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A New Interpretation
More Metaphysics and Opening Up to Discernment
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: Initially, when I first got involved with the Course, there were a lot of those passages about process and time and we were reading some the other day that the separation occurred over millions of years and would take millions of years to heal, perhaps longer. You can read those lines and go; mmm—this is a big mess!
And then it talks about “Healing in an instant” and about “How many teachers of God does it take to save the world?”—“One”; and “When my mind is healed, all minds are healed,” and it’s kind of like; boy where do these things go together? To me the Course is a book of metaphors. I use the metaphor of a ladder where He’s kind of just saying, grab a hold of any rung that you can, wherever you think you are, I’ve got a rung waiting for you and you can just hop right on it and then we’ll start climbing from there. And sometimes it’s like; but as I’ve got there and feel like I’ve been climbing, climbing, and the little voice has always been saying to me it’s my lesson—and it only makes sense as my lesson if there’s just one Mind and one ego.
It certainly seems a lot of times when we get into metaphysical circles: well I was doing good handling my own ego but then I met so and so—I mean their ego is like you wouldn’t believe it! [laughter] and I’ve got all kind of things to deal with. I’ve got to get away from them, I’ve got to have my space, and what the Course is really teaching is there’s just one ego, but you made up an ego for yourself and for everyone you meet. Well that takes all those discussions about “others” and what their lesson was and I think they missed the lesson, I really think they missed their lesson! Well all that just goes out the window and now it’s like oh, it’s always my lesson [laughter] and if you really can stay with just that one idea, what an acceleration—you know, because then you don’t try to start analyzing and figure out other peoples motives. He says at one point that it’s dangerous to analyze the motives of your brothers; it’s dangerous to your mind. I mean, isn’t that part of the judgement that goes on all the time—I wonder why they didn’t show up? I wonder why they seem so excited about this and then they never come, or—I wonder why they spent so much money, they said this but they do this!. You know, all this stuff it’s just like blah blah blah blah [laughter]. Finally it’s like after a while, enough of this blah blah blah, my peace of mind is too important to give my Holy mind to any more of this.
Friend: Could you address the whole idea that giving and receiving are the same?
David: Yes. It’s stated in many different ways in the Course, “All that I give is given to myself” (W-126.1) and “Giving and receiving are the same.” (T-26.1.3) The fundamental thing in the deceived mind that blocks the realization that giving and receiving are the same is the belief in sacrifice. It’s very, very deeply rooted. There is a section in the Teachers Manual where the question is posed to Jesus, “What is the real meaning of sacrifice?” (M-13.1) And Jesus starts off and says “this is something that you have to look at very carefully.” It’s also referred to, in the Development of Trust (M-4.1.A.3), that the Teacher of God has to go through and it talks about some of the early stages and then at one point he’ll say; “You have not come as far as you thought you did because the idea of sacrifice is still central to your belief system.” Initially we get into this and we start to see—well, there’s some things that I used to value that I can do without so I’ll chop them out of my life, I’ll get rid of this, this and this, I don’t need this anymore, and yet it’s still often just at a form level and our mind really believes it can discern between the valuable and the valueless, and so it goes through a phase of relinquishment.
Or there’s one part in the early stages He says it will seem as if things are being taken away, really it’s just your mind is devaluing them. Out in the world of forms it seems like gee, I lost my job, I had an auto accident, such and such was stolen, when really there are no accidents; that the mind is just starting to see that the world of form holds nothing that it really wants but the belief in sacrifice is so deeply rooted that as you approach that light, as you start questioning these concepts the ego starts to shriek. The closer you come down to the base of the ego, the premise that the ego is based on, the ego will shriek and shriek and shriek. Basically it’s saying that you’re giving up what’s valuable, that there is still something that’s gleaming and glimmering in the world; that if I completely let go and just go into that light there is going to be some loss involved; you are going to have to give up something. This is because the mind still believes that the world is something. As soon as it can see that the world isn’t something, then it can give it up. But as long as it believes there is value in clinging to something in the world then that belief in sacrifice is still hankered in there and so giving up will be perceived as a sacrifice.
So it really doesn’t have anything to do with selling all your possessions or divesting the body of things or going up to the mountain to leave the world or trying to escape by removing the body per se. But it has everything to do with letting go of false concepts and beliefs. So “giving and receiving” is a basic metaphysical law.
The one law of Heaven is What you extend you are. The Father extended the Son and the Son has creations which are at Spirit level. And what we extend we are in a continuous line of creation. Spirit begets Spirit begets Spirit, so giving and receiving in Heaven has no difference.
Friend: See, to me that sounds like “being and giving” are the same.
Friend: And “being and receiving,” can you use that interchangeably? Can you say “giving and receiving” are the same and “giving and being” are the same?
David: Yes, and in the ultimate sense what you extend you are. I think in this world we’re more familiar with; “as you sow so shall you reap,” and the law of Karma. Basically what that translates to, since “giving and receiving” are the same, is the mind always gets exactly what it wants.
Friend: Even if it doesn’t know that that’s what it wants?
David: If it’s confused about what it wants it will get confusion. The mind always gets what it wants so the question is: what do I want? That has to be our central question. That’s why in forgiveness the mind just becomes very single in its desire— “I want the peace of God. The peace of God is my one goal, the aim of all my living here, the end I seek, my purpose, my function, my life.” (W-pI.185.1) There’s no doubt that peace of mind is the goal. “While I abide where I am not at home” is the way that quote ends too. So as long as I believe I am in the world I need a single goal, I need a torch; I need something that will light my way home , something positive to focus my mind on and that’s peace of mind; so in that sense it’s still a stepping stone because the mind always gets exactly what it wants. When it holds onto attack thoughts then it will interpret the things that happen on the screen as victimization, helplessness, powerlessness. But you see it’s getting just what it wants and there’s no escape until one gives up the attack thoughts. That’s Lesson 23 I can escape the world I see by giving up attack thoughts. (W-pl.23.1) Until I can get at these attack thoughts I will automatically draw forth witnesses or interpret things that happen in the world as unfair.
Friend: David, you said there is only one law in Heaven. Are there universal laws as we’ve been told? Law of Karma, law of Grace, law of Love?
David: It’s gone by many different names, but it’s like he is saying about the ideas in the Workbook, that if you can just get one idea, if you can just see the face of Christ in one person, if you can just forgive one person wholly it will transfer immediately to everything and everyone.
The deceived mind has dissociated so much from those universal laws and tried to forget them that they need to be practiced in specific situations until the mind can come to that final aha experience; the Atonement, that says; hey, this law applies to everything and everyone without exception. A good, practical example would be Lesson 48, There is nothing to fear (W.pI.48.1)
Now just look at “There is nothing to fear,” if you would literally take that as your idea and go through your life, whether it’s diseases, economic conditions, physical ailments, concern for others, family members, bodies, you can just look at all the different areas and see that something like “There is nothing to fear” is the universal law behind it, that no harm can come to the Son of God. But if I have forgotten that I am the Son of God then I need to find out what are my blocks, what are the beliefs in my mind that are keeping that from my awareness. Otherwise, he says: you have good reason to be afraid, as you perceive yourself. [laughter] It’s one of those things where he says: “it’s your misperception that we’ve really got to get at,” otherwise you can say you have nothing to fear till you’re blue in the face. The flip side of all that then is that there is nothing in the world that can save me. And there is nothing in the world that’s per se more spiritual than anything else.
To get to your earlier question about A Course in Miracles—that it seems to be in a language, with a level of vocabulary that everyone can’t use, and the Course is just one among many. The Course is out here on the screen, it is just a projection. It is a tool but it’s made up of words. It’s got a lot of words in it and Jesus himself in the Course says “words are but symbols of symbols, twice removed from reality.” (M-21.2) So obviously the words just stand for thoughts. There’s a reality that’s in there deeper than even the thoughts. So to me it’s once again of not trying to get into a spiritual stuffiness about the Course.
There have been those that have advocated; “Don’t ever let the Course touch the ground.” We can get into more subtle things like if Course groups or Course conferences should be closed or open, you can go on and on and on, everything is equally an opportunity to look at your own perceptions. We discussed too the sense of having a community or a centre or something. I keep saying, this is our community, coming together with this intention .The community, just like a church, is not a place, it’s not a structure and it’s not even a bunch of people, which is kind of a helpful metaphor, but it’s that Purpose that we hold in our lives. It doesn’t matter about attending this or attending that but we are the community. Right here right now, we are involved in community. Everything that seems to be happening in the world is like a whirling peripheral kind of thing. It can take many different forms.
A lot of people have questions as I travel around: ”Well, I’m in the Course and I’m really excited and this is my path but my husband or wife, they don’t want to have anything to do with it” and they describe it as: “It would be better if this was different.” It’s important to start to notice, what kind of thinking would that be if this changed then it would be better? On the other hand it’s the sense of: well I’ve started working with the Course, and they’ve been used to reading all this metaphysical material and all of a sudden they start to get a sense that they’re really to focus on the Course, because its ideas are very compelling and it’s very systematic.
In other words, ideas build in the Course and if you look at the Course, if you take one idea out, like some people say: this stuff about God not creating the world, he doesn’t really mean that, that would be like taking the foundation idea out, and the ideas are very much enmeshed. Now for me, that’s a little bit different than my readings in other things in the sense that everywhere I’ve looked—songs and books and films; where you have that resonating feeling, the truth is not confined into one A Course in Miracles book, that’s for sure. This is certainly not the truth because it’s just a tool but he does give a statement in the Text that you will learn this Course entirely or not at all. And he keeps pointing at the same kind of thing that this is a system. That if you find this Course difficult it’s just because you’re interpreting against it. It’s just ego resistance because this is such a direct and sharp tool.
So when people ask about I’m feeling drawn to stop some of my other readings and develop more time to the Course, I think that can be a very important step. Not to say that you won’t then be guided to do a lot of other readings but in a sense you have more stability, you can run the ideas in what you read, in what you hear through the Course system. And that’s where the confusion starts to abate. It’s been really helpful for me to just plunge my mind into really working with the Course in a very intense way and now that I have done that I enjoy John Bradshaw inner child work, Deepak Chopra , you can hear a lot of things with a real discerning ear and that way I’m not trying to exclude any approaches. In fact I don’t want to exclude any brother that I meet. We may come together in Paramahansa Yogananda or Hinduism or Buddhism, you can have a heart to heart connection without trying to put the Course on them but just to look at your own ideas. It’s been kind of an experience.
Friend: Sometimes I’m hearing that in Course in Miracles meetings that there’s no real purpose to any of this and I think what’s it all for? Why don’t I just escape into the next reality; and then that doesn’t fit right. Can you expand on that for me?
David: A key word is that escape the world and it can very suddenly get into the trap of making the error real. In other words: if you believe that this is a world that I’ve got to escape from, it’s still subtly judging it in a negative way, instead of seeing it in a neutral way or instead of asking to see it differently; to have the Holy Spirit’s vision or the vision of Christ. I really feel that’s been the path. Jesus talks in the Workbook about: “Many have tried to renounce the world while still believing in it” and to me that’s what that’s a demonstration of.
It’s also talked about as an unlearning and an undoing process. Often people will say that means I have to unlearn everything. I have to unlearn how to drive a car and I have to unlearn how to do the dishes. The body is a framework for developing skills and some of them seem to be more mental skills and some of them seem to be more focused on the body; of doing certain manual things etc. but skills are neutral too. In other words; yes, the mind has believed it’s here; it’s made special relationships with everything. It has ordered the thought. Jesus is saying; “Yes, you believe you’ve done that,” so now we are going to work it back. For me it’s been a process of not really degrading the skills that I’ve developed but seeing how they fit into the Holy Spirits Purpose and how they fit into the egos purpose. Skills in and of themselves are just neutral, but if I’m using them in subtle ways to keep a body identification then I’m still trying to hold onto the guilt in my mind. Because as long as the mind remains identified with and associated with a body then it still believes in limitation and it’s unwilling to question those beliefs.
For example we were at one gathering and somebody was saying; “This is an ego activity…” and “That is an ego activity…” and “That’s more of a spiritual activity…” I’ve come to really start to see that there aren’t any ego activities and spiritual activities but it’s the purpose in the mind that’s the ego or the Holy Spirit. Everyone that comes into this world gets so used to thinking about everything in terms of form. Jesus even says at one point in the Text; “You can’t even think of God without a body.” The mind is so conditioned to specifics and particulars in form that it takes a lot of discernment to start to weed these two purposes out. I’m noticing when I’ve been reading Miracles magazines and lots of different things, they were talking about the Lazarus channelling, that there’s a positive ego and a negative ego. But Jesus doesn’t really focus on the positive ego in the Course—he just focuses on the negative ego. There are all kinds of subtle ways that the mind tries to not look at what Jesus is saying; and the ego is the ego. There is nothing positive about the ego.
Another common error that often comes up is to “Love your ego, don’t fight it,” but if you really look at what the Course is saying, the ego’s purpose for you is death. The ego wants you dead but not itself. It’s pretty strong language. This is not-love-your-ego stuff, and not only that; he literally spends a lot of time in the book unveiling the ego, giving it metaphors like “skeletons” and “bones” and “flesh.” I think he is just really trying to paint the picture that the ego is a singularly poor advisor to choose—that in no instant has the ego ever brought anything but sorrow and pain and guilt and fear. However, because the mind is in a deceived state and pleasure and pain seem to be very different; now we are getting into the reason the ego is so deceptive, is because there are things in this world that seem to be attractive and there are things in this world that seem to be very unattractive that we are to avoid, and most of our education and judgement have been learning about which things to pursue and in the deceived state and you can’t tell the difference. Some of the things that you have pursued are still different forms of attack and as long as you can’t recognize them as forms of attack then you’ll continue to buy into and pursue them, that’s the Attraction of Guilt. (T-19.IV.A.10) Then the next section is Attraction of Pain (T.19.IV.B.9) and on the surface that seems so strange to think: I’m attracted to guilt? I’m attracted to pain? —I want to let go of guilt and pain! When you really read some of those sections on special relationships, you see that there is a Holy Spirit’s Purpose and the egos purpose for relationships, for time and for the body. I made a hand-out with two columns where I would pick a topic like body and then put the egos use on one side and the Holy Spirits on the other so you can see them side by side. As soon as you can start to get into those purposes you can start to say Oh I want to let go of the egos purposes for the body, for relationships and the world. I don’t want to continue to give my mind to this puff of nothingness because when I do that, when I give my mind to it, then I remain asleep. So it’s really important to try to get at those subtle distinctions, that’s what we have an opportunity to take a look at here.
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