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A New Interpretation

Part 2

Touching on Form and Content

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.

Participant 1: What do you do if people have attacked you or your beliefs or your name, your status?

David: It’s been a real process for me of starting to disidentify from those beliefs that I thought I was. In other words, everyone who comes to this place has ideas, learned ideas of what it means to be a man and a woman, for instance, and a lot of the arguments between the sexes get to things like, men are…. and women are…. What the Course is saying is you don’t know who your brother is and that you’ve got a lot of judgment of him based on what you believe you are. The deeper you go into this you start identifying yourself more as a spiritual being and you even get away from identifying yourself with the world in many ways as you go along. Another good example is how it is when we get attached to a particular city or a particular team or hero and somebody starts seeming to bad-mouth them, you know how the defenses start to come up. So what I’ve learned is that when my defenses start to come up it’s because of my minds identity-attachment to that hero or that city or particular thing.

Participant 2: An insecurity.

David: Yes it’s a sign of insecurity, it’s definitely not aligning with the Holy Spirit or Jesus in my mind because Jesus is teaching us that as we start to disidentify with our attachment to figures in form that we do become more defenseless because we start to identify with the spirit or the soul in each and every one. Insecurity is that the mind is not so sure of what it is, it’s got these two different voices in there, and what happens is the mind will attempt to use all kinds of defense mechanisms to get around this insecurity or cover it over, with denial and repression or projection and many different things. The ego is quite ingenious in coming up with tricks that will minimize this insecurity and fear, but will not let it go, because the ego doesn’t want to let it go. It knows that if you were to ever let go of all the fear and insecurity the ego’s out of business, it doesn’t have a life any more if that happens. So defense is the kind of sneaky mechanism designed to reduce the fear, but it’s not designed to illuminate it.
So you’ve still got a conflict going on. Its good practice for me just talking about these things, because I enjoy when people question and share their views and perceptions. Once we had a gentleman who was a philosopher, we were having lunch and I said hey Fred why don’t you come to our meeting, and I heard all these groans up and down the table, like you don’t want Fred at your meeting because then you’re all going to be in trouble. Fred is like a philosopher who’s got a lot of questions and wants to really get clear on all this stuff and raises all these issues, and I said it’s great! That’s what we want isn’t it? Why would we want to leave somebody out who’s ready to ask questions? So in fact it turned out to be a tremendous four hours really plunging into these things. If someone has a belief or an opinion and you notice a reaction or a defensiveness coming up it has to be our own perception that’s producing that uncomfortable feeling. In other words Jesus was able to come and speak the Word because he had transcended the ego system and there was nothing threatening, the Pharisees, or any of the different groups that would come and say blasphemy, how dare you say forgive people’s sins, no-one but the father can do that. Jesus was able to remain above the battlefield because of his certainty of who he was. And that’s all the Course is saying, if you remove all falsity and false beliefs, then you’ll have that certainty too and there will be nothing in the world that can take away your peace. To me it’s a lot of comfort in a sense that it also helps me let go of some of my planning and trying to fix people and change circumstances, and change the outcome and to just be more accepting and trusting, knowing that things are working out, everything’s working for a reason. The Bible says that too, all things work together for good.

Participant 3: The Amish have a belief that if they’re struck they don’t fight, they would rather have harm done to them than do harm, they will take it without ever coming back in the physical. We had a time a while back where five or six Amish barns were all burned down and there was no vindictive nature in the people, or when a car crashed into five Amish children, they were all killed and they had remorse for the children, but they had no vindictive nature towards the boy that killed the children. To me that’s a marvelous belief. I don’t know that I personally could do that, and I guess what I’m getting to is that we have so many different ways to get to God. We’ve all talked about this and we all end up in California or we all end up in hell, it’s just a different direction. And in finding no one particular way is the right way and there is no particular right way, they’re all the kind of right ways aren’t they?

David: In form, what the Course is saying is there are many forms of the universal curriculum but in the sense of content, no matter what the spiritual path is, it’s transcending the ego. So in content or a mind sense they’re all the same, but boy as far as schools and pathways this is one among many that you can take. But that brings up a good point, because what the Course is saying is you can have a big distortion in form and content. Content is purpose, so whenever we’re speaking of content we’re speaking of purpose. What is this for? In other words the Course doesn’t answer the question should I do this or should I do this? Should I watch the TV show tonight or should I read my Course, and you sit there, oh what should I do? It’s saying: what’s your purpose for watching the TV show, is it to be a distraction, something to take your mind off things and try to just forget your sorrows and problems? What’s your purpose for reading the Course, you know a lot of times people can read the Course and just move their eyes over the words and go ‘ah this doesn’t work’ and heave the book. But what the Course does is ask: what is your purpose? That’s the crucial thing, not the form. So many spiritualities can fall into this pattern of getting into rituals or getting into doing things and somehow believing that if I do so many particular prayers or Hail Mary’s or so many rites or rituals ..

Participant 1: Or good works.

David: Or good works even. Somehow if I do enough or accumulate enough that that will get me back, but the Course is saying it’s the thinking that’s the problem. Your behavior comes automatically from your thinking so the only place that we can have significant substantial change is changing the way you think. There are only two thought systems in your mind, the ego’s and the Holy Spirit’s so basically the whole Course is to help discern between the two. The simplest way to identify the two is to see, and we have to get a little bit scientific here, cause and effect, for every cause there is an effect. There is only one Cause, with a capital C, that’s the Creator, that’s the Cause and you are the Effect, you were created by your Creator. You were also created in his likeness and image in the sense that He is eternal – you are eternal, He is changeless – you are changeless, He is magnitude – you are magnitude. There’s only one seeming difference, between the Father and the Son, the only difference is that the Father created the Son and the Son did not create the Father. So this path does differentiate. There are some new age systems that literally say that “I” am God. Jesus said in the Bible “the Father and I are one” but he always talked about the Father and I, so whenever he would do anything he would always point back to the Father. “Why do you call me good, the Father is good” and he would always point to the Father. The ego picked up on this seeming difference; the ego said: What! Why should you settle for number two? Why just be the created, why not be the kingpin, why not be number one all by yourself where you literally can make up a world where you’re the kingpin. That’s what this world is, where Cause and Effect are split off somehow, that the Son could somehow be separate from the Father, and then Cause and Effect are turned around backwards, so that it seems that the things that are happening on the screen of the world cause our emotional states. You know how when we were little kids we would stomp off with you make me angry or you hurt my feelings. What the Course is saying is that’s backwards, I hurt my feelings.

Participant 1: By my thinking.

David: By my thinking.

Participant 1: And by my perception.

David: If I’m identified with the ego, that’s what hurts because that’s denying my Christhood. If somebody seems to steal from me or somebody seems to harm me, the world would say you’re just an innocent victim, you have nothing at all to do with that. You happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and this terrible thing happened to you, but the Course is saying that I am responsible for what I see, I am responsible for how I feel and I choose the goal that I choose to look upon. In other words I can choose to see peace and healing in every situation or I can choose to see separation and defensiveness, etc. A lot of new age systems and a lot of metaphysical systems will do that very thing. They’ll say you are responsible, but as we were talking at dinner tonight, what happens when you take a thought or a mind level principal like I am responsible for my state of mind, and you take a worldly perception down on the level of form, we’ll say cancer and you put these two together - I am responsible for my cancer. Ah ha. You see where the guilt comes in from taking something from a level of form and taking a metaphysical principal of mind, I am responsible for my state of mind, and you cross pollinate or you bring those two together …

Participant 1: That’s the level confusion.

David: That’s the level confusion that we were talking about. The question comes up straight away, if “I” am responsible nobody in their right mind would choose sickness, and I always say yes, nobody in their right mind would choose sickness. You would have to be operating in the ego or the wrong mind to even bring upon a witness in the world, and sickness is a very strong witness. In other words the mind has to be in the wrong mind and it has to believe that it’s guilty to call forth a witness from the world such as sickness. The good news is that once we learn to choose and be in our right mind consistently then we are free of the guilt and therefore we don’t call forth the witnesses from the world to reinforce that guilt. So that’s really the only escape from all pain and misery and suffering. It’s like you said: join with Jesus. If you’re with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, if you can discern the purpose between the ego and the Holy Spirit and you understand that one is a fear based thought system, one is a thought system of love. The ego is backward, it believes that things out there in the world are taking away my peace of mind, and also the ego tells us that things in the world get us peace of mind, that’s the flip side. I know a particular island where whenever I picture it, I can go to this particular island or this particular thought and it’s always peaceful, then I come back to my job and then I lose it. That’s backward thinking too because as long as we think that there are things in the world that can give us peace or take away our peace then we’re literally co-dependent. What the Course is saying is: don’t listen to that ego because the ego is telling you that there are things that you can get in this world that are going to bring you happiness and peace, and it’s a scam, it’s a big scam. The Course is saying go within your mind, that’s where meditation comes in, go within your mind, sink down beneath these clouds of darkness of the ego, meditate and go down beneath them to the Kingdom of Heaven which is literally within your own mind. Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is within. And the Course says if you have trouble meditating then relationships really speed things up because all of these unconscious beliefs that you’ve got in your mind come up, such as where you’re so convinced, my mum raised me this way and I know that this is the way that’s right and best, and then you get married and your spouse says well my mum and dad raised me this way, and you may think that this is it, but no this is it, and all of a sudden you seem to have a conflict of interest. All the Course is saying is that it’s two egos saying who can adapt, but the Course is saying when you lay aside your ego and you listen to the Holy Spirit then you’ll have harmony because you’ll be listening to the same voice.

Participant 2: What I’m hearing is talk about cause and effect, listing these effects and things that happen and how we react to the effect. If I hear you correctly if we live life working on the side of cause, always being part of the cause not the effect, because in the reaction to the effect you’re on the negative side, on the positive side you are constantly seeing the cause. You’re not a god, but you’re a cause.

David: The Course says that you’re dreaming a dream of fragmentation. God did not make this dream of fragmentation; it’s a projection from your mind. The first thing you have to do is to turn around cause and effect. You believe you’re the victim of this world that you’ve made up and as long as you continue to believe that you’re a victim with no power then you’re stuck. So first he says turn cause and effect around and then quickly give cause over to the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit knows that there is no real cause in this world because the ego isn’t real. God didn’t create the ego. So what we have to do is to expose the ego, and every time you’re tempted to blame, to blame your spouse, to blame your job, to blame the IRS or to blame something, you can choose a miracle, and all the miracle does is remind you to remember Cause and Effect. Quickly then the miracle also reminds you that this thing doesn’t really have the power to take your peace away and the thing that seemed to cause it must not be real either. So that the more that we transfer this and practice it in our daily lives we get better and better and better at realizing that there is nothing in this world that can take our peace away until finally Jesus generalizes everything. First we start off with first things because we’re afraid, we’re afraid to do this all the time, but what we do is we practice little by little and the more we start to generalize it the more we become convinced that there is nothing in this world that can take away our peace. We then instead of being this little bitty dream figure this little body that’s subject to all these forces in the world, we see ourselves as the dreamer of the dream. Just like at night time when you’re sleeping at night and you go to bed and you seem to have all these things that happen and then you wake up and you go phew, I’m glad that was just a dream. The Course is saying that there’ll come a time when you hear only the voice for God, the Holy Spirit and you’ll go phew, that was just a dream and you’ll wake up to the Kingdom of Heaven. To me this makes a lot of sense because instead of just reading and talking about it, the more you actually go to apply it the more joyful your life gets. You can actually sense real shifts take place in your life and it’s the proof of the pudding, the more you start feeling peaceful the more you know you’re moving on. Then of course also the Course is saying there is no compromise between everything and nothing, it’s saying as long as you have even a scrap of fear in your mind then the ego still has like a toe in the door, that’s why Jesus is our way-shower, because when he completely one hundred per cent transcended the ego that’s where he became a model for us and he’s not tempted any more by the ego. He knows it’s false.

Participant 2: When you meditate who do you communicate with, what do you communicate with, how do you communicate or what do you see? I don’t know how to meditate, how do you meditate?

David: I see meditation as really just trying to be very receptive. There’s a lot of chatter when you first start out because the ego does not like this idea at all. It knows that if you get real still you’re going to start hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, or Jesus, or whoever you want to call it, and the ego’s very threatened by that. So there’s this shrieking, yakety yak yak yak that goes on, oh I got to take care of this, I’ve got to remember to go to the bank and remember to pick up the kids, and the mind just wants to race in there. At the beginning it’s not used to the stillness, but as you just use the methods of the Workbook, Jesus has put into the Workbook meditations, guided meditations. It’s all part of the book, he’s even got that covered, where he starts out real gradual in the early lessons, he doesn’t put in any structure because he knows that it takes willingness just to be able to put your mind to this Course, much less to expect miracles and wonders right off the bat. So he starts off real gradual and little by little he introduces some structure. The only reason he introduces structure is because he knows the mind is very untrained and it needs a certain amount of structure. But as you go along the lessons later on, he lets that go more and more because he doesn’t want you to get into rituals, you know I’ll read my Course every day at this time, I’ll do it so many hours a day, and so on, he doesn’t want the ego to try to get in there in any way it can to make a ritual out of it. So it’s all in the book. He’ll say something like try to “settle down, sit quietly, try to watch your thoughts as dispassionately as possible, see them come and go”. If it helps you think of them as an hourly parade going by, he gives you all kinds of little analogies and metaphors because he knows that you’re new to this meditation business and he knows that you need some structure and guidance. He literally gives you like zen mind training exercises to be dispassionate and to watch your thoughts go by. What makes it so neat is that he knows that’s what’s going to happen, he’s prepared, and it’s almost like a master psychologist designed these 365 lessons. They are really well suited to an untrained mind.

Participant 1: Initially when there’s so much chatter it’s like: just watch these thoughts, don’t judge them, just watch them, let them keep going by, watch them go by, and then later in the Workbook it’s sink beneath the thoughts. He doesn’t start out there, too much going on, too much chatter there, it’s only much later in the training program it comes in to sinking beneath those thoughts and that’s when the mind does start to come to some stillness and release its activity.

David: Thoughts are like trains, you know they talk about trains of thoughts. You’re sitting there and you’re real detached and you’re watching your thoughts go by and before you know it you’re on the train, one train leads to the next, then you wait a minute and you hop off the train, then you hop back on invariably, then you hop off, then you hop on. What happens in meditation is at the beginning you’re going to hop on some of those trains and some of them are going to be thoughts like I’ll never get this and I’m not making any progress, I don’t know how to do this. They’re just ego thoughts they’re just ego trains, and then you hop off and you go “OK”. Another way we heard in Christian Science one time is when you have thoughts that are going through your mind and you’re not sure whether they’re ego or Holy Spirit thoughts just put “sayeth the Lord” at the tail end of the thought, and if it sound ludicrous, like I can’t believe that person did that…sayeth the Lord! You can imagine Jesus complaining about somebody, it’s ridiculous, let that one go. There are little techniques that you can start to identify and sort out in your own mind.

Participant 3: There’s one point where he says your thoughts don’t mean anything and he says recognize them for what they are.

David: Perhaps we could talk briefly about the Workbook in the sense that the lessons rotate back and forth from what you think you see out there in the world to what you’re thinking in your mind, because to an untrained mind what’s out there in the world seems a lot different than what’s in my mind. In other words, behavior is like maybe going to a party and you really start judging somebody and then you have the thought boy I’m glad they don’t know what I’m thinking about, or something like that, because the mind believes it’s private. It doesn’t believe minds are connected, so what Jesus does is start talking in Lesson 1 about the perceptual world, “Nothing I See Means Anything”. It’s a great one to start off with. Then the second lesson continues with “I Have Given Everything I See All the Meaning that It Has For Me”. You were talking about perception, about how everybody reads meaning into what they see, and the best example of that is when a group of people go to a movie and then sit around and talk about the movie afterwards, boy you get five or ten different views, different interpretations. The second lesson brings it back to: I have given everything I see all the meaning that it has for me. The meaning that comes to my mind is not that the events are giving me meaning or telling me how things are happening. But then in Lesson 4 he says literally “these thoughts do not mean anything”.

Continue to Part 3

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