The Serenity Prayer (Part 2)
This is a continuation of The Serenity Prayer, Part 1.
Participant 2: I’m glad we’re looking at purpose and couching it`in the script is written’ because I notice what I am feeling about that is, in remembering that the script is written, it takes everything out of the doing altogether and it really does come back as a reminder to me that it really is only in the purpose. That the script is written. There is nothing for me to do related to that.
David: Minds don’t do. Minds don’t act. Purpose is not in the realm of actions.
Participant 1: So anytime I think I’m doing, I am not looking at it from my purpose. Anytime I think there is something to do or anything related to that.
Participant 2: There’s that whole choice thing coming in there. `Do I do this or do I do that? What is it I am supposed to do right now?’ Then I have totally forgotten that it is already done, that the script is already written. That’s the wrong question, when I ask, `What is it that I am supposed to do?’.
David: I’d like to clarify a little bit of that too because we’re talking about rungs again. If you get into the workbook and he says, “Holy Spirit, what would you have me do? Where would you have me go?” Someone could read that and say, `What are you talking about?’. What about guidance and prayer? What if I am guided to do something, to call someone? That seems to be a doing. What if I am guided to move someplace, or this or that?
Participant 2: It doesn’t seem like in that, that I am asking the question like I don’t know what I am supposed to do. I think when the guidance is there and it’s clear, that question doesn’t come up. It’s so obvious.
David: Yes, but we want to go deeper to the point that I’m talking about. Accepting the Atonement is accepting a purpose in the mind and that is an abstract purpose. It’s coming to the point of seeing the impossibility of doing. It is reminiscent of the `I Need Do Nothing’ section when he talks about sinking into your mind, that the unholy instant is the time of bodies and that in no single instant does the body exist at all. Those are the kind of statement that point to what we are talking about, that minds don’t do. That there must be level confusion if I’m perceiving myself doing anything; sitting in a posture for eight hours, going out and traveling the country, speaking or anything we have talked about as metaphors as part of the Holy Spirit’s plan or teachers of God. What we want to do is we want to move to the place of sinking in the mind beneath all the concepts and moving towards accepting the Atonement which, from our discussion here, it should be coming clearer and clearer that that is a purpose. That salvation is a thought in the mind. It has nothing at all to do with the world. This is why recently we talked about moving into mysticism. This should be another step to start to see that there is no other place to go but into mysticism in the sense that the solution is in the mind. It enfolds our discussion of being drawn into the silence to hear that voice and to accept that purpose.
Participant 1: When you talk about this, it really resonates with me and I think one of the thoughts that I have is about trying to see how what you are talking about is consistent with some of the other things that we talk about doing. Sometimes when we talk about those other things, there is something about it that doesn’t feel quite right. Like when we talk about more of the doings, of going here and there and doing this and that. Somehow I have to see that is still a stepping stone, all of that stuff we’re talking about.
But I think at times, `why are we putting so much energy and attention into things that are just a stepping stone?’ Why don’t we just go for the ultimate step, the final step instead of taking these stepping stones?
David: It’s good that you bring that up because as I said tonight, the whole point is to come to that clarity. As we go into this ultimate stuff, it should feel inviting to go the silence. Everything that we talk about like doing gatherings and so on, it is all peripheral. It’s all stepping stone stuff. That is all stuff for a mind that has resistance to the ultimate. Maybe I could put it in the context of sinking down into the mind and completely letting go into the silence and opening the mind up to the revelatory experience is the ultimate. The question I hear coming in is `Where does the perceptual stuff, which is going places and doing things, fit with that?’. The best description is in the early part of the Course where Jesus talks about miracles and revelation where he says when the mind is too afraid of revelation, too afraid of the light, miracles are necessary to prepare the mind for that. Miracles reduce fear, they seem to collapse time. This is a miracle in a sense, what we are discussing tonight. Actions like those you do when you are in your purpose are like time- collapsers and those are all preparations for the mind coming to that.
Participant 1: Yes and what the experience has been for me is that the trust, because of the miracles, the trust has deepened. And the attraction of turning towards to the light or towards the revelatory experience or however you want to describe it… that has become more appealing as the trust deepens. It all is simultaneous. It happens together. So that answers my question for why it seems to be necessary to do all that stuff. It’s really not necessary but it is helpful in alleviating the fear.
David: I think another way of couching the same thing we are talking about is the way it is described that miracles are a means and revelation is the end. First of all, to reach the end, you have to want the means. Everything we do when we talk about starting with specifics and working it back to `what is my perception of this in my mind?’, it’s always working back to the miracle. And in a sense you have to desire and want the means if you are going to reach the end. The end is terrifying to the deceived mind. It’s not that the deceived mind has so much difficulty with the miracles but it is terrified of the end. It doesn’t want the means. It would rather focus on the specifics and the body and use that as it’s means for it’s atonement with a small `a’ which is really death. The ego has a purpose for the world and the means of achieving it’s purpose are using the specifics and focusing on the specifics and using them to get what it wants. Like the sections on pride, pleasure and attack or for using the body for it’s own purposes. Underneath all that is just to reinforce the separation and perpetuate the sleep and protect itself, which is the ego. The flip side is, miracles are the means to reaching revelation. They reduce the fear. They collapse time and eliminate guilt. Revelation is offered. It is a given from God, but it is a matter of being aware of it and opening to receive what has already been given. If the mind is too afraid, it’s not going to be open. The tenth characteristic of a teacher of God… it starts with trust which we mentioned… and it goes and says that the last characteristic of God which is reached is that of open-mindedness. That makes sense because once the advanced teacher of God has laid aside all fear and ego it is simply opened up to receive what has always been there that it had been denied.
Another way we could come at it would be, as long as there is in even a subtle way a body identification… not necessarily the mind believing that it is a body, but believing that it’s in a body and working in and through a body… there’s still a personification. There’s still a subject / object split. There’s still some personhood. With that there is fear of revelation because revelation seems to be a threat to that construction of the world. As long as there is still a belief in personhood, there’s still ordering of thoughts. A person is different than a pencil, different than a tree, or a car or a rug. There is still a sense that my mind is working in a through a body. The body then still seems to be pretty significant, more significant than the pencil. It still seems to be an ordering of thoughts. The body doesn’t seem to be just another image on the screen, it seems to be important. That’s why in the section `How is Healing Accomplished?’ in the Teacher’s Manual, Jesus goes through and he says, `First you have to see that sickness has no value to you.’ What will it cost? The whole world you see. The body will never again appear to be the decision maker. You have to see that the mind is the decision maker. As long as I believe in persons, and if I believe that I am a person and that there are separate persons with separate private minds and that each of those persons seems to have their own decision making mechanism… that is a common perception in the world… that can’t be so because that is saying that the body is the decision maker. It is believing that different figures can make decisions in the dream and that is not the case at all. It is the mind. The right mind is one decision and the wrong mind is another decision. Heaven and hell are decisions. You can see that is lifting it way back from the screen when we talk about the two purposes in the mind as decisions versus persons making or having decisions. Two accept the Atonement you must see that the mind is the only creative level. It is the only place where decisions can be made. At the very end of the section `How is Healing Accomplished?’ it says that to accept this, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea. This goes full circle with what we are talking about. Seeing that the body is no different than a pencil. In the end, to see that there are not even separate objects. There is nothing in the world that exists in and of itself because it is all a tapestry. One illusion is all illusions. Illusions are one too… the ego, the tree trunk and all the different branches are the same.
Participant 2: So, to even speak of something as in and of itself is to imply that there is something apart from the mind. Otherwise there would be no in and of itself-ness.
David: I think one of the best lessons of the Course that tries to get at that are 183 and 184. [From 183] “I call upon God’s name and on my own.” The forth paragraph reads, “Repeat the name of God and little names have lost their meaning. No temptation but becomes a nameless and unwanted thing before God’s name. Repeat his name and see how easily you will forget the names of all the gods you valued. They have lost the name of God you gave them. They become anonymous and valueless to you, although before you let the name of God replace their little names, you stood before them worshipfully, naming them as gods. Repeat the name of God and call upon your Self Whose Name is His. Repeat His Name, and all the tiny, nameless things on earth slip into right perspective. Those who call upon the Name of God cannot mistake the nameless for the Name, nor sin for grace, nor bodies for the holy Son of God.” It goes on and on until you come down to the paragraph on the bottom, “All little things are silent. Little sounds are soundless now. The little things of earth have disappeared. The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God who calls upon his Father. And his Father’s Voice gives answer in his Father’s holy name. In this eternal, still relationship, in which communication far transcends all words, and yet it is seen in depth and height, whatever words could possibly convey, is peace eternal. In our Father’s Name, we would experience this peace today. And in His Name, it shall be given us.” It’s this sense we’re talking about, this silence. Anything that could seem to be done or anything within the perceptual realm is just to come to this point. It’s not about traveling the country and saving the world or evangelizing the Course. It’s not about reaching people, or corresponding with people or helping anyone else get clear because there isn’t anyone else. It’s having a burning desire to just have the Name of God in my mind. Period. It sets the table for accepting the Atonement. You cannot accept the Atonement until you can discern the `wisdom to know the difference`, until you can discern between the things that you need accept, that you cannot change and the things that you can change. That is the discernment between form and content.
Participant 2: That’s the end of level confusion.
David: Yes, in all the different ways that we’re saying it. That is the end of level confusion. It all says the same thing, from different angles. But it’s so simple, it’s the same thing.
It’s being clear of the metaphors and with a lot of counseling and in talks and presentations that I’ve done, the common thing is the metaphor of the right mind and the wrong mind and the seeming vacillation between the two. It seems as if the mind can choose either or. As if there is a decision maker. But the clarity is the depth of coming to see that the right mind is a decision and the wrong mind is a decision. Beyond that it’s is starting to see that they are mutually exclusive.
Participant 2: So if they are mutually exclusive, it can’t be a `sometimes’ kind of thing which would allow for vacillation. If one is real, then one isn’t. There is nothing else go toward except what is real.
David: Step off the rung. The top of the ladder. If they are aren’t mutually exclusive then, they can’t be both.
Participant 2: We’re back to the Truth is all there is.
David: The version that I ready today in the text… “God’s will is all there is.” That’s the advanced for of practice so to speak. First you look at all the seeming obstructions and see that all the obstructions are one and then embrace all that there is. The truth is truth and only the truth is true. Realizing that there’s nothing causative in the world and that there is nothing that can be controlled or changed in the world. Absolutely nothing. You have to have examined and explored so deeply to see that. Then that makes way for, `The truth is true and nothing else is true’. But to try to jump to that first without doing a thorough examination and coming to the realization that there is nothing that I would hold back from the light, no remnants of personhood…
Participant 2: Without that examination, could the statement, `The truth is true and nothing else is true.’… could that even be anything but an idea? Could it ever be an experience except from the examination of all the beliefs that stand in the way of that?
David: That’s right. Hence this is a Course working from the bottom up, not from the top down. And this just isn’t one path to the truth…
Participant 2: It’s the only path to the truth. That bottom up approach.
David: I would say another version of it is, `You must bring illusions to the truth.’ You cannot bring truth to the illusions. It can seem on the surface like a shortcut and bring truth into illusions. But what you can see is that it doesn’t work. It produces the illusion of enlightenment, not the experience. Ask, `In my mind are there any images that seem to be causative or that I can still control?’.
Participant 1: If the truth is true and only the truth is true, then anything else that I think is true… like I can feel sad or that someone else can talk too much (laughing)…
David: It’s a denial of `the truth is true’. To start from the bottom up is to hold onto that intention to let go to the Holy Spirit and to have him orchestrate it. It’s starting off with where the mind assumes it is and what it assumes to be true and then peeling the onion away or dissolving the question. That is truly the bringing the illusions to truth. This brings the mind to a point of stillness where all the question would be dissolved, an absoluteness where the questions have dissolved into the experience, the silence.
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