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A New Interpretation

Part 3

More Form and Content Responsibility For Sight

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.

David: There’s a part in the Course that says you may be surprised at how different the goals are that this Course is advocating from the goals that you hold in your mind. This is a Course that is turning us around and is having us go within to try to hold that constant purpose in mind to stabilize our perception. And what happens a lot of the time when people start working with the Course is there is often a sense that this course will ask me to give up something that is valuable, something that I like and I enjoy and that somehow there’s going to be a giving up involved. So there’s a sense of sacrifice at times when people work with the Course. I think one of the things we can look at with that idea is that sacrifice is an idea in the mind and a very very deeply rooted idea. In a metaphysical sense the mind has turned away from the light and has identified with the self concept in all its forms, and basically it’s afraid of the light. When going toward the light it now believes it has to give up things of real value, things that it’s very familiar with, things that it’s very attracted to, the status quo. There are certain things about the status quo that the mind likes and it’s seen as oh oh I don’t want to rock the boat; I don’t want to change the status quo.

The mind defends against the Holy Spirit by its ordering of all the thoughts, so even though these thoughts are images it’s in the ordering of them where the judgment comes in. We were talking today a little bit about judgment and one of the common ways of judgment is to condemn, to condemn your brother. This whole idea of ordering images and the hierarchy of illusions is where judgment takes on a finer point so then you start getting into subtleties of preference. Those subtleties are so important because from those orderings, those self concepts that I hold, goals come forth and that’s where those expectations come in that we were just talking about. Even if it’s something as simple as you’re driving along and you see an open parking space, you’re trying to get there and someone comes along and gets in there and you feel a little sense of frustration that someone beat you to the parking space. Well there was an expectation, that’s mind – I pictured myself in that parking space or whatever. Very subtle.

Participant 1: It occurred to me today that it’s the interpretation. It happens and we do what we do with that, and we interpret it that someone took my parking space. Then it became clear to me that it is an expectation that somehow it is my parking space and someone intentionally took it away from me and I feel victimized.

David: Yes there is that sense. Why would it be offensive unless we could trace it back to something that was offending me, and there’s that me again. Another question is: who is the me?

Participant 2: I’d be more concerned about the dynamics around the reverse of that, I see a parking lot and I see a space and I’m oblivious to the fact that another person is aiming for that space and I get the space and I get out of the car and there’s this driver behind me who is red in the face and just about to explode, now do I feel any responsibility because I was insensitive to his sense of ownership?

D: Yes, I think once we break it down and look at the parts and start to come at it from those parts it can get away real quick. We have to get back to the idea of purpose. One of the neat lines of the Course is that under the Holy Spirit’s teaching there aren’t any losers, everyone gains, in fact the whole Sonship gains from every decision we make with the Holy Spirit. And I think underneath what you were saying is: can any one cause any kind of upset or is there responsibility involved, for other people’s feelings, in any way, shape or form, in any degree? I think that’s a very core issue. The Course is teaching no, there is complete responsibility for your own state of mind, in fact he simplifies it even further and says the sole responsibility of the teacher of God is to accept the Atonement for himself, or as I like to say: it’s always my lesson. If I am really at peace, if I really am in a defenseless place I will automatically perceive this as a call for love in my brother and automatically whatever that response is to be, it may be a smile or a kind word but the behavior is completely involuntary. In other words we are not responsible for choosing our behavior; we are responsible for lining up with the Holy Spirit and as soon as we do that whatever comes through will be most helpful for the whole Sonship. But this is crucial because all of the guilt as soon as I believe I can upset someone else, or that someone else can upset me, either way then I’m back down to that helplessness and powerlessness again because there’s actual harm that can be done from something on the screen going the way I didn’t want it to. This is a key issue.

Participant 2: So I hear what you’re saying the core should be clear in your own centre, but it isn’t to be clever enough to respond in the right way, which is the way psychology would approach it. It is simply to be clear in your own centre and then trust the automatic response, because of your own clarity you can trust your response. I still have to own the fact that I’m not always in, what I would call, perfect peace, it’s sort of relative peace and there’s always something in my cage that can rattle under some circumstances. But I recognize that it’s my cage that’s rattling and I’m responsible for that part of it. It seems to be more complex because I also had the feeling that maybe this was a technique that was being applied to shock me out of my complacency or my certainty or whatever, I don’t know, that’s just a mental thing, but it was an interesting experience and I guess I still have that aspect of me feeling that there ought to be some level at which one could understand the dynamics at least from the standpoint of the Course.

I guess the question I’m asking is I certainly felt relatively at peace if not deeply at peace, but it didn’t have the appearance of what one would normally term a peaceful situation and that’s why I’m raising the question. If one were truly at peace with the situations that surround us can one be truly at peace and have a bomb drop.

David: Well what we’re getting to is that it’s not situational and it’s not tied into appearances in any way. Jesus is a good example of accepting the Atonement and choosing to see the world differently and yet what seems to go on on the screen seems to go on including even an angry mob yelling crucify him, thousands of them in one accord which you may not consider peaceful by any standard or definition, but in the Course he says he did not share their perception. He did not perceive it as an attack and therefore it was holding onto that torch of peace regardless of what was going on on the screen. For me that’s a good extreme example of it’s just my choice. I have to be very clear though, and when we get back to that we get back to clarity. There’s a part in the Course that says that the Holy Spirit has only two orders of thought. It perceives everything as love or a call for love and it says you are too bound to form to perceive consistently like the Holy Spirit perceives. You’re too bound to form and not to content, so when we have definitions of who people are, what certain behaviors mean, even the judgment of what is a shock technique or something like that, whenever we start to interpret the behaviors we get away from what’s my purpose, what am I to be holding on to, when we get out there on the screen, and that’s where the reaction comes in.

Participant 2: It seems I’m more concerned with form than content.
David: From a deeper perspective the mind denied all these attack thoughts and tried to push them out of awareness. Then another way the ego counsels is that the way to get rid of attack thoughts is to project them out onto the screen. So if you consider what we would call a frightening situation, the form has become a concrete form of fear. There’s something in my mind that I can’t accept and look at and take responsibility for. It really is just a thought that I have or I made up and I don’t want to look at that so I keep it buried in the unconscious and then I project it out, and therefore I see something objectionable in someone else or some other situation or thing. That’s the deeper dynamic that’s going on beneath what we’re talking about.

Participant 2: Then I guess I go back to the earlier part of the question which was: did I attract this to myself? That’s one metaphysical gambit that some people play with. I can accept the Course’s sense that all things are lessons that he would have us learn, but I guess I’ve been dealing with what’s the lesson. But there is this sense that nothing comes into our lives but that we ask for at some level. I guess I hear you say did Jesus ask to be crucified, on one level no and on another level yes.

David: It was the power of a teaching demonstration. But that’s a good point you bring up, because there is a line in the Course that says that everything I seem to ask for and receive as I have asked. That seems to be in line with what you’re saying. Take a metaphysical idea like that which is responsibility. We are responsible for accepting the Atonement. The only thing we’re responsible for is choosing to be in our right mind, to choose the Holy Spirit. What happens is once you start to bring that statement of responsibility into the level of form then you get into guilt. Take an idea like I attract things to me, and then cancer. Now you can see we’re going to confuse the levels and you can see immediately how the guilt comes in. I attracted this cancer to me. Whack, whack, whack! How can one make a statement like that and not feel guilty? I’m doing the Course wrong, I should be better, I should be able to heal myself, it doesn’t matter where you go from there, but there is an I-am- responsible statement. I am responsible for choosing the right mind, but once I raise bodies up, once I bring the cancer and the body up and I try to raise it to the level of mind and I hook my self-responsibility in with that behavior or that form which I’m judging, that terrible awful thing, then guilt automatically results. Once again it’s bringing the mind to see that the only way that correction can take place is by changing our thoughts and there is no amount of changing our behavior that will help, as much as we’d like to say if only I’d done this different, if only I’d had a mammogram, or eaten a lot of beta carotene or if I’d only whatever, you come up with all the if onlys. But we say, wait a minute, I’m not going to look at the behavior level, I have a choice and I want to perceive this situation differently, I want to link with a different thought system in my mind, a thought level that can give me a different way of perceiving this. I want to choose right-mindedness, I want to choose the way out.

Participant 3: A thought occurred to me when I was taking a science of mind course last year, it was talking about the importance of clarifying exactly what you’re treating for. The one example I heard was that if I’m trying to train for patience then I’m probably going to get a lot of things coming in my life that are going to teach me patience, if I can get on past that to the acceptance level, accept that patience is my divine right and patience is mine now, I may get through or past some of these lessons. And my thought was maybe that I was not sure I was thinking enough that I need more patience. True enough I get opportunities around patience and that would be a step short of acceptance of the fact that patience is indeed mine.

David: Everybody heard about the law of karma, or getting and receiving are the same, or as ye sow so shall ye reap. My gosh! this one basic law has taken many different words and forms. If the mind gets exactly what it wants always, as ye sow so shall ye reap, then the question is, does the deceived mind know what it wants? If it has two thought systems, the definition of a deceived mind, a split mind, is a mind that has the ego and the Holy Spirit’s thought systems, does it know what it wants? I want the Holy Spirit, I want the ego, I want the Holy Spirit, no I want the ego. If the mind is confused, if it’s split it doesn’t know what it wants but it gets exactly what it wants, but it doesn’t know what it wants because it’s confused, so it gets confusion! You see? You see how this works, that’s why it’s so important… blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God. If we don’t have pure intention, if we don’t have a mind with pure thought, the thoughts that only come from God, then we are going to keep calling forth witnesses in the world that will attest to our confusion and our conflict. So to me that’s why it’s so important to get really clear about these two thought systems and let the ego’s go. Because otherwise I’m just going to continually call forth witnesses in the world that will to prove that I’m little, I’m teeny, I’m frail, I’m able to be harmed by the slightest thing going wrong in my life. That’s the ego’s thought system and as long as I hold onto that thought system that’s what’s going to happen.

Participant 1: So if I have a confused thought, another way to look at that would be to say I’m experiencing confusion when I want to experience peace and so this is an invitation to peace, I want to choose peace. It’s a reminder of that.

David: We went into detail last night about backward thoughts and forward thoughts. Backward thoughts we defined as cause and effect being split off and turned around; there’s something on the screen, there’s something in the world that has the power to give peace, or to take away peace. You see how both extremes get back to that codependency. If there’s something in the world can give me peace then I’m dependent on it and I’m going to try to pursue it. If there’s a certain person, a certain place, a certain career, if there’s a certain physical way of looking; you can see that whatever it is that I believe can bring me happiness and peace that I’m codependent on that thing. Conversely, if there are crime areas, if there’s areas with bad weather, areas where the economy is terrible and “I’m not going to be able to make it”, you see that if these are identified as things that can take away my peace then I’m codependent there too because I’m going to have to find the areas that don’t have crime, better economic areas, ones with better weather, so you can see how you can be on an endless chase to try to pacify the ego to try to get peace of mind. So if we really pull it away from there being anything external that can give me peace then it comes back to what is it in my mind that can give me peace and happiness. We got into the idea last night of function and purpose, that my function and my happiness are one. As long as I’m holding onto my function then happiness will be in my awareness.

Participant 2: Then the reverse would be true, there’s nothing that can take my peace away and so that comment you made about: did I call it to me or did I create it, yes by my interpretation of it, how I chose to look at it. I certainly did.

David: It’s the interpretation that upsets us. When you say did I call it to me the mind is still perceiving itself in a linear world with linear events that happen to it, and the Course’s view is really radical. The Course says that the script is written, it’s played out. We’ve talked about the feeling of resistance to the script is written, it sounds like predetermination, it sounds like destiny to me, yuck, where’s my choice, where’s my free will come in? And what the Course says is yes the script is written but you have a choice, the only remaining choice that you have left is how you look upon the script, which lens are you going to look through, which guide are you going to listen to when you’re looking at the script? That’s a choice, that’s the only choice that we’ve got left. That brings us back to Content or Purpose, because the ego has the purpose of death for the script, it wants to call forth witnesses to prove that sickness and pain and death and destruction are who you are, that you’re teeny, you’re little, and the Holy Spirit has the purpose of healing that is given to the world, it’s a completely different purpose but it takes a lot of practice and mind training to hold that purpose of healing in mind because it’s literally a completely different purpose. The Course calls this world a dream world and the mind that is deceived believes that it’s real; this is a real person, these are real events that are happening to me, I really lost my job, I really don’t have enough money to pay the rent and that’s how it feels. It really doesn’t see it as a dream. When we go to bed at night and dream do we react to the dreams? There’s running and sometimes fear and lots of emotions that seem to go on in those dreams, why? Because the mind thinks it’s in the dream. The Course says: if you really let go of judgment you’ll start to see more that you’re the dreamer of the dream, you’re the cause of the dream. If I’m in the dream it doesn’t seem like I’m the cause of the dream and I’m not in control of it, but if I’m back and I’m the dreamer of the dream then I can accept another purpose for the dream. So OK, I’m going to change the purpose, out with the ego and in with the Holy Spirit. The Course calls that the happy dream because the purpose has changed. There’s nothing on the screen that’s changed, there’s still the same things going on, what the world describe as wars and so on but my purpose for the world has changed.

Participant 1: Is that the same script? I mean we’re not changing the script.

David: Right.

Participant 1: It’s a way of looking at things, that everything else is the same.

David: That seems to be a real high concept, because wait a minute, it seems like I’m a person, I can choose to raise my arm or lower it, that’s changing the script and it’s that sort of thing that makes it difficult to pull back because the mind believes that bodies are autonomous and behavior is autonomous. I can decide to go from Seattle to Coney Island to Cincinnati or not, and the Course says no the script is written, that I had to do it – you had to do it. It seems ludicrous. The script is just playing itself out and behavior is not autonomous. What you do comes from what you think, you have a choice in what you think and that’s the only choice you have. So if you can think with the Holy Spirit then the behavior just follows automatically.

Participant 1: This is my pet topic! Something that you said about thinking that I can make a choice, to interpret what happens, that if I am choosing to listen to the Holy Spirit then I can choose to act in the direction with the Holy Spirit, but I’m still choosing, still creating. Or if I want to be right I can choose to act with the ego and perhaps thumb my nose at this guy who wants it in purpose, I can be right and I can be obnoxious and I’m still making a choice. (Laughter) I mean I would love to walk out of here clear about these things.

David: It’s that level stuff. There’s one line that’s really clear where Jesus says, you may believe that you are responsible for what you do, which is what you were saying…

Participant 1: Yes

David: … but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think for only at that level is real choice possible, so we’re back to that thing of it sure seems convincing in this world that we’re individual unique little persons that have choice. And not only that, there are other individual unique persons on the planet that also have choice and when they make a choice does it reflect my choice? No. But the mind has denied that this is like an optical illusion that this is a screen that I’ve projected out there, you know it’s that subject/object split that I talk about. There’s all these objects, let’s say it’s a jigsaw puzzle with hundreds of little pieces and I pick one out and I go this is me, out of the whole puzzle I pick one little piece. Now there is a me apart from all the other pieces, now there’s fragmentation because now I’ve got this piece as me, and this other piece I’m going to move over here because I don’t like that one. These are the ones I like, I’ll surround myself with these, so you can see there’s still a sense of otherness, there’s me and there’s the others. And that’s what the optical illusion of this world is, it’s that split that the Course is saying you believe is there between you and your brother. That’s what the fragments are, bodies. I’m a person which includes a body and this is another person and once I perceive that split there then it seems that I’m constantly battling against all these other fragments and I need my space, and I need autonomy, I don’t want to become too codependent, that whole tug of war comes into play.

Participant 1: If I recognize my oneness with the Sonship then that’s where I get confused because that’s when I feel like I should back my car out and I should give them my place because he or she is more upset than I am about having it or not having it. Then I get irritated and that’s crazy. I know that that’s still dealing with form and I know that I’m responsible for the peace within myself, but there’s a piece missing…

Participant 3: That’s choice in behavior

Participant 1: Choosing the thought would determine the behavior and I can choose thoughts which are peaceful and my behavior can stem from that. That’s what I want.

Paerticipant 3: I think that’s what David’s saying, you either line up with the Holy Spirit or you line up with the ego.

Paerticipant 1: To me, saying the script is written doesn’t say that because it feels like I don’t have any choice about aligning with the Holy Spirit or the ego, it’s already a done deal.

Participant 4: I think it’s that choosing between illusions is not a choice.


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