. Much less reading meaning into particular symptoms and saying that some bodies are sicker than others… that cancer is much more serious than the flu or a hangnail. You see all those different categories, but it goes much deeper than just coughs or something like that.
What I popped open to was lesson 136 in the workbook. It’s a springboard today. And just as a prelude to this, let me get back to the self concept stuff too. If the mind believes it’s guilty and it is so determined to hang on to that concept, to it sickness seems like a very small price because it is a witness that the body can tell the mind how to feel. It is a witness the that smallness, the vulnerability must be true. So it can comeback to something as subtle as, ‘I want something to be this way instead of that way’. All that we have talked about, our ordering of thoughts, preferences. The mind that believes it can order it’s own thoughts is a mind that is sick, but it doesn’t want to see how sick that is, doesn’t want to see that it’s wrong. So by making it seem as if things happen to the body that have no connection at all to the mind, completely without the mind’s intention, then that is another witness or proof of it’s vulnerability and that guilt is justified.
“No one can heal unless he understands what purpose sickness seems to serve. For then he understands as well its purpose has no meaning. Being causeless and without a meaningful intent of any kind, it cannot be at all. When this is seen, healing is automatic.”
So it’s really bringing it back to the mind. What is the cause of sickness? Even if you define it in terms of the wrong-mind. The wrong-mind is the sick interpretation of reality. It is the assertion that says, ‘I am what I wish to be rather than as God created me’. And when it says ‘being causeless and without a meaningful intent of any kind it cannot be at all’. It has to be traced back to where it came from. Did it come from God? That’s the ultimate question that it comes back to every time. It is just that simple.
Participant 2: See, I have used this and other sections of the Course but I feel guilty because I think I see that. But I have had times when healing was not automatic. In that other section in the Manual where it says, ‘If the patient even suspected this, they would be healed instantly’ and I think that I certainly suspect it! I feel like I have a clue of what’s going on. Then I think I must be kidding myself. I must not understand it at all.
David: We have to keep trying to train our minds to hold to that intention and to let go of everything we think we know.
Participant 2: Making all these interpretations and everything, it would be much easier just to not go anywhere to not have to deal with all these other people who don’t meet my expectations or my interpretation of how it should be. And yet that is no answer either because I have to have those opportunities to practice.
Participant 3: But what you are saying is that there is no where to go. It is like being an atheist… there’s something to deny. So you really are saying there is something, but you want to deny it.
Participant 2: That there is someone for me to stay away from… situations to avoid.
Participant 3: Yes.
David: Well, if you put it into Course terms ‘Only God’s plan for salvation will work’ What is God’s plan for salvation? Change your mind about your mind. That’s it. In this instant. Then there is the ego’s plan… if someone acted differently or if I was in a different place…if this event had happened, if this circumstance was different than it is… something on the screen has to change. But the only thing that doesn’t change in the ego’s plan is changing my mind about my mind. That I don’t have to do. I can be right about who I think I am and something on the screen has to change. You see. That lays it out. There’s God’s plan, there’s the ego’s plan. And He says that ‘This seems preposterous, but you will see that you do believe in the preposterous if you observe your life, if you observe your mind’. That’s precisely what you are trying to do all the time. You are trying to change something external to bring about salvation and it will never work. That will cost the whole world you think you know, and the whole world you think you see.
Participant 1: Talk about this idea of what is most useful. I want some clarity on when to hold that in front of me and when I am using that as an excuse or an escape or a judgment.
David: You put it in the context of the stages of development of trust. First you go through a stage where you start to have a sense that everything is helpful. Wherever the body seems to go, whatever you seem to be doing. Then is the thing about increasing the helpfulness. And it is still a phase that it is obviously an illusion because the mind thinks, still thinks, it knows what is most helpful or what will increase the helpfulness. So it is really like a stepping stone but the next stage is the realization that the teacher of God… all he wanted was to let go of the false and accept the true but he had no sense of what the false and the true are. His mind is still so tied into the idea of sacrifice and the belief in form that he still doesn’t know. So that early stage of what can increase the helpfulness, what to do to increase the helpfulness, is still an early stepping stone because it still involves changing circumstances. It is a subtle kind of a error, an ego error, to make a haven to hide from the guilt. The Course talks about it in terms of the special love relationships but you could have a student on the spiritual path trying to find the easiest most helpful path and still sliding into that haven of ‘when I’m in such and such a setting and when it’s quiet and we can sit around and we can comfortably talk, I want to stay in such an environment forever because that is most helpful’.
In answer to your question, it’s really important to just stay attentive. You can instantaneously use any situation that seems to be on the screen. You can bring it back and look at your reaction and use that as a starting point to see where you are making an interpretation of any particular situation that is hurting you right now. We get back to right-mind and wrong-mind. There are two mindsets and whenever I am feeing coercion and whenever I am feeling bewildered, confused, doubting, restless I ask myself: Can Christ be restless? Can Christ be doubting? There is a very fundamental identity confusion and the restlessness, the uncomfortable feeling still means that I want to cling and hang onto the way I have constructed it rather than the way it is.
Participant 2: Until you know what your function is, and you fulfill it, you will be restless.
David: Yes Indeed. When we are relaxed and when we are on purpose it just unfolds so effortlessly. It doesn’t even feel like it’s a big job. It’s not even thought of that way, that wow, that was a big job that I just pulled off. It is a different framework for the whole thing. Thinking about the past or thinking about the future entails enormous strain because the ego wants us to hold these both in mind when really there is just the Holy Instant, Now. Ego wants the mind to keep thinking about the past and projecting into a future.
“No one can heal unless he understands what purpose sickness seems to serve. For then he understands as well its purpose has no meaning. Being causeless and without a meaningful intent of any kind, it cannot be at all. When this is seen, healing is automatic. It dispels this meaningless illusion by the same approach that carries all of them to truth, and merely leaves them there to disappear.”
We are talking about these terms of sickness as bodily symptoms but you could also say it about someone that seemed to be upset psychologically. You could bring in that whole realm of things. Or you could go to the flip side and believe that someone is really healthy. The illusion of the health of the body could be carried to the truth just as much and left there to disappear. It is just getting to the point that there is no order of difficulties.
“Sickness is not an accident. Like all defenses, it is an insane device for self-deception. And like all the rest, its purpose is to hide reality, attack it, change it, render it inept, distort it, twist it, or reduce it to a little pile of unassembled parts.”
And that’s what this whole world is, just a pile of unassembled parts. Whether you are talking at the cosmos level or at the personality level, the microscopic level, community, family. You are looking around a room and you are looking at coats, an oven, rugs and a chair…. Unassembled parts. It doesn’t matter what you are talking about but it seems as if they have existence in and of themselves. The microwave is set off by space from that refrigerator and from that teapot and from that rug. That just shows how deep this sickness of mind is going because everything that is assumed to be everyday reality has been just assembled into this pile of unassembled parts.
“The aim of all defenses is to keep the truth from being whole. The parts are seen as if each one were whole within itself.”
Participant 2: So looking at the world, everything is proving that to me as I look and see all these unassembled parts every day, if that’s how I see it, and if I am not being attentive then it is just further proof that it is a chaotic mess.
David: We are redefining what sickness is, from being a few so called symptoms in the body or even you could say with a family, dysfunctional communication… but just looking out on a winter scene and seeing separate snowflakes and separate animals and separate trees and separate whatever… as long as the mind is seeing separation everywhere and believes that those things… snowflakes, and cars, and roads and rivers… have an existence in and of themselves, that is a sick perception. As we go on, the deceived mind wants to hang onto the sick, twisted perception that it has and therefore sickness seems to serve the purpose of having nothing to do with this. ‘This is being done to me completely with any intention of my own’. So the mind then pretends it doesn’t have a choice in the way it sees it. It doesn’t play a part. It doesn’t have a choice in the matter.
Participant 2: So, using that example… the only thing I have to do with it is the purpose that I give it.
Participant 2: If I’m using the ego’s perception then it’s a bunch of unassembled parts. If I’m using the Holy Spirit’s purpose then it’s what…
David: They’re unified in perception. The entire scene, the entire scenario becomes unified. It becomes almost like a backdrop that’s unimportant because of the shining Purpose that is being held out in front. It is a happy dream.
Participant 2: It becomes peripheral. That’s how we described it in the past. That makes sense.
Participant 1: So, it’s like of like it’s unseen when it’s that peripheral.
David: It’s unnoticed because perception is selective and when you are zooming in and focusing on your intent or your Purpose, then background is just unimportant or irrelevant at that point.
Participant 2: So like with your example before when you were saying when you are focused on the heat or sickness (symptoms) then that is picking out one of the pieces and holding it up as separate and saying ‘Let’s look at this’ and try to see how it fits into the whole, which it can’t if I am holding it out as separate.
David: And it takes two minds to agree that there’s a sickness. If one mind absolutely will not buy the bait of doing that, what you are describing, then that is what healing is. You hold in mind how impossible that is. Anything that is judged or valued, like a haircut you say is better than anyone you had before or this shirt is the most attractive shirt you have ever worn, it is that ordering of thoughts again. That judging is what makes the error real. As long as there are better haircuts and worse haircuts, higher jobs or lower jobs… good looking style clothes and poorly dressed, error seems real. You see how that makes the error real. It’s not nothing if it’s valued positively or negatively. And that is the underlying metaphysics why you don’t want to buy into those judgments. Cause it makes the error real. It makes the world real in the mind of the thinker.
This need not be. For all is One in Truth.