Reversing Effect and Cause;
Getting to the Bottom of the Belief in Linear Time
Part 1 | Part
2 | Part 3 | Part
Speaker: Looks like our next segment
is from chapter 16, ‘The Reward of Teaching’.
“You may have taught freedom, but you have not learned how to
be free. I said earlier, "By their fruits ye shall know them, and
they shall know themselves". For it is certain that you judge yourself
according to your teaching. The ego's teaching produces immediate results,
because its decisions are immediately accepted as your choice. And this
acceptance means that you are willing to judge yourself accordingly.
Cause and effect are very clear in the ego's thought system, because
all your learning has been directed toward establishing the relationship
between them. And would you not have faith in what you have so diligently
taught yourself to believe? Yet remember how much care you have exerted
in choosing its witnesses, and in avoiding those which spoke for the
cause of truth and its effects.”
So we are starting to get a sense that this whole world is learned,
and this whole world is based on upside down and backward thinking where
cause and effect have been reversed. Even if you ask ‘where are
you from?’ or ‘where did you begin?’… ‘well
I was born in 1958’ and so on… that is obviously cause and
effect have been reversed already because then my origin is in the time
space universe. Or questions like ‘What kind of family were you
raised in? Was it a dysfunctional family?’ Or ‘What were
the social conditions in the time you were born into?’. That seems
to be a factor in who you are, the social and cultural conditions. In
all of that, the cause of who I am is determined by the time / space
That has been taught. This world has been carefully learned and built
up based on that backward thinking. There has been enormous care in
building it up that way, and in choosing it’s witnesses. Whether
you are talking about a dysfunctional family, being mistreated in school,
having certain horrifying events that seemed to happen, and so on…
when someone recounts their personal life history it’s still based
on reversed cause and effect. It is believed that these events have
’caused’ a lasting effect on the mind. It is not seen that
the mind has believed that it is guilty and it called forth witnesses
to reinforce the guilt. Instead, through the ego’s lens, it is
seen as if these events and conditions in the world are somehow causative.
Participant 1: It helped me to remember that I told
the world what to teach me.
Speaker: And it keeps it in past tense too, because
once again, if someone says, ‘yuck!’ and asks that question,
‘why would I do such a thing?’… it is still asking
that ‘Why?’ question instead of ‘What is it for, what
is the purpose?’ I can make a different choice right now. The
unholy purpose (that the world was made as an attack upon God and as
a place to hide from love and to reinforce guilt) was a past decision.
That is the past. Right now I can choose to be free of that purpose.
That’s what it means to hold on to a new purpose - that right
now is offered to me as correction for that. So if you say, ‘I
told the world what to teach me’ that keeps it in the past tense.
Participant 1: And that really is just another way
of saying that the world is just a witness to my mind… beliefs.
So the last time we were talking about this, I was talking about how
it’s really the belief that comes first, and you reminded me that
it’s just a stepping stone because the belief and the effect,
or the cause and the effect are simultaneous.
Speaker: Yes, they’re one. The ego tree truck
and the branches. The thought that seemed to give rise to the world,
the wish to be separate from God, and all the effects of that wish,
the cosmos… are one. It’s all history so to speak. Jesus
says at the very end of the Course, “Where is the ego? Where the
Participant 1: And it’s only the seeming linearity
of time that obscures the fact that they are simultaneous.
Speaker: Time is the belief that cause and effect are
separate. That’s the gap, the gap that doesn’t exist. That’s
the point of the whole Course. You’ve put many toys in your gap
and now you believe that you can play with these toys and that you brought
these toys to life. It’s the Pinocchio thing. You have projected
out a bunch of images and this thing that seemed to be a static wood
puppet seems to have a life of it’s own. And it scares you when
these toys squeak and squawk and do certain things. Maybe you think
you have to lock up or avoid some of these events or circumstances or
these toys. And it says, ‘these are children’s toys.’
You must see that you made these toys up and by giving another purpose
to the toys or to the whole script and dream you can see that they aren’t
real. That they don’t have any life… there is no life in
the toys. That runs against all the thinking of the world, of making
the world a better place… saving the starving children, saving
lives, all the dramas on TV with rescues and so on that seem to be so
dramatic. Saving life. There is this horrible thing called death that
seems to be waiting with a hook to get every living thing at a certain
time, and life is precious, life is to be preserved and lengthened,
to be ‘saved’. And yet there is no life there on the screen.
That’s quite a fundamental thing and as you start to see that,
the implications of that are far reaching because then it makes much
more sense to sink down beneath the images in your mind and to let them
go, let go into the awareness that there is something real… a
real world of real thoughts beneath all these wrong-minded attack thoughts
and dark shadow images.
“Does not the fact that you have not learned what you have taught
show you that you do not perceive the Sonship as one? And does it not
also show you that you do not regard yourself as one? For it is impossible
to teach successfully wholly without conviction, and it is equally impossible
that conviction be outside of you. You could never have taught freedom
unless you did believe in it. And it must be that what you taught came
from yourself. Yet this Self you clearly do not know, and do not recognize
It even though It functions. What functions must be there. And it is
only if you deny what It has done that you could possibly deny Its presence.”
To try to teach that the world has existence in and of itself as an
objective reality and to try to teach backwards thought is to try to
teach an impossible lesson. And literally the mind is without conviction
when it is trying to teach the impossible lesson, because some part
in the mind it knows it can’t be taught. It’s like a divided
curriculum trying to teach that a world has existence apart from the
mind or trying to share ideas that can’t be shared because they
don’t come from God. They are delusional ideas. And also what
that does (the attempt to share ego ideas or to teach the impossible)
is denying the Self, denying Reality. That is where guarding the mind
comes in, where watching the thoughts very carefully and withdrawing
the mind’s allegiance from these backwards thoughts is so important.
Why would I want to teach something that can’t be taught? If I
want to get clear, why would I try to attempt to teach something that
can’t be taught? In subtle ways when you start to get down to
some of this cause and effect stuff, you get to watching your mind much
more closely. I was talking the other day about ‘Isn’t this
lovely? Isn’t this cute?… the different things or little
phrases that fill up the gaps of silence. You start to look at even
those. Those aren’t just making nice conversation but you start
to tune your mind in so much to want to be a channel for the Holy Spirit
that there is not that uneasiness of silence that needs to be filled
in with those comments or those ‘wonder’ questions. ‘I
wonder why it’s snowing so hard?’ or something like that.
They seem to be conversation to fill up the dead space, the silence
and the uneasiness and the fear of that silence that is there. Just
be able to watch the mind, to watch the thoughts and not to give allegiance
to them. And just to be able to bask in the silence, to just sink into
“This is a course in how to know yourself. You have taught what
you are, but have not let what you are teach you.”
In a sense the Holy Spirit is a reminder of our Self, what we truly
are. And when He says, ‘but have not let what you are teach you’
that’s what is the attempt to teach and learn a world that is
impossible, an attempt to not listen to the Holy Spirit and not let
what you are teach you.
“You have been very careful to avoid the obvious, and not to
see the real cause and effect relationship that is perfectly apparent.
Yet within you is everything you taught. What can it be that has not
learned it? It must be this part that is really outside yourself, not
by your own projection, but in truth. And it is this part that you have
taken in that is not you.”
So we’re back to that wrong-mind again. The ego… all of
consciousness, is the split mind and the wrong-mind, and as long as
that is taken in, in the sense that the guilt and the fear and the shame
are seen to be within (or believed to be within) it’s not seen
that they are truly outside of me. You have to sink down below them
into the mind and go beneath them to see that they are really outside
instead of in. But as long as the mind believes that there is guilt
and sadness and blackness and shame inside then it prefers to stay focused
and riveted on the screen and believe that the cause of the guilt and
pain is out there on the screen, the world remains a good distractive
device. A way of avoiding looking within.
It’s really just separating the wheat from the chafe. Separating
the profane, the attack thoughts, from the real thoughts. Discernment
between the wrong-mind and the right-mind. You can come at it any way
you want but that’s what it is. What can it be that has not learned
it? It can only be the wrong-mind that hasn’t learned what we
really are, that doesn’t realize the cause / effect relationship
that is perfectly apparent.
Participant 1: Well my thing is feeling like I don’t
want to forget it, or will forget it. The sentence could also read,
‘What can it be that could forget?’
Speaker: Yes. You really get a sense of where that
has to be coming from. And ultimately it’s that thing about learning
the Course entirely or not at all. There are lessons in the workbook
that say, ‘You are not two selves, but one.’ And I was addressing
a little bit in the sermon yesterday about ‘I am a spiritual being
having a human experience’. What part of that statement has to
be forgiven? The latter part! This human experience stuff, ‘I’m
only human’. All this justification for error and mistakes. ‘Well,
I’m only human’. You aren’t two selves. You think
that you’re part good, part bad, part painful, part joyful, part
this and part that. You can’t be two selves. It comes down to
a big either/or. You are either perfect, infinite, absolute changeless…
or what is the option? In the end what else can it be? You can’t
be anything but that. It brings it down to that one decision.
“And it is this part that you have taken in that is not you. What
you accept into your mind does not really change it. Illusions are but
beliefs in what is not there. And the seeming conflict between truth
and illusion can only be resolved by separating yourself from the illusion
and not from truth.”
The final realization that we can come to is simply that the truth is
true. It sounds funny when you read it in there, that you may be expecting
some grand thing. But that’s it, that the truth is true. But to
see that you have to see what is false. That is why when we talk about
the self concept, the self concept is not just little personal beliefs
but it is literally the belief that made the world, made the cosmos.
All of backward thinking is what’s false. So the self concept
is not just a persona, but the persona is just a part of what the mind
has wrapped around itself… the deceived mind has wrapped a body
around it, and a couch and a room and an area with snowflakes and a
lake and some clouds and the rest of the world and a solar system. It
has spun a cobweb of time, space and form all around it. And so the
underpinning of all that is this cause and effect stuff; the belief
that it really is possible to separate from the Creator is what seemed
to produce all that, and simply by going into the mind and seeing the
falsity of that cause, then if it is not a real cause, then it can’t
have real effects. What you are left with is seeing that you dreamed
this whole thing up, second of all that I can give a new purpose to
this whole cosmos that I dreamed up. And finally in the ultimate sense,
there is no need for this cosmos anymore. That is all the purpose can
show is that the only purpose of this world is that you pass it by without
remaining to see some glimmer of hope in something you believe it offers.
It is not like there is some value that is left in the cosmos…
that you can have a paradise on earth or some other sphere or whatever.
That is where the Course takes us literally beyond all the channeled
writings that say that ‘there is a world of perfection where everyone
lives in peace and harmony’ and it is still described as persons
and separate beings. ‘A perfect government‘… it’s
utopia. The closest the Course would come to utopia would be the Real
World, which is simply seeing that the entire world is an illusory projection,
not finding any inherent value or meaning in any aspect.
The next section is chapter 21 ‘The Responsibility for Sight’,
section 2. Paragraph nine.
“We have already said that wishful thinking is how the ego deals
with what it wants, to make it so. There is no better demonstration
of the power of wanting, and therefore of faith, to make its goals seem
real and possible. Faith in the unreal leads to adjustments of reality
to make it fit the goal of madness. The goal of sin induces the perception
of a fearful world to justify its purpose. What you desire, you will
see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realizing
all the adjustments you have introduced to make it so.”
In my life, I notice that some people would talk about ‘worst
case scenarios’ but I would start off with ‘Well, I have
to do this’ and then I would ask ‘Why do I have to do this’
and then I would say, ‘I need to do this because of that’
and tracing it back bringing it back from more subtle things of status
and power and fame and so on and then working it back down more and
more like Maslow did to basic needs; those basic fundamental needs of
food, clothing and shelter. And then when you start to work it down
from those into the mind and into the beliefs you get into beliefs of
levels, levels of need… that there are different levels of needs
that I have; emotional needs, physiological needs and so on. Still the
mind is splintered into different levels and different needs. And then
you work it down past that to before the belief in levels of needs comes
the belief in levels. That is still a belief and beneath that is still
the belief in lack and scarcity and sacrifice. Then beneath that is
the belief in separation, that the belief in separation is possible.
That‘s where the belief in lack arose - from that belief that
I could separate from my Creator, that I was suddenly lacking something.
That I wasn’t whole and complete. But what is helpful is to look
at all the adjustments, the different attempts at magic and the attempts
to build a self concept, to become a mature, respected, healthy, responsible
adult that has involved all kinds of adjustments in my mind to that
very first belief in separation. It is like the old thing where the
dam starts to break. A couple pebbles are loose and you start to plug
one and then run over and plug another. This world was made as a hiding
place. It just seems to require so many adjustments. All of the defenses
that the mind uses are based on the underlying belief that there is
something to be defended. And that the defenses are necessary and helpful
or useful. There is an enormous amount of mind tricks and attempts to
use magic and all kinds of things to conceal this despair that is believed
to be real. And the only way to lay down the defenses and attempts to
use magic is to look right into the mind and look right into the ‘cause’
and see that the ‘big bad wolf’ or the ‘wizard of
oz’ so to speak, the one that seems to be this controlling, powerful,
dominating thing, is nothing but this little mouse that has no consequence
at all. You just quit believing in it. That is quite a release.
Here we go, we are getting down to this cause and effect stuff again…
“When vision is denied, confusion of cause and effect becomes
inevitable.” When the light in the mind is denied then backward
thinking becomes inevitable because it is seen as necessary and as a
part of that ‘hiding place’ idea.
“The purpose now becomes to keep obscure the cause of the effect,
and make effect appear to be a cause. This seeming independence of effect
enables it to be regarded as standing by itself, and capable of serving
as a cause of the events and feelings its maker thinks it causes.”
So it’s literally a world apart from Heaven where ideas seem to
have left their source and where God is powerless over what has been
made. It is the birth of objective reality apart from the mind of the
thinker. It sets up this whole thing where the dream figure seems to
be at the mercy of the dream world. Besides being at the mercy of the
dream world, the dream figure also is seen as causative. So it can do
things, it can be a cause of events onto other things. So when someone
seems to murder or kill or abandon or whatever, it is seen as a causative
agent that can act in and of itself. It is not seen as just part of
a play and that I am a mind and the executive producer / director, that
I have set it up this way. It is seen as if the characters have wills
of their own, so they are causative as well. For example: ‘you
cause me great misery. You hurt my feelings. You made me laugh.’
It is not seen that the mind has chosen all the emotions and all the
states of mind.
“Earlier, we spoke of your desire to create your own Creator,
and be father and not son to Him. This is the same desire. The Son is
the effect, whose Cause he would deny. And so he seems to be the cause,
producing real effects. Nothing can have effects without a cause, and
to confuse the two is merely to fail to understand them both. It is
as needful that you recognize you made the world you see, as that you
recognize that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake.”
That’s the ‘authority problem‘. That is where we’ve
come to the point of saying that ‘I was wrong about everything’.
To be wrong about the belief that I pulled apart from my creator, and
I could make up a world apart from God, and also the belief that I could
make myself. That’s the underlying belief behind the so called
‘self improvement’ movement where I am an image of my own
making and I can improve and shape the destiny of my own self.
Participant 2: Explain a little bit about the ‘authority
Speaker: The authority problem is that denial of Spirit.
To believe that you can make up a world or make up a self in the direction
of your own making is to deny that you are what you are, that you are
an Effect of God, that you are Spirit, and that you are as God created
Participant 1: And that can’t be changed.
Speaker: And that can’t be changed. Reality is
only yours to accept, not to select from. Of course to make yourself,
then there first must be the belief that reality is mine to choose from.
I can choose to stay with this family or I can choose to leave. I can
choose to go back to college or not. I can choose to work out and improve
my body or I can choose to let it go. All the attempts to make a better
person is perceived from the basic assumption that I can make myself,
and that reality is mine to select from. I can choose to live where
I want to live. I can choose to go where I want to go. I can choose
to retain my cultural or ethnic identity. I can choose to speak the
language I want to speak. It’s kind of the value for pluralism.
Even this ‘respect for diversity’ still doesn’t go
down to the ultimate of wanting to see the sameness that is, or accepting
the universal Reality that is. It is still an attempt to cling to variety
and diversity, still to cling to the belief that I can make myself.
Participant 1: That phrase that you used, that believing that reality
is mine to choose from. That would be equated also with ‘I invent
Speaker: Yes. I can order my own thoughts is another
way of saying it. I can pick and choose from reality. And clearly, Jesus
says in the Course that if you believe that you can order your thoughts
and then you have this disordered thought system, and then you feel
responsible for the chaos and disorder, and then you feel guilty. Guilt
automatically comes from a mind that believes it can order it’s
own thoughts. It’s inescapable. And it says that ‘God orders
your thoughts’. That’s where Divine Order comes in.
Our next paragraph is from Chapter 21, section 7, paragraph 7.
“Forget not that the choice of sin or truth, helplessness or power,
is the choice of whether to attack or heal. For healing comes of power,
and attack of helplessness. Whom you attack you cannot want to heal.
And whom you would have healed must be the one you chose to be protected
from attack. And what is this decision but the choice whether to see
him through the body's eyes, or let him be revealed to you through vision?
How this decision leads to its effects is not your problem. But what
you want to see must be your choice. This is a course in cause and not
This is a course in thinking and not in forms and behaviors and appearances.
And there is that sentence: ‘How this decision leads to its effects
is not your problem.’ In other words there is no need to even
figure out how vision works or whatever, but it is to have the desire
and willingness for vision- that is the whole thing.
We are now on Chapter 24, ‘The Christ in You’ section 5,
“In dreams effect and cause are interchanged, for here the maker
of the dream believes that what he made is happening to him. He does
not realize he picked a thread from here, a scrap from there, and wove
a picture out of nothing. For the parts do not belong together, and
the whole contributes nothing to the parts to give them meaning.”
That is just another way of saying what we were just talking about.
The deceived mind believes that it can pick from, select from, and assemble
reality the way it wants it and that’s what it sees. And not only
does it label the parts and set them apart from one another but it starts
to define how it wants the parts to relate to one another. That is a
lot of the learning of the world, not only what the parts are but how
they relate to one another.
Participant 1: And there is no relationship between
illusions. That has been coming to me a lot lately. And the mind’s
attempt to see relationship where there is none is simply the mind’s
attempt to order the chaos and make the illusion seem that it’s
not an illusion.
Speaker: Yes, it’s very important to get to the
concepts. In the kingdom of heaven, the one eternal law is ‘what
you extend you are‘. And in this world, the law becomes twisted
and adapted to ‘what you project you will believe‘. So the
concepts have to be revealed in the mind and let go of because attack
thoughts (false ideas) must be projected. In other words, they can’t
be held together. You can’t hold onto the Holy Spirit’s
thought system and attack thoughts because it is an intolerable conflict
trying to hold onto two opposing thought systems. So attack thoughts
must be projected. And what the mind projects it believes. That is what
we read earlier, that in this sense the separation has occurred because
you have accepted it in your mind. You believe it and to deny it would
be an inappropriate use of denial. When the deceived mind holds thoughts
(delusional ideas) in mind that are not of God, it must be projected…
because every thought must either be projected or extended. Thoughts
of God are extended and thoughts of the wrong-mind are projected. So
it is imperative that the mind let go of or raise to awareness and let
go of the concepts that are not of the Father… every concept that
is not of the Father, every belief.
Participant 2: I think, and we went into this one time,
when I started to read this information and then as my awareness became
greater, I began to see all the reversal of the cause and effect and
it was almost this bombardment. I felt bombarded by the backwards thinking
and I suppose that what it comes down to is me just calling forth these
witnesses to say ‘Yes, it is impossible for you to believe this’
but at the same time… I remember….it’s the concern
that comes to me when we are looking at it now… the kids walk
through the door and start talking about cause and effect, reversed!
And Tom comes in and then he starts doing it. And I feel like…
How do I fit into this picture? If I am going to totally reverse my
thinking and not buy into that thinking anymore, then how do I fit into
this picture? I’ll just go sit over in the corner and keep my
mouth shut! Cause there won’t be anything for me to say! (Laughing)
Participant 1: The picture will change though…
Participant 2: I’m sure it will.
Participant 1: As the mind changes, the picture it
uses for witnesses has to be changing.
Participant 2: There’s the reversal of the cause
and effect too. I am not even sure what it is I am doing but I see that
there is reversal of cause and effect in it… that I think that
me changing my mind, that that is going to cause a problem.
Participant 1: Because the witnesses to your mind aren’t
seen as witnesses to your mind, they are seen as apart from your mind
and separate from you as individual minds that will go on caught up
in this backwards thinking and you’ll go on thinking ‘How
can I go on being around all this backward thinking?’
Participant 2: Or even as a parent, the kids come to
me and say , ‘How did this happen?’ or ‘What about
this?’ and I think, Wow, what do I say? Give them the expected
answer or give them the encyclopedia information or….
Participant 1: Give the answer a teacher would give
them, or give them an answer that a teacher of God would give them.
Participant 2: Right. And it’s just separating
it out. Instead of just seeing myself as a chance for the Holy Spirit,
it’s like I have to know the answer ahead of time and be prepared
so that when they ask me the question it’s not like ‘Oh
my gosh, I’ve got to think about this. Can you hang on for ten
or fifteen minutes and I’ll get back to you because I’ve
got to really work this all out in my mind before I give you an answer’.
Speaker: I think behind the ‘How can I fit into
the picture?’ it’s back to the ‘dreamer of the dream’
vs. ‘dream figure’. The basic thing beneath it is, ‘I
belong in this picture’. Whether it’s this picture or just
in general. This picture of the world or this picture of a home.
Participant 1: I am in it, I am in the picture! And
I belong here. (Laughing)
Speaker: And my mind seems to be shifting and seems
strange now. Early on for me, the more I plunged into the ideas of the
course, that was the friction that I felt. Going to family gatherings,
there was all this talk about all this stuff… and just feeling
like ‘Oh my gosh if I keep going with this… I feel strange,
I feel I am out in left field right now. And it could only get worse’.
And that’s the way I perceived it because this is the direction
it seems to be going dramatically away from in the opposite direction.
And I think what my fear was then, I projected my fear out into the
future and I really pictured myself alone. I pictured myself more in
the monastic mode of just going off into a hut or something somewhere.
Participant 1: Ostracized by anybody that might have
been around before.
Participant 2: Who’d want to be around you?
Speaker: And the surprise, or the turnabout has been
that of just feeling Called internally to go places, to do things, to
speak, and to meet people. It is like when I described going to Roscoe
and having all these meetings in the community kitchen. It was like
I was drawing forth witnesses that wanted to hear what was coming out,
but before what I perceived as my biological family didn’t care…
weren’t in a place to receive.
Participant 1: And even said, ‘I think you need
to find someone else to talk to about these things’ right?
Speaker: Yes, once, early on. And it was just following
that Guidance and going to [spiritual center] or the experience with
**, and just sitting and talking and immediately clicking in at a place
where there was a ‘You can see it too!’ experience. Just
drawing forth a witness to my shift of mind that was bringing back to
me those ideas, reflecting back to me those ideas that I was feeling.
That really went counter balance to that whole thing that I would be
alone, that actually there were those who could hear what I was talking
about, and could relate to it and could understand. And then just going
with that direction more and more whether it has been with the travels
or with the conversations we’re having and this and that. But
the pain was trying to fit it into the old picture… this new kind
Participant 1: That you didn’t really know what
it was. You didn’t know what the ‘whatever’ was but
somehow you were still trying to plug it in to what was familiar.
Speaker: And feeling like this was a journey or a Guidance
that I really had to follow. I really wanted to follow. All along, even
when the Voice was through the seeming college years of trying to put
something together and make a career out of something, specialize in
something or find something to settle down in at least professionally
or a vocation and still feeling this Call to I didn’t know what.
But also feeling tied along with it was ‘I have to go. I have
to go with this Guidance even though I don’t have a clear picture.
I can’t project out and know what it will look like’. I
think of some of the stories of the different saints and so called wise
people, I think of Meher Baba. Just coming to a point where he went
into silence. Tara Singh reportedly went into three years of silence
and would speak occasionally with people at grocery stores and places.
But Meher Baba just went into silence, complete silence. And there was
such a light in his eyes and such an attraction, such a strong draw
that people would come to sit in his presence. And finally they got
him one of these spelling boards, like a Ouija board where you move
to the letters, and his teachings came through that. He would go literally,
pointing letter by letter. It seemed slow, people were there and they
took down what came through. But he literally went into the silence.
And in conventional thinking it’s like ‘Come on, what is
this? Everyone talks. What you do think God gave people mouths for?’
Participant 2: Just to be willing to do what it takes.
Speaker: Early on in our discussion was when Jesus
brought up readiness and mastery. Readiness does not imply mastery but
it means that a potential for a real change in mind is there. Readiness
is not something that you can cultivate outside yourself because there
isn’t any readiness outside yourself. It is really readiness in
your own mind. And that’s not good or bad or right or wrong. But
to really go within and focus on watching your mind and to really want
to have that mind shift, the shift from readiness into mastery, to really
generalize… is a highly internal matter. You know how the Course
says the curriculum is highly individualized. When you really look at
it in those terms you see that you can’t rush your brother along.
You can only go with where you are and it takes the strain out of wondering.
There is a part of the mind that says ‘I like relaxing and watching
a football game. I enjoy a golf match. I enjoy fine dining or hobnobbing
with people. I like some of that. I am not ready to generalize. I am
not ready to take this thing and generalize it across the board, but
I have a sense that you are on to something and I am watching. And beyond
that I know that we are connected in a way that I know what you do for
you, you do for me and for everyone’. That is the way that I felt
when I extended this with a lot of friends. I really opened and tried
to make myself available and there was a real attraction and then there
was a pulling back… seeing that ‘This is threatening to
my everyday life… and threatening to the way I conceive of my
life… there are certain parts that I like of the way I conceive
of my life and I don’t want to come so close anymore… I
am not at the place of commitment. I’d like to be at the place
of commitment where you all are…but I am not there and I need
to go splash in the pond a little more’. And that’s okay.
That’s fine. But the whole point is that it is peripheral to ‘I
want to go from readiness to master… I want to get the lesson’.
And it takes it away from the peripheral, from the whole idea of brothers.
It is like that ** material where ** is going through some of those
struggles and ** says basically, ‘the formation of a flock is
not necessary to staying on the Homing beacon and there may be a flock,
there may not be a flock. There may be some in the flock that will say
‘this leader is crazy and leave the flock and some of those may
even seem to get to the destination more quickly in another flock’.
None of that is your concern **… your concern is to stay onto
the beacon… don’t lose sight of the beacon.’ When
I read that it was a real helpful thing for myself as well because there
is such a tendency to watch the flock around. Whether it’s a biological
family or… that’s just a smokescreen for the other ones
because as soon as you get into thinking you are part of a Course family
or Course community or certain people… the same thing happens
there. It is not different. The mind may think that it will be different
now because they are Course students or something like that. But that’s
not the case either. It still comes down to ‘I have to stay on
the beacon and I have to pull my attention away from who is flying in
formation and who is not in formation, who is with the flock and who
is leaving the flock’ all of the drama of spiritual awakening,
so to speak, in the ego sense that is all just a distraction as well.
And you have experienced both of those, both with the family frustration
there and also we’ve held gatherings and you expressed that one
time out on the porch about ‘they say I’m ready, I’m
ready, I’m ready… and they aren’t here! They should
be part of this flock! If they really wanted to be on the beacon, they’d
be here darn it!’. And it’s that same kind of a thing. Like
** says, “Say to them, ‘I invite you to fly with me and
I invite you not to fly with me. It’s your choice’”.
It really doesn’t matter.
I think our teaching / learning sessions are such a helpful thing and
we’ve all said that we’d like this to continue and as far
as even how, where or when I think any of us that feel guided to be
in communication with anyone or anything, if we work with some of the
tapes or we feel strong guidance as Beverly has felt at times, to call
or to write to someone, to go with that guidance, to really trust in
that and if things evolve then… it’s just keeping really
open to that. We want to keep getting clearer and clearer through these
teaching / learning situations however it unfolds.
So, we’re continuing on with cause and effect and now we’re
moving to chapter 28, section 1. The undoing of fear, the present memory.
“The miracle does nothing. All it does is to undo. And thus it
cancels out the interference to what has been done. It does not add,
but merely takes away. And what it takes away is long since gone, but
being kept in memory appears to have immediate effects. This world was
over long ago. The thoughts that made it are no longer in the mind that
thought of them and loved them for a little while. The miracle but shows
the past is gone, and what has truly gone has no effects. Remembering
a cause can but produce illusions of its presence, not effects.”
That’s a biggie. That explains a lot of what we have been talking
“The miracle but shows the past is gone, and what has truly gone
has no effects. Remembering a cause can but produce illusions of its
presence, not effects. Remembering is as selective as perception, being
its past tense.”
That’s an interesting kind of idea. Remembering is the past tense
“It is perception of the past as if it were occurring now, and
still were there to see. Memory, like perception, is a skill made up
by you to take the place of what God gave in your creation. And like
all the things you made, it can be used to serve another purpose, and
to be the means for something else. It can be used to heal and not to
hurt, if you so wish it be. Nothing employed for healing represents
an effort to do anything at all. It is a recognition that you have no
needs which mean that something must be done. It is an unselective memory,
that is not used to interfere with truth. All things the Holy Spirit
can employ for healing have been given Him, without the content and
the purposes for which they have been made. They are but skills without
an application. They await their use. They have no dedication and no
So that really is clearly stating what we have been saying all along
about removing all the purposes that I have given to everything…
tables, chairs, bodies, houses, cars, green paper strips, metal discs.
Participant 1: Unselective memory is an interesting
Speaker: Because all selective memory is using the
past and picking out what I want things to mean to me, what I think
they mean. Unselective gives the impression that it’s universal,
that the Holy Spirit’s purpose is a universal application and
that all the things in this world have no dedication and no aim [and
that includes] all particular and specific abilities, skills and objects.
It also relates back to what we have been saying that they really have
no relation to each other. They are only related; all the specifics
are only related through the Holy Spirit’s purpose but they have
no relation to one another. So, a couch and a body or a house and a
body or a car and a body seem to have pretty strong relationships. Cars
are very necessary it seems, in the world’s eyes, to get those
bodies around. And yet all objects in the world and all skills have
no inherent, intrinsic meaning or use in and of themselves because that
whole idea ‘in and of themselves’ is erroneous. There is
no specific in and of itself. If this seems pretty steep, the whole
world that’s been constructed starts to teeter if that is accepted.
Participant 1: I’m thinking of the analogy you
used of beads strung on a golden cord and that the golden cord is the
Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit’s purpose and the beads are the
specific or isolated or individual 'whatevers' that, of themselves,
are just scattered and have no meaning or use with out the cord running
Speaker: And if you took the metaphor a little further
you would see that it is a necklace because the cord has really no beginning
and no end. And therefore neither do the beads…
Participant 1: Where’s the front and where’s
Speaker: Yes, it’s not linear. If you took the
metaphor of just holding onto a cord with the beads strung on you’d
have a linear thing whereas the necklace or the circle is the whole
thing of the Holy Spirit’s purpose and has no beginning and no
“The Holy Spirit can indeed make use of memory, for God Himself
is there. Yet this is not a memory of past events, but only of a present
state. You are so long accustomed to believe that memory holds only
what is past, that it is hard for you to realize it is a skill that
can remember now. The limitations on remembering the world imposes on
it are as vast as those you let the world impose on you. There is no
link of memory to the past. If you would have it there, then there it
is. But only your desire made the link, and only you have held it to
a part of time where guilt appears to linger still.”
And that part of time where guilt appears to linger still is the unholy
instant. Every time the unholy instant is called and believed to be
the present, then the present is denied, the holy instant is denied
when the past is brought into the present. So every time you order concepts,
order thoughts, every time you judge, then it is still an attempt to
deny that these are just images and that the ego thoughts and the projected
images are already over and done. They are part of that unholy instant.
So the wrong-mind exists entirely in the unholy instant because the
wrong-mind is past tense. And the right-mind which would be analogous
to forgiveness is in the present. So if we talk about wrong-mind, right-mind,
we talk about guilt versus forgiveness… however you do it, it’s
past, present. And forgiveness is in the right-mind or in the present
Participant 1: Holy Instant and unholy instant.
Speaker: Yes. And something that has been coming to
me the last couple days too has been that the miracle is like a point.
The wrong mind is like a line and the miracle is like a point, only
a point, always a point. In fact if you use it in a line metaphor, it’s
a point that collapses the line. But instead of the step of thinking
‘I am the Holy Son of God, I am One, I am Allness’, the
step to get that is ‘I am a point instead of a line’. So
whenever I am tempted to think of what I have done in the past or what
is coming up I can just think of ‘I am a point, not a line’.
It is real simple, it is a geometrical kind of a metaphor.
Participant 1: I like the image of recognizing when
I am thinking of myself as a line and then it shrinks down and it is
just a point.
Speaker: Also, for some it may be a question of ‘Well,
how does that fit with I am everything and everywhere because a point
can be in some people’s minds to be seen as very tiny but a point
just like a dot can be magnified. The miracle is a perception but it
is as if the entire cosmos of time and space is that point. You can
observe that point from the miracle and you see that all of time and
space is simultaneous. It is not linear and it is all contained in that
unholy instant. You can think of the unholy instant as kind of a point
that you can observe from the miracle. And in that sense, that includes
everywhere that you could possibly be, all included in that point. It
takes away the sense of distance and location and place.
“The Holy Spirit's use of memory is quite apart from time. He
does not seek to use it as a means to keep the past, but rather as a
way to let it go. Memory holds the message it receives, and does what
it is given it to do. It does not write the message, nor appoint what
it is for.”
Memory is just like time and the body and relationships and everything
else. It’s just this neutral thing that will serve the purpose
like everything else in the mind. It’s a skill that was made up
by the deceived mind and we are back to ‘What is my purpose? What
is it for?’. It has no inherent purpose in and of itself.
“Like to the body, it is purposeless within itself. And if it
seems to serve to cherish ancient hate, and gives you pictures of injustices
and hurts that you were saving, this is what you asked its message be
and that it is. Committed to its vaults, the history of all the body's
past is hidden there. All of the strange associations made to keep the
past alive, the present dead, are stored within it, waiting your command
that they be brought to you, and lived again. And thus do their effects
appear to be increased by time, which took away their cause.”
Now we’ve got some good stuff in there. We’ve used that
computer memory analogy and this is a good paragraph for that - where
all of the history, all of the body’s past is hidden there in
this vault of a very long hard drive, enormous number of mega bytes.
And literally when it says all the body’s past we are talking
about the ‘past-past’ and the ‘future-past,’
all of the perception.
“And thus do their effects appear to be increased by time, which
took away their cause.”
So the ego is a splintering thought and is all of the fragmentation,
and we could even say procreation because there seems to be more bodies
and more bodies and more bodies. It is a population explosion basically,
‘and thus do their effects appear to be increased by time’.
It seems as times go on that there are more and more and more bodies
and it says ‘which took away their cause’. It’s still
that reversal of cause and effect as if time and procreation appear
to be the cause of more and more bodies when really the cause of the
entire world including the bodies and all of the fragments and everything,
is the ego, the belief in separation in the mind. So time seems to have
done a very nice thing for the deceived mind. It seems to have taken
on causation. Time seems to have causation, when time is really just
a belief that has spun from the belief in separation. So the cause is
in the mind, not in time.
A lot of times when you hear these discussions, people ask: ’Is
the world getting better or worse?’. Some people will say it’s
getting worse and worse with pollution and all the different problems
and getting more complex and so on. But that’s still not getting
at the issue, that the cause of the world is in the mind and that time
is not multiplying the problems. There still is only one problem, that’s
the belief in separation. Even though the many hides the zero of everything.
It doesn’t matter how many times you multiply an illusion by zero
you still have zero, because the cause is not in the world or in time.
And still there are the scientists looking with their high power telescopes
into the cosmos for the beginning of it (the Big Bang), for they still
believe that there is a cause out there on the screen. What we are here
learning in the Course is that the cause is in the mind. So now the
next paragraph really starts to put time in it’s place, so to
“Yet time is but another phase of what does nothing. It works
hand in hand with all the other attributes with which you seek to keep
concealed the truth about yourself. Time neither takes away nor can
So this is a very important idea and like we discussed yesterday, we
raised the quote which was from the text which is really very early
on saying that “…just as the separation occurred over millions
of years, the last judgment will occur over a similarly long period
and perhaps an even longer one.” When you read a statement like
that and you still weren’t clear about level confusion, about
the mind… the right-mind and the wrong-mind, you could conclude
wrongly that the healing is subject to time, in fact, millions of years.
It says so right here! But what we are seeing here much later in the
text is a clear statement that time neither takes away nor can restore.
It’s not the millions of years that are going to restore the Sonship
back to it’s original place. Time is just as neutral as anything
else, it’s just another phase of what does nothing. It’s
the purpose that’s given to time that is the crucial thing. If
the mind can just accept the Holy Spirit’s purpose completely
and wholly in one instant, that’s what it means to accept the
Atonement. That doesn’t take any time. That is where the whole
idea of process collapses in that one decision to accept the Correction
that’s always been in the mind.
Participant 2: So, why would He make a statement like
that? That it’s taken millions of years and that it’s going
to take millions more?
Speaker: Well, why would He say, “God weeps?”
Participant 2: Right. I can see how that would be helpful
but I am not sure… How do you see that as helpful?
Speaker: Well I see it first of all on the context
of coming on text page 30... I can see if one was coming in and started
reading some of these phrases like we are reading now on page 548 that
I may just chuck the book. Without a careful study and application,
and insights and experiences that come that make way for the mind to
accept an idea like this, the mind is not ready. Remember it’s
always an interpretation. The deeper the insights go and the more you
become aware of some of the deeper ideas that are there being expressed
in the Course, a statement like that is just seen for what it is - a
stepping stone. I just see it as one of those lower rungs or one of
those stepping stones along the way. There are a lot of things that
can be interpreted as discouraging if so interpreted. For example, you
could go back to the Teacher’s Manual and some would say, ’Well,
if it’s at the manual at the very end it should be pretty far
along because that’s the Manual for Teachers.’ Yet there
is a statement that is made that’s in the Teacher’s Manual
that gets into the ‘stages’ of the development of trust.
Participant 2: Oh, it says ’It will take a very
long time to reach this.’
Speaker: Yes, it’s even stated a little stronger
than ’long’. It’s on page 10 of the Teacher’s
Manual in the old text.
“And now he must attain a state that must remain impossible to
reach for a long long time.” So people have used that statement
to say, ’Yes, this is going to be a very very very long process’.
And in conjunction with this other one, taking millions of years and
have concluded with a statement like ’Let’s be realistic.
This is going to be a very very long drawn out process’. Certainly
there are other parts in the Course that clearly point out that it can
be an instant. It can not be accepted in any other time but now!
Participant 1: What appears as discouraging certainly
depends on where you are coming from. I’m thinking of the woman
at the all-day gathering that we were at in Michigan and she felt very
discouraged when she kept reading the idea that it takes only an instant
because she felt like, if it took only an instant, why hadn’t
she already experienced that instant? And so looking at it is a very
short instant was very discouraging to her, whereas someone else looking
at it in terms of millions of years or impossible for a long long time
could seem discouraging.
Speaker: It’s based on the interpretation. The
ego can go on either way and seem to make it discouraging for the mind,
that it’s going to take a long long time or it just takes and
instant and I can’t do it. I don’t think it’s possible
when you start to get a clarity on the ’dreamer of the dream’
and on the urgency that we have been talking about to even have to make
an interpretation on a statement because it dissolves.
Participant 1: Just let it go. Use it as long as it’s
helpful and then let it go.
Speaker: It is gone. It’s not even an active
kind of thing like ’Okay, thank you. You’ve served me well,
I kiss you goodbye’. At a certain point, in the insight, in the
Aha!… the past is gone, is dissolved.
“Yet time is but another phase of what does nothing. It works
hand in hand with all the other attributes with which you seek to keep
concealed the truth about yourself. “
All the other attributes… you could throw the whole kit and caboodle
in with that… time, space, abilities, skills, personhood…
you name it. Size, degrees, attributes, levels… all those are
‘the other attributes with which you seek to keep concealed the
truth about yourself.’ The truth about our Self is completely
abstract. There are no levels in the truth about our Self, no intervals,
“Time neither takes away nor can restore. And yet you make strange
use of it, as if the past had caused the present, which is but a consequence
in which no change can be made possible because its cause has gone.”
There’s a big sentence because there that just takes the whole
underpinnings of the world away. It’s the strange use you give
time, as if the past caused the present, that needs to be let go of.
And you see that last part of the sentence, ’which is but a consequence
in which no change can be made possible because its cause has gone’.
That’s how the ego skips over the present. If the past caused
the present, then the present is just an effect. There is no way to
change it. You are sunk, you are determined. The ego says, just skip
over the present because…
Participant 1: There’s nothing you can do about
Speaker: There’s absolutely nothing you can do,
the ego says, because the past caused the present.
Participant 1: I never saw it that way before.
Speaker: So you can see why linear time has to collapse,
the mind has to let go of the belief in linear time because other than
that was are back to determinism. For example in psychological terms:
‘you are a product of your environment’ or ‘you are
a product of your past conditioning’.
“Yet change must have a cause that will endure, or else it will
not last. No change can be made in the present if its cause is past.
Only the past is held in memory as you make use of it, and so it is
a way to hold the past against the now.”
So if we go back to our computer analogy, the deceived mind keeps calling
up programs and there is its use of memory. If on the computer there
was a little section that was the memory of God or the memory of the
Present or the Holy Instant, the deceived mind never calls for that
program. It always goes back to the giant vault of the past and continues
to keep asking for memories out of that. Instead it needs to literally
call forth the Memory of the Present."
“Remember nothing that you taught yourself, for you were badly
taught. And who would keep a senseless lesson in his mind, when he can
learn and can preserve a better one? When ancient memories of hate appear,
remember that their cause is gone. And so you cannot understand what
they are for.”
This just fits in with all of the lessons of the workbook such as ‘Nothing
I see means anything’ and ‘I do not understand what anything
is for.’ That’s why those lessons are so important because
the mind has got to accept those ideas in relation to what the body’s
eyes seem to be seeing and hearing. That’s where the disorientation
can come in. That’s what life has been constructed as, meaning
sequential daily life, and what he’s saying is that as ‘ancient
memories of hate appear,’ in whatever form that seems to take,
remember that they’re cause is gone and so you cannot understand
what they are for. That means don’t try to figure it out. Don’t
try to rationalize it or break it apart. You cannot understand what
they are for. Stop trying. And it fits in with what you have been receiving
in your journal about ’you still think you know,’ and that
applies directly to that. You cannot understand what they are for. So
now we are going to get the idea of substituting a new purpose or a
“Let not the cause that you would give them now be what it was
that made them what they were, or seemed to be. Be glad that it is gone,
for this is what you would be pardoned from. And see, instead, the new
effects of cause accepted now, with consequences here. They will surprise
you with their loveliness. The ancient new ideas they bring will be
the happy consequences of a Cause so ancient that it far exceeds the
span of memory which your perception sees.”
We’ve talked about the ideas that are not of God, they cannot
be shared in reality, and the attempt to share these concepts and ideas
is what seems to make the world have objective reality. The mind not
only makes up a dream in which the dream figures seem to come along
and reinforce the reality of the world, the mind not only gives a label
to that dream figure and calls that dream figure by a specific name,
but the dream figure answers to the name. That is pretty convincing,
that there is a separate reality apart from my mind, not seeing that
my mind is doing the asking and the answering, so to speak, and it’s
all an delusional attempt. I see so-and-so and they say ‘Hi!’.
They answer to that name. So that is why all the senses and everything
that comes through the senses just witnesses to the reality of the world.
It seems to be that there are two people or two minds agreeing upon
some made up fictitious concept and it seems to have a reality because
of that. So our next quote jumps ahead to Chapter 26:
Continue to part 3