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Many Forms One Correction
Speaker: One of the topics you brought up today that we can really start to get at is form and content. One of the pages we could use as a spring board for this is in the section called The Equality of Miracles on Page 273 in the first edition. We'll start with the seventh paragraph. The first sentence is probably and idea or a statement that you’re familiar with in working with the Course because it's a real common one.
"The only judgment involved is the Holy Spirit's one division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love."
Which is real basic that out of all the messages that the mind seems to receive from the outside world, all these different responses and reactions and an enormous numbers of things, the Holy Spirit sorts them all into two categories: An extension of love when you feel this warm resonance like your receiving love, like it's being extended to you, that would be the love and then the other one is the call for love so that whenever someone is in fear or they believe in the lack of love, then they’re really just calling for love. And the Course is saying if love is being extended then you feel love, and you feel loving. If it’s a call for love then its saying that you need to answer a call for love with love.
But the ego had its own category, a third category, and that is attack. So if you don't perceive love or a call for love and you perceive attack; either you've think you've attacked someone or you think someone else is attacking you, the defenses come up because it's misperceived.
So the key thing is all I have to do is be tuned in with the Holy Spirit, and He only has two categories (love or a call for love) and in either case I’ll extend, I’ll answer with love. So now as the paragraph goes on we see why isn't it so simple, why can’t I perceive everything as either just love or a call for love? Why do I perceive attack? He says,
"You cannot safely make this division, for you are much too confused either to recognize love, or to believe that everything else is nothing but a call for love. You are too bound to form, and not to content. What you consider content is not content at all. It is merely form, and nothing else. For you do not respond to what a brother really offers you, but only to the particular perception of his offering by which the ego judges it."
So there He's starting to clearly introduce this idea of form and content and in the one sense when you read something like this it's like 'well ok I can see that that's my problem,' He's saying I'm confused because I'm too bound to form, so for me the next question was always, “Ok teach me more about this distinction between the form and content so I can really start to tune into content”. And another way of coming at this is the workbook Lesson 161. This helps put form and content in some kind of a context. It says,
"Complete abstraction is the natural condition of the mind. But part of it is now unnatural. It does not look on everything as one. It sees instead but fragments of the whole, for only thus could it invent the partial world you see. The purpose of all seeing is to show you what you wish to see. All hearing but brings to your mind the sounds it wants to hear. Thus were specifics made."
And in this sense specifics are analogous to the form, form is always specific. Every object that we could name in the cosmos is specific, it seems like book is specifically different than leg, or finger is specifically different than nose and so on. So the whole world of specifics is the dream world, but then He turns around and says,
"And now it is specifics we must use in practicing. We give them to the Holy Spirit, that He may employ them for a purpose which is different from the one we gave to them. Yet He can use but what we made, to teach us from a different point of view, so we can see a different use in everything."
And then He leaps up and He gives you a glimpse of the end when He says the next paragraph,
"One brother is all brothers. Every mind contains all minds, for every mind is one. Such is the truth. Yet do these thoughts make clear the meaning of creation? Do these words bring perfect clarity with them to you? What can they seem to be but empty sounds; pretty, perhaps, correct in sentiment, yet fundamentally not understood nor understandable. The mind that taught itself to think specifically can no longer grasp abstraction in the sense that it is all-encompassing. We need to see a little, that we learn a lot."
And to me those couple of paragraphs really put things into context. Then it starts to really bring the problem into focus. I'm thinking specifically now, I'm thinking compartmentally, and He's saying that my mind in its natural condition is abstract, there's not all these specific fragments and specific thinking in terms of linear time.
Participant: Categories or boxes in the mind.
Speaker: So that just tells me, 'Ok this is going to need a transformation of my consciousness, the transformation of the very way that I think in order to come to peace.' That gives it a context so at least I'm not in the dark about what this is about. In the past I've thought, 'Well I would just find the right relationship, attain some worldly recognition, or fame, or a goal and that would bring me happiness.' But now its great to come to the point with the Course its saying, 'Oh I have to change my thinking, not just think happy thoughts or positive thoughts, I have to learn how to think; to return thinking to the Holy Spirit so that my perception becomes unified.'
And if we go back to where we were, the section we were on in The Equality of Miracles this next paragraph is very helpful to me because I remember when I got into psychology and philosophy and spirituality that it can even be fascinating studying theories. What was Freud's theory what was Maslow’s and on and on. There are so many different spiritualities and theories and yet you can get caught into the fascination of studying theories about the mind. The ego loves that too. The Course is just saying, 'Go for the experience, you deserve peace of mind don’t get side tracked.' So this has been a real helpful paragraph for me. Its says,
"The ego is incapable of understanding content, and is totally unconcerned with it. To the ego, if the form is acceptable the content must be. Otherwise it will attack the form. If you believe you understand something of the "dynamics" of the ego, let me assure you that you understand nothing of it. For of yourself you could not understand it. The study of the ego is not the study of the mind. In fact, the ego enjoys studying itself, and thoroughly approves the undertakings of students who would "analyze" it, thus approving its importance. Yet they but study form with meaningless content. For their teacher is senseless, though careful to conceal this fact behind impressive sounding words, but which lack any consistent sense when they are put together."
You can see if the ego enjoys studying itself then that’s another trap to watch out for. There's a lot of verbosity and a lot of words, I heard Anita saying, 'I don’t want to get caught in words.' The ego would just as soon have people go around and memorize the Course and start spouting the Course verbatim and still hanging onto a self concept of separation. That feeling of just too many words, and trying to hide behind a mask of words, intellectualizing and all that stuff and the Course is really saying, 'Go for the experience into the silence, still your mind that’s where the experience is, its not in “too many words”.
So maybe another section that could zoom us in a little bit more now that we've got a little introduction on form and content would be the section titled 'Many Forms One Correction' which is on Page 506 of the first edition and its in Chapter 26 in the second section. The Workbook lessons that go along with this section are Lesson 79 and 80. 'Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.' Jesus spends all of Lesson 79 talking about (the following): as long as you keep defining your problems in terms of forms; in terms of specifics, you'll never come to peace of mind because that’s not where your problems are. You have a perceptual problem that has to be solved, and this section just boils it down to one correction.
"It is not difficult to understand the reasons why you do not ask the Holy Spirit to solve all problems for you. He has not greater difficulty in resolving some than others. Every problem is the same to Him, because each one is solved in just the same respect and through the same approach. The aspects that need solving do not change, whatever form the problem seems to take. A problem can appear in many forms, and it will do so while the problem lasts. It serves no purpose to attempt to solve it in a special form. It will recur and then recur again and yet again, until it has been answered for all time and will not rise again in any form. And only then are you released from it."
When I read stuff like this its great cause for rejoicing that there's only one problem. As it says in Lesson 79 it seems like there are all of these layers of obscurity, these complexities. It’s just like that example of a dam where you keep plugging holes. Whether its problems with relations, financial problems, health problems… you could go on and on. Each day seems to bring with it another wave. And then it’s like as you go along in life you’ve been handling them everyday like waves for years and years. And now instead of such a big wave it’s like smaller waves. You may seem to get a pretty good handle on it but what Jesus is saying is, 'Don't you want the waves of problems to stop? Wouldn’t it be restful if you didn’t have to deal with waves, that you could just be in a place of stillness.'
To me that’s like 'Yes! Yes! Please help me I want them all to be solved in one swoop in one instant. [Laughs]
"The Holy Spirit offers you release from every problem that you think you have. They are the same to Him because each one, regardless of the form it seems to take, is a demand that someone suffer loss and make a sacrifice that you might gain. And when the situation is worked out so no one loses is the problem gone, because it was an error in perception that now has been corrected. One mistake is not more difficult for Him to bring to truth than is another. For there is but one mistake; the whole idea that loss is possible, and could result in gain for anyone. If this were true, then God would be unfair; sin would be possible, attack be justified and vengeance fair."
Maybe we just want to take a look at that one sentence,
"For there is but one mistake; the whole idea that loss is possible, and could result in gain for anyone."
Because if we can just go into that one sentence and get clearer on what that is, if there's only one mistake then the clearer we get about that one mistake then that’s where the release comes in.
So when we say loss, when we just see them throw out the ideas of loss and gain, what are some of the ideas that just pop to mind? How does it seem possible in this world, or what are some of the losses that seem tangible, that seem real in this world? That come to mind.
Participant: Like loss of health, loss of a loved one to death, loss of job…
Speaker: And with the loss of positions; like if a bank repossesses your house its like somebody else gains a house and someone loses a house. Recognition; if there's an award and there's five candidates for the award somebody wins and gains by it, gains the recognition, respect, maybe there's monetary rewards and then you have the category of the losers. Financing; economy, companies bid for a big project, one person ends up winning, getting the bid the others lose it. Even in arguments between persons it can seem to be a battle of wits at times and at times there's bringing forth more evidence to support your position. It can go on and on as if its this battle of who is going to be right. The one who seems to end up proving a point or “I told you so” or “see how it came out” seems to be the right one and then the other one seems to be the one who is wrong and a lot of times its based on two people wanting different outcomes. Whichever way the outcome comes out it can seem as if, 'Oh great you got your way… sure you’re happy it came out the way you wanted it to.'
I see this sentence saying that the idea that loss is possible and could result in gain for anyone has to be questioned. Even with political maneuvers when it seems like certain laws that are passed benefit certain groups and are a disadvantage or harm to other groups, and what I see the Course is saying is the whole world as you’ve set it up is based on loss and gain. And its based on bodies. Bodies seem to lose and gain. Competition; the whole free enterprise system is based on loss and gain. The whole market system, the whole world as its constructed is based on that and that’s why I have to loosen my mind from the bodily identification and get back to this condition or this state called mind because that’s going to be the only condition where there is no loss and gain.
Even if we took it away; we've been touching on a lot of real overtly physical things but lets move more to the mental realm now. You’ve heard of 'Voodoo Dolls' where they’ll take a doll and stick pins in them to bring bad things to another person. From that kind of a position it seems as if someone is being harmed. This time from more like a psychic kind of a way. You’ve heard of people saying they’ve damaged their minds, or they’ve played with their minds. Charlie Manson or Jim Jones, or David Koresh? Some of these figures come to mind as if they’ve fooled peoples minds, they’ve brainwashed them, they’ve damaged them. Just think about the belief that has to be beneath that. Obviously there's a belief that minds can be controlled and that minds can be harmed; whether its through 'Voodoo' or brainwashing its (the idea that) minds are vulnerable.
Participant: And that mind then couldn’t be equal because some minds can over power other minds.
Speaker: Yes. Some minds are dominant like those figures I just mentioned and then there seems to be these submissive minds, vulnerable minds that can be attacked. In this sense when we come back to the thing about loss and gain it really seems like some minds can lose; lose control in some way and other minds can gain control as if the leader or the guru gains control and you can see if that were possible then guilt would be inevitable again because guess who the victims are? The ones who have been brainwashed and controlled and who are the victimizers? The mind’s of the Hitler's the Mussolini's the Koresh's the Manson's. What the Course is saying is that if you’re perceiving that is possible then there's still loss and gain. Stronger bodies seem to dominate weaker bodies, bigger corporations seem to wipe out little businesses in the physical sense. In the mind sense as long as loss and gain is possible, then there's no peace of mind possible because the Sonship gets cleaved into two camps: the victims and the victimizers. So we're working our way to the Miracle which just sees the impossibility of that; of loss and gain.
A key idea here is private minds. Private minds seem to be dominated; to be submissive or dominating.
"This one mistake, in any form, has one correction. There is no loss; to think there is, is a mistake."
I mean just think of the idea of loss. Would loss come from God? I mean if everything's an idea which we've started to kind of get at; loss is an ego idea its like the corner stone of the fear based thought system. He says,
"There is no loss; to think there is, is a mistake. You have no problems, though you think you have. And yet you could not think so if you saw them vanish one by one, without regard to size, complexity, or place and time, or any attribute which you perceive that makes each one seem different from the rest. Think not the limits you impose on what you see can limit God in any way."
Fairness is a great one to go into because in this world a lot of times justice is equated with fairness but then the next question is; what is fair? Well, someone could say fairness is equality. Fairness means equal pay or equal amount of work. Well, that sounds pretty good, equal pay for equal work. Then you read a parable in The Bible, remember the parable where there's a land owner who goes out in the morning and he hires some people to work his land and he says he'll pay them a for a day’s work of labor, and then he goes out at about 2 o'clock and he hires some more workers and he says, 'I'll pay you a denary,' and then he goes out about 4 o'clock and he goes out about 6 o'clock and he hires some more workers and he says, 'I'll pay you what is fair.' And then at the end of the day when they’ve all worked and he's got his money to pay then out he pays every worker one denary. And of course the workers who came earlier at 10 o'clock or 12 o'clock or whatever are not very happy.
Participant: Hot under the collar.
Speaker: Hot under the collar. 'You mean those who have been working for a few hours get the same pay?' I remember when I first went over that parable from the bible with Beverly she says, 'That's not fair! You give those earlier workers more money, they deserve it!' You see? Jesus is using this parable. He's using it as part of his teaching, He says, 'This is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. You get the same thing no matter how long you work at it.' And Beverly's going, 'Hey! Come on Jesus, what's the big deal here?' [Laughter]
Participant: I just knew I would have been one of the people hired early in the morning. [Laughter]
Participant: Is this like when I started working at a store. I just started and I got the same pay that these woman have had for years and they were upset because they had worked there like ten years and I come in and I get the same pay they did because that’s when the minimum wage law changed… they were upset about it.
Speaker: And usually when there is upset the phrase is, 'It’s not fair!' What Jesus is saying is, 'No matter how you try to balance it out in the world, you can try to pass your laws, with equal opportunity etc…' and they all seem to be stepping stones, like a movement. Everybody more or less starts to get a sense that there's something to this idea of equality, that it’s not that some are greater and worse. The whole Sonship is equal but there's no equality in form.
Participant: Cannot be or won't be?
Speaker: In form there is not a hope. But Jesus is saying this about everything in form. As long as you are looking for equality in form you'll never find it but you can find it in the Miracle because the Miracle is the Holy Spirit’s perception and He sees everyone the same. Not only in form, but in the sense that the Miracle can see the impossibility of Voodoo. The Miracle can see the impossibility of cult. The Miracle can see the impossibility of a mind dominating another mind. The Holy Spirit sees that that is a ridiculous idea.
He [Holy Spirit] is trying to train us because that’s the way you can see there's no guilt. The one who seems to be the mass murderer in the worlds eyes is like, 'phew' big time. “Fry him”, or “lock him up for life”, or whatever and then there's the other over here who seem to be leading the ideal life and giving lots of money and is a philanthropist and in the worlds eyes there's no comparison between these two.
Participant: They are not equal.
Speaker: They are not equal in any way, shape or form and Jesus is just saying your perception is messed up. And that helps me in a sense that, 'Oh, I cant evaluate, I cant wave the scales of justice. I don’t have to be angry at some and have pity for others, I just need to see the world differently. I need to see how mistaken I have been about everything. The Course is leading us in a very different place than spiritualities that say, 'These are the good things in life, these are the sacred people, the sacred rituals, the sacred things and do all this enough and you'll get to the Kingdom of Heaven” and “here are all the wicked people”. There are quotes in the Bible about the wicked being gathered up and burned, and people take that literally; the interpretation of some of those parables, to believe that the wicked people will be burned.
Participant: [They will] go to hell.
Speaker: Yes. When I've gone into the Course all those wheat and tares parables are; the wheat would be like right minded thoughts and the tears would be like wrong minded thoughts and yes, in the end they all are gathered up and the one is seen to be illusion and dissolves, and what your left with is the fruits. The fruit part is the part that’s edible; you’re left with the good part. To me when I've read those parables its all about your thinking is what needs to get sorted out.
Participant: So there's good even in that one bad person? Is that what your saying? Its going to be sorted out. Its still going to be the One mind.
Speaker: Well it pulls it away even from persons remember it just pulls it back to, 'Oh its my lesson, its my mind and right now there's a mixture between the wheat and the tares. It seems like the ego thinking has grown in there and that my mind is infested. It still has the wheat, it still has the Holy Spirits’ thought system, but it’s mixed in there. So its like the Holy Spirit is saying, 'Here we go, we're going to sort these out… then I start to see that right mindedness is content or purpose. Wrong mindedness - I don’t have to pay attention to all the forms that my brother seems to make I just need to get in touch with right mindedness or right thinking.
Well to me, a lot of times it gets back to the body. It hurts (when you are) judging others and (when) you are judging this body, that hurts just as much because the shame, and blame and guilt gets dumped on this (body). So to me its that thing of like, 'Ok Holy Spirit I don’t know who I am, I want you to help me sort out in my mind so I can come to the experience who I really am.' Which is mind or Spirit, not body.
"The miracle of justice can correct all errors."
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