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Reversing Effect and Cause;
Getting to the Bottom of the Belief in Linear Time


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Speaker: We’re going to start with a teaching / learning session on cause and effect. And we’re starting with the section from the Course titled ‘Effect and Cause’.

“You may still complain about fear, but you nevertheless persist in making yourself fearful. I have already indicated that you cannot ask me to release you from fear. I know it does not exist, but you do not. If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect; the most fundamental law there is. I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course. It is much more helpful to remind you that you do not guard your thoughts carefully enough. You may feel that at this point it would take a miracle to enable you to do this, which is perfectly true. You are not used to miracle-minded thinking, but you can be trained to think that way. All miracle workers need that kind of training. I cannot let you leave your mind unguarded, or you will not be able to help me. Miracle working entails a full realization of the power of thought in order to avoid miscreation. Otherwise a miracle will be necessary to set the mind itself straight, a circular process that would not foster the time collapse for which the miracle was intended. The miracle worker must have genuine respect for true cause and effect as a necessary condition for the miracle to occur.”

In a sense that’s what we’re doing here. Trying to get a clear and genuine respect for true cause and effect. And I think the first paragraph really brings home the point that it’s definitely nd inside job, since there’s nothing that can intervene between our thoughts and their effects. Truly it brings it back to our responsibility and nothing else. It’s our own responsibility for our own mind.

“Both miracles and fear come from thoughts. If you are not free to choose one, you would also not be free to choose the other. By choosing the miracle you have rejected fear, if only temporarily. You have been fearful of everyone and everything. You are afraid of God, of me and of yourself. You have misperceived or miscreated Us, and believe in what you have made. You would not have done this if you were not afraid of your own thoughts. The fearful must miscreate, because they misperceive creation. When you miscreate you are in pain. The cause and effect principle now becomes a real expediter, though only temporarily. Actually, "Cause" (capital C) is a term properly belonging to God, and His "Effect" (capital E) is His Son. This entails a set of Cause and Effect relationships totally different from those you introduce into miscreation. The fundamental conflict in this world, then, is between creation and miscreation. All fear is implicit in the second, and all love in the first. The conflict is therefore one between love and fear.”

So without jumping the gun too much we can say that all miscreation is the wrong-mind and that’s backwards because cause and effect are split off and turned around. And it seems as if something in the world or the cosmos is the cause of the state of fear and upset. And all creation or the true cause and effect relationships would be reflected in the right-mind, in which the mind is seen to be causative and not at the mercy of anything.

“It has already been said that you believe you cannot control fear because you yourself made it, and your belief in it seems to render it out of your control. Yet any attempt to resolve the error through attempting the mastery of fear is useless. In fact, it asserts the power of fear by the very assumption that it need be mastered.”

So, we could say that all magic in this world; every attempt to protect the body, shelter the body, insure the body, improve the body and everything else in the world, is in a sense a way to change externals to reduce fear. Then the fear is really not recognized where it is, nor what its true cause is. It is believed to be out on the screen. So if the fear is that I will starve to death or be flooded or blown away by a hurricane… all the barricades that are setup whether they are physical or insurance or medical such as flue shots and preventative maintenance for everything .is all an attempt to master fear.

Participant 1: … by eliminating what is mistakenly believed to be the cause of it.

Speaker: And of course it doesn’t work because the cause of the fear is not in the world. It has just been setup that way so that it will appear to be out there. But every attempt to deal with it is just magic. And the reason that magic is so believable is because it seems to work. If I do make a lot of money, if I do have a lot of insurance, if I do become civilized and tame nature and use technology to seem to surround myself with the best available means of keeping the body healthy, protected, safe and secure then ego error, what is actually going on in the mind, is doubly shielded from awareness because the magic of projection seems to work.

That is why it feels like some people who go to twelve step programs or people who hit a deep rock bottom may be more open and ready for a change of mind, a spiritual transformation, because they have tried certain things and nothing seems to work. They come to the point where they feel like their lives are unmanageable and they need something else beyond them to make a change.

Projection is a subtle and seductive defense. It seemed that in the world there are the underprivileged people, the underprivileged countries, and then abundance is so much associated with material wealth and technology and advances in medicine. It is not seen at all that it is all a cover or a shield for attempting to resolve fear through magic and keep it from awareness. The world is not where the fear is at all. So it’s quite sneaky. True resolution rests entirely in mastery through love. We could say that to choose the miracle is that mastery through love since forgiveness is a reflection of love. Earlier, this past week, we did get into a discussion of desires in the mind and the whole thing about repression and indulgence. To try to repress and block the thoughts from awareness doesn’t do anything because they just resurface. Repression doesn’t get rid of them. And indulgence, or using magic and pursuing the ways of the world to the Nth degree in an attempt to solve the problem or escape from the fear, the loneliness, the isolation doesn‘t work either. Neither one of these defenses work. But true resolution, which would be the miracle, does work. And that’s what we are trying to get clear on. That there is a present decision, which is a miracle, that can be chosen at any instant. And that it will work because it ends the isolation and the experience of fear and anger and loneliness and conflict.

“In the interim, however, the sense of conflict is inevitable, since you have placed yourself in a position where you believe in the power of what does not exist.” Back to magic again, back to the world. “Nothing and everything cannot coexist. To believe in one is to deny the other. Fear is really nothing and love is everything. Whenever light enters darkness, the darkness is abolished. What you believe is true for you. In this sense the separation has occurred, and to deny it is merely to use denial inappropriately. However, to concentrate on error is only a further error. The initial corrective procedure is to recognize temporarily that there is a problem, but only as an indication that immediate correction is needed. This establishes a state of mind in which the Atonement can be accepted without delay. It should be emphasized, however, that ultimately no compromise is possible between everything and nothing.”

I think that was part of the discussion we were getting into yesterday when I said that to deny that there is a problem is not helpful. But to have a sense that there is a problem in awareness (ie., I am feeling upset, depressed, uncomfortable, or angry or whatever) is just needed temporarily to see that there is a problem, but then it should be instantaneously given over to the Holy Spirit because there isn’t any value in holding onto the problem or holding onto the grief or whatever the upset seems to be.

Participant 1: And to deny it keeps it twice removed from any kind of solution.

Speaker: From that last statement, “It should be emphasized however that ultimately no compromise is possible between everything and nothing” you can see that all that preceded it was just a stepping stone because as one becomes miracle minded and starts to habitually be able to choose the miracle, then that initial corrective procedure of recognizing the problem vanishes. I’ve used the example of holding a torch out in front instead saying ‘I’ve got a problem where’s my torch?’ More and more as you become habitually miracle minded and as you see cause and effect in their true relationships you can hold your torch (Purpose) out in front. Or as it will say much later in the Course in the ‘Setting the Goal’ section, the goal belongs at the beginning. Then later on in the rules for decision he says ‘you must realize that it is easier to have a happy day if you remember what question to ask and you hold your purpose in front than it is to grasp it back after it has seemed to slip away to try to regain the sense of peace‘. It is much more difficult to regain than it is to just hold firm to your goal and keep the goal out in front. But this is really early on in the text so it is very appropriate to speak of recognizing the error where it is - in the mind.

“Time is essentially a device by which all compromise in this respect can be given up. It only seems to be abolished by degrees, because time itself involves intervals that do not exist. Miscreation made this necessary as a corrective device."
He’s giving us a hint there, because it seems to be a process in time. But Jesus ultimately says that there can be no compromise between everything and nothing, so that’s how he is foreshadowing that it is going to be one complete instant of forgiveness and that this whole idea of process is a metaphor.

“The statement ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ needs only one slight correction to be meaningful in this context; ‘He gave it to His only begotten Son‘.”

So, if we rephrase that to ‘he gave it to His only begotten Son’ once again from a physical standpoint that would make no sense because God doesn’t know of form. But what we can say is that God gave the real world to his only begotten Son. In other words, when the Holy Spirit Answered the dream of separation the Holy Spirit made the real world. Not created in Spirit, but made the real world as a correction for the distorted perceptual world that was made by the ego as an attack upon God.

“It should especially be noted that God has only one Son.”

So, he starts off the sentence saying that God has only one Son and then he is going to go into talking about parts and Sonship. Once again it has to be a metaphor because the unified Spirit is the Son of God, or Christ. And yet to a mind that believes firmly in separation it is a good stepping stone to talk about all parts of the whole, so to speak, as if there are parts in a whole. And we talk about this on and on in terms of mind. In the Course it’s described generally as if every brother has a mind of his own. And in many sections it’s written in that metaphor… Can the teacher of God change the patients mind? …and this and that. When in fact, the thing that we will be working towards is that ultimately there is only one Son of God, there is only one Mind. And in a metaphorical sense with the ego, there is only one ego. And ultimately, in reality, there is no ego.

“If all His creations are His Sons, every one must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. The Sonship in its Oneness transcends the sum of its parts. However this is obscured as long as any of its parts is missing. That is why the conflict cannot ultimately be resolved until all the parts of the Sonship have returned. Only then can the meaning of wholeness in the true sense be understood. Any part of the Sonship can believe in error or incompleteness if he so chooses. However, if he does so, he is believing in the existence of nothingness. The correction of this error is the Atonement.”

Participant 1: I read that part on ‘Oneness transcends the sum of it’s parts’ and I think of the experience of synergy of joining with another person and holding the intention at that metaphorical level of their being another person. But there does certainly seem to be a synergy when two come together that is greater than two times one.

Speaker: Also I think that this is pretty early on in the text and one could conclude from reading something like, ‘however this is obscured as long as any of it’s parts is missing’ that this is going to be a long, long correction process. One could conclude from that statement that it is a long process. The quote that is coming to mind is ‘just as the separation occurred over millions of years, the last judgment will extend over a similarly long period and perhaps an even longer one.’ So you can take a statement like we just read and a statement from page 30 and say that this correction process is going to take literally millions of years from those statements. But once again that is within a time context. If you really look at what is said in other parts of the text what it says is that time doesn’t exist, that it just takes one instant, that once my mind is healed all minds are healed. Looking at those kinds of things that are imbedded in the later parts of the text and throughout the workbook I would say those statements are much more top of the rung, top of the ladder kinds of statements. This early statement implies that it is going to be a very long, lengthy process. It also gets back to the thing we have been talking about - the perception that if I accept my part in the Atonement then I have done my part but the many parts have to do their part. And when I accept my part completely and return to Creation with my father, that this world of time and space will continue on for millions of years until the time when every part has accepted the atonement, and once again you’re backing away from the ultimate metaphysical reality that none of time-space can ever really exist at all.

How can all minds be healed in all places and in all times? That is what it says in the workbook. If I accept the Atonement then that is how the world is saved, the salvation of the world depends on me, the salvation of the cosmos depends on me. You can see the two angles. One implies that there is no world or cosmos outside my mind and when I accept the correction that takes care of the cosmos. That is a huge leap from the linear sense that as a fragment, as I accept the Atonement, then all of my brothers have to accept the Atonement as well, and this will take millions of years before the mind is healed. But they can’t go together. So one is obviously deeper than the other. And I think this is one of the areas when people work with the Course where there is a lot of confusion.

Participant 1: I was very confused initially by the fact that there are different levels represented in the Course. Just as I thought I was getting a hold of one idea, then I would come across another idea that seemed to contradict what I thought I was starting to understand, not realizing that there were just different levels represented.

Speaker: Once a rung is transcended it seemed to be just what it was, a metaphor or stepping stone that has been hopped off of. And this would make sense because the mind believes that perception is fragmented and it has all these concepts and beliefs and levels. The Course is written with statements at all of these seeming levels of consciousness and ultimately it has built in within the book a statement that says, ‘you will learn this course entirely or not at all.’ Basically what it is saying is that when you reach the top of the ladder that the ladder disappears. This is literally a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. And now, right now, is the only time you ever can accept the Atonement because right now is all that there is. Time is simultaneous. It is not sequential, not linear. When you really transcend those levels then the whole idea of process just collapses in on itself. It makes no sense because it can’t be both an instant and a process. The mind can try to vacillate and fluctuate back and forth and it is just a matter of coming to be very clear on that. And also we are being called, in a metaphorical sense, to be teachers of God - to speak to our brothers experiences that are beyond this world, that what is to come has already happened. That is a pretty far reaching idea but when we speak about this, we will be speaking as the Spirit uses us it will also come out like the Course with different rungs. So if you ended up going back and viewing all of your writings and your tapes or conversations with all the people you would find a mosaic of steps on the ladder much like the Course itself. That is what you do if you read the teachings of Jesus, when you go through Urantia Book or whatever. You see some statements clearly are obviously spoken to the level of the hearer and at other times the author is speaking of a deeper metaphysical understanding. ‘The kingdom of Heaven is at hand’ is a good example of that instantaneous thing we are talking about whereas describing the ‘messengers of the kingdom’ or ‘the light of the world’ or ‘you will go forth and carry my message to all parts of the earth’ and so on, all those statements certainly do not come close to the metaphysical purity of ‘the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ The truly religious fact is that now is the time of Correction, not in the future. There really is no future, and that is quite a leap there.

“I have already briefly spoken about readiness, but some additional points might be helpful here. Readiness is only the prerequisite for accomplishment. The two should not be confused. As soon as a state of readiness occurs, there is usually some degree of desire to accomplish, but it is by no means necessarily undivided. The state does not imply more than a potential for a change of mind. Confidence cannot develop fully until mastery has been accomplished. We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered, and have emphasized that the only real mastery is through love. Readiness is only the beginning of confidence. You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery, but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.”
That’s kind of reminiscent of ‘you may believe that your accomplishment of the Holy Spirit’s goal lies far in the future’ and that can be a very depressing thought. But later on in the text he reminds us that this is not necessarily the case, that time is under the Holy Spirit’s use. It is a whole different way of thinking about time and space. I was talking to Craig the other day and he said, “Maybe I have this backwards because I feel like I had a list of reasons why I wanted to move to Chicago; the pros and cons. And I have been trying to set this thing up… set this thing up and that thing up… and then if I have enough money, and the right conditions then I am ready to go.”

Participant 1: Into the spiritual pursuit?

Speaker: Yes, more deeply into the spiritual pursuit. And it was when we discussed the idea that all it takes is readiness on our part and willingness to have miracles performed through us, and Jesus will arrange time and space for us. Literally time is in the hands of the miracle worker. The miracle worker isn’t stuck in time, kind of trying to hack his way out the best that he can.

Participant 1: So he can get out and perform miracles…

Speaker: But literally all it takes is readiness and then time and space are set up. Even with the intensives that we do or these sessions we have, it is just our willingness and our readiness that sets up time and space for the teaching and learning for us to extend the miracles and extend the clarity. It’s not that we have to go through a whole process of setting up all these things, and figure out who’s going to come and all this and that. That is the worldly way of doing things, making a production out of it or something. It is a real different sense. All I have to have is the willingness.

Participant 1: That’s when it’s really effortless I think. It’s when that intention is strong and it just unfolds from that.

Speaker: It’s been called synchronicity. From the world’s eyes it looks like things just click and flow so effortlessly, so easily, so in sync. And in a sense for the mind that is ready and able and willing to perform a miracle, everything is just lined up for it.

Okay, well I think that’s the end of that section. The next one is on Chapter 14, section 3. Paragraph five, sentences one through nine, The Decision for Guiltlessness.

“The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer, or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.”

Participant 1: So the cause is right-mindedness. And the effect is the miracle. Is that what this is saying?

Speaker: The miracle is just a reminder of Cause. ‘The Holy Spirit looks not to effects, but has overlooked their cause’ - so He sees the falsity of the effects of the world because He sees that they all come from a false cause, and He reminds the mind of the Cause that is present. So when it says, ‘the miracle is not a cause but an effect’ it’s like what you were saying, it is an effect of choosing the right-mind.

Another way we can talk about it is that the world just brings witness to what the mind wants. And if the mind chooses the right-mind, the miracle brings witness to that choice. It brings a witness of guiltlessness and freedom and joy.
The next quote is from the same chapter.

“Those who remember always that they know nothing, and who have become willing to learn everything, will learn it. But whenever they trust themselves, they will not learn. They have destroyed their motivation for learning by thinking they already know. Think not you understand anything until you pass the test of perfect peace, for peace and understanding go together and never can be found alone. Each brings the other with it, for it is the law of God they be not separate. They are cause and effect, each to the other, so where one is absent the other cannot be.”

Participant 1: So in this respect, it is clear that unless I am consistently in a state of peace, I don’t know anything. If I just need to be reminded that I don’t know anything, I can be if I recognize that I am not always in a state of peace.

Speaker: It calls to mind a few different passages in the Course. The one in the text was one that says ‘you still believe that your understanding is a major contribution to the truth.’ It is speaking to the ego mind, or the deceived mind. And in other places it refers to what the Bible called ‘the peace that passeth understanding’. It is talking about accepting the Atonement, about being in your right-mind. That is what it means to understand. That would also mean to be the ‘dreamer of the dream,’ to have completely reversed cause and effects in all respects. To have no confusion, to be absolved of conflict. And that’s all being equated with understanding and peace. There they are almost used interchangeably. They are cause and effect, each to the other. Where one is absent, the other cannot be. That reminds me of other parts in the text where Jesus talks about ‘a cause is made a cause by it’s effect’. In other words the Father is a Father because of the Son. Not in the sense that the Son created the Father, but in the sense that this is what gives Fathership, through creation. It is just another way of saying that cause and effect are together, that cause and effect are not split off and through relationship they go together.

Participant 1: They’re simultaneous.

Speaker: Yes. There’s no time gap in between them. And in the world, the whole idea of linear time is a gap between cause and effect. As if something has come in between the Cause and Effect, the Father and the Son. The whole point of the Course is to show that this is impossible. Ideas leave not their source, cause and effect are simultaneous. Another way of saying this is that the mind gets exactly what it wants. And when it wants only peace it cannot perceive anything but a peaceful world. But as long as it is not sure about what it wants then there seems to be a gap between cause and effect. It is starting to get deeper into this cause and effect stuff. Yesterday I believe the question was raised about the hypothetical situation, worst cause scenario… and a couple days ago when I was on the phone with Craig he was saying “I just don’t see how you can go along without conflict. What if I asked you to have lunch on the same day that you have already said that you are going to speak at Unity?” And I described to him that listening to the Holy Spirit and following that Voice, this eliminates all conflicts. It is no longer a menu of options. You are following inner guidance and you are at a place where you feel like the dreamer of the dream because you are not trying to change or control the script. You are flowing along observing something that has already happened. That is where the effortlessness comes in. You’re not looking back and saying ‘This could have been different.” or “We need to do this different”. And you are also not looking forward, planning, scheming, straining and trying to get it to work out best for you, to get it to go the way that you want it to.

Participant 1: What seems like a really key factor is that there really is only one thing that I want. The conflict would only come in if I felt like I personally wanted to be with Craig and if I personally felt obligated to be with Unity at the same time. But when my personal wants are not a factor, and all I want is just to listen and follow the Holy Spirit, then it takes the conflict right out of it.

Speaker: The deceived mind really believes that it has options and that when it is thinking about “I wish I was somewhere else but this” then it really believes that there is a ‘somewhere else’. But there isn’t. Cause and effect are simultaneous. There isn’t a hypothetical somewhere else. In a sense, the script is written and the outcome is always what it must be. All things do literally work together for good. The shadows are moving in a pattern of Divine Order and it is just a matter of seeing it as a ‘dreamer of the dream’ or of being back and observing what has literally already happened. And that is where the ease and the peace come in. Strain is believing that you are in the dream, that you are a person and thinking “I could be somewhere else” or “this should be different than it is”. Whatever the hypothetical it is that is going on in the mind when there is some conflict arising, there is a sense of coercion: “I’d be doing that if I really had my druthers, instead of this” and the deceived mind is still trying to split off cause and effect. It is denying that cause and effect are simultaneous, that this is just a projection of thought.

Participant 2: It seems like whenever I wish that I were somewhere else, the thought is that I could have a different effect, if I was doing something else or if I don’t like where I am… not feeling good or I am unhappy then I think if I were somewhere else I think that would change how I feel. And that’s the reversal of cause and effect.

Speaker: Yes, and that’s the egos answer to the belief in separation. It’s always holding out something in form, a thought of something in the future or the thought of some imagined place. If we removed this person and put this person in another environment, or with another person or the conditions were different…etc.

Participant 1: Things would be better if it were different than it is… I noticed myself thinking that last night when we were watching that TV movie and there were so many pauses for lengthy commercials between segments and I remember sitting there thinking, “Oh, you think it would be better if it was different. You think it would be better if there were no commercials.”
Speaker: That’s a subtle version of the same thing. Ultimately if we bring it back to the self concept and the subject / object split you see what’s beneath… ’I think I would be better if I were in a different place’… is that I am a person. It is not seen that I am everywhere, it makes no sense to think that I can go to another place or situation without the belief that I am this little, teeny fragment, a little person. The ultimate realization is that if the entire cosmos or the entire world is just a projection from the mind, that cosmos is the effect of this mistaken cause or the belief that I am separate.

Another thing too. It seems to be that certain events that are sequential and that some events happened last week, or yesterday or decades ago - like Cleopatra centuries ago. But the Course is teaching us that those things seem to have been projected from the mind in terms of time. Those are seen as happening long ago, and the closer it comes to where it seems to be projected from it is thought of as space. This thumb and Cleopatra don’t seem to have a lot of relationship, and yet, they are both ideas. One has been projected from my mind in terms of time ‘living centuries ago’ and this thumb one seems to be very literally close at hand! This thumb, it is so many inches away. Very close to the projector. Whereas events that seem to have happened many years ago or centuries ago have been projected beyond the mind to time. But ideas leave not their source. Cleopatra is in the wrong mind just as much as this thumb. It starts to collapse time when you start to see that there is no sequential time. That is just an ego attempt to hold cause and effect apart from one another, to make up sequential time and believe that I am a fragment moving in and through that linear time. Or that I am a linear fragment, even, with a past a personal history and a future to come.

Participant 1: So, would you take the TV show example… with my thought that there were too many commercials and it would be better if there weren’t commercials.

Speaker: Well, it gets back to ‘the script is written’ and the script is playing itself out and even the idea that ‘if those commercials had been edited out, that would save time.’ Ultimately what saves time is a miracle. A miracle collapses time. What is a miracle but a look on the dream world or the script from above the battlefield, seeing the falsity of the whole thing. That is what a miracle is, a leap above the battlefield where you just recognize the false as false. It doesn’t do anything,. It doesn’t take commercials out of movies. It just really reminds the mind that what it sees is false and that collapses the need for time.

Participant 1: I don’t think I was so conscious of the time that it was taking. I didn’t feel that I was wanting to hurry it up because there was something else to do. I think my perception was that the commercials were interrupting the flow of the movie. So that was the misperception… I was segmenting, that there was a difference in my mind in between the movie and the commercial.

Speaker: That there was a difference between the movie images and the commercial images… there was an ordering there.
Participant 1: Right.

Speaker: Not just seeing images as images.

Participant 1: And wanting a continuing of ‘this set’ of images, not to be interrupted by ‘that set’ of images. When I think of it that way, I start to see the way it is, the breaking apart…

Continue to Part 2

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