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Going Deep With Some Early Lessons

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.

We begin with a reading from lesson 7 in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles.

David: “When I have forgiven myself and remembered who I am I will bless everyone and everything I see. There will be no past and therefore no enemies and I will look with love on all that I failed to see before.” Lesson number 8: “My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.” If you notice in these lessons that he’s just introduced time in lesson 7 and he’s already introduced thoughts in lesson 4; now he’s combining time with thinking; kind of combining 4, 7 & 8. If you notice also in lesson 1 he starts out “Nothing I see means anything," he starts out with perception; what the deceived mind seems to see. He follows that up with lesson 2. He’s still talking about perception and he follows that up with lesson 3. The first 3 lessons are dealing with distorted perception and then BINGO! In lesson 4 he introduces thinking for the first time. He’s introduced the past in lesson 7; now in lesson 8 he’s talking about the past and he’s talking about thinking. The way it comes out is “My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.”

The three main elements that are being worked with are time, perception and thinking; three different aspects that keep being interwoven. “My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts. I see only my own thoughts, and my mind is preoccupied with the past.” We take out “my own thoughts,” and say “I see only ego thoughts, and my mind is preoccupied with the past.” This means that the ego thoughts are the past. What then can I see as it is? Let me remember that I look on the past to prevent the present from dawning on my mind. Let me understand that I am trying to use time against God. Let me learn to give the past away, realizing that in so doing I am giving up nothing.” He’s talking about thinking. He’s talking about the past and then in sentence 5, “Let me understand that I am trying to use time against God.” That is the basic problem. The mind is trying to use time against God and every thing we go into will be about getting clear on what that is, trying to use time against God. Time in and of itself is not harmful. Time used for the ego’s purposes is harmful in the sense that it takes away peace of mind. You lose the awareness peace of mind. Another way of talking about time, given to the ego, the construct of time, is linear time. We’ll go into this in a deeper way but it’s basically the ego telling the deceived mind that you are guilty in the past. The ego says Look at yourself, as a person. Look at your past. Look at all the mistakes you’ve made. Look at all the things you’ve done wrong. Look at all the things that you’ve messed up. You’re convicted. You are guilty in the past. There’s no doubt about that, and then it wants to skip over the present and say to the mind And your future is going to be as bad as it was before. It’s a closed system. You can see why there would be fear of retribution or fear of pain to come in the future if the mind listens to the ego beliefs that pain was real in the past. Guilt was real in the past. It wants to skip over the present and see that it’s going to be more of the same. That’s the ego’s use of time. You can see that if you listen to the ego about time, guilt will just be reinforced. There’ll be fear of future consequences.

The Holy Spirit’s basic use of time is instead of skipping over the present, it emphasizes the present as the only aspect of time that’s valuable and is actually the only aspect of time that there is. Number 9 “I see nothing as it is now. If I see nothing as it is now, it can truly be said that I see nothing. I can see only what is now. The choice is not whether to see the past or the present; the choice is merely whether to see or not. What I have chosen to see has cost me vision. Now I would choose again, that I may see.” W-52.4 Here he’s introducing the idea of vision. Vision has nothing to do with the physical eyes.

This is one of those things where you keep your mind open. You don’t fall into a sense of complacency. To use a metaphor of ego, complacency is when the mind thinks Look how far I’ve come. Look how spiritually advanced I am. Then you get to a lesson like this where it says, “The choice is not whether to see the past or the present. The choice is merely whether to see or not.” If you’re perceiving a world where there are separate images and you’re still feeling some charges in your experience then that’s an indicator where you say, Ok, Lord Help me today. I am determined to see. Help me to see. That’s where the openness and the humility come in. If I have charges then I am not seeing clearly. I am not seeing at all. It gets away from the metaphors of I’m seeing much better. I’m seeing more clearly than I ever have in my life. Which can seem like a little pep talk but you can fall into complacency and be content with seeing better when really… We were getting to the point by using the example of a door handle; waking up and looking out and seeing a door handle as an attack thought. It doesn’t seem to be an attack thought but I make all things my enemies. Because everything that the deceived mind sees has something that exists in and of itself as a separate thing. That is a picture of attack thoughts. It has all these separate other things that exist apart from my mind. It can’t be so.

All the longing feelings; we just did this journal on “Purpose is the Only Choice.” There was talk of restlessness. I guess beyond restlessness the idea could be stated as I feel like there’s something else I could be doing or should be doing or I should be in some other place. That’s a pretty common thought that rolls through consciousness. Why am I here? I wish I could be doing this. If I had my druthers; if I had enough resources, enough money, enough this, enough that, then I would be somewhere else. I wouldn’t be here. Whether it’s a job, whether it’s a relationship; whatever it is. If I had enough resources I’d be gone. I wouldn’t be here where I am. And that’s an expression of the mind thinking of itself as a person and imagining other situations, events and circumstances that it likes more than these circumstances. This is impossible. Where else can you go? You’ve always surrounded yourself with projections and illusions. What’s the difference if the constellation seems to move a little bit? Seems to move and seems to be different scenes. If the body seems to be in different places; attack thoughts are still attack thoughts. We were discussing soul mates. You can imagine the body with the ideal soul mate and the ideal setting, Hawaii—Waikiki beach. There you go. You could fantasize about scenes with this ideal soul mate. What you’d do, where you’d go, what you’d eat. You can see it’s all carried out but the whole basis behind it is still that reality is yours to choose from and you could imagine things could be a lot better than they are now. If something was different or if something changed... If cause and effect are apart; I ain’t seen nothing yet. I’ve tasted of the oyster of the world and I’ve got some pretty good things from the menu but I’ve seen glimmers of more pearls on distant shores that I haven’t yet partaken of. What we’re trying to come to see is that there are no pearls on any distant shores. It seems to be that there are an infinite numbers of options. There seem to be so many. It wouldn’t be difficult at all to use the word infinite to describe the choices of the world. And then if you talked about the cosmos… Some of these metaphysical books and tapes we’ve heard where it talks about coming to planet earth and there are all these other realms. Urantia says Earth is just one tiny little speck out of the whole projected time/space cosmos. But just in the realm called Earth there seems to be an enormous number of choices. Some might even use the word infinite, but infinite ultimately means having no end and everything in form has an end. There are a finite number of choices, in the Earth realm so to speak, or you could even say in the cosmos which would be a much larger seeming number. The key thing though is the atonement. When the entire cosmos is projected out and all these fragmenting ideas seem to have reality atonement was built into the whole time/space continuum, or the whole thought of separation. The atonement put an end; that put a limit on the mind’s ability to miscreate. It can seem as if that’s an infringement on free will, but it’s kind to have that built in. Jesus says it would not be kind to let you go on and have to choose among every option. Talk about taking a long, long time. So, it’s just precious when you can start to generalize the transfer of training from a trip to Hawaii or a trip to California or trying out relationships and switching around relationships, trying to get the ideal relationship, or all the different things that are attempted. When seekers come together and they start sharing their stories even though the forms vary they really are the same in the sense of underlying content. Ah, we’ve all been seeking in the wrong place. Even though the forms of our seeking have varied we see very clearly that this is not the way and there is no rest in being a seeker. The only rest comes from being a finder. That’s the experience we’ve been talking about. It’s not good enough to work your way to the edge of the cliff. The only reason you got to the edge was to jump. There’s no rest to being at the edge of the cliff because even though it seems like there’s been quite a progression in getting there, there’s no release aside from jumping.

In one sense you could say that one of the top down approach to try to pierce the veil and just going directly into the light without having questioned the darkness is kind of like a bungee jump. You go into the light and then you seem to get hurled back and it’s very disorienting. And in the end it’s not satisfying because you have this burning yearning to return and yet there’s still a fear of it. There are still things that are unquestioned. That’s why the mind has to stay to let go into the water or to let go into the light.

We are going to go into lesson 52. Lessons 51 and 52 are review lessons of the first 10 lessons of the Workbook. We’re on number 10 and just to recap we started off with:

“Nothing I see means anything.”

“I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me.”

“I do not understand anything I see.”

Three different lessons to start off on perception, saying that not only doesn’t it mean anything, it isn’t understandable. The reason to this is that everything in the world is entirely subjective. This is hinted in lesson 2, and another way you could say that would be that it is seen entirely from the ego. The subject in that sense is subjective; it’s the ego, which really hasn’t any meaning at all. Therefore nothing I see means anything, and I do not understand anything I see. Then, in lesson 4 we got the first introduction of thoughts. There hasn’t been an overt connection saying that the thoughts produce the perceptions yet, but it’s just a real introductory opening up saying your thoughts do not mean anything, And lesson 5 continues with “I am never upset for the reason I think.” So now when thinking has been introduced, we’re introducing upset into the picture. Lesson 6: “I am upset because I see what is not there.” So the upset is being related to hallucinating or seeing a world that doesn’t exist. Then in lesson number 7 we have our first Time lesson, “I see only the past.” We jump from “I am upset because I see what is not there,” to “I see only the past.” So what is not there is the past. There is a connection between those two. My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts. The idea of “time” or “past” is associated with the thoughts that are first brought up in lesson 4. I see nothing as it is now. It’s foreshadowing the idea that the Holy Instant and the world don’t have anything to do with each other. The Holy Instant is non-perceptual. The Holy Instant is revelatory and therefore I see nothing as it is now. “My thoughts do not mean anything,” that’s number 10. “My thoughts do not mean anything. I have no private thoughts. Yet it is only private thoughts of which I am aware. What can these thoughts mean? They do not exist, and so they mean nothing. Yet my mind is part of creation and part of its Creator. Would I not rather join the thinking of the universe than to obscure all that is really mine with my pitiful and meaningless ‘private’ thoughts?” W-52.5

Sometimes I think it can be said in general that people feel that they’re lives seem meaningless. That they run around doing a lot of stuff, feeling out of control, feeling helpless. Feeling like they’re part of a larger system of which they can’t escape and that’s just the doing. That’s talking about feeling that the actions of life seem meaningless. Why am I going to work? Why am I doing this same task over and over? Why am I cutting my lawn for the 979th time? Why am I polishing the silverware? Why am I doing this oil change? Why am I stacking this wood? Why do I keep repeating these same things? What is the purpose of all these repetitive actions that seem like toil at times? And that’s just the actions. This one is saying my thoughts do not mean anything. Meaning all the thoughts that one thinks during daily experience, the trains of thought that just seem to roll through the mind over and over. It’s not only that all those actions physically don’t mean anything, but the thoughts that rumble through the mind don’t mean anything. Those thoughts are perceived to be by the deceived mind as what it is. It’s very identified with those thoughts.

When people seem to come together for discussions and debates and forums you can see all the strongly held opinions. Clashes, people protesting and standing outside of buildings, doing marches and those kinds of things are actions that are symbolic of the differences of opinion, the differences of perception and differences of thinking. What are your thoughts on the matter? as if each person has their own opinion, their own thoughts.

The basic ego belief is that the truth is different for everyone. To each his own and that’s ludicrous. It cannot be so. It cannot be the reality; to each his own. You could use to each his own as the metaphor or stepping stone, to say each has his own experience and experience is non-transferable. But in the end there is an experience that is universal and there is no individual in that experience. It is truly an impersonal experience. To each his own, or the truth is different for everyone is the basic thing that has to be questioned. That is the belief in private thoughts and private minds. Just notice as we go along, where the resistance comes up. See how tenaciously the deceived mind tries to protect the idea of private thoughts, because if that goes everything goes. Once that wall breaks down, once the dam breaks that’s holding onto the belief and the idea of private thoughts then there’s nothing that will hold the river back. The river just keeps flowing.

So, lesson 11 starts to make a direct connection now. Not only have we learned about thoughts, we’ve learned about a world that doesn’t mean anything and is not understandable. Now the connection is made in lesson 11 that the thoughts are producing the world. The meaningless thoughts are producing the meaningless world.

“My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world. Since the thoughts of which I am aware do not mean anything, the world that pictures them can have no meaning. What is producing this world is insane, and so is what it produces. Reality is not insane, and I have real thoughts as well as insane ones. I can therefore see a real world, if I look to my real thoughts as my guide for seeing.” W-53.1

It’s beginning to set the stage for ideas like seek not to change the world, seek to change your mind about the world. Of course seek not to change the world makes sense if my mind is producing the world. Then of course I’ll have to change my mind if I want a significant change to take place. It’s important to really open oneself to this idea. It can’t be just an intellectual idea where I go along and pretend to continue to play a part of being a person or I continue to play a role within the world. It is to see that those roles and that person and everything that seems to be happening is just a projection of meaningless thoughts. It can’t be both ways. This is why I call a lot of what seems to be going on as transition or transitory phase, because what’s approaching, as quickly as you want it to approach, is a real devotional life. An inward life; a life that perhaps is more symbolized in monasteries and convents where you focus the mind on God, only on the thought of God and forgetting everything else but that. The image or metaphor that kept coming is a priest without a parish, a monk without a monastery, a philosopher without a profession.

The thing that our friend was saying the other day Why don’t you just get a job like most people and then do what you do other times. It’s just seen as something you do and something you can work into your schedule. Schedule your spiritual activities around your work activities, as if you can do that. The very essence of this is you don’t work anything into a schedule. You put God first in your mind. How does that look on the outside? Well, it doesn’t have any particular form, but I guarantee you, symbolically as you start devoting your mind solely to just thinking of God every minute and every second of every day, you end up approaching what I call mysticism. That’s why the mystics in India would go off into the woods and just sit there and do nothing, or do some teaching, but generally live very simple lives and just be quiet a lot because they were just focusing their minds on God and nothing but God. The children of the village would go out and bring a bowl of rice once in a while or a piece of bread. It would be their joy to drop off a piece of bread to this kind gentle funny man or woman that was sitting out there in the woods saving the world by accepting enlightenment in their own mind; by withdrawing their mind from the world. That’s why it just seems on the outside to get simpler and simpler, because what’s the point devoting your mind to trying to keep things up, keep the game going, when you start to see that the game of the world is in one’s own mind? And the only way that you can let go of the game of the world is not through a doing but through meditation.

Lesson 11 is a key element: “My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.” Because until you start to make that metaphysical connection you are going to believe that there’s a real external world outside your mind. And you are going to continue to try to adjust to it and still try to make your way even being a Course in Miracles teacher. Trying to become a renowned Course in Miracles teacher or trying to leave behind a legacy. Someone could say Jesus left behind an enormous legacy. All the branches of Christianity and all that followed him and denominations and everything. That has nothing to do with anything and in the ultimate sense he didn’t even leave that behind. That’s a hallucination. There’s nothing real about history or Christianity or anything like that. It’s not like Jesus came, lived a real life in the flesh and then left the flesh to go to another real place, the Kingdom of Heaven, or to be on the right hand of the Father as if that is co-existing now with the world. How does this world co exist with Heaven? How does duality coexist with oneness? Don’t get into the trap of trying to think of the Course in Miracles as a system and going around talking about it as a system. Don’t even get into the trap of focusing on it as a tool. The key thing is to go for the experience. The Course is just symbolic of your Mind’s desire to go for the experience and nothing more. It certainly is not causative as we went over yesterday. Lesson 12 follows. “I am upset because I see a meaningless world.” That can also relate back to lesson 6. “I am upset because I see what is not there.” You could combine them and say I’m upset because I see a meaningless world that’s not there. “Insane thoughts are upsetting. They produce a world in which there is no order anywhere. Only chaos rules a world that represents chaotic thinking, and chaos has no laws. I cannot live in peace in such a world.” W-12

“I cannot live in peace in such a world.” Isn’t that nice to know right off the bat; I don’t have to try to live in peace in such a world. I don’t have to try to be a peaceful person living in the world. I don’t care how many people come to me quoting the passage from the Bible, “To be in the world but not of it.” I can’t settle for being in the world any more. It could be a stepping stone but if I look at that, “I cannot live in peace in such a world,” that is pointing to something other than the kingdom of heaven on earth or paradise in this world. It’s just fitting in with every other lesson that we’re reading. My insane thoughts are producing an insane world. My chaotic thinking is producing a chaotic world and there is no way that I can live in peace in such a world because it’s made out of chaotic thinking.

“I am grateful that this world is not real and that I need not see it at all unless I choose to value it. And I do not choose to value what is totally insane and has no meaning.” W-12 That’s what it takes. I remember when I used to go out into the woods and deliberately eat bland foods. I would take bread and water and not put a lot of salt and cinnamon and seasonings and things or have pop and potato chips and candy and all those different things, but just go there and spend some time a number of days and just notice the contrast when I would go back into the city; when I would go back into a store or something. I would just notice feelings of oh a soft couch to lie down on or a movie playing or a talk show; just the thrill of seeing a talk show again.

Friend: So, you’re talking about just noticing there was still attraction here?

David: Noticing the attraction, noticing an attraction to the stimulation, noticing an attraction to the busyness.

Friend: And the body comfort.

David: Yes, false associations of a long hot bath in contrast with a sponge bath every several days in the woods. Just associations, but this is what it comes down to. There’s still an attraction to this kind of insane thinking. There’s still an attraction to being a personal private little self. That’s what’s underneath it; it’s not the long hot bath in and of itself. It’s not the Hershey bars. It’s not the long couch and stretching out on that. Those are just the associations. What’s behind all the associations is this desire to hold onto a private self and a fear of letting go to the light.

Friend: The wish to be separate.

David: The wish to be separate still unquestioned and still a sense of restlessness at the time of not being content. Yes, of course not being content as we’ve discussed over the last several days, that’s one of many ways that the upset can seem to take when one is still trying to hold on to ordering of thoughts and still trying to hold on to the world as it was set up or constructed in the unholy instant. But here we are. We’re back to, “I cannot live in peace in such a world. I am grateful that this world is not real and that I need not see it at all unless I choose to value it.” I remember last night when we were at the kitchen table and our friend was just feeling used. It’s kind of like the rock and the hard place. On the one hand there’s the fear to go within and question and on the other hand in this case there was just a specific example of feeling used. It doesn’t feel good to feel used. It feels upsetting and really the alternative is Do I question everything that I perceive? EVERYTHING?!? I’d rather feel used. I’d rather feel used than to question that deeply. That’s just one specific form but again for each of you it comes down to that very same thing. Will I continue to question personhood and question private minds or will I continue to feel (fill in the blank)? whatever that is; depressed, upset, restless, tired, fatigued, just fill in the blank with the form of the upset.

Lesson 13 “A meaningless world engenders fear. The totally insane engenders fear because it is completely undependable and offers no grounds for trust.” W-13 So, the thinking is undependable and the world that out pictures the thinking is undependable. The world is undependable. Even computers are undependable.

Friend: I can vouch for that.

David: Computers are inconsistent because the thinking that produced the computers is inconsistent. No wonder it’s unstable. No wonder it seems to behave in ways that the mind thinks it shouldn’t. It’s not perfectly consistent because there’s nothing perfect in this world. “Nothing in madness is dependable. It holds out no safety and no hope. But such a world is not real. I have given it the illusion of reality, and have suffered from my belief in it. Now I choose to withdraw this belief, and place my trust in reality. In choosing this, I will escape all the effects of the world of fear, because I am acknowledging that it does not exist.” W-13

It’s like taking a stand. Like the recent Stephen Kings mini series The Stand, but instead of taking a stand for good or a stand against evil in the world; this is a stand saying the world I see is not real and the thoughts which I’m thinking that are producing it are not real and I’m going to take a stand. I’m not going to believe in it any more. It may seem like the dream figures in the world will have sharp opposition to my stand that the dream figures may say You fool, you fool; what do you think you’re doing? You’re losing your mind. They may even seem to accuse and rather sharply at times. But “I choose to withdraw this belief and place my trust in reality. Choosing this I will escape all the effects of the world of fear because I am acknowledging that it does not exist.” So up to Lesson 13 we’ve got a little bit of cause and effect in here. Lesson 11 “My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.” So we’re getting a little reflection of the cause and effect relationship but we still haven’t had a lot about the Cause. Lesson 5 did say, “Yet my mind is part of creation and part of its Creator” with a capital C so there’s been a little bit of a glimmer that there’s something beyond it and the Creator or the Source is mentioned for the first time in lesson 5.

So, now here we go in lesson 14. Yay for the big guy! Glory hallelujah! “God did not create a meaningless world.” That is the hallelujah lesson. You go through all this other stuff about projecting out a meaningless world and my thoughts showing me a meaningless world, but here we’re being introduced to the king pin and the king pin has nothing to do with the chaotic world at all. “How can a meaningless world exist if God did not create it? He is the Source of all meaning, and everything that is real is in His Mind. It is in my mind too, because He created it with me. Why should I continue to suffer from the effects of my own insane thoughts, when the perfection of creation is my home? Let me remember the power of my decision, and recognize where I really abide.” W-14

This is a foreshadowing of the leap that must come; I think of our friend and some of her communications and letters and her uncontrollable, uncontainable joy. It’s not like you have to whoop it up and throw your arms around everyone, but that’s the kind of feeling inside your mind and inside your heart and that’s the feeling that should be the feeling of the day. At one point in the Course Jesus says there is one thought that you can hold throughout the day and it’s the thought of just pure joy.

Friend: If I’m in the Mind of God, of course what else would it be?

David: We talked about developing gratitude and letting go into the joy and I was just reading some quotes. The whole idea is, if you don’t know what to be thankful for, just thank God. This lesson is what to be thankful for. Lesson 14 is sort of stating it in a negative way. God did not create a meaningless world but to be grateful for what he did create and who I am. That’s what’s to be grateful for. Nothing specifically; specifics are all just little reflections of that. I noticed that when we went to get the journals published there was a real gratitude for our friend who opened the office up and beneath that gratitude for helping out was that enormous gratitude for thank God none of this is so! That’s where it’s unfettered and unbound. That’s where the joy and the gratitude is not circumstance dependant because it’s not personal or specific. It’s just this feeling. Of course you share the words thank you for this, thank you for that. That’s just like little beams coming off the brilliant sun, little reflections of it. The joy is expressed in certain ways, but it is more kind of an intrinsic kind of joy. There’s not a lot of praise. There’s not a lot of flattery. There are not a lot of externals that go with it. That would be the old way; the old way pep talks; the old flatteries. This is very much of an intrinsic joy and the mind is really afraid of that light. Everything about specifics is just backdrops. If you really go into it deeper there’s nothing to be grateful for in specifics. People can say aren’t you grateful to so and so and specific persons. To me gratitude is no longer aimed at persons and places and things.

Friend: Oh, I understand. I agree. I just think it’s symbolic sometimes. That’s all.

David: If people could sense how profound this was they would show their gratitude and express it as well to what we’re doing. But, if it’s not seen there’s not a sense of gratefulness. It does have to be cultivated because it is precious. It’s not about specific things.

“My thoughts are images that I have made. Whatever I see reflects my thoughts. It is my thoughts that tell me where I am and what I am. The fact that I see a world in which there is suffering and loss and death shows me that I am seeing only the representation of my insane thoughts, and am not allowing my real thoughts to cast their beneficent light on what I see. Yet God's way is sure. The images I have made cannot prevail against Him because it is not my will that they do so. My will is His, and I will place no other gods before Him.” W-15

It’s my thoughts that tell me where I am and what I am. The deceived mind is being wound in a web of dark thoughts and perceiving oneself as caught. I think a good symbol for me was when I was young I used to play baseball. We hit the ball so much that we would eventually tear the cover off the ball and the way they make baseballs back in those days is, once you get the cover off, the cowhide and the seams you find this ball that’s wound with all this stuff. Another thing is like golf balls. When you tear the little white cover off you find one gigantic rubber band that you unravel. It’s wound so tightly and you just keep pulling and pulling and it’s this rubber band that’s been wound all these times around a core. It’s my thoughts; all the winding that’s around the core, that tells me where I am and what I am. So, until I question all that’s wound around the core I’ll really believe I’m a person in the world. And I’ll really believe that I am all these roles and I’ll really believe all these different things and I’ll deny my reality in God in the process of doing that.

Number 16, “I have no neutral thoughts. Neutral thoughts are impossible because all thoughts have power. They will either make a false world or lead me to the real one. But thoughts cannot be without effects. As the world I see arises from my thinking errors, so will the real world rise before my eyes as I let my errors be corrected. My thoughts cannot be neither true nor false. They must be one or the other. What I see shows me which they are.” W-16

It starts to put thoughts into that black or white/all or nothing category. It’s not that some thoughts are more powerful than others. Some people say whoa that is a powerful thought! As if some thoughts are powerful and some thoughts are weak. But the teaching of this lesson is that there aren’t any powerful thoughts or weak thoughts. There aren’t any big thoughts or little thoughts. There are true thoughts and false thoughts. Those are the only categories in the metaphorical sense that are helpful. This is very early on because the teaching is ultimately that there aren’t any false thoughts. They don’t exist but this is the stepping stone.

Friend: So, wouldn’t the true or real thoughts be the powerful thoughts?

David: No, false thoughts are as powerful as real thoughts.

Friend: They’re real powerful. They created this world.

David: Ego thoughts aren’t weak. In fact, they are endowed with the power that the mind gives them and believe me that mind is very powerful. So, that’s why at one point Jesus says “thought and belief combine into a power surge that can literally move mountains.” (Ch 2, p.47) It moves planets. It revolutions the spheres of the stars and suns; it can certainly move mountains, little tiny bumps. But in this world, where the mind perceives itself as person, mountains seem enormous and impenetrable by comparisons to persons. But mountains are the result of the combination of thought and belief.

The deceived mind believes that those attack thoughts are real and it feels guilty so it tries to forget about those. It tries to keep them out of awareness and it seems to alleviate the guilt to believe that well, I’ve got private thoughts but it’s no big deal. My thoughts don’t exert any real influence on anything anyway. To down-play the power of one’s thinking seems to alleviate the guilt but the cost of exerting that defense maneuver of saying Oh, my thoughts don’t have any real influence on anything anyway. The cost of it is that the mind is seen as impotent. That these weak little thoughts don’t exert any influence. How does that fit with: the Salvation of the world depends on me, and My mind is very powerful and My thinking is very powerful? How does that fit with the power and the glory and the magnitude of I was created by God? How can I be magnitude and have a tiny little mind with tiny little thoughts?

Friend: So thoughts are just true or false. I was listening to a tape this morning and it was talking about that you are not your thoughts and you are not the thinker of the thoughts. But isn’t the mind the thinker of the thoughts. Isn’t that my identity? Isn’t that where thoughts come from?

David: Yes, we’re talking about ego thoughts. It’s a stepping stone to see that God did not create a meaningless world and my mind holds only what I think with God. The first thing is seeing that there are these judgmental thoughts that seem to be in my mind and there seems to be something that is producing them, that’s thinking them up. I am not that thinker nor the thoughts. I am not the judgmental thoughts nor the thinker that produced them. That would have to be the wrong mind, right? Was Christ producing judgmental thoughts?

Friend: Right, Did Christ produce the ego?

David: No.

Friend: If Christ and God are one then nobody produced the ego and yet the ego seems to exist. But, does it?

David: That’s the question. It seems to, but you have to look at it so closely as to see that it can’t.

Friend: Let’s talk in terms of my sleeping dreams. Yes, they don’t have any reality or yes when I go to a movie what’s on the screen isn’t real, but there is something producing that. That even if it doesn’t have any tangibility, it’s like saying… I don’t know how to say something is not real and yet not deny this experience that I seem to be in this room with these people. That’s the dilemma. How can something seem to exist and not exist?

David: It can’t. The key thing is going for the experience that negates all of perception in the experience. That literally to perceive oneself as a person in a world or in a room or whatever denies the fact of reality.

Friend: I just have a real hard time. I understand that the goal is to undo this but it certainly seems ludicrous to say that the ego never happened while it seems to be happening. That seems insane to me.

David: Well, let’s look at it this way. The Atonement is the awareness that the ego never happened. The statement that you’re just making is that the Atonement seems ludicrous to you and that is the ego’s point of view—that the Atonement is ludicrous. The Atonement is simply the awareness that nothing happened.

Friend: When you talk about it in that context you can see how you’re either on one side or the other. There’s no transition period or anything.

David: Even “goal,” you used the word goal. It’s not a future goal. It just comes down to right now it’s this or it’s this.

Friend: Which makes it clear why you have to leap; you can’t slowly become enlightened.

David: Very good deduction.

Friend: You have to let go of one to grasp the other. And if you try to do both simultaneously it feels like you’re doing the splits.

Friend: I can see and even in that sense that’s where it seems to me the need to be detached at least in my mind of what people think, careers and entanglements in the world so that it feels ok to leap. Because as long as I’m worried about what my mom’s going to say, I just can’t leap. What’s my brother going to think if I leap; there are all these questions.

Friend: Loose ends to tie up before I can leap.

David: I would say even to say I can’t leap, you could say that if I’m concerned about what my mom is going to think then I haven’t leapt. We can leave the “can’t” word out of it. It’s not a matter of can or can’t. It’s a matter of have or haven’t. The capability is not in question. The pain of not leaping will become intolerable.

Friend: Great… Goody!

David: That’s supposed to be encouraging, but…

Friend: Well, if that’s what it takes, it’s a small price to pay. I mean anything I can think of, the worst I can think of would be a small price to pay.

Friend: It’s just the weirdest thing to be in this situation because I want to know what it’s going to be like before I do it. I want to know that it’s ok. And I keep thinking I thought I went through this already the whole idea that everybody will be there and I’m not giving up anything and it will be familiar and all that stuff. It just keeps coming back. And then I get to thinking that I don’t really feel that I have a choice anyway. I feel like it’s not up to me and I am caught in time and the only thing I can resolve myself to do is keep hitting the books, come into sessions and maybe something will change, but I kind of don’t feel like it’s up to me. I feel like I’m making these adjustments in my lifestyle to adjust to a life that has a purpose. Kind of seeing where that leads, but a lot of times I don’t feel that I can just choose it.

David: What it brings back to mind is that analogy that you brought up when you were in college and that challenge you felt of getting into business and taking those business courses and oh go ahead we won’t eliminate you from the program and then really putting your mind to it. It wasn’t a sense of looking around for externals and in a sense that’s what it comes down to with this as well, it has to be that internal decision. If you choose to see it to get into the challenge of it even, whatever it is. Ultimately, even with that, that starts to fade away as it says in the Teacher’s Manual, “There is no challenge to a teacher of God.” M-4.II.2 It’s not like that you can even use challenge as a motivator or feel like you enjoy the challenge of it because the experience that you’re coming to is that there is nothing challenging about anything.

Friend: One of the things that have been coming very vaguely to my awareness is the fear of the idea that I’ve always wanted to get to know God, but I’ve always wanted that to be something separate from me. Some greater power that isn’t me and this idea that the Father and the Son are one seems frightening to me. I have this idea that I’m going to find out that I was the one in control all along and it seems there’s something very scary about that. I have these ego ideas caught up in that. So the idea of loneliness kind of just being in the middle of time and space all alone; like I’m going to wake up and realize that I’m really just this one person and I made everything else up. It’s kind of thinking of what God is like in terms of the ego. That’s scary to me.

David: That one person.

Friend: That kind of oneness is very isolating and scary and lonely. The oneness that we’re going for is not that of course. It’s very expansive and very inclusive, complete and full.

David: You don’t have to forgive the truth. Everyone who walks this world and believes that they’re a private mind and a person in this world believes that they have to forgive the truth. They come to sessions with all these specific things, with grievances; with irritations; with annoyances; with rages; with this and that. And they believe they have to forgive the truth as if what happened really happened. I really did lose my job. I really did get yelled at. I really did get walked on. I really did get mistreated and so on and so forth and now I’ve got to forgive that. But that which they describe is an illusion. Forgiveness means overlook. Forgiveness is for illusions, overlook illusions. See illusions as illusions and look past them to what is real, what is Spirit. If you believe that you’re a real person in a real world in a real room; that simply denies truth. That’s why the person and the world and the room and whatever has to be overlooked and just seen as false. And just see that it’s a projection of thoughts. Meaningless thoughts produce a meaningless world. Where is there a grievance if I see that it’s a meaningless world that I made up? Who mistreated me? Who can I think of that ever mistreated me? Did I ever mistreat me? This “I” is just a projected image. This body is just a projected image too. What is forgiveness? It’s just seeing the false as false. It’s nothing more than that, it’s not seeing that there’s something true and then overlooking it. It’s just seeing that it’s false. What is forgiveness? It’s seeing that there is nothing causative in the world. Nothing ever got me to this point in the world. That’s a common metaphor that everything that I’ve ever done has got me to this point. The past has gotten me to the present? Impossible! That is utterly ridiculous to think that the past has got me to the present.

Friend: Because that’s to say that there is something other than my desire that’s operative.

David: Mind is causative and to believe that anything in the world causes anything is a denial of the fact that Mind is causative. What is forgiveness? The awareness that Mind is causative.

Friend: So, if it seems that there is something in the past that lead up to the present, at best it can only be a symbolic sort of thing, a representation of the minds desire to be experiencing itself?

David: The metaphor that could be helpful would be that the Holy Spirit’s use of the past leads to the present. A purified form of the past leads to the present. That would be a metaphor. And again, it’s a metaphor because there is nothing of the past.

Friend: What do you mean the Holy Spirit’s use for the past?

David: The Holy Spirit’s use of the body; the Holy Spirit’s use of anything in this world. You know how it says the Holy Spirit has a different use for the body— communication. That’s the Holy Spirit’s use of the past.

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