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Going Beyond the Obvious part 2 – Seeing the Problem as it is
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.
“How could there be another way to solve a problem that is very simple, but has been obscured by heavy clouds of complication, which were made to keep the problem unresolved? Without the clouds the problem will emerge in all its primitive simplicity. The choice will not be difficult, because the problem is absurd when clearly seen. No one has difficulty making up his mind to let a simple problem be resolved if it is seen as hurting him, and also very easily removed.” T-27.VII.2.3
Friend: That’s raising the darkness to the light. Just bringing it into to the light and exposing it is what results in the removal.
David: Yes, an idea came through today when I was writing the mission statement. One idea was removing “Messengers see that they must look at the darkness and they must examine all beliefs and raise them to the light.” Which is a pretty common statement; we talk about raising beliefs to the light. It didn’t stop there. The way the statement came out was, “They understand that to receive them requires that they raise the darkened belief system—ego in their minds— to the light of truth.” It clumps the plural into a singular.
Friend: It’s getting back to there’s one false belief no matter how many forms it takes.
David: That’s another distinction when you seem to go where people are getting into the deeper metaphysics. They laugh at the idea that there are beliefs that have to be raised to the light because that is an illusion too. There is just one, it seems to take many, many different forms but the whole clarity and the whole joy of enlightenment is in seeing that there aren’t many. It’s just one belief system; really one belief that has to be seen where it is which is in the mind. All the specific beliefs, even so far as you could talk about time and space where we have read some other authors on the Course that talk about two dimensions of reality, the temporal dimension and the spatial dimension. So even if you took it to time and space, again those are two forms of the same error and the key is seeing the error. Raising the error to the light and then all of the specific forms (time, space, bodies) are seen correctly. We talked about this in the metaphor of the overhead projector; all the overlays; you could just look at the stack of overlays. You know it has to be raised up. It seems that it’s a very helpful metaphor to talk about it in terms of concepts because it seems to be a process of pulling those out and looking at them and the deceived mind can relate to that. That’s why we have stages of the development of trust; that’s why we have a Workbook with 365 lessons; that is why Jesus uses the term process at times because that is what the deceived mind can relate to. It is the only thing it can relate to because it beliefs in incremental sequential time. What else is a process, but sequential timing?
“The ‘reasoning’ by which the world is made, on which it rests, by which it is maintained, is simply this: ‘You are the cause of what I do. Your presence justifies my wrath, and you exist and think apart from me. While you attack I must be innocent. And what I suffer from is your attack.’” T-27.VII.3
So the key line in there could be, “While you attack I must be innocent.” You see the subject/object split and you also see that the deceived mind believes that attack and innocence can co-exist. You see how underneath that statement, “While you attack I must be innocent,” is the belief that attack and innocence can co-exist. And the teachings of the Course say, no way. They say if attack is real, innocence is not. And the corollary could be since attack is unreal then innocence is real, but they don’t co-exist.
Another version of it would be in the Workbook where Jesus says, “…you still believe you must forgive the truth...” W-134.3 Well, the mind that believes that attack is real sees that as true and so it also, being deceived, believes it has to somehow forgive attack. This was a distinction that came up when one of the “teachers” was teaching that attack is real but you have to overlook it; you have to be loving in the face of attack and what we are seeing clearly stated is that if attack is real then there is no innocence; there is no guiltlessness, sinlessness.
“No one who looks upon this ‘reasoning’ exactly as it is could fail to see it does not follow and it makes no sense. Yet it seems sensible, because it looks as if the world were hurting you. And so it seems as if there is no need to go beyond the obvious in terms of cause.” T-27.VII.3
If you had to invent the motion picture or if you had to invent a back drop or screen that would be convincing that the world is hurting you this would be your drama. It seems whether you are watching the news, reading the newspaper, looking here, looking there, anywhere around, it just seems like that is what the world is teaching; that the cause of all hurt and suffering seems to be in the world. Not enough food, not enough clean air to breath, pesticides, diseases and burglars and wars and all the different types of things that seem to be perceived in the world seem to be the causes of all the misery and upset. But none of those are the cause.
I will reiterate, go over that last sentence again, “And so it seems as if there is no need to go beyond the obvious in terms of cause.” T-27.VII.3.7 That’s a major idea, that’s why in so many discussions and conversations it just seems to be at the surface or even when you come together and talk, like you have been saying we need to go much deeper on this communication idea. If I believe that I’ve got this world pretty well figured out, I pretty much know the causes of lack of communication that there are worldly inhibiters of communication and all I have to do is change those worldly inhibiters and we will have better communication, then why would I want to spend time in sessions going so deeply into all those things? You know, that’s the key.
The Dreamer of the Dream “There is indeed a need.” T-27.VII.4 This is why we look so carefully at every single belief, everything in the mind, because there is a need to look for cause within the mind and not to keep relying on the belief that the cause of my misery, that the cause of my upset is in the world. “The world's escape from condemnation is a need which those within the world are joined in sharing. Yet they do not recognize their common need. For each one thinks that if he does his part, the condemnation of the world will rest on him. And it is this that he perceives to be his part in its deliverance.” T-27.VII.4
I remember early on when I was working with the Course I would have these thoughts come to mind of a flash here and there of martyrdom. Kind of like this is so radical, so different from the world that I would just have the thought, a flash of myself of being a martyr. A typical, often an interpretation of Christianity has been, anyone that would completely follow Christ must in some way be ready to bear the cross of Christ, as he did.
One fellow who was writing about Christianity says, “It has been tried and found to be too difficult.” [laughter] Go into the gospels and take no thought for what you wear, for what you eat. When you start to look at the teachings and you really follow them in, it seems to be too difficult or impractical. And in one sense that is what we are reading about in this paragraph. “For each one thinks that if he does his part, the condemnation of the world will rest on him. And it is this that he perceives to be his part in its deliverance.” T-27.VII.4 Like somewhere along the line I am going to have to pay a price for following this course. It’s not going to be pleasant. Like somehow it’s going to be a bitter pill, but that’s part of Atonement or salvation. Part of that is to swallow the pill, no matter how big the pill, [gulp] get that big glass of water and wash it down and just to do it and it can’t be so. It can’t be that there is a price to pay for what you are.
To me that has been my experience working with the Course. It has been a gentle presence, an easy goingness about life, there is no more rush involved, nothing to defend. There is nothing to prove to anyone anymore, nothing to be right about and there is a lot of peace and joy. That intuitively feels like that’s the way it would be. And that is the experience that I have that it is that way. But this is addressing the mind again that believes that it is part of the world and that to give up the world is going to involve some sort of cost or retribution or vengeance.
Friend: It’s certainly easy enough to figure out which is which.
Friend: From the resulting experience or healing.
David: “Vengeance must have a focus. Otherwise is the avenger's knife in his own hand, and pointed to himself.” T-27.VII.4 [laughter] Which we have discussed earlier. “And he must see it in another's hand, if he would be a victim of attack he did not choose. And thus he suffers from the wounds a knife he does not hold has made upon himself.” T-27.VII.4 So the projection of the guilt is out onto something in the world even though here he is using the…
Friend: It’s important to put the knife in some one else’s hand. [laughter]
David: So the old thing of You fired me! That hurt! That upset my life, or I got this disease because I was near the love canal, or A tornado or flood washed away my home. All the different things that seem to be sources of upset that are rooted in the world, this is symbol for it. Giving the knife to another’s hand and saying I am victimized by a person not myself or I am victimized by something in the world, not myself. Or as we shared an example which is a little more subtle, that I am beating up myself or someone who has a self inflicted wound, again it is still something that is taking place out on the screen.
The mind is still not aware that it is Mind. If it can believe it can attack itself it certainly is not perceiving itself as Mind, as Mind that cannot attack. There is no attack, Mind cannot attack.
“This is the purpose of the world he sees. And looked at thus, the world provides the means by which this purpose seems to be fulfilled. The means attest the purpose, but are not themselves a cause. Nor will the cause be changed by seeing it apart from its effects.” T-27.VII.5
So those are some interesting lines we might want to look at. “And looked at thus, the world provides the means by which this purpose seems to be fulfilled.” Everything in the projected world, that is perceived, that is used to justify the mind’s belief in separation, is a means for reinforcing and holding onto that belief in separation.
So every time there is a thought, you are feeling out of peace, and you are thinking about a scenario in which you did not get your way or maybe someone seemed to do something to you, or you were treated unfairly. That is just like a memory, that’s a memory of images and whenever those memories of images, that scenario is called upon as justification for the feeling of upset or attack then it is being used as a means to hold onto the belief in a separate identity.
The stepping stone again would be to let go of the purposes of everything, of starting to see that there is nothing in any of those scenarios that is the cause of my upset. The stepping stone would be to say I want a different way of looking at the world where the body and the world, and all the seeming objects in the world, are given over to the Holy Spirit and used for another purpose. So as a stepping stone you can say that the body has two purposes, the Holy Spirit’s purpose and the ego’s purpose. Really what it comes down to much, much deeper than that is that there are just two perceptions of the world and that in the perception of the Holy Spirit nothing in the world is used to justify attack, the belief in separation. It’s not that the body really has a positive use. That is just a symbol or metaphor, or a stepping stone to come to see that nothing in the world can be used to justify the belief in separation or attack.
A lot of the times people will want to use the metaphor that the body has use as communication, as a communication device. And maybe they’ll even have ideas and say Well in that sense it is important to protect the body and it’s important to take care of the body, it is important to do certain things to the body because it’s a communication device and you have to take care of your communication device. But the whole point of the Course is to start to see that the whole perception of the world you think you see through the body’s eyes is false.
In that sense you could think of not only the body as like a means, but really the miracle is the means, the Holy Spirit. There again, that is pulling it away from thinking, first you could say well the body is like a means, but then the miracle goes beyond the body to the whole perception of the world you see, you can see in a miraculous way, and that is the means of waking up. What is a miracle? The way the Course defines it is, “A miracle is a correction. It does not create, nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation…” (The cosmos) “…and reminds the mind that what it sees is false.” W-pII.13.1 It’s a reminder that it’s false, it is not like it has a positive meaning.
Friend: What is that line in the Course about the body is the concretized form of fear? Is that what it is? That’s more along the lines of what you are talking about.
David: I think again its just saying don’t get caught on the rungs. First of all early in the Course which is right around the late 90’s, early 100’s in the first edition Jesus is coming right out and he’s saying yes you have two purposes in your mind. The ego uses the body for example for pride, pleasure and attack and the Holy Spirit uses the body solely as a means of communication.
“The ego uses the body for attack, for pleasure and for pride. The insanity of this perception makes it a fearful one indeed. The Holy Spirit sees the body only as a means of communication, and because communicating is sharing it becomes communion.” T-6.V.A.5
That is very early on and the body is still being described as if it is a thing in and of itself. You know how our discussions have gone into the deeper realms of seeing, coming to the point of seeing that nothing exists in and of itself. But the body is such a highly invested image, just like money. The body and money as far as images go seem to have enormous importance to the mind, because the deceived mind believes that the body is its home and that money is essential for maintaining that home. So those images, body and money, are seen not to be nothing, but to be very important. Within that context, when the mind believes in the body and money, it’s helpful to talk about them as if they exist in and of themselves. That is what Jesus does; he talks about the uses of the body for the Holy Spirit and for the ego. In the psychotherapy pamphlet he talks about the uses of money. For the Holy Spirit's plan it has no costs and for the ego’s plan it has enormous costs. He is talking about the objects as if they exist in and of themselves. So it is still a rung on the ladder, but the awareness we are trying to come to is the idea that the most helpful way to use the body, even if we are talking about it being an object in and of itself, is to expand your perception.
Do you remember that line we used when we had that Intensive?
Friend: That was to use the body to expand the self concept. Is that what you are saying? To use the body as a tool for having a much more expansive concept of oneself so that ultimately it can be let go of all together?
David: Well if you follow it out, even to use the body to expand perception, you can tell there is a process involved, and that it is still a metaphor. What does the expanded perception show you? What does the miracle show you? That the false is false; that images are images; that all illusions are the same; there is nothing in and of itself. You can see that would be like the top of the ladder. It is just to see the false as false.
Friend: And you use the body to come to that because of the behavioral component of the miracle? Is that what you are saying?
David: No. I am just saying that it is just an interpretation. In other words to use the body you have to believe it has an existence in and of itself. You can see where that is an assumption and so a stepping stone would be to say to use the body to reach an expanded perception; to use money to reach an expanded perception…
Friend: That’s what I mean. When you say to use the body to reach an expanded perception you are speaking of the behavioral component of the miracle. That prepares the mind for recognizing the false as false.
David: Well, no. To talk about the behavioral component of the miracle; the only way that statement is meaningful is to a mind that believes it’s a person. You can see… why would that have any meaning?
Friend: Isn’t that what you are talking about though, when you say use the body for an expanded perception? It’s still based on the assumption that there is a person, there is a body. I don’t see any difference.
David: Yes, well you are also saying to prepare the mind for something. I am just saying those are all interpretations and rungs on the ladder. In an ultimate sense those don’t prepare the mind for anything. The mind just sees the falsity of all of that. There is nothing causative about behavior.
Friend: So what good is the miracle? If it doesn’t bring the mind to see the false is false?
David: You were talking about the behavioral component the miracle brings the mind and when you get the deepest aspect of looking at what a miracle is; there isn’t a behavioral component. A miracle could be described as right mindedness. Is there a behavior to right-mindedness?
David: So when we talk about a behavioral component that’s one of those rungs on the ladder. For the mind believes it’s a person, that can be helpful.
It’s important to be very clear on that what are rungs are rungs. What we are pointing to is the experience of just seeing it all as false; the world as false. It is kind of like what we were onto the other day about learning. The metaphor is that it seems as if in this world that learning is passed on in a linear sense through generations. It certainly seems that whether you talk about nature out there of certain things seeming to be instinctual and certain things seem to be learned, or you talk about the learning that takes place of a child in a family, or the learning that takes place from a kindergarten teacher to a child; to an elementary teachers and child, etc. If you pull that back you see that everything the mind has learned is of the mind. That there is no learning that takes place in the world, even when appearances witness to the contrary. If you perceive yourself as a person you can say, I am coming over to the house for a teaching learning session. As if persons learn something. It’s in the mind where the learning is and you can say the mind is the classroom.
To simplify it there are only two lessons, we talked about this yesterday; there is the lesson of the Holy Spirit, right mindedness, and there is the lesson of the ego, wrong mindedness and the mind is attempting to learn two different opposing lessons. That may seem pretty deep and abstract when most people consider learning to take place as: I learned how to walk; I learned how to talk; I learned how to ride a bike; I learned how to drive a car; I learned how to do accounting work, or to play the violin; I learned how to cook a baked potato in the microwave or whatever. The learning seems to be taking place out there in the world of form. But what we are doing is taking it way, way, way back and seeing that the mind is the classroom. The mind is the learner, that the body or the person never learns anything. This is the distinction that came up when one of the participants kept saying this is a classroom; my job is a classroom; my relationship is a classroom, as if the world is where all the classrooms are in forms. As if you are a person who is learning and you are passing through different classrooms—my job classroom, my relationship classroom, my family classroom and so on and so forth.
What we do is pull it all the way back to the mind and say The mind is the classroom. There are only two lessons and I am either learning one or the other all the time. I need to get real clear about these lessons because I do not want to continue this conflicted attempt at being a conflicted teacher and a conflicted learner since the Mind is teaching all the time what it is. And learning all the time therefore what it is and that is where the discernment has to come in. I need to be very, very clear about these two lessons so I can lay aside one and then learn the only one I could ever learn, which is the reflection of my reality.
David: The assumption beneath that is it seems to be, you call them beings or persons reach enlightenment, and that would have to be from the worldly perception that persons reach enlightenment. It could be a steppingstone to say that Buddha or Jesus reached enlightenment. The Course says Jesus was the first to awaken from the dream, which is a metaphor. It’s a symbol that is like a model; what he did I can do too. But it assumes Jesus was a person, that he actually had a life in this world. He was a living walking breathing being and you can see that all of that is fraught with all kinds of assumptions; that somehow there is life in this world; that life isn’t like at the end of the movie Being There where it says life is a state of Mind. That is what the Course is teaching you. Life is a state of mind and yet when the mind believes in the world and it believes in organic life or inanimate versus animate, it makes all these associations as if things that grow and breath and move are life. And as if things that don’t grow and breath and move, like a stone for example some people may say a stone doesn’t really have life. It depends. If you go to some New Age shops you may get a different version. [laughter] This crystal! It has such power and energy! There are variations but still the whole assumption there is that there is some life in this world.
Friend: When I believe in individual people then individual enlightenment seems to make sense but…
David: Seems to be helpful even.
Friend: Yes it seems to be symbolic.
David: If you believed there was no hope and no truth…
Friend: But it is only symbolic because it’s seen from a perspective of there are in fact individuals. When there aren’t in fact individuals. But coming at it from the direction from Heaven, the real world, whatever you want to call it, makes no sense at all. There are individuals who pass over into this other world of enlightenment one by one.
David: The metaphor I have used, let’s use this paper analogy here. Everything on this side of paper so to speak is the world, the cosmos, time and space. And the paper is symbolic of the real world or true perception in the sense that the real world or true perception is like the bridge. Then over here would be heaven total oneness and unity. This is of course a metaphor, this is all there is, there is no paper. This that is an illusion and this that I am describing are both illusions. In the metaphor; from this side, the world side, so to speak it seems as if there is Jesus and perhaps a few other enlightened beings seemed to have ascended. They seem to [whoosh] right there into the paper and it’s the last we see of them. We still hear of their ideas and even the metaphor of Jesus... When he says, “I am in charge of the process of Atonement...” T-1.III.1 As if it’s this big long linear plan that’s leading back to God, would have to still be speaking from the paper, right? There is no plan of Atonement! In Heaven there is nothing to be atoned for. There is nothing to be forgiven, no time process. Even when we have statements from the Course about “I am in charge of the process of Atonement...” that has to be speaking from the paper. That’s a metaphor, and it’s a helpful metaphor. One time I was talking with a friend who was saying, “Here’s my version of the Course. I am studying the Course and I’m working hard at this. I know that if I hang with this I will come to enlightenment and then I will do as all others, like Jesus and the other beings before me I will ascend.” I said, “Well what happens then?” He said, “Well then the world will continue on and other beings will slowly come and ascend.”
I said, “How can that be? If there is no world outside your mind and you made up all the bodies and all the projections and everything; once you come to enlightenment, where is that world? Where is everything else?” And he was like Oh wait a minute, gosh! [laughter] He was trying to take it in and look at that whole perspective of Oh so it’s not like after I ascend that there will be a world that will continue on with all these other beings that are a little slower than me, a little less fervent in their passion to wake up?
That doesn’t make any sense. Jesus says, “How many teachers of God are needed to save the world? The answer to this question is—one.” M-12.1 He says, as speaking to the deceived mind, you cannot understand this. Another way he says it is, no one in the world can understand what this means. Of course no one in the world can understand what this means!
Friend: You have to transcend the world. So basically Jesus is a symbol of the right mind talking to the wrong mind?
David: The Holy Spirit taking on the firm of a voice that speaks in the mind is a symbol of the right mind talking to the wrong mind. The point we are coming to, the point of release or realization is to come to see that even the metaphor of right mind and wrong mind, which every good Course student comes to see; is a metaphor. And Jesus in a metaphorical sense hints at that in the lessons of the Holy Spirit in the Text when he says: Ultimately there can be no reconciliation between what is true and what is not true. And that the right mind and the wrong mind are mutually exclusive. It is just the metaphor of taking two things that are complete opposites and talking about them as if they coexist. It has to be a metaphor.
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