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Delving into Form and Content

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: I’m just glad to be here with all of you. To me it’s a precious thing when we can come together and the purpose and the intention is to look at some of the false beliefs in ourselves and just as the Bible says “wherever two or more are gathered, there I am.” When we come together with that intention it just accelerates the outgrowing process or the transcending process of the ego so I feel really grateful.

It’s also quite a leap to just come because there is a fear around Well I’m going and a lot of these people I know or I may not know. There’s always a sense of a little bit of uneasiness. A lot of times it’s a way that is most helpful. The ego’s way to deal with it is to have a lot of structure; to know what you’re going to do ahead of time. Or repetition – the ego’s big on ritual and method and approaches. But to come together without a format is a little scary to the ego.

So feel free to say whatever comes to your mind, to use that as something to go into. If you have a reaction to something someone’s saying; we can go into that. It’s always a decision, that’s the thing that seems so high about the Course. It’s always saying that our emotions are based on our own decision – which doesn’t leave a lot of leeway. The ego’s always going but, but, but. In this case I know there are no but, but buts. It’s all going into the metaphysics and trying to understand what’s going on in our own minds so we can understand why we’re choosing what we’re choosing. On a conscious level it can seem kind of crazy because Why would I choose to be fearful or why would I choose to be sick? It’s just a kind of a surface level thing. It’s so strange to think of choosing to be sick. I would always say no one in their right mind would choose to be sick. The Course keeps saying you’re not in your right mind when you’re choosing sickness. Why would someone choose to be fearful? You’re not in your right mind. So we really need to go into the metaphysics a bit, to see what’s going on with decision and choice.

We might just start off with just a little bit of basics. Just use the Course as our springboard and start off with a little passage and then go from there as things come up. And the passage that’s been coming to me is Chapter 24, The Goal of Specialness.

In the first couple of sentences he just keeps reminding us what the goal is. And it’s just nice to be reminded that the goal is peace of mind. It’s so simple, here’s a big book 1200 something pages or whatever, but it comes down to:

“Forget not that the motivation for this Course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace. Given this state the mind is quiet and the condition in which God is remembered is attained.” (T-24.1)

There’s going to be a lot of heavy duty stuff that he’s going to get into in this chapter, but he just starts it off real simple and brings it back to peace of mind is our goal. The part that I wanted to use as a springboard is the beginning of the second paragraph where he really starts to get down to the nitty gritty.

“To learn this Course requires willingness to question every value that you hold.” (W-24.2)

Very literal; when you really go into the Course you start to see it’s so literal.

“Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning. No belief is neutral. Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make. For a decision is a conclusion based on everything that you believe. It is the outcome of belief, and follows it as surely as does suffering follow guilt and freedom sinlessness.” (W-24.2)

That is just an enormous couple of sentences. When we talk about the full idea of decision; decision is an important theme in the book and basically the book ends with the phrase “Choose once again.” And he’s constantly telling us all through the day that we have decisions to make. When you get to the idea of decision, decision is so crucial. In fact decision is what we’re trying to work with. He wants us to get to the point where we can choose peace. That peace is nothing more than a decision. And there’s another point earlier on in the text where he even calls the Holy Spirit a decision. The Holy Spirit is a decision and the ego is a decision. It’s kind of interesting to read that the Holy Spirit is a decision. If we’re a mind, if we have that decision making ability then that decision is available to us every instant and of course that’s a decision that brings peace to our awareness. That’s really straight forward and simple sounding; that the Holy Spirit is a decision and in choosing the Holy Spirit I’ll be at peace, not in fear, upset, depressed or anxious or have any kind of upsetting emotion. So what is it that prevents me from choosing that? That’s really a central question. What is it that seems to stand in the way of choosing peace? What about this other option for fear? If you look at those few sentences that we just read he’s really giving us a giant leap forward. He’s saying that a decision is a conclusion based on everything you believe. It is the outcome of belief.

Friend: Whether I know what the belief is or not.

David: Whether or not I’m aware of what the belief is. You may have heard of some psychological terms of the unconscious where there are lots and lots of beliefs where dark ideas and thoughts are down there and if a decision is a conclusion based on everything you believe then you can see how central that sentence is to learn that this course “requires willingness to question every value that you hold.” The reason why he is saying this is so crucial is because not one belief can be kept hidden or it’s going to jeopardize your learning. If you have hidden beliefs the decisions will spring from those beliefs. He goes on in the section and describes them as like hidden warriors. He says in the next paragraph or actually the second paragraph down in Specialness as a Substitute for Love:

“Beliefs will never openly attack each other because conflicting outcomes are impossible. But an unrecognized belief is a decision to war in secret, where the results of conflict are kept unknown and never brought to reason, to be considered sensible or not.” (T-24.1.2)

So there’s a war going on in the mind.

Friend: In the old book it says:

“All that is cherished is a hidden belief to be defended or go unrecognized as faith in specialness.”

So we’re giving our faith in the specialness and making decisions based on a goal of specialness at all times. Just to me it seems so insane because I can see how specialness is a complete upside down thinking and how it’s hurting us all.

David: Can we see that? That is a good question. Can we see how specialness hurts us?

Friend: There’s so much going on in my mind with this goal of specialness that seems to be done automatically. Do you recognize that it’s an upside down belief and just choose the goal of oneness? That doesn’t seem to automatically block out this faith or this goal in specialness. It seems to be something else going on down there that needs to be brought back up. But it says here all that is ever cherished is the belief in specialness. It’s a barrier between us and everybody else. What I’m trying to do is to realize that there are no barriers between us and everybody else.

David: The specialness is like a belief in the mind. It’s the ego; that’s the faith in specialness but it seems to take thousands and thousands and millions different forms. It’s almost like trying to heal the mind. It seems like we’re healing this one and healing this one and it seems endless, it seems like waves. You finally get through a whole wave and then you get the next wave. I use the analogy of a skyscraper where all the dark rooms are and you start up at the flag pole… The World Trade Center has a lot of offices and floors. It’s almost like starting at the top and going down room-by-room and turning on the light. It can really seem like that when you’re working with the Course. What we need to get at is the idea that there’s a master switch in the basement. That’s why in many parts of the Course he says it can be in an instant, it’s like going down and flipping the switch. And the next question of course is Help me get in touch with this master switch. I don’t want this to take forever. That led us into a discussion last week on form/content distinction. Jesus lays it out so simple by saying that the Holy Spirit perceives the world— from the outside world he only receives two messages; that everything is either love or a call for love. He knows that one is true and one isn’t. In the ultimate sense everything is just love.

“You cannot safely make this division, for you are much too confused either to recognize love, or to believe that everything else is nothing but a call for love.” (T-14.X.7)

To the ego’s lens it’s attack. It doesn’t see everything as love or a call for love. It perceives everything as attack or judged. He gives a reason right after:

“You are too bound to form, and not to content. What you consider content is not content at all. It is merely form and nothing else.” (T-14.X.7)

Ok, now there’s a reason. Now I’ve got to understand this form/content thing. If I can really get at this form/content thing and loosen my mind from the grip of being bound to form, then I can clearly perceive with the Holy Spirit and see everything as being love or a call for love. Why is there such a huge, huge investment in form? It helps to go back to the overall metaphysics. If you can collect that little theme into the overall picture of what Jesus is saying in the Course it starts to make sense; that the world was made as a defense against love. We talk about the tiny little mad idea, where the Son of God remembered not to laugh. He took this silly idea seriously that he could actually separate from his creator, that he could be the king-pin – that there could be something more than Heaven. A very ridiculous idea, but taking that seriously, the little puff of nothingness tells the mind to run into form because God is this abstract, unconditional light, infinite. And he is not going to chase you into form. At one point in the Beyond All Idols section he says “God knows not form.” That means that the Infinite does not look on the finite. The abstract doesn’t look on the specific. This is the trick that the ego sets up Come with me quick, we’ll go hide. Like hiding in the basement cellar We’ll go hide into form and we’ll make up a world that is a substitute for this infinite abstract light. So that’s where the beginning of getting bound; the mind getting bound into form comes in. It’s not that the world is evil though, it’s not that the world is inherently evil, it’s just being used as a hiding place. It’s not like the cellar is a bad place, it’s just what it’s being used for. It’s kind of twisted if you’re running away from a father that loves you. The world was made by the ego for the purpose of hiding and Jesus says in the workbook “The world was made as an attack on God.” (W-3) The reason it was made as an attack was because it was made as a hiding place. The good news right away is that the Holy Spirit instantaneously gives the world a new purpose and the whole purpose of the world is to be used to bring peace to mind. You don’t want this, your Father loves you, you have everything in Heaven; this is a tiny little place.

At one point Jesus says, “You do not ask too much of life, but far too little.” (W-133.2) You are entitled to everything, you are entitled to remember who you are. So the mind runs into form and then starts judging and ordering. The option is to forgive the world, just to see the false as false; this is what the Holy Spirit says. The ego says you’ve done a horrible thing, you’ve got to order and judge and that’s where the hierarchy of illusions comes in. The whole point of the ego is to make hierarchies and orders, to see differences in situations and scenarios and persons. The ego’s focus is on seeing differences. Those are idols. Remember the old Bible thing about make no graven images. This can be like a springboard for our discussion tonight. We can get a little bit clearer on this form content distinction. Content being the miracle, being the Holy Spirit’s lens of being able to see the false as false, being above the battleground. Content is nothing more than remembering that it’s my decision, my decision in mind. Form being No I’ll forget that I’m a mind and I have the decision to choose between the ego and the Holy Spirit. Form being I’m a person now, I’m this little bitty person in this sad world of form and all I have is choices between illusions; where to go, what’s to see, what to buy, who to date, who to marry, who to divorce. All these are seeming to be choices that are all on top of the world trade center, all based on beliefs that are all outcomes of all these false beliefs in the mind. Kind of like being a robot that has no choice left, but to seemingly follow the demands of this tyrant that’s down in the basement of the world trade center.

Friend: Guarding the master switch. [laughing]

David: Guarding the master switch. Don’t come down here. [laughing] That gives us a context. Now, what are the situations and issues in our life that we can’t see as specialness; that really seem to be real issues, real problems be confronted? To be able to work it down through the skyscraper, start with it where we experience it—at the top of the skyscraper: relationship problems, problems with the person at work, financial problems or a flood. You could say it’s easy for me to say that it’s just a perceptual problem. If my house was under water how would I feel then? It’s like I start with it up there and work it back to just being a perceptual problem.

Friend: I’ve got this pattern that’s getting really tiring. [laughing] It’s like I don’t want to give up the ego. The way the Course has painted the picture for me, I can see very clearly the difference between choosing to focus on the light and choosing to run away. It’s like I run back to the ego’s way of doing things as far as specialness is concerned and all of those things; body identification until I can’t stand it anymore. And now I’m ready to turn to Spirit and really be peaceful, but that will go for a day and then I’m ready for more punishment, it’s silly. And even though I feel like I can see it for what it is, I just feel very stubborn and kicking and screaming and crying. Go to hell Holy Spirit; leave me alone. That’s the way I’ve been feeling for a while. I’ve got this recital coming up and I don’t want to know about peace and love, I want to do well. And there’s the belief and the comfort of specialness and the comfort of a special relationship, the comfort of a girlfriend. Most of the time give me that choice and I still feel it now, I’ll be right there. So it’s a very uncomfortable place to be. I’m reading the Course a lot, reading it every day, meditating every day and kind of feeling like an idiot [laughing] when I make the wrong choice. I don’t know; the answer is obvious enough, but it’s not that clear to me; I don’t see it, I think about all that I’d be giving up. You know I’ve held these things dear for so long, I mean dear, you know; the girlfriend; I’ve got to have the food that I want when I want it; I’ve got to have this amount of money, whatever. You get the picture.

Friend: One thing I have found helpful is to be able to realize; often what happens is you read the Course and try to apply it and then you feel tired of it. And then maybe you go in a different direction, and thinking I’ve blown it, I can’t take it anymore. I just want to do it. But then there’s guilt associated with that, so then when the guilt gets high enough or uncomfortable enough, then I tend to go back to the Course. I think what is happening there is that the error is mistaken for a sin and produces guilt and the guilt is accepted as real. And so we’re caught up in a viscous cycle of the mind thinking of itself as sinful and therefore guilty. Because even if you say to yourself it’s just an error, if you feel guilty... ugh, on some level the mind believes that it has sinned. We don’t seem to believe it’s an error because if we believed it was an error, it would be simply overlooked as if it were a shadow or something. Nobody cares too much about a shadow. My shadow doesn’t bother me very much, I don’t take it seriously.

David: It can seem tormenting because if you’re observing behavior and you’re observing your behavior to be erratic, it seems to be you do something here, you do something else that contradicts it. It’s intolerable for the mind because the mind in its natural state is whole, it’s integrated, and it’s complete. And it seems very tormenting to look at behavior; I’m doing this and I’m doing that, I’m doing this and I’m doing that. It’s like the mind feels so fragmented. What the Course does is pull it out of the realm of behavior completely. It seems to be such a big leap to go from the belief that I’m a person and I have choice. It really seems like common sense that I can choose right now to raise my right hand. I can choose now to lower my right hand. Those seem to be real choices that I as a person can make. I can choose to go out in the rain; I can choose to stay in from the rain. I can choose to go to some place. It really seems to be that those are real decisions and that those behaviors are the outcome of those decisions. But the decisions are being made way, way, way back in the mind. We never respond to anything directly. We’re always responding to an interpretation of what we’re seeing. That’s another thing that’s very strange. It seems like if there’s a giant bumble bee flying right at your nose that you’re responding to the bumble bee. It seems like if you’re walking under an apple tree and an apple starts to drop and you dodge the apple that you’re responding to the apple. It seems like that if your boss is screaming at you at work and you’re starting to feel the defenses come up or a reaction that you’re responding to your boss. What the Course is teaching is that you’re responding to your interpretation of the event. And the only way out is to change your mind about the interpretation of the event. There will never be a way to get peace by trying to change the event. And isn’t that what we all try to do all the time— better relationships, living in better places, better jobs, better… it just goes on and on and on. The ego says Yeah, change the form; you’re a person in the world and if you can just get a better situation… which is just shifting to another idol, which is more specialness; that will solve it. It’s like and endless game of trying to continually change the form, change the form, and change the form. It takes a lot of energy to do that, doesn’t it?

Friend: But we’re not that familiar with content, that’s what we need to learn. You can’t make a step until you know there is something there to step on. And I think that’s the biggest thing for all of us because it seems like the reaction is so automatic. I can see how specialness mixes me up, gives me all kinds of half full’s, this and that. Without specialness where would I be?

David: And the ego is of course saying in the mind Oblivion! [laughing] You would be nothing without this world because as the ego says you’ve turned your back on God. You’ve already been kicked out of Heaven. The Adam and Eve story—God kicked them out, you know. You’ve already been kicked out, the ego says You’ve got no choice but this world of judgment, specialness and everything. So the next question is… If there are Holy Spirit purposes for the body and the world and there are ego purposes for the body and the world, and that these are decisions in my mind that I can make; I can give my mind to specialness/the ego or I can give it to the Holy Spirit. What would be our next question, what would be important for us to know if that’s the case? Wouldn’t the question possibly be what are they? If all my misery comes from giving my mind to the ego’s purposes, and all my joy and peace comes from giving my mind to the Holy Spirit’s purposes including the use of the body and everything else, then I’ve got to know the difference. He’s gone through the preliminaries and now he’s going to tell us what the ego uses the body for and what the Holy Spirit uses the body for. If I can just begin to tell the difference, then I can start to withdraw my investment. I can check in with the Spirit more often and tune in with the Spirit. It’s pretty simple on the Holy Spirit’s side because he basically describes it as:

“The Holy Spirit sees the body only as a means of communication, and because communicating is sharing it becomes communion.” (T-6.V)

There’s one of those only-words, it’s nice and simple–the Holy Spirit only uses the body for communication, not for striving, not for attaining something for a worldly end. It’s only for communication. And the ego uses the body for attack, for pleasure, and for pride. Now we’ve got something to work with here. If the ego uses the body for these three things, then all of my guilt continues to be reinforced and the world just shows me that I am guilty because I’m holding onto these three purposes, then all I have to do is clearly see the insanity for using the body and the world for these three purposes. And I let them go. If I look at that and I go Oh, oh my specialness is in trouble here. I’m going to be deprived… really what you were saying earlier, This is going to be a miserable journey to God; terrible. Once again, I must not see the insanity of it. I have to clearly have it right in front of my nose. I have to really see the dynamics of what the ego is doing before I would voluntarily say No more of this, I don’t want this anymore. So we get into this thing of looking at the nature of attachment. We just talked about how detachment is about being able to be the observer. That is really what we want to do. We want to be back in a place where we want to be detached; we want to be the observer. We don’t want to be where we’re caught down in the script or in the screen. How many people have tried the path of detachment; how many people have gone to the convent; have gone to the monastery; have gone nuts? [laughing] The Course keeps telling us; he tells us in several places give up the world; okay. So the people have gone to the monasteries and to the Himalayas and they have tried to give up the world. There’s a lesson in the back here about giving up the world and it talks about giving up the body.

We have to get beyond the form thing. We have to see that the ego uses the body for pride, pleasure, and attack. You can immediately say alright Holy Spirit, I’m just going to use my body for communication and I’m never, ever, ever going to engage in da, da, da, da, da, you know my personal realm of pleasure, my personal realm of pride, my uniqueness that makes me unique and special or whatever. Or for attack; I’m never going to yell and scream at anybody again. Try it, just try it and go through and hold your behavior and grit your teeth etc. It just doesn’t work to change at the form level. So if we can bring it back to the content level, let’s look at them: Pride is so sneaky, even when you go home and you’re looking for that smile from someone or you’re looking for that hug that doesn’t come, you’re looking for that recognition at work. Just to be recognized a little bit, just to stand out from the crowd, just to buy that new car or have that new wardrobe or whatever. It makes me stand out; it makes me get some recognition, some attention. Pride is so sneaky. Look at the motivations in the mind, it’s vanity. We spend so much time on bodies, on hairstyles and make up and clothing and what type of car the body is in and what type of body this arm is around or if this one’s fat or skinny…. Just look at vanity and how far the pride goes. It all comes down to the body identity. What difference would it make if I was famous or not? What difference would it make about how my body looks? What difference would it make, all appearances being so important, if I wasn’t first identified as a body, if I didn’t think I was a body? So let’s take pleasure. Pleasure seems to feel good, really good. [laughing] It doesn’t matter; you can name it, all your sensations. Everybody seems to have their own personal likes and dislikes; certain types of ice-cream, certain kinds of sexual activities, certain kinds of scenes, maybe going and viewing the mountains or the ocean. Certain types of temperatures; some like it hot, some like it cool. It’s like; the body’s pleasure seems to be a really big deal. So, the ego uses the body for pleasure. Metaphysically why does that keep me so constrained and limited and feeling so guilty? The five senses are part of the ego’s way it tries to gratify itself through the body to make itself real. In other words just try and get in touch just thinking of God and peace when you’ve got a throbbing headache. You know those kinds that just go boom, boom, boom, boom; I am as God created me; [laughing] there is nothing to fear… [laughing] Pain is a tremendously powerful reinforcer for frailty and guilt. Pain seems to be a very powerful witness; the opposite of I am as God created me. It seems to be a witness to I am weak, I am frail, I am going out of my mind with this throbbing headache and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve taken 4 Tylenol; it says to take 2 and I’ve still got it. Pain is a very powerful witness for the ego and basically the ego is in there saying See, you have screwed up, you have left your creator and he’s angry and this is a form of punishment. You’re feeling pain because you think that God is angry at you. You’re feeling pain because God is punitive and he’s doing it.

The flipside of pain is pleasure. In the moment of orgasm and ecstasy some people scream out Oh God! I don’t think this is exactly what A Course in Miracles is talking about. [laughing] It’s not exactly a feeling of detachment because pleasure being the flipside of pain is a very strong reinforcer that I’m a body. Not only am I a body, I’m feeling pleasure in this particular spot in my body. So if you’re having your favorite cup of coffee or you’re looking at your favorite Mona Lisa painting or whatever, it seems to be that there’s a physical sensation or there’s a very psychological sensation. I like this and it’s not uncomfortable and it’s not painful, it seems to be different. The Course is saying My child you are hallucinating. Your mind is twisted and you think you can tell the difference between pain and pleasure. Doesn’t it seem that way? Like I wasn’t born yesterday; I can tell the difference between pain and pleasure. And basically Jesus is saying that you’re in such a distorted twisted state of mind, you’re seeing what doesn’t even exist, and you’re hallucinating. These experiences that you are feeling are not the real world; are not the state of Heaven. Both ends of the spectrum are reinforcing the belief that this is real.

Friend: It’s says right here that the Holy Spirit will direct you only as to avoid pain.

David: There’s a passage that talks about the Holy Spirit overlooking your pains and your pleasures.

“Yet to the One Who sends forth miracles to bless the world, a tiny stab of pain, a little worldly pleasure, and the throes of death itself are but a single sound; a call for healing, and a plaintive cry for help within a world of misery. It is their sameness that the miracle attests. (T-27.VI.6)

How many times do we ask for forgiveness when we’re experiencing pleasure? The Course is basically saying that you’re dreaming a dream and you believe that there are good dreams and bad dreams and I would say for most of us we can put the pleasurable dreams in the good dreams category. In fact we spend our lifetime pursuing that. Why do we need such huge careers and climb corporate ladders unless it was for money. Well money you exchange for a lot of the menus of the world. You can get your visa card and the world as your oyster. The flip-side is the belief that there are certain dreams that are better than others. We get into dream roles back later in the text and he basically says the miracle overlooks all dreams.

“Thus it is the miracle does not select some dreams to leave untouched by its beneficence. You cannot dream some dreams and wake from some, for you are either sleeping or awake. And dreaming goes with only one of these. The dreams you think you like would hold you back as much as those in which the fear is seen. For every dream is but a dream of fear, no matter what the form it seems to take.” (T-29.IV.I)

Friend: I have a question. Back to the use of the ego and the Holy Spirit for the body… If we look at those three usages—pleasure, pride and attack and imagine a scenario for a moment where we wipe out all of those and look at what we have left. Here on planet earth, what are we going to do?

David: The good question is always if I start to withdraw from the world and I do start to give up these uses and everything; what is it that I will be doing? And basically the Course keeps coming back to the point that the world is an hallucination; that ultimately when you withdraw your investment from the hallucination, the hallucination fades and fades and fades until you wake up to your eternal reality. The Course uses the phrase, the dreamer of the dream where you get so far back that you are detached. Where you are so far detached and where there will still seem to be things that are going on. Jesus is a good example as he certainly seemed to have a mission to be traveling places and doing things, but the mind just reaches a point of detachment.

Friend: I was going to ask a rhetorical question. To come up with the idea that the world is a hallucination it is a cognitive state of awareness. Obviously if that it is the condition, it is difficult for me to conceive of that since I’m in the hallucination. The question for me is; how do I practice seeing the hallucination; how do I practice doing the Course throughout my daily life? The question is; how do I do the Course? Are we doing the Course in this activity or what other ways can we do the Course right now? What is my intention? Where does my mind go? What is the ideal state of my being right now?

David: We know that repression and indulgence are two sides of the coin. Okay, anyone who has been in any kind of addiction, whether it alcohol or overeating or smoking or sexual addictions, it goes on and on and on. It’s out of control, I can’t stop, I have to keep indulging in this behavior or seeking this craving. It’s an insatiable thing that just goes on and on and on. Obviously the ego is in on that too. The ego is what’s driving behind it. The other side of the coin would be repression, where if you deny yourself that chocolate ice-cream, that sex or whatever. Try to change the form, try to change the behavior hoping that the mind will follow suit. And basically what the Course is saying is that the mind is what needs to be changed. The mind has to change first, then the behavior automatically follows suit. That helps me in the sense of; that’s what a miracle is. Now it’s painful to approach the Course from a backwards way. It’s starting to say that here are the things that the ego is doing; this is my specialness all the way down before me. I’ve got to let go of all that. It’s very difficult to let go of specialness when that’s your focus.

Friend: It becomes sacrifice.

David: Literally, Jesus calls it you’re fighting against sin. It’s in the I Need do Nothing section. Many have spent lifetimes fighting, battling against sin. “It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin.” (T-18.VII.4) Well I say it’s like the purpose—if you can start focusing on the purpose–forgiveness or healing, or whatever word is comfortable for you, if you can carry that with you in your everyday activities; if you can really start to look at people and hold that purpose out in front so that your interactions with people, your attitude is the most important. There’s a section in the Course called Setting the Goal where He says to put the goal out front and just watch how all the people and everything seems to bear witness to your goal. Because your mind is so powerful, that if you hold this goal out in front… so you do it right here as your sitting here you’re watching, watching your reactions. You know that it’s just based on your interpretations of what people are saying or doing, it’s not that one is causing you to feel a certain way, but what a golden opportunity in Course groups. I mean it’s always our own lesson. It’s not like you go there and you’re the teacher and these are your pupils and you’re going to give them a lesson for the day and teach them what to do and they better memorize it and get it right. The Course says we’re teaching ourselves all the time. And the one proper use of judgment is to use it to watch your feelings. How do I feel? Am I peaceful or am I upset? It doesn’t seem to matter too much what the upset is; it’s how do I feel? That makes it a real practical Course. And boy do you get lots of practice because everywhere you go it’s like a front, it’s like the backdrop. In the beginning when I taught psychology or when I had different jobs it’s really applying the Course, taking the lessons and taking them into the different circumstances.

Remember how we talked at the beginning about how the deceived mind believes in specifics. Everything in this world is specific. And it’s all on the screen; it’s all in our minds. There’s nothing outside of us. But in the beginning the mind... it’s like: how can you even conceive of that? You know it’s like too big of a belief. So you start practicing the Course, you start taking it in and more and more and more the specifics aren’t important. I can tell you from my own life and going to Course groups. I’m going and I’m looking at all the girls and I’m looking at their legs and other body parts, and then ok back... It’s like you notice your eyes and your mind. Your thoughts are going on; your eyes are being drawn to this and that. But there comes a change of purpose when you really start connecting with that higher self when you really want to connect with people. You want those heart-to-heart connections instead of telling your eyes don’t look at that or whatever. It’s an automatic shift that takes place when you are really so focused on your purpose that you stop paying attention to the body.

The big thing too was how many people were at the group? After a while that’s a thing that Course in Miracles teachers go through. How many people showed up? Only two. [laughing] How many men were there; how many women were there? [laughing] I’ve noticed that early on I could tell someone about how many there were. But now that I go to a gathering somebody will say did you notice how many women there were there? It’s like Gee, I’m sorry, I didn’t even get that. Or things about the body, what’s appealing, what’s not appealing? You know, all this stuff about weight, fat, skinny, handsome, ugly, race. Racism is not in this world. Racism is in the mind. The ego makes a big deal about what color skin, a body is. The ego makes a big deal about how old a body is. The ego makes a big deal about what sex the body is. That’s the source of sexism, ageism and racism. It’s a phenomenal idea to think there is no racism in the world. The only place that racism could be is in my mind.

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