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Beyond the Body
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: Beyond the Body “Yet only thus can you escape. The home of vengeance is not yours; the place you set aside to house your hate is not a prison, but an illusion of yourself. The body is a limit imposed on the universal communication that is an eternal property of Mind. But the communication is internal. Mind reaches to itself. It is not made up of different parts, which reach each other. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. It encompasses everything. It encompasses you entirely; you within it and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever.” (ACIM T-18 VI.8)
David: That’s kind of giving us a sense of Mind and then the very next sentence he contrasts it with the body. “The body is outside you and but seems to surround you, shutting you off from others and keeping you apart from them, and them from you. It is not there.” It paints this picture of the Mind and then kind of like on the surface of the Mind, where all the projections and attack thoughts are, like way on the outside, is the body. It is outside you but through the experiences of the deceived mind it seems to be wrapped around your mind. It seems like consciousness is somewhere in the head looking out through these eyes.
Friend: That’s because we can’t deny the brain. So, tell me again, what’s the real story about the brain and the Mind stuff?
David: The Mind is not in the brain; it’s not in the body. I think the best analogy that the Course uses over and over is the dreamer of the dream. We were watching a movie and our friend said, “I was reading the Course the other day and I just got something that I never got before. I used to think of the script in terms of all these other people out there but I always didn’t include my own body in it, but this is out there too.” To me that’s the best analogy of the Mind, in the sense that the dreamer of the dream is watching all the characters including this character on the screen.
Friend: So, now tell me again what you just said. Tell me what the Mind is.
David: It has no reference point in this world. It does not go out.
Friend: Where is my Mind?! [laughter]
Friend: It’s everywhere.
David: Another way you could think of it is the Mind is so expansive that there’s no limit. When we ask the question, “where is it?” that place is a concept in the split mind. Only a deceived or split mind could even have such a crazy idea as place.
Friend: It says in chapter 16 “His Kingdom has no limits.” “His Kingdom has no limits and no end and there is nothing in Him that is not perfect and eternal. All this is you and nothing outside of this is you.” and somewhere else it says, “There is nothing outside of you.” and here it says that the body is outside of you and obviously that means that the body is nothing because there is nothing outside of us. Even the body is not outside of us because we’re Mind.
Friend: I see it like this. We’re having this nightmare and we have this Etch A Sketch® and we’re sitting there drawing these little stick figures; Oh, this one burns up in a car wreck and this one does this to that one. Oh, you dirty rat. And on and on but it’s us feeling guilty because we think that we could get away from God and we think we’re playing with this until we just take our hands away from the controls and say Oh, I didn’t do any of this.
David: I was reading the section of the Course called The Basis of the Dream and basically we were talking about night time dreams and day time dreams and they’re just different in form. Basically he was saying you assign the scripts, so you assign the roles to everybody, to all the parts that everyone seems to play. That transfers later on in the sections Hero of the Dream to Dreamer of the Dream. That’s what we’ve done in a sense, that’s when the script was written. That all the parts were assigned and everybody is just playing their part. The problem is the assigning of roles because every time we hate somebody we believe they’re not fulfilling the role the way we want it to be fulfilled.
Friend: I assigned you a certain role and you’re not doing it.
David: And it wasn’t the savior. The Course is saying that a metaphor for the assigned role is that they’re always our savior. When it’s a different role like You are my wife or my husband or my boss and you are supposed to act this way. You’re supposed to give me a certain thing... The reason the ego produced all these forms, is that the deceived mind is still trying to use relationships to take vengeance out for the past. It really believes that it was deprived in the past and is therefore attracted to persons and situations. It comes from the attraction to guilt where it wants these people to fulfill roles and needs that it thought it was deprived of. It never works. The whole deprivation is a scam. But, as long as we set people up to be God substitutes and we have all these expectations to try to fulfill these roles, of course there’s going to be fury and anger when they don’t seem to get fulfilled.
Friend: Well, it’s just another of the myriad ways of making sure that we stay in ego. The ego is one nasty decision, just one and there is just so many ways that we stay attracted to staying in that thought because of our belief that we are the ego and the fear that love will swallow us up.
Friend: The ego is an illusion. But the only thing the ego does is, it tries to weaken you either by separation or by trying to convince you that you are weak or no good. Because without that thought you would remember who you are. So that’s the purpose behind everything. If you see the thoughts that are going on or seem to be going on all the time, everything with the ego is trying to weaken you or separate you and if you’re just getting into this it’s a good identification to see just what those particular thoughts are trying to do. They either weaken you or separate you and that’s what it seems to have done.
Friend: It’s scary. My experience is that I’m scared to be happy. I am attracted to misery. It’s like once you’re happy, Hold it, what are you doing happy? or What are you doing joyful and at peace? You need to stay miserable because that’s reality. As soon as you get happy somebody is going to come along and burst your bubble, and then who’s going to be the fool? To me that demonstrates an attraction to pain.
David: To pry from the ego you have to have a sense of how the ego thinks. That’s why we have all these sections on The Laws of Chaos where Jesus was like This is what you believe. You believe this and you believe this and you believe this. You may laugh at me and say this is ridiculous but, brother, the reason the ground beneath your feet seems solid is because brother you do believe these things. There are myriads of forms that seem to obscure the content, like you were saying—separate or weaken. The ego is trying to make all these forms to be this mirage of complexity to keep obscure these basic ways of thinking. As soon as we can get in touch with the backwards ways of thinking which is what the ego is, then we can tease out and actually start to feel a sense of something that’s apart from these thoughts. Because while they’re swirling in our minds we feel the feelings and we think the thoughts. There’s such a strong belief that the thoughts are really real and they’re my thoughts. Jesus is saying No, those are outside you. Those aren’t who you are. I’m reminded of the section in the Course called The Immediacy of Salvation and one of the lines that really gets me every time I read it is, “Be not content with future happiness.” Most of the time the way people see it is I’m on a spiritual journey. I’m glad I have a Course in Miracles now. I’m certainly not there now but in another year or ten years, maybe another lifetime… Don’t project this out into the future. Don’t project salvation into the future.
Friend: It’s just another excuse for not being happy right now.
David: Right, and you start to say Oh, that seems so widely accepted. We’re on a journey. We’re all going to make it… and on and on. But I like the section that just says, “You weren’t deprived in the past. If you’re feeling upset it’s a present decision. It has nothing at all to do with anything that seemed to happen in the past. It has everything to do with your interpretation right now.” Also, don’t project your worry and your anxiety off into the events that you’re afraid are going to happen in the future that you don’t like. Bring it back; it’s a present decision right now. And he says, you really believe there’s a gap between the time that you forgive and the time that you’ll receive the gifts of forgiveness. That’s the fear in the mind. If I follow you Jesus the rage of the world is going to rest on me. There’ll be chaos and you’re telling me to be totally defenseless. The whole key is to just totally let go.
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