A New Interpretation
Metaphors of the Course and the Bible
Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited to bring clarification to certain points of the dialogue and for easier readability. For this reason, it does not match the corresponding audio mp3 word-for-word. However, the overall content and the expressed ideas remain unchanged.
Speaker: In today’s topics we will discuss sickness, death and levels of the mind.
Participant 1: Level confusion?
Speaker: Level confusion or anything that you feel like you’re going through, or you might want to talk about.
Participant 1: We can talk about that and David you also thought we could talk about and clarify the ego. What the ego is, or what we think it is and what it really is instead.
Participant 2: Considering the reality aspect of it. Everybody´s got the same twenty four hours. Everybody’s got the same day. You have a good day. I have a bad day. You have a great day. The Course, it’s saying that this reality check, of course, our perception of reality, is only what we perceive it to be. It´s an illusion and that´s why everybody can have these different good days, bad days, great days and so forth. But it´s my understanding that God or the Holy Spirit is fully aware that it is an illusion. Now we, as a majority of folks out here, might not believe that we have the separation, ok? But God is fully aware that we are under this illusion. At least this is what´s said at the beginning of this- I understand your illusion and this is the purpose of this book to work you back into this atonement or getting back into this oneness. That’s tough, I´m having a real difficult time with my own personal illusion but I´m having to deal with everybody elses illusion at the same time. I don´t know how to get any real congruency with this thing. He is saying that your day is just as real for you as mine was for me. It´s all the same day. And working this in toward where we can have a common basis so to speak, or a common reality.
Speaker: of perception.
Participant 2: yeah, a common perception of reality.
Speaker: That´s a good point because the reason we perceive, the reason we seem to have a problem, is because our perception is so twisted and distorted. We were talking about looking through a lens. And if you´re looking through a very dark lens, like it says in first Corinthians- you´re looking through a darkened glass, that makes you unable to see clearly. And the Course is saying that the only way we’ll ever have consistent peace is when we have a healed perception.
Let’s go back to one of your earlier statements about God knowing about this. The Course basically says that God is infinite Spirit and Love only looks on itself. In other words love, something that´s infinite and eternal, doesn´t look on something that is finite and temporary. Now what the Course is saying, in a sense, - my child sleeps and I must awaken it- so it’s like the analogy that you are a parent and you have a child, and your child has been tossing and turning, as if he is in a nightmare. As a parent you don´t know what the content of that nightmare is, all you know is that your son seems to be tossing and turning. That’s a metaphor for God the Father, that He gave the answer, the Holy Spirit, to His Son to solve the problem. The Holy Spirit is the one who is aware of the illusion. He knows of our illusions, being God’s answer or a Messenger, but He doesn´t believe that they are real. He is very clear that they are just illusions because He is anchored in Heaven and knows the true essence and the true reality of the Son.
So the Holy Spirit has got a dual function because he has one foot in Heaven, so to speak, and one foot in the illusion so He can help the Son awaken. And in a sense the Holy Spirit is in the mind and He is trying to work with the mind on giving up the false beliefs and ideas. The only way that perception can be healed is by giving up the false beliefs.
Participant 2: Let’s say that one day, you´re driving down the road and maybe for a nano second, you have a crystal clear moment; things become really clear for you. Everything is right with the world. Everything is right and you have some clarity about things. You might have some real insight occasionally. And then all of this clarity disappears, because all of this other junk or garbage gets in the way. I am trying to expand that crystal second. I really don’t know how to go about doing that very well, as yet!
Speaker: We´ll talk about that today. Another idea that was mentioned about the ego is that it is nothing more than the puff of madness.The whole ego system is a thought system and the way it´s described in the Course is that this ego thought system is very logical. It seems so sneaky because one premise falls on another. If anybody has studied any logic, a thought system is only as good as the first premise. If you´ve got a false premise, then the whole thing is false. That’s what makes the ego so sneaky! The basic underlying premise of its thought system, is that it´s possible that you have separated from your creator, which is a false premise. So now all these other beliefs are stacked on top.
The belief in time is a very, very, deeply rooted belief for example. If you can imagine this stack or an inverted pyramid with the ego down at the bottom, at the apex, then right near it is this belief in time.
Heaven is eternal. There is no time or increment of time, it´s simply, God is, or Heaven is. It’s the state the Course calls knowledge or eternal oneness. Time is the belief. For example, a lot of times we talk about spiritual paths as if- I´m on the path down to God and maybe in several lifetimes or several more hundred lifetimes I´m going to make it back. The Course is saying that God is not holding up a carrot or saying okay, just a few more millennium, because God is not involved in time, its like that’s part of our invention, that there could be time apart from Heaven.
So time is a very deeply rooted belief. You were saying- we seem to all have twenty four hours a day - but the Course breaks it down a little further than just our day. It basically says- you believe in linear time, in which there is a past, a present and a future. The ego believes in linear time, and its version of time is - you´re guilty in the past, look at your life! Look at all the things that you messed up with, the things you did that you shouldn´t have done, the things you should have done that you didn´t do- you’re guilty of the past. The ego says the present is determined by your past, that´s a common belief in this world, that your past determines your present. It says, the past extends into the present and then your future is just an extension of that too. You’re guilty in the past, so you’re guilty in the present and you’re going to be guilty in the future! That’s very depressing. To really get into the ego’s use of time is depressing.
The Holy Spirit says- ‘the past is gone’. Remember when we spoke earlier, about how the answer was given immediately to that first belief that seemed to be believed in? When God answered your world of separation, fragmentation, sickness and death, it was answered immediately and was over. All the pain and the suffering and the sickness is over!
We were discussing this whole thing of destiny tonight at dinner. Basically the Course says that the plan of correction, of Atonement, was established simultaneously because God´s plan is apart from time. God didn´t say - Ok, the first hundred billion years you´ll do this and the second hundred billion you’ll do that! God gave immediate answer. It was simultaneous. However, for the mind that believes it is in time it seems to take a lot of years, there seems to be a time lag between this correction and yet it was given simultaneously. So the Holy Spirit’s use of time is saying- you are completely healed and free and atoned for in the present and the past is gone, and at any instant, at any single instant, if you completely let go of the ego belief system in your mind, you will remember God.
This is good news for a mind saying- how long is it going to take me to give up all these judgements, and all these false ideas and beliefs? The good news is it’s already happened but you just don´t believe it; you think that it’s still unfolding.
Participant 3: So it is matter of accepting what has already occured.
Speaker: Yes. The mind is terrified of accepting what has already occurred. The ego feels threatened every time you have the experience of sinking down into your mind in meditation and getting a little- woooah what’s happening here? The mind is very much afraid of stillness and the inner light; because the ego is telling the mind that if you go back to this light it´s going to get you~ You´re going to be hurled into oblivion because God is angry with you. So, as long as the mind believes in the ego and listens to that voice, it´s afraid of going within. That’s the reason why it´s easier to get distracted by addictions and things in the world, that seem to cover over the pain, but never really get to the core-belief underneath.
Participant 4: We appear to have this good and evil, up and down, this dualism. Are you saying that there is only good, that this illusion or this evil that we are seeing, is something that we project, not something that we´re creating, and that it has no outside metaphysical force about it?
Speaker: That was a question I always had about this devil idea. Once I heard Ghandi give a quote in which he said - the only devils are the ones running around in our own heart. There´s something to that! What the Course is saying is that the devil, in essence, is a belief. The devil can seem very active, powerful and destructive in your life when you give power to this belief. But the good news is, when you withdraw your mind´s power from this belief, when you start to squeeze out the ego´s belief system and point it out for what it really is you can say- No way, this has brought me nothing but pain and misery. I don´t want this anymore, and you withdraw your mind’s power from it. It´s like the wicked witch of the West, in the Wizard of Oz, when they throw water on her and she simply melts away. The ego is not overcome by fighting against it or by defeating it, but it is overcome by pulling the plug on it. And you can´t pull the plug on it until you know what it is.
Participant 5: What about Jesus’ life?
Speaker: Jesus literally transcended the ego and in a sense is a wayshower. It’s a little different in the Course than the traditional approaches to Jesus, who was often seen to be deified. What Jesus speaks in the Course is - ‘you can think of me like your older brother. I am what you are in potential. What I´ve done, everyone will do and I just happen to be the first one that transcended’. Now what you´re saying is - if you´re going to have a model or a wayshower to transcend the ego, it´s helpful to have someone who has overcome the world. Be of good cheer!
Particpant 5: I am the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but through me.
Speaker: I was in Christianity early on, and I used to hear that quote and think - Wait a minute! There´s people living over in India and China that never heard of Jesus, and I could not believe that those people were not going to make it just because they never heard of Jesus. The Course, when it came along, gave me a real mind system. You can think of Jesus as someone who has transcended the ego and is literally that universal will, or universal mind that seems to be speaking through him. Instead of hearing two voices, the ego’s and the Holy Spirit, now he is just hearing the voice for God. He literally is the Voice for God speaking through him, - I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me. But what I was doing was projecting that voice onto the person (Jesus) and once you start to personify it, you get into - Mohammad is the only way; no Buddha,, no Jesus is the only way! Jesus says in the Course that you need not even believe in him, which is quite a statement. It’s still the same universal spirit and will that we are talking about.
Participant 5: It was as if he was saying, I the Holy Spirit, because that was who was speaking through the person of Jesus. The I, the Holy Spirit, are the way the truth and the life. And the Holy Spirit is the truth that’s within each of us. Whether we’ve ever heard of the person Jesus Christ or not!
Speaker: Or the Holy Spirit!
Participant 1: Or the Holy Spirit, right, the truth is still there, whether you’re in China or India or an aborigine.
Participant 6: I had a real arguement with my cousin about these same thoughts.We got into a real philosophical and religious conversation. I said- Dick, all these people in Africa that have never heard of Jesus, they’re all going to hell. They’re all damned. You’ve kind of damned a whole lot of these folks out here. And he said – Well they never heard of Jesus. And then I said- Well, I don´t think God operates that way, Dick.
Participant 7: Yes you see the scriptures have said that he’s revealed those things of the Earth.
Participant 6: Right and if you have that expectation to find it, then by chance you might. But if you never seek it or you never expect it, then you will never know it when you walk by it.
Speaker: That’s the basis of what he is saying here about perception too. That what you’re looking for within, what you’re really sincerely, devotedly looking for within, you will see without, in the world. If you really apply what the Course is saying, “what you look for you will find.” There are a lot of people that have used the Bible as the tool of their awakening.
Participant 1: The bible says - seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened...
Speaker: The Course uses educational and psychological terms a little more so than in the Bible, to get at the same initial thing. Also what Jesus says in the Course, is that there are certain statements in the Bible that he reinterprets, that the ego has used for its purposes, because he says that the ego loves to quote scripture. There are a lot of things that have been taken out of context from the Bible and used in the name of fear and damnation and hell. Jesus is saying that´s just a misinterpretation. Some of the thoughts that he has worked with are amazing to me! There was one in the Bible that I was reading- vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord. And I thought-oooooh! Jesus reinterprets it and says, it’s as if the Holy Spirit is saying to you - My child give me that idea of vengeance, it doesn´t belong in your Holy Mind. Vengeance is mine, give it to me I can handle it. Wow! Is that a better interpretation of one that I had looked at as a very negative and condemning statement?! And he does that in here with other things too, like with Judas. He says - I never could have said why betrayeth thou the Son of man with a kiss, because I didn´t believe in betrayal.
You know when you read the traditional Christian stories and it seems like there are twelve apostles and then there’s the bad guy! There’s the Judas who turned on his master! Jesus is saying that the crucifiction was just an extreme demonstration, that when the Father’s and the Son’s will are lined up you can’t kill the Son of God. That the mind is all powerful and the body is literally worthless. Jesus reinterprets the crucifixion in the Course and says – “The only message in the crucifiction was: teach only love.” That’s a pretty radical interpretation when the ego perceives the crucifixion as - one of God’s beloved sons had to suffer and die, to be the lamb of God, literally, to take all the sins, of all the world on himself. An innocent Son had to do it!.
If you really trace that thinking back, you’d still get back to - What kind of God is it that would have his innocent beloved Son go through a suffering trial and turmoil, in order to get to Atonement or Salvation? The Course is saying that from Jesus’ perspective he did not perceive that he was being attacked. Through the ego lens it looks like attack when somebody is kicking you and spitting upon you and screaming - Kill him! However Jesus says – “I did not share that perception”. He saw it as just a call for love. - Forgive them for they know not what they do.
Jesus calls us to similarly change our way of seeing, so that we can have such a trained mind that we go beyond the perception of being attacked and learn instead to see everything as either love, or a call for love. That takes a highly trained perception!
Nick was talking tonight about the soul, being soul to soul. This is what the Course is saying. When you realize that your brother is just calling out for love, instead of perceiving him as attacking you, then you will respond with love. And that makes a lot of sense to me, not that you perceive attack and then somehow - out of the kindness of my heart or because I am a more advanced spiritual teacher I will forgive you. That’s not forgiveness, you can call it what you want, but it’s not the true sense of forgiveness.
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