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Going Deeper part 24 

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.

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Pleasure & Pain - Is it a Sacrifice to Give up?

Speaker: Is it a sacrifice to give up pain? No. It’s the belief in this world, the belief in the body, the belief in perception – the twisted perception – that is literally death. That is the belief in and the investment in death, and it is painful. It is painful to maintain belief in something that isn’t true. So the question it comes down to is: Is it a sacrifice to give up pain? Those who come to this world, those who seek for idols; those who seek for answers in this world are literally seeking for happiness and salvation where it cannot be found. And this is painful. So literally, the giving up judgment, the giving up of the ordering of thoughts and so on, is the giving up of pain! Is it a sacrifice to give up pain?

Participant: Only to a mind that doesn’t recognize that this is pain.

Speaker: Yes, exactly.

Participant: And the undoing is to recognize just what you said, that there is nothing here.

Speaker: And this runs immediately right back into our discussion on pleasure and pain, that they are two sides of the same coin, and we talked about love and marriage – you can’t have one without the other. You cannot have one without the other. In many passages of the Course you can read that you cannot seek for pleasure without finding pain as well. It’s a disguise. The body’s pleasure, to the ego, is good; it whispers to the mind, that this is good. To itself it whispers: this is death. You can read in the Course that the ego does not want the mind to see the trick of pursuing pleasure.

Pleasure to the deceived mind is one of the greatest things going in the dream-world. If this is a kingdom apart from the abstract Spirit of God, pleasure is perceived as being one of the best things going. The deceived mind believes it is a cruel, wicked, dog-eat-dog world. “All this pain, sickness and suffering – but at least – thank Heavens, we have pleasure!” Pleasure is seen as a release, a respite and offset from misery, loneliness and despair. What the ego doesn’t let the mind see is that by investing in pleasure, and pleasure is obviously of the body, it has to do with senses and sensation, and pleasure, reinforces the body as being real in the mind, in the mind’s awareness. Once again, it takes us back to those passages; do you recognize the spirit or do you perceive the flesh? Jesus is clearly laying out that it is one or the other, that you can’t have both. In the ultimate sense there is no reconciliation between sprit and the time-space-matter continuum. The closest you come to the leaping-off point is true perception or a happy dream, which is still a leaping-off point. Knowledge and the happy dream don’t have a meeting point. The mind has to be trained to come to true perception and come to the real world or the happy dream, so that God can take the final step. This training is the step that God requires of His children – or the Holy Spirit requires, metaphorically speaking.

So when we get to the question of pleasure and pain, the Holy Spirit overlooks pleasure as He overlooks pain. People can accept that the Holy Spirit is forgiving or overlooking the painful aspects of the world. But there are passages in the Course where we also see that he just as easily overlooks pleasure; a tiny stab of pain, a little worldly pleasure, is the way it’s stated. (T-27.VI.6) So we get to the fact that the Holy Spirit does not look to effects. And the world of sensations; the feelings in the body; pleasurable or painful, or anything in between, are not in the domain of the spirit. The Holy Spirit does not see the body as the deceived mind sees it at all. So it comes back full circle to the giving up the values of the world. And as you just said, the mind will perceive it as a sacrifice to give up the values of the world unless you can see that they are painful, regardless of how they seem to be experienced. And one must see that pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin to be able to clearly come to that Recognition. In any single instant the attraction of guilt would be experienced as painful. But within the projected world of time and space, it kind of gets spread out on time so that the mind then can believe it is a person that has painful experiences and pleasurable experiences, kind of spread out. The body is always remembered or anticipated. One can think back like; “Boy those were painful experiences – that really hurt!” And “Boy, those were pleasurable experiences, wow, ooh lala!” But they were all miscreations, misthoughts. The mind is blank. The mind isn’t thinking at all. The mind is covering over the Holy Instant.

Participant: That’s taking it in deeply.

Speaker: Yes, we’re getting down to the core of things now. We are not dancing around the periphery anymore; we’re down to the core, to the basics of it. And there is joy! There is immense release, immense joy that comes when the mind gets clear on this, when the mind no longer buys the tricks of the ego. It literally listens to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s lessons are joyful. When the mind is learning what it thinks it perceives as a painful lesson, the perception of it being painful is because there is the decision being made in the mind – for the ego. One does not choose the Holy Spirit as the advisor and experience pain. That’s ludicrous. So, saying: O, it’s painful and o, pain is good, even, you know...

Participant: “No pain, no gain…”

Speaker: Yes, and all those different ideas, you know, the deeper one goes one sees how absurd it is. This is not to say that pain can’t act as a contrast. That the Holy Spirit does teach through contrast. But it is a contrast to this painful experience, the joy, peace and love and the experience of the feeling of connectedness,. It is the contrast between the two that really impels the mind to want to move toward the joy and to make choices with the Holy Spirit, to continue to feel that joy.

We have to have something to rely on daily, when all those things come up. And if we have these false self concepts and we are working through all those lessons in forgiveness we need something we can feel close to. And the Course calls that something the Holy Spirit. It goes by many names in many traditions; the inner voice, intuition, the small still voice, just many, many names. We have put together a section on quotes about the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the spirit of joy. He is the Call to return with which God blessed the minds of His separated Sons. (T-5.II.2)

The Holy Spirit is the Call to awaken and be glad. (T-5.II.10)

How can you wake children in a more kindly way than by a gentle Voice that will not frighten them, but will merely remind them that the night is over and the light has come? (T-6.V.2)

The Holy Spirit sees the world as a teaching device for bringing you Home. (T-5.III.11)

The Holy Spirit's teaching takes only one direction and has only one goal. His direction is freedom and His goal is God. (T-8.II.6)

Any direction that will lead you where the Holy Spirit leads you not, goes nowhere. (T-8.II.6)

The opposite of joy is depression. When your learning promotes depression instead of joy, you cannot be listening to God's joyous Teacher and learning His lessons. (T-8.VII.13)

The Holy Spirit is your Guide in choosing. He is in the part of your mind that always speaks for the right choice, because He speaks for God. (T-5.II.8)

The Holy Spirit's Voice is as loud as your willingness to listen. It cannot be louder without violating your freedom of choice, which the Holy Spirit seeks to restore, never to undermine. (T-8.VIII.8)

The Holy Spirit will direct you only so as to avoid pain. Surely no one would object to this goal if he recognized it. The problem is not whether what the Holy Spirit says is true, but whether you want to listen to what He says. (T-7.X.3)

The Voice of the Holy Spirit does not command, because It is incapable of arrogance. It does not demand, because It does not seek control. It does not overcome, because It does not attack. It merely reminds. (T-5.II.7)

It is only because you think that you can run some little part, or deal with certain aspects of your life alone, that the guidance of the Holy Spirit is limited. (T-14.XI.8)

Do you really believe you can plan for your safety and joy better than He can? You need be neither careful nor careless; you need merely cast your cares upon Him because He careth for you. (T-5.VII.1)

Be comforted, and feel the Holy Spirit watching over you in love and perfect confidence in what He sees. (T-20.V.8)

Complexity is not of God. How could it be, when all He knows is One? He knows of One Creation, One Reality, One Truth and but One Son. Nothing conflicts with Oneness. How, then, could there be complexity in Him? What is there to decide? For it is conflict that makes choice possible. The truth is simple; it is one, without an opposite. And how could strife enter in its simple presence, and bring complexity where oneness is? The truth makes no decisions, for there is nothing to decide between. And only if there were could choosing be a necessary step in the advance toward oneness. What is everything leaves room for nothing else. Yet is this magnitude beyond the scope of this curriculum. Nor is it necessary we dwell on anything that cannot be immediately grasped. (T-26.III.1)

Ok, this would be a definite statement, as we were speaking on other set of tapes of a statement that goes beyond all metaphors. It hints a state that is beyond all metaphors, a state of Knowledge. And the Course In Miracles is basically a course that deals in the realm of the dream and deals in decision. Making a decision for the Holy Spirit, making a decision for the right mind, and learning to look closely and distinguish between alternatives for choice; which presumes that there is a choice in the split mind. Although it is metaphorical, the mind that believes that it has separated from its Creator must make choices. And the Course is simply a Course to help one make a better choice where a mistaken choice was made before.

Continue to Part 25

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