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Exploring the Idea of Purpose
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.
The mind is abstract; it's expansive. The mind is not in the body. The mind isn't even the brain. There are all kinds of associations that the deceived mind has made, like thinking that the brain is where thinking takes place. The brain is just getting these impulses and it's just getting directions from the mind. Where is the mind? The mind is this vast, powerful, unlimited thing. The body is just a teaching/learning device. It just follows orders from the mind. So literally, when we perceive problems as being "Someone did something to me", or "What have I got to do next?", we're still looking at the body as if it's autonomous -- like it can make decisions on its own, it can think, it can do things, or It can feel things. I learned in physiology that the body has instincts - like the reflex instincts, hunger, thirst, warmth, and sexual drives and everything. Then I got into page 52 of The Course, and I got an opportunity to unlearn that. On Page 52 of the old text of the Course, the master psychologist, Jesus, says that these body appetites are not in the body at all - that the ego is literally working through the body to gratify itself. It's like, OK, now I've got to get back into my mind where the ego is. If this thing is miscreating and using the world for its purposes to keep me bound in time, then I've got to find out about how this ego works. I've got to find out about its thought system so that I can disidentify from it or withdraw my investment in it.
Really, the key question is always "What is it for?" because in the mind there is this thing called "purpose". The ego has a purpose, and it's very bent on its purpose. It wants to reinforce the separation as being real; and It will use everything in the world including the body to reinforce the belief that the world is real and that the separation has happened. The Holy Spirit's only purpose is forgiveness. The Holy Spirit's purpose is to look on all things to withdraw all the attachments and judgments of the world. So really, the deeper you go into this Course the more you start to encounter this question: "What is it for?" It starts to come up more and more and more: "What is it for, when I for example make this phone call to this friend?” -- Jesus says in the Work book that at superficial levels you do think you understand purpose; you really think that when you are making a phone call that you are trying to reach another person in another body that's not in your proximity. It's like: "I know what a phone is for!" Then in the next line he says that there is no purpose at these levels. Once again it's "I do not know what anything is for," and those kind of ideas. We think we know how things work in this world and what they are for. He says that you really do not know what you want to reach him for. See how he shifts from a phone that's an object you use to reach somebody who's not in your proximity (which is at the form level) and then he says the real question is "What do you want to reach him for?" That's a "purpose" thing. That brings it back.
The mind has fragmented the world. It's like we go to work we have a concept of us being like a worker, and we have certain job duties to do. These are concepts and constructs. Sometimes the dilemma comes up: when my boss says I need to do "this" and don't know how I feel about "this." This might be unethical or something; but the mind has all of these constructs in what a good worker is, what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman, what it means to be an American, what it means to be a member of Unity Church -- the mind's got this store house of constructs that tell it what the world means. When I go to the grocery store (there's a grocery store scenario tucked away: file # 1,089/ grocery store scenario), you go to the grocery store, and depending on your preferences ("cost" -- that's got a high preference -- find the bargains, or "freshness," or "health" -- we've got nutrition laws in there. Health is a big thing, like "low cholesterol".) -- all of this stuff is fed into the computer. Maybe it's "time." My time is precious. I'm going to get in and out of this store tonight in 45 minutes! -- so that's my constraint; but anyway, there's a grocery store scenario in there. All the Course is saying is that there are going to be these wonderful holy encounters that you're going to have, and each person that you meet in that grocery store gives you an opportunity for salvation (instead of running up and down the aisles (like I used to), trying to get out of the store, it's like you get a sense of this purpose -- there's a different purpose here. You can look people in the eye; conversations get struck up; you feel a sense of connectedness. The old computer program in the mind of 'whatever it is' starts to get laid aside, and you start to feel that connection. And do it when you're doing your laundry, and you do it when you're skiing or whatever. In the beginning the Holy Spirit knows how much the mind believes in specific separate situations.
Holy Spirit knows that time is linear ("I did this yesterday, and when I finish this today, I'm going here next"); the mind's got a script -- it's got an imagination; it's very linear. Purpose gets away from that whole linear sense of time, and it's very abstract too -- like: "Hold one purpose in mind? In the beginning it's like: "What the heck is he talking about? What is this 'purpose'?" We can't hold it in mind consistently because we've got all these other things and investments going on; but as soon as we learn to start to gradually lay aside these other scenarios and investments, all of a sudden this 'purpose' starts to dawn on our minds -- "Yeah, this is what I want."
There's a line in the (7:26) Beyond All Idols section that says: "When you decide upon the form of what you want, you lose the understanding of its purpose." Wow, that's a deep one: Whenever I decide upon the form of what I want, I lose the understanding of its purpose. Whenever I read a meaning into any form and think I know what this chair is for…. Jesus uses the example of table in the workbook, saying that you can receive salvation from a table. You mean I don't have to do it with aunt so and so I can do it with this table? This is pretty good! This is good news! And he says: now withdraw all the meaning that you've given to this table and what it is for. He does it with a cup too. He says: Do you really see a cup, or are you just reviewing memories in your mind of how a cup feels on your lips --or maybe thinking of having coffee at breakfast in the morning, and what's the texture of the cup, and will the cup break if it falls? It's like we have all this information stored away on everything in the world, and this is what makes a chair a chair (we think), and a cup a cup, and a table a table; and he's saying there's a purpose that the Holy Spirit has for that table, and if you can get this universal purpose that He gives to the table and the cup and the chair and your aunt Frieda or whoever, then you've got it! But you really need to train your mind to this one abstract purpose. It's a different purpose than the ego's purpose. It's deep. Just get a glimmer of it, and then it sounds like something you want to try. There's a different purpose that can be given to anything.
Participant: What are you saying the purpose is? Are you saying atonement, truth, miracles...?
David: Yes. There are lots of synonyms that he uses. To me he comes at the same thing with all these different words and all these different things, but there are a lot of synonyms used in the Course. In that sense, it's like if one thing clicks, all you have to do is just get clear. For some people the educational words through -- words like curriculum, learning, learning goal, the real world is learned, and the holy relationship is a phenomenal learning accomplishment. Some people like the religious words -- atonement, or redemption, or those kind of words, like salvation. Some people like the psychological words; it's just like 'whatever.' He's just giving us a tool so that whatever you can relate to and however you can get this meaning, you can do it in an instant; but it just takes one perfect instant in a sense of what we just talked about -- this purpose. Because if we hold onto idols and investments, we can't simultaneously hold onto purpose. It's like a teeter-totter. It all helps, but it does not help to beat yourself up. When you were talking about feeling sacrifice about giving up the pleasures or whatever, that comes up a lot in the Course. The thing is, if you look at the stages of the development of trust where he goes through the different levels, and if you go through the second and the third and so on, you think you've come pretty far, but the belief in sacrifice still clouds your vision. It's like you've made some advances in things you want and don't want, but still the judgment is cloudy. So obviously, it's not until the very end, as you really start to awaken, as you start to let go, that you start to see the belief in sacrifice for what it is. So at the early stages it's not uncommon at all to feel like this is really a sacrifice; because, if we go back to the beginning of our analogy of the mind, remember the 'running from the light' and ‘running toward the form to hide in the form’? It's like it has sunk into the form. In a sense it's like going into the quick sand and just trying to yank your leg out; there's a pretty good grip. The learning of the world has got a pretty fast grip on the mind because it really believes in the concrete, the specific and the form, so be really gentle and say, I'm going to try to work with "right now." I'm going to watch my emotions: How do I feel right now? That takes a lot of vigilance when you're used to getting involved and distracted into things, and before you know it you've got a little irritation building up, then it gets a little stronger, and you don't notice it until BOOM -- you've got a rage and you're ready to explode at somebody. It takes a lot of vigilance and practice just to watch your emotions -- just to see: How do I feel right now. "Right now," in a sense, is a lot because it's always right now.
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