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Opening to the Dreamer of the Dream Perspective
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.
David: There is a metaphor quite early in the text when Jesus talks about the ego’s uses of the body and the Holy Spirit’s uses of the body.
Friend: What I'm questioning is that everything that happened to me had brought me to where I am now—that past. What's the Holy Spirit’s use for that?
David: Well it’s symbolic. Words are the past. These teaching sessions are the Holy Spirit’s use of the past. As I bring up events of our friend talking about his time in college and so on... to point to something beyond it, is the Holy Spirit’s use of the past.
Friend: I see. And from the deceived mind we can’t talk about... we're talking about the past right now and we think this is the present. I don’t get that but... that’s because I'm deceived.
David: It’s the reference point. Picture it this way, as a symbol. Here's the cosmos, the time-space cosmos. You perceive yourself as within the time-space cosmos, we'll say in a galaxy in a solar system on a planet; call it earth, on a continent; call it North America, in a state, in the city limits, in a home, in an upper room of a home, in a bedroom, sitting on a couch, in a 6’2” body… Ok, you're observing the time-space cosmos from that reference point which seems to be from behind two eyes and between two ears. A lot of times it seems to be that the sense of self is perceived to be in the head even. You have to even zoom it in to a body part. You're perceiving the cosmos from that specific reference point within the cosmos. It seems to be possible to perceive the cosmos from a pinnacle or a point that’s not within it.
Friend: Above it for instance, or back from it.
David: Even the words above and back… you could say, the dreamer of the dream is the mind that is watching the images including these images and those images and all the images of the cosmos. All the images that seemed to take place in history. The images of Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi and Julius Caesar and Jesus Christ and Confucius and all this and that; all of the images that seem to be coming in the future.
Friend: The dreamer is watching all that simultaneously?
David: Well it doesn’t matter what specific part of the cosmos that’s being seen; there's an awareness that they're all the same. If you had like a giant structure that had all these different little bits and facets on it, as you turn it around it doesn’t matter what particular facet seems to be in front at any given moment so to speak. They're all seen as the same.
Friend: So how do you get to that awareness, or to that point, from feeling like you're inside… how are you getting outside of it?
David: Realize that first of all you don’t value judgment and you don’t value ordering of thoughts. Everything we go into is about starting to see; we talk about preferences, we talk about ordering of thoughts, we talk about judgments, this is not valuable. Judgment is a device for maintaining the experience of being within the cosmos. Giving up or the relinquishment of judgment; coming to the point of seeing that not only do I not have to give it up but I never had it. Just realizing I can’t judge, Yay! I'm incapable of judging, isn’t that wonderful?! Well that’s the release point.
Not that you're giving up something that’s real, not that you're giving up something that you had and are now losing, but that you never had it! You are incapable of judging. And that’s the point of perceiving it not as within the cosmos but from the dreamer of the dream perspective.
Friend: And is there a way to see that? I seem to enjoy chocolate ice cream with hot fudge on it. Is that a judgment? How do I look at that? I'm really having a hard time because I don’t want it to just be an idea. I don’t want to try and play mind games you know. I want to understand how that’s achieved, if it can be achieved, or what it is that you do or don’t do. How to adjust your mind set?
David: It’s questioning the perception. The I that perceives that it enjoys, what did you say, ice cream with fudge on it, is a construct.
Friend: So if I just start being more aware of all the little judgments that I make, it will undo it itself?
David: That is symbolic of unwinding yourself or coming to clarity or discernment between what is real and what is unreal. This came up recently, our friend was saying, “But I like nature!” Just like you're saying with the ice cream with fudge, “I like nature! And I feel wrong because I like nature!” Follow the metaphysics of this in and it’s kind of like just question that I that seems to like nature; just question that I that seems to like the ice cream with the fudge. Follow it in.
For me it was like I began questioning my roles and I would begin questioning what I was doing and why I was doing it. Well I'm doing this because it’s my job. Well why do I have this job? I took the job because I need money. Why do I need money? I need money so I can have these things. Why do I need these things? Well... If you trace it back down if you keep tracing it down you can start to see I believe in this body identity.
Friend: Right. I feel like I've done all that with the job and the roles and relationships to other bodies and I started to question that because I can see that if there's no purpose then I don’t want to have anything to do with it. But then if I don’t have an experience of not being a body I don’t see how I can get beyond that, unless the experience will come by questioning. I guess that’s what the question is. Do the questions bring on the experience?
David: The questions are still coming from the ego but when you start questioning your beliefs and your thinking, those are very meaningful questions in the seeming process of awakening. And you desire an experience that will take the place of you as a body, and by your desire that experience will be brought to you. It will seem to come first through miracles. That’s like a mini version. We could talk about the Holy Instant as the experience of I am the Holy Son of God; not this body and not confined to this world in any way.
You'll seem to have miracles that will precede that. You had one the other day so to speak when you came in and you said, “I was just resting up here in the session room and just for an instant it was this beautiful feeling of detachment. Total release, not worried about anything, not concerned. A miracle! That’s a miracle! It felt great!” It came to you by your desiring that. It’s not like you have to collectively go around and collect miracles and put them under your belt or hold on; it’s just your desire for it that brings it to you. Just like your desire for the Holy Instant will bring it nearer to your awareness.
And that’s why we say there's nothing you can do; moving your eyes over a book isn’t going to bring you the Holy Instant. It maybe symbolic if you're really desiring it and you're really reading with intention and opening your mind to go beyond the words to really look at the meaning of some of the ideas. It’s just a symbol; a reflection of a person reading a book out on the screen, but the desire is in the core of your being.
Friend: And that’s what the questions are too. They're a symbol of that desire until I get past everything else. So, asking the question isn’t causative. What's causative is the desire to ask the question.
David: Let’s bring in time for a second. If I'm believing with the ego that the past is who I was and that I'm guilty in that past and I think the present seems too minuscule—it seems to get covered over so easy—and that there's no real power, then there's no opportunity for change in the present. The past is like solid granite, the present is like this little teeny blip that’s easily covered over and that the future is just a repetition of the past. Guilt/past, guilt/future. Fear/past, fear/future. If I really believe that, why would I question at all? That belief in linear time inhibits questioning. If I don’t believe there's a hope of ever getting out of the pattern, if I believe I'm locked in, if everything is set and determined, that I'm just condemned to a life of sin and guilt and misery and upset, if I believe that, then why would I even raise a question? Then mind is closed. It’s already concluded, and life is hell.
Friend: And there's no way out.
David: What's the bumper sticker, “Life's a Bitch, and Then You Die”? If that’s your conclusion then why question? The questioning comes in when there's a sense that there's more than what meets the eye. There's something more than all of this. The mind is not so convinced that it knows everything, that it knows everything that there is to know. So then the questioning inwardly begins and the questioning begins more and more and more. Questioning the mind and the beliefs and thoughts and everything and then one has to come to a point though, to the edge where one leaps of the cliff, into certainty. There is no questioning in certainty. Christ is not a questioner. So questions aren’t inherently valuable. Christ asks no questions.
Friend: I’d assume that I will know when I am at that cliff because I don’t feel like I'm there right now, and that I could just jump from this point that I'm at.
David: You don’t feel it and you don’t believe it. It’s like we're back to Atonement or what seems to be not Atonement.
Friend: Because I don’t see how... I feel like I need to know how to do it. And I don’t see a doorway or I don’t see the cliff.
David: Stay attentive. It’s right there under your nose. I remember metaphorically, in the parable of David so to speak, of being drawn, drawn, drawn, to these ideas and still having my doubts but it’s like I sensed that there was something there. And you sense that there is something. You sense that there is a hope of emancipation a hope of happiness and peace and freedom. But it’s not really anchored; it’s more of a hope than an assuredness.
Friend: Vague at times.
Friend: I still say from the experiences I had on the mushrooms, it’s very clear that it’s there. Even though it seems to have been seven or eight years ago in linear time, the intensity with which that I experienced that lets me know that it’s real and the little experiences like the one I had the other day, is letting me know it’s real. But I feel like I'm in a maze and I need direction how to find out, I guess how to get to the cliff, so that I can jump, or to get rid of the fear so that I can jump… Take it out of space and get rid of the obstacles that are my fear or whatever. I want not to be afraid. And it’s kind of like that’s the way. I've always had an idea that God is gentle and he knows that I'm afraid. So I kind of always envisioned a process where the fear is slowly minimized to the point where the jumping is natural.
David: And that’s been a very helpful metaphor. Now you're starting to see that the veils are starting to fall away on that one as well.
Friend: Are they?
David: You said it. You just said, “So this Atonement thing is either it or it’s not it.” You were starting to just express that it was an either/or.
Friend: I still had this sense that even when it seemed to happen, because of the mushrooms, that I had a choice at that point. I really feel like I had a choice at that point in time and I feel like this point in time is really no different than that point in time. It seemed more clear at that point in time and I guess I had a sense that it was going to always be that way. That I was going to have to make that choice whether I wanted to go for it and I didn’t feel strong enough at the time, to let that be my reality.
David: That's great. This is a replay of Purpose is the Only Choice. So let’s do like we did in that dialogue. You believe that choices and decisions are in linear time. You're describing it as if I had a choice back then. So the question is, Who was the 'I' that had that choice? The body! The body! The body seems to have choice. Or beyond that, what are you? A person? So you must believe that persons have choice. Not only does the body have choice but it seems like other bodies have choice. Do you think these other bodies had choices in their pasts to make, like you're talking about? You believe that too! [laughs] There we go. So now we're getting down to some fundamental building blocks of what you believe. You believe that persons have choices. You believe that there were real choices in that past. Do you believe that there are some real choices coming up in the future? [nods] There we go! So it’s obvious that you believe that choice is within the realm of linear time and that persons are the instruments or the agents that have the choice, the entities that have choice. As you get a fresh crisp copy of Purpose is the Only Choice, you can follow it in because that’s exactly the line of questioning that we follow in to come to see that if there is a choice or a decision that will end all choice then when would that have to be?
Friend: Well Now because Now is the only time there is. See, I still think of Now though, as a moving now.
David: Oh, a moving now; so there are past nows and future nows.
Friend: The past is always following now and the future is always being pushed off by the new now. That’s the way I think of now, this marching now.
David: Yeah! That’s good! Now we're getting into your beliefs about time because we have past nows and future nows. [laughter]
Friend: Because I was reading something in a metaphysical book and it was talking about, Well if now is the only time then you don’t plan and whatever, and the enlightened one was saying, Well if you’ve got an appointment next week on Thursday at noon, you write that down and when that becomes now then you go to that appointment. So that’s I guess a symbol of that belief that, Well it certainly seems like there are weeks to come and I have commitments that I have made to be at work at three fifteen today. And even though I understand that the clock is just going around and really nothing’s changing; my life isn’t changing because this clock is going around, but when the clock shows three o’clock I’ll make every attempt to get up and put on my clothes and go. Until I can see something else that allows me to say, No. I'm not going to do that anymore.
David: So you believe it and therefore you've had experiences that witness to it, including reading that book of what that enlightened teacher was saying. It’s like the mind gets exactly what it wants and the mind sees what it believes. If the mind believes in linear time it sees a world in which time seems to be linear. Not only that, but there seems to be other figures in the dream that seem to also be moving around on the clock. That’s what we do when we go and question, question, question, question, question. That it comes down to if there is a choice that will end all these seeming choices. That it has to be Now, and it has to be a choice that's very different than the choices of the world. Choosing to buy a car, choosing to work somewhere, choosing to marry someone, choosing to leave this house today at whatever… going for three o’clock…
Friend: What did you say after now it has to be now and what?
David: It has to be Now and it has to be very different from the choices of the world. The choice that we are talking about is Now and it’s a choice of content, not of form. The choice between going to work or not going to work, marrying or not marrying, deciding to have a child, deciding not to have children, on and on and on, all the personal choices of the world, all those choices that you believe are real in the past and all those ones that you believe are real in the future; it is questioning those and saying, is there a choice? Am I open to a choice of purpose, the choice of content that I can only make right now?
Friend: But isn’t it always right now. See that’s the thing how can I get away from that idea of... if I accept it, it’s always right now. Couldn’t I have made that choice yesterday?
David: Who? Who is it? You still believe there's an I?
Friend: Well then ok let me take it away from that. When I start to realize that I'm not a body I’ll realize that I've always been in eternity and that will be right now because it’s always now in eternity, there is no time.
David: It’s important not to get too hung up, but I think it’s great that you're seeing how it all boils down to time. You have just by sitting there and talking about it. You're saying, Yes I believe in past choices; yes I believe in future choices; yes I believe in that person that had past choices and future choices. That is all the wrong mind, but as you continue to question that; as you continue to just keep open and say, Hmmm. I want to look closer at this. Maybe it isn’t the way I think it is. Maybe I've been mistaken about everything, and you're open to an experience that is different than the way that it has seemed to be. It will come. It has come. You will accept it. You will be aware of it.
Friend: See and that’s... I still have this feeling that I didn’t accept it; there was a time when I didn’t accept... I have a feeling that what life seems to be about on planet earth is that acceptance.
David: “The sole responsibility of the miracle worker or the Teacher of God is to accept the Atonement for himself.” That’s boiling it down. Sole responsibility. More than my responsibilities at work, my responsibilities as a parent, my responsibilities as a husband, my responsibilities as a citizen, the law abiding citizen, all of that. It can be as simple as the sole responsibility is to accept the Atonement.
Friend: Well I guess we need to talk more about what that involves because I don’t know... those are just words to me right now.
David: Have we talked about anything other than that in these teaching sessions? That’s what a teaching session is, to talk further on what is in the way [laughs] of that acceptance right now. What a joy to start to see some of the assumptions and the things that one believes in. It may not seem comforting to think, Oh great I believe in it.
Friend: It’s kind of like going to the dentist and saying, Oh I didn’t think I had any cavities. Oh didn’t think I believed in that!
David: It’s kind of the old thing of being twice removed from reality. Meaning, if you believe in illusions but you don’t even have a clue that you're believing in illusions. That you think you're really living in a real world and you don’t even have a clue that there is anything beyond this. Mind? What's a mind? I can’t see it. I can’t taste it. I can’t touch it. I don’t even know that there is such a mind. If I'm believing so much in the reality of what the senses are showing me and I don’t even have clue that there is anything beyond that, then I'm twice removed from reality.
So what's once removed from reality? This is a world of my own making. I believe, I'm being told, I'm reading in the Course that this world is made up and that I have made this world up and that it comes from my beliefs; I've bought into false beliefs. Well that can still be uncomfortable. Where's the rest in that? I've bought into false beliefs. But you're one step from reality. Reality of stepping back and seeing that’s not me, the ego is history. I'll read you a little passage from the very back of the book. Which is in the Clarification of Terms, in the Teachers Manual and it’s number two, The Ego–The Miracle.
"What is the ego? Nothingness, but in a form that seems like something. In a world of form the ego cannot be denied for it alone seems real. Yet could God's Son as He created him abide in form or in a world of form? Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so."
So it’s one thing to talk about... to try to come to see what the ego is, the first step before you say, There is no ego, there is no world, nothing ever happened. Before you can come to accept the Atonement you first have to seem to raise the ego into awareness and see the ego for what it is. All the different forms of the world, don’t be distracted, don’t be fooled by all the different changing forms, you have to just see, raise the ego belief system, raise ego thinking to awareness and just see the ego for what it is. That has to come. That has to be perceived; the awareness that the ego is history. The ego is false. The ego is past. The ego is nothing. You've got to question time. You've got to question linear time; you've got to question cause and effect. You have to look into those things before you can meaningfully and experientially say the ego is nothing. Otherwise it would be like trying to jump the gun or denial. Oh great nothing happened. How do I feel? It sure feels like something happened. So that’s where the questioning comes in.
"There is no definition for a lie that serves to make it true. Nor can there be a truth that lies conceal effectively. The ego's unreality is not denied by words nor is its meaning clear because its nature seems to have a form."
So it’s a key line “The ego's unreality is not denied by words...” There is no amount of words that will ever deny the ego. There is an experience. The miracle is a denial of the ego but the miracle isn’t just a bunch of words. It’s not like you can just memorize the book and reach a certain point where you say, I've got it! I've generated enough words to dispel the ego! That won’t do it.
"Who can define the undefinable? And yet there is an answer even here. We cannot really make a definition for what the ego is, but we can say what it is not. And this is shown to us with perfect clarity. It is from this that we deduce all that the ego is. Look at its opposite and you can see the only answer that is meaningful."
That’s why we're not into the purpose of just studying the ego for the sake of studying the ego. The whole purpose is to come to the awareness of the miracle which dispels the ego. A symbol of studying the ego would be traditional psychotherapy where you have all the defense mechanisms and all the different models of the mind and this and that. Well, where does it get you if it doesn’t get you to peace, joy, and happiness? What good does it do to know about defense mechanisms? What good does it do to study the ego if you're not happy? What's the point in it? What's the point in studying the Course if you're not happy? What's the point in reading the words without trying to apply it and really going within your mind and getting a clear sense of discernment, if you're not happy and peaceful. It’s just another ego maneuver. The ego's going to try to use the Course to protect itself behind large fancy sounding words, “concealed behind the words that seem to make it so,” as we just read.
"The ego's opposite in every way—in origin, effect and consequence—we call a miracle. And here we find all that is not the ego in this world. Here is the ego's opposite and here alone we look on what the ego was, for here we see all that it seemed to do, and cause and its effects must still be one."
I'm going to read that sentence one more time and just listen to the tense that’s used in this sentence.
"Here is the ego's opposite and here alone we look on what the ego was, for here we see all that it seemed to do, and cause and its effects must still be one."
Just one paragraph before that I’ll read a sentence, and listen to the tense. Ok listen to the tense.
"We cannot really make a definition for what the ego is."
That’s one paragraph before and now if you listen to that sentence again from paragraph five, he's introduced the miracle and he says...
"Here is the ego's opposite and here alone we look on what the ego was, for here we see all that it seemed to do, and cause and its effects must still be one."
That’s the key. You've got to see that the ego is past. That the ego is not present. There is no ego now. If you can really grasp the clarity of that, that there is no David or friends Now! There is no past, present, or future Now! There are no private minds Now! There is a singular mind Now! Personhood and everything we talk about was! Singleness of Mind Is! That’s the key distinction. Here it is, paragraph six. A whole mind speaking now. This is a whole and complete mind.
"Where there was darkness now we see the light. What is the ego? What the darkness was. Where is the ego? Where the darkness was. What is it now and where can it be found? Nothing and nowhere. Now the light has come. Its opposite has gone without a trace. Where evil was there now is holiness. What is the ego? What the evil was. Where is the ego? In an evil dream that but seemed real while you were dreaming it. Where there was crucifixion stands God's Son. What is the ego? Who has need to ask? Where is the ego? Who has need to seek for an illusion now that dreams are gone?"
So much for the ego. Now paragraph seven, onto better things.
"What is a miracle? A dream as well. But look at all the aspects of this dream and you will never question any more."
Let’s use our metaphor of the cosmos. If you're viewing the cosmos from a perspective that seems to be within the cosmos, that’s distortion or that’s wrong mindedness. The miracle would be seeing the cosmos for what it is from a perspective that is not in the cosmos. Seeing the false as false. Seeing the past is past.
"Look at the kindly world you see extend before you as you walk in gentleness. Look at the helpers all along the way you travel, happy in the certainty of Heaven and the surety of peace. And look an instant, too, on what you left behind at last and finally passed by.
There it is the tense again, “this was the ego...”
"...all the cruel hate, the need for vengeance and the cries of pain, the fear of dying and the urge to kill, the brotherless illusion and the self that seemed alone in all the universe. This terrible mistake about yourself the miracle corrects as gently as a loving mother sings her child to rest. Is not a song like this what you would hear? Would it not answer all you thought to ask, and even make the question meaningless?"
So the metaphor is it’s good to question initially because you're open to receiving another answer. You're open to receiving the Holy Spirit but there will come an experience when the questions will cease and the questions will seem meaningless. Already I think you're getting a glimmering of that because a lot of the questions that seemed to be asked before or a lot of questions that you hear, seeming to be asked around you, don't seem as meaningful as they once did; they don’t seem as serious.
So I guess we can close up here or just end with this beginning part of the next paragraph because it really leaves things in a positive kind of framework of what is helpful.
"Your questions have no answer, being made to still God's Voice, which asks of everyone one question only: 'Are you ready yet to help Me save the world?"
So, all the questions that the deceived mind asks are made to still Gods Voice. The deceived mind is trying to ask all these questions. All those wonder questions that we talk about that are really statements. It’s kind of like every time there's a wonder question, I wonder why, so and so did that to so and so? I wonder why this happened? Whenever the wonder question is asked you could just imagine this little sign going up behind you, I am an ego. [laughs] “I wonder why?” I am an ego. “I wonder why?” I am an ego. And the key though is, Well what do we do now? What is a meaningful question? Am I willing to help the Holy Spirit save the world? [laughs] Hmmm, that’s a different question than should I buy the burrito or the soft chicken taco?
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