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Purpose is the Only Choice
When we look at choices in the world, our feelings of being overwhelmed at times can be expressed in a variety of forms. This dialogue (which takes place with Speaker and several friends) begins with an expression of restlessness, which is a subtle form of upset or simply not being at peace. This provides a starting point for tracing the specific upset back to its source, the deceived mind, where perception is corrected by the choice of a new purpose.
Questioner: I've been having a feeling of restlessness. Last night I woke up and the thought that kept coming to me was "I'm just restless." It's still there and just came up again as I was in meditation. I had this feeling of extreme restlessness before coming to Cincinnati too. Just now I've been thinking I want to be somewhere else and doing something else. I have felt my mind drawn to thinking of when I would go home. I have been letting my mind be drawn into thinking of the future.
Speaker: Those thoughts just don't go with a real contentedness in the moment.
Questioner: The thing that was coming to me in meditation was that I have dropped many, though not all, activities from my calendar. I am still doing things that are not in line with my purpose, but it's not time for me to let them go yet -- I know the time for that is going to come. I know a time of greater peace is going to come.
Speaker: There are lots of unquestioned assumptions in what you are thinking and speaking about. What we want to do today is go into the mind very deeply --until it is apparent that peace of mind is available to us this very instant. We want to bring an end to the fallacy of: "I know it's going to come." This thought, "I know it's going to come," is very arrogant. Do you think God would put peace, happiness, and enlightenment in the future? Do you think God would hold out on you, or has He given you everything this very instant? It can only be one's own mind that sets up blocks or hindrances to enlightenment. We want to come together in His Name, with a very strong intention to be clear, and take a close look at the false beliefs presently held dear that obstruct the awareness of God and Self. It may seem that we go step by step in our investigation, although recognition is instantaneous. We can only have instantaneous enlightenment . Future happiness used to be something that sounded really good to me. It was better than no hope of happiness, I reasoned. Yet I discovered that this "reasoning" is circular, and leads nowhere. What we want to do is come at this with such an earnest intention that we let the Spirit come among us, so to speak, and raise beliefs and assumptions to the light by closely and carefully tracing them back to their singular false cause.
As my friend has said, today and other times she has felt restless. Is there anyone here who hasn't felt restless at some time? We want to take an idea like restlessness, and look at its under-pinnings so closely, that there is an understanding that dissolves the experience of restlessness.
Questioner: I really begin to wonder how much willingness I have for Spirit to clarify this in my mind. I keep wanting to take the ideas that are shared and put them in form. At one point of the meditation I asked to have my mind healed, to learn that healing has to do with my changing my thinking. This is what I want to do. It is to notice my erroneous thinking and then make a change. I want to remember that I have that power of choice. I just notice the pull to stay with the illusions as opposed to letting go and experiencing the peace that's available. It can take the form of restlessness and wanting to go outside myself and distract myself from the experience of God in my mind.
Speaker: You bring up the very idea that I was going to bring into our discussion and that is choice. Does everyone here believe in choice?
Questioner: Sure. I must.
Speaker: Okay, choices. When I say the plural, what comes to mind?
Questioner 1 : My sense is, there is only one choice. When I look at choices, then I am letting myself be pulled out into the illusion, all the illusions which are varied and many.
Questioner 2: If there is only one choice, there is no choice. (Laughter)
Speaker: We really want to follow this in closely. We want to look
at our lives and what we believe and we want to trace it in slowly and
examine this. Let's just stay with the idea of choice and choices. What
are some examples?
Questioner 2: When I look at choices, I look at choices between illusions and the Truth.
Questioner 1: We say that, but is that how we really see it? I know what David is alluding to when he asks "do you believe in choices?" If I look at my behavior and what I do, it leads me to believe I must still believe in choices.
Speaker: And if you believe in choices, let's not go into the hypothetical or theoretical too quickly. If you say "I believe in choices," what are the things you choose between? What are some examples of these choices?
Questioner 2: What word do I use here? What ideas do I put into a letter?
Questioner 1: Waking up in the morning and deciding what I am going to wear is a choice.
Speaker: These are the choices that are of the world. We have to admit it is like a menu. Every day seems to be a menu of choices. Can you see that choices, as we are defining them in this way, go together with the restlessness? Choices that are varied and complex are related to the feeling of restlessness. Can you see that?
Questioner 1: Absolutely, because there is a multitude of these choices. There seems to be no end.
Speaker: Could there ever be rest and the choices we are talking about in this way?
Questioner 1: No. We would be at complete peace were it not for those choices.
Speaker: Very well, let's pose this: If there is a choice that could end all choices, or an acceptance, an acceptance of something that brings an end to choice, when could that be?
Questioner 1: Now. It would have to be NOW.
Speaker: Only now. So, there is a discrepancy here. We are saying these words and yet it seems like choices of the world are either off in the future, or they are described as if they have already occurred. Therefore a present choice to end all choices must be in some way very different from the choices of the world, from personal choices.
Questioner 1: We say, "I could have done this. I might do that. If I hadn't done this, maybe such and such wouldn't have happened." Is that what you mean?
Speaker: Yes. When you describe the past, even in terms of recent events like the phone calls you made this morning, aren't the choices described as if they were real choices? It is as if one had to make real choices, such as, who to call, how long to talk, what to talk about, etc. So we are discussing choices in the world, personal choices that seem to be in linear time. And what about future choices? Has anyone not experienced the strain of pondering a variety of future choices? Can you see that, if this is the case, you must believe that there are real future choices to make?
These personal choices we are discussing, what are these choices between? Aren't these choices always perceived to be between options or alternatives within a dualistic world? Aren't these choices seen to be between two or more specific things? That's inherent in this concept of choice, isn't it? That's part of this definition of choice. Now, the choices in the world, the personal choices that we are describing, what is the commonality?
Questioner 1: Illusions. Behavior. Choices of forms.
Speaker: The key is that they are always choices between forms and specifics. There is always a restlessness associated with this, for this is an attempt to invest choice where there is no choice. Can you see the insanity of such an attempt? There must be something else other than this insanity; there must be a different kind of choice, if one is to reach enlightenment -- to bring an end to this restlessness and rest in peace. The key is this: If I am restless, I must still believe that there are choices between forms, behaviors, objects. I have to begin to see that this belief has brought me no rest.
We are using the example of restlessness. What does it mean then? Do I continue to justify and rationalize and say, "Well, I'm going to have lots of future choices to make?" Or shall we come closer to understanding the dynamics of what's going on with choices and belief?
Is there choice in Heaven? In Nirvana? In Eternal Bliss? What is your instant reaction?
Questioner 2: No. Choice didn't happen until we separated.
Speaker: There must still be an unquestioned false belief, then, if one agrees that Heaven or Nirvana exists forever as Eternal Oneness. Choice rests on the belief in a dualistic, linear, time-space world of opposites, including past/future, does it not?
Questioner 2: Yes.
Speaker: So really, it comes down to this: the whole idea of choice between specifics must rest on the concept of linear time, as contrasted with simultaneous time: NOW!
Questioner 2: I just knew you were going to say that! (Laughter)
Speaker: There must be something to this if one agrees that Heaven is Eternal Oneness and has nothing to do with choice, since there is nothing to choose between in Oneness. Now, what I am saying is that to approach an acceptance of something that's already happened (i.e., the Correction to the belief in separation) one has to see choice where it is. In other words, one must first invest choice where it has meaning as a learning device, for example, at the mind level, before there can be remembrance of choiceless Oneness. Out of all the things one thinks one has to do, everything is as simple as one choice. All one has to do is make one decision. One decision!
Can you faintly grasp what peace and rest and joy and happiness must be related to the only decision that one need ever make? Really it's not even a decision; its just an acceptance. What we want to look at is everything that seems to stand in the way of this acceptance. It's that simple.
We want to be so thorough in tracing "specific personal choices" back to the false belief that underlies them all, that there is the opening for the grand moment that seems to change everything and yet is changeless, this Instant. The teaching I share is that enlightenment is available this very moment. And anything in one's mind that stands in the way of that recognition of enlightenment right now must first be questioned, and then seen for what it is -- illusion. Please don't get into comparing who is enlightened and who is not. Enlightenment is not personal. Just consider these ideas and the holiness of the intention to be clear. Just say and mean: "I want peace! I want it more than anything else. I'm going to drop all my masks. I see that in order to drop them, I'm going to have to look at them. I want to see the masks for what they are. I want to discern the false from the true -- to be right-minded. What a precious opportunity this is!" Can you think of anything more important than looking at one's own mind and examining the obstacles to this recognition? Is there anything that even comes close to that? This is a very precious opportunity!
From our discussion we have identified the belief that personal choices are choices between forms and images. So if one sees that there is no choice in form, wouldn't it follow that there would be just a watching or an observing, a state of bliss, a state of complete detachment. What bliss to stop trying to see choice where it isn't.
So we want to trace it back. Now let's take a look at where that choice is. Where would that releasing choice, the only choice that has to be made, where would it be if it's not between forms and images in the past or future?
Questioner 1: I notice that I still want to say that there is choice between form and Spirit.
Speaker: Do you understand this choice you speak of, this choice between form and Spirit? To understand this choice, one has to be clear about the distinction between form and content. That is the distinction we are investigating together. You believe choices are personal and between specifics -- we have established that as our starting point. Form is the projection of specific thought-forms, images. Form is the projection of misthought. Is the Spirit specific?
Questioner 1: I suspect you are saying that the Spirit is general or universal because the Spirit is a reflection of Reality and Reality is eternal and formless.
Speaker: If we think of the word "universal," doesn't it have a different connotation than "specific?" Spirit is universal. For our discussion when we move our attention to the mind, the realm of content or purpose, we move to a meaningful context. The split mind is a context in which the idea "choice" is meaningful as a metaphor or a steppingstone, a "preparation" for the last decision or final acceptance that brings an end to all decision. This final decision is a decision/acceptance of content or the purpose of the Spirit. One can believe there is purpose or content in the world of form, but that doesn't make it so. What's the purpose of a car? What's the purpose of a couch? What's the purpose of a microphone? Do you see how these things all seem to have separate, little purposes? This is the learning of the world. The deceived mind has assigned names, meanings, or "purposes" to things such as objects, behaviors, events, conditions, persons, etc., and the relationships between them. How does a car engine work? How does the ecosystem work? How does the human body work? You see, all these bits and fragments and images have not only been given names, as a separating device, but the deceived mind thinks it knows how they all work together. There are no fragmented images and false associations between images in healed or true perception. There are none in Heaven or Reality either, for there are no images in Reality.
Let's examine for a moment the question: "How does the body work?" There are some self-concept beliefs that relate to the profession of nursing that may be helpful to examine now. (Note: three of the questioners were trained as nurses.) The training you received when you were going through nursing school, what was it? Wasn't it to teach you how the parts of the body work, how the systems of the body work, how the systems of the body interact with one another? Was there any labeling of parts you had to learn in your education? Of course, and this is just a little shred of the learning of the world. There are seemingly many other disciplines. Worldly education has been all about giving purpose and meaning to specifics and attempting to define and understand how the specifics relate to one another. Can one be open to the idea that there are no specific purposes and no relationship between specifics?
What if there is actually no purpose or meaning for anything in and of itself? What if everything perceived with the five senses is simply the past. It's like having a computer memory bank of past associations. For example lets look at a memory of dropping a cup on the floor and breaking it. How else would one "know" that a particular cup would break in a specific situation unless it was based on the past? All the meaning that is given to everything, including how things relate to one another and what everything specific is for, is all based on the past. It's all made up. God doesn't know of a cup. He doesn't know the meaning of the cup or its texture, or the meaning of the word "drop." And what would the cup drop onto? The floor? What is the meaning of "the floor?" We are talking about a necessary and fundamental unlearning of everything that has been learned. When we talk about letting go of the past, we are talking about unlearning everything that has been learned. When we talk about letting go of the past, we are talking about unlearning the fundamental stuff of time/space, not just letting go of childhood memories or unpleasant memories. It is letting go of the world perceived with the senses. Another example is nature, the varieties of plants that have been labeled, the colors of the flowers and the trees, and the many species of nature. It's all learned. It's all the past. So the key thing, when we bring it all back to choice, is that the deceived mind thinks it sees meaning and purpose in the world. The teaching I am sharing is that purpose or content is of the mind.
How many of us have searched for truth and said, "If there is such a thing as truth, it should be simple?" Why would the truth be so complicated, so complex? It is meaningful, intuitively, to think of truth as simple. Well, doesn't it seem simple that instead of all the trillions of purposes and associations that make up this seeming world, there are only two purposes in a split mind, and of those only one reflects Reality? Doesn't that simplify the approach to truth? If one could approach the simplicity of that, and know that there was just one decision to make between these two purposes, wouldn't that make everything very simple? If I think I have trillions of options and choices "out there" in the world of form, that seems to bring with it feelings of restlessness! That seems to bring fear. That seems to involve confusion. Is there anyone who has not experienced these things?
Questioner 1: Or talked about them recently? (Laughter)
Speaker: The notion that there are multiple choices and purposes based on the many, many images of the time-space cosmos is fearful, confusing, complex, and overwhelming. So what we want to do is get very clear that there are just two purposes. That's not how it seems to the deceived mind. It doesn't make any sense from the worldly perspective. So there must be an entirely different context of choice than choice between images.
Now, postulate for a minute that there are only two alternatives, two purposes in the split mind; call one of these purposes forgiveness and one of these purposes separation. From this perspective, would the idea that every choice you make brings everything to you or nothing seem meaningful?
Questioner 1: Yes.
Speaker: So, we've got something very interesting here. If I can just get really, really, really clear on the discernment between these two purposes, between these two purposes in the split mind, then the simple choice for enlightenment, for salvation, will be obvious. Isn't that good news!? Is there any higher priority than to come to that discernment?
We could call separation by many different names, such as fear, guilt, or death. The names do not matter. We could call forgiveness by many different names also, such as peace, love, and joy. The names do not matter. Choosing between these two purposes in the mind, call them what you will, is where the choice really lies. If one can believe that there really are only these two purposes in one's mind, then one need only get in touch with the deception of what seems to come between my awareness of these two basic alternatives, these two basic options. If all the roadways I have pursued in this world have just been choices between illusions, but I still believe that there is a real choice to make in the world, I need to begin to see the scam of the game of the world. As long as I believe that there are still choices to make in the world between images, feeling restless is inevitable. The source of the restlessness is this: the mind is not clear and cannot see the two alternatives and accept the one that is real.
Another thing I want to mention is the framework of the mind. Metaphorically, let us say these two alternatives are in the basement of a large building. From the belief in separation sprang an entire belief system, the many floors of the building. So, this one fragmenting thought seems to multiply into all kinds of subsequent beliefs. Most people would consider time a fairly abstract concept. Space seems fairly abstract as well, yet each of these concepts is specific in that it involves increments and degrees of measurement. Time is an idea of separation. Space is an idea of separation. Actually they are just two forms of the same idea. All beliefs the deceived mind holds about itself involve the belief in levels -- body level, emotional level, thinking level, cosmic level, family level, microscopic level, etc. In Reality there are no levels. All is One in Spirit.
Thinking thoughts such as "When am I going to go home?" need to be examined. For every past thought in the mind there are building blocks, so to speak, that are underneath that past thought. Unreal thoughts come from an unreal system of beliefs.
Questioner 1: I believe I have a home in this world. (Laughter)
Speaker: You believe you have a home in this world and you think it's in the United States. Who is this "I" that has to go home? Who is this? Is it a person? Consider for just a moment that you believe your mind is full of real thoughts. What if you had a hint that this belief is not true? Then you would understand the need to take a look at every concept and thought, as basic as these that we are examining, and see that the assumptions or beliefs about identity and the world that these thoughts rest on are untrue.
"Am I the way I am perceiving myself?" That is the question to ask. If one sees oneself as a person wanting to go home in a geographical sense, or home to a family in an emotional sense, is that Spirit? Is that the eternal Spirit? Or is that a mental construction, an image? Is it a concept? How helpful, how powerful it is to take thoughts just like these to examine. If we really get into a discussion about personhood, then we have to take a look at the thoughts and beliefs that comprise the person. What do you believe a person is? What goes into the making of a person?
Questioner 2: The color of their eyes and hair, whether they are black or white, nationality, what they wear, what kind of car they drive, their vocation, parents, family heritage.
Questioner 1: "When does a person become a person?" is a big question in the abortion debate.
Questioner 1: Aspirations and personal history make up a person.
Speaker: Yes, every person seems to have an individual history. What if I mentioned the ideas of mind, soul, emotions? Are they part of your definition of personhood?
Questioner 1: Religion and spiritual outlook are both parts of personhood.
Speaker: So you can see there is a lot to this concept of personhood and therefore there is lot that we need to question. When we take it into a religious or a metaphysical realm, some people would say that everyone has a soul. And regarding the concept of reincarnation, for example, it is sometimes said that the soul incarnates and reincarnates -- it comes and goes into and out of form repeatedly. This is an interesting concept that I have questioned. The soul is from God. Since God created the soul, it is eternal and changeless and limitless as God is. Well, if it were the case that the soul reincarnates into form, then something that is eternal and changeless and limitless would be temporarily contained in the form of a body. Yet that isn't meaningful. How could the infinite be contained in the finite?
Similarly, the whole idea of personhood has to be questioned very carefully. I began to notice, to observe carefully, that every time one seems defensive or upset, and the upset is traced into the mind, it always comes down to the concept of personhood. Even if one is offended at pollution being put into the air, it still comes back to the belief that one is in this environment and that something, such as pollution, is an affront to oneself, a person. I have noticed that every single upset can be traced to this concept of personhood, to a basic subject-object split in which the person, the "me," is subject, and the rest of the cosmos is object. The way this world/cosmos seems to be constructed is as follows: there is the subject, or person, and then there is the object that is always the surrounding "other," be it time, space, object, person(s), society, world, or cosmos. Personhood or personal identity is based on this duality, this basic split.
Questioner 2: This is where I get hooked, because as you talk and I can see my beliefs and my attachment to personhood; then I think there is something to do. I would like you to address that because otherwise I don't feel I can go any further.
Speaker: Every time you feel that frustration of thinking that there is something to do, it doesn't feel good, does it? There is an impetus for change, but the change seems to be too difficult or overwhelming to accomplish.
Questioner 2: Then I go into this guilt and I feel whipped and I think, "I'm supposed to feel happy," but I don't feel happy.
Speaker: Let's take a look at that idea that there's something to do. Now, doing is an action, an action of what?
Questioner 1: It would have to involve a body. Doesn't it always?
Questioner 2: I don't get so caught up in the action as I do belief. I think I'm wrong because I have this belief and I have to change the belief. For example, I like nature. To change the belief I have that nature is real is where I feel stuck. I want to go on and see the fuller picture and feel joined with Spirit and, because I like nature, there is this dichotomy within me. I like nature. (Laughter) I . . .
Speaker: "I" . . . do you hear it!? (More laughter) Let's look at the "I." Let's look at the coercive feeling of even having to make a mind shift or of having to give up a belief. Thinking that I have to give up a belief is a belief! It may seem like there is coercion. But is there really any coercion involved? I read a statement by an author once that said "our egos are very invested in beliefs." Egos aren't invested in beliefs. Egos don't have beliefs. The ego is the belief in separation. And all beliefs based on separation are the ego. The deceived mind thinks that those beliefs are itself, having identified with them. What one mistakenly thinks one is and has to give up, doesn't exist. In other words, the True Self does not have to give up the ego. The True Self has no ego. There only seems to be coercion because of a belief that there really is "something" that one is right now that one has got to get rid of. But, what if one is not that "something!" In this realization, the feelings of coercion or of having to do something dissolve!
It gets back to purpose again. One needs to get very clear in one's mind about these two purposes. If one thinks one is imbedded in an illusory world of form and one believes one's life, one's reality, is a "real" person living in this world of nature and one is convinced that that is one's reality, then the Spirit is going to be perceived as very threatening. One will perceive the Spirit as asking one to give something up that is real, that is good, that is beautiful, and one will not want to listen to the Spirit.
Questioner 2: This morning when I was on the phone with my therapist and telling her about my inward journey, what she said was: "There is one caution I have for you. I hope that you are not with people who are going to help you lose yourself, lose who you are." Who is that self I'm losing? When she said that, I thought of a recent visualization in which I died. I told her of the visualization; I told her that self is being lost. Who is that self? That self must be something other than my True Self.
Questioner 1: Yes, how could the True Self possibly be lost?
Questioner 2: We can't look at it as this struggle, or we are caught up in the "something other," aren't we?
Speaker: I hear people say, "Oh, the ego has to die!" There is something "off" about that idea, isn't there? Some will ask, "Why does the ego have to die?" I say to them: "Ah, you are presuming it has lived!" The ideas to fight the ego, to kill the ego, to murder the ego or just to have the ego die miss the mark. Just calmly look at the ego and see its falsity . . . Light dispels darkness by its mere Presence -- this is the whole message. And so to me the phrase, "Die to self." is just a metaphor for the deceived mind that believes that life is of the world, of bodies. There really is no life in the world of images. Images deny Life. Life is eternal and formless and changeless.
Questioner 2: Let's go back to the idea for a minute that the ego is just a belief. Where personhood is concerned, in my mind I still have the True Self hooked up with personhood.
Speaker: The other night when we were together, we had a gentleman tell about how he was feeling sad and he shared very candidly about a number of judgmental thoughts. Most of them he identified as "self-judgements" of himself as a person. Yet even if the judgments had been so-called "other-directed," it's all the same. All judgments are tied into the concept of personhood and the basic subject-object split. Unreal beliefs produce unreal appearances. If one can just begin to question the beliefs, then one can give up the entire belief system and the time-space cosmos it seemed to produce. Only then can one remember one's True Identity as Eternal Spirit. Yet even to say, "give up," implies that one had it, that the unreal belief system has been "mine" in the first place, that it's been more than just an illusion. It seems as if what is unreal has a reality, like the separation from God has really happened. That is the deception.
So, to me, it is essential to really question what one believes. Beyond that, is coming to the realization that all the beliefs, all the branches of the tree, so to speak, and the one belief that they sprang from, the tree trunk (ego) in this analogy, are all one. It is a reference point of clarity from which one sees the false as false. I don't have to do anything. I just see the false beliefs and thoughts, and the cosmos they seemed to produce, as false. It's a watching, seeing that all images are past, rather than selecting and sequencing the images into an ordering of objects and events. It is a state of stillness, of peace, and of joy!
Questioner 2: So, would you give the characteristics, again, of reality or Truth?
Speaker: It's eternal, changeless, formless, ever-extending. It has no form components, no time, no space, no specifics.
Questioner 2: So, I notice that I'm still not clear in my mind. When I look at nature, I see that it's changing and it certainly is form. So those are signs that nature is unreal. And I still think it's real. So, I must be wrong.
Speaker: Who is the "I" that thinks nature is real?
Questioner 2: So, that "I" is what has to go; that's what has to be questioned.
Speaker: It just has to be looked at and seen in Light. You mentioned the other day, "I don't know who I am." The first question that was ever asked was asked by the ego: "Who am I?" The True Self never asked that question. It knows with certainty what it is, Spirit--One with All.
Questioner 1: Not knowing who I am, yet thinking I do, is where the guilt comes in. When I've done something I think is wrong, it seems like I feel guilty because of what I've done. Guilt has nothing to do with what was done; it comes from misidentifying with the "I" that can do -- isn't that it?
Questioner 2: Even if I've done something and thought I felt worldly pleasure, it's all the same thing.
Speaker: Yes, it is misidentification of the mind either way. Both pleasure and pain are misperceptions. Remember our two alternatives again: separation and forgiveness. The deceived mind believes that it is the ego. That belief is a decision that must be reversed before God and one's True Self can be remembered. Onto the screen (the entire cosmos), that belief is projected as guilt attributed to a doing or a not-doing or a specific situation or event: (i.e., "I shouldn't have left my kids. I shouldn't have yelled at my husband. I didn't pay the money back that I owed. I'm guilty because of something I did or didn't do in the past.") Yet can you see that personhood is the assumption on which all these thoughts rest? Can you see how the ego wants the mind to believe that the guilt is because of something that has happened on the screen? The guilt is never because of anything on the screen. The guilt results from choosing the wrong mind, from believing one is something one is not (i.e., a person in a world of duality). It is nothing but an insane attempt to buy into a belief that has no reality and has no existence.
So, if one can work a perceived upset down to the core decision, the belief in separation from God, and clearly discern the ego's purpose unconcealed, one can laugh at the idea of ego. That is how peace of mind is reached. One sees what one is not, and what one is gently returns to awareness. There is a scene that comes to mind from the movie "Being There." The movie has some great symbols of innocence and defenselessness. When Chauncey, the gardener, leaves his "sheltered" place of residence and goes out "into the world," he encounters the inner city, an urban environment, so to speak. He's walking along and a street gang comes up to him, calling him names. One gang member even pulls out a knife and holds it right up to his face. Although this situation could be perceived as threatening, Chauncey remains calm and defenseless. He simply pulls out and aims the TV remote control he carries in his pocket, as if thinking "I don't like this channel, perhaps there's another one I can watch." The Spirit's purpose of forgiveness -- that's the real alternative one has to choose regardless of the situation. The Spirit is the choice or the "channel" to tune in to for clear perception and peace of mind.
Questioner 2: So while we are here, there's only one choice and that's forgiveness or separation.
Speaker: And that's only while one believes one is here. If one sees that one is the dreamer of the dream of separation, one is not denying the dreaming, but merely switching from being a dream figure to being the dreamer. For example, to think: "I'm a man, I live at such and such an address, and I do such and such for a living" indicates that the mind believes it's on the screen, in the dream. That's personhood. That's not being right-minded. Identified as a "person," one will inevitably feel defensive about "other persons, places, situations, events, and/or institutions,'' such as the government, the IRS, neighbors, siblings, co-workers, in-laws, etc., for the identity is not true. But if one sees oneself as the dreamer of the dream, one can accept a different purpose for the dream. It's quite a detached place to just see the false as false. One watches and observes the thoughts of the world. One no longer reacts to them. In worldly perception it still seems like the body speaks. It seems like the body is active, at times walking or talking, at times with arms moving. But one's attention is so far removed from the thoughts of the world that one feels disidentified from form and identified with the Spirit's purpose of forgiveness. In the flow of this purpose there is no awareness of separate persons or actions or situations or events.
Questioner 1: One of the things I became aware of in the seminars I took was that I had a strong identification with my thoughts. I thought my thoughts were me. Of course, thoughts came up and I felt like I was being pulled in every direction. So I had the opportunity to see that I am not my thoughts. But a thought that you introduced is that I also think I am the thinker. So this is another step back from that. So I have just been sitting with that and noticing how attached I am to thinking that I am the thinker. This is part of the personification.
Speaker: Yes, and it is good to stop and take a look at that. That error is the basic deception. If one thinks one is the thinker of judgmental thoughts, or the believer of false beliefs, then guilt and fear must follow. Often on the "spiritual journey" people will advocate, "Stop thinking. Thinking is the problem. The problem is thinking, instead of just feeling happy." Life is Thought. So it's not that the thinking itself is harmful, but it's important to grasp that there are two kinds of thinking, in a metaphorical sense. This is the steppingstone. Before one comes to see that fear (ego) does not exist and never has occurred, one has to use the steppingstone of two thought systems that comprise a split mind. And in one thought system there are real thoughts, buried deep in one's mind, that are covered over with attack thoughts. This can be helpful. Instead of thinking, "I've got to stop thinking. I've done it again. I'm still thinking. I'll never get out of this trap of thinking." and feeling guilty about thinking, one need only ask for the discernment of the Spirit, help in sorting out the two thought systems. The whole point of the sorting out is to come to a realization that the two thought systems are mutually exclusive -- the existence of one denies the other.
Questioner 1: Are you saying that we are going to think and we'll want to have our thoughts correctly aligned since guilt comes from thoughts that are not aligned with the Spirit?
Speaker: Yes. The deceived mind is full of unreal thoughts or is not really thinking at all. Real thoughts of the Spirit remain available and can be heard if that is one's desire. Judgment denies Reality and therefore offers nothing. The release point is seeing that -- seeing the impossibility of judgment! If one can clearly discern between these two thought systems, then one doesn't fall for the ego's trick of personalizing and personifying everything and making problems specific (i.e., seeing personal problems, seeing myself against another person or group, deciding who's right and who's wrong, choosing which side to take, etc.). When judgment is seen as impossible and the mind no longer identifies with the images and characters on the screen, there must be peace!
Questioner 2: You make the distinction between attack thoughts and real thoughts. I'm thinking that loving, grateful thoughts are real thoughts, so being grateful for nature would be a real thought.
Speaker: Let's look at this one. Let's take a look at the characteristics of a real thought. Everything has to have a source. If we examine cause and effect, what is the Source of these real thoughts? That's the way one can test thoughts out, so to speak. Ego attack thoughts are certainly not coming from God, but real thoughts, reflections of Reality, must come from God. Well, if one thinks that loving thoughts have to do with material nature, such as, "beautiful forms," does one think those thoughts come from an abstract, eternal, changeless Source or or not? The eternal comes from the eternal. Form is nothing but projected images. Can you see that after awhile one looks at every thought in one's mind, and runs it by the same criteria, the same test?
Questioner 2: How do I get past judging? There seems to be a judgment between the real thoughts and the ego thoughts. How do I discern those thoughts without judging and making them wrong?
Speaker: The only way that it's possible to look at the ego and not feel wrong, is to be looking with the Spirit. In other words, there are just the purposes of forgiveness and separation. If one is looking at the thoughts calmly with the Spirit, that is forgiveness. Spirit knows the mind as it truly is; Spirit knows its wholeness. When there is the complete acceptance of true forgiveness, it is seen that there never was anything to choose between. It is seen that even the metaphor of split mind was just a rung on the ladder -- the top rung. What happens when you get to the top of the ladder? Even if you use a ladder in this world, when you get onto the top rung of a ladder you are using to climb onto a roof, for instance, you step off. Once you reach the top rung, once you get to the acceptance of complete forgiveness, the ladder disappears.
Complete forgiveness is the acceptance of the Correction to the error called ego! The separation seemed to occur and the Correction was given as the immediate Answer. The Correction answered the instant of separation, the instant of time/space that seemed to separate into billions of planets and stars and multiple images, including separate persons. Seeing the deceived mind's inability to judge anything accurately is the key to accepting the Correction and thus bringing an end to the error. Here's a story for you: When the mind believed it separated from God, it was terrified that it had actually pulled off the impossible. The mind, in that instant of terror, seemed to project a world and identify with parts or specifics on the screen of the world. In this whole cosmos of images, this deceived mind zeroed in on the body to be its new "home." This body, instead of the forgotten Spirit, was selected to be the "me," and everything else in the cosmos, including all those "other bodies" that the deceived mind perceived, was selected to be the objective world/cosmos in which the "me" would "live." This subject-object split and all ordering of the images of the world/cosmos was the deceived mind's attempt to bring some kind of order into chaos and minimize its terror. Ordering of images is judgment, a device for maintaining this illusory world and thus protecting the ego from the Light of Truth. Relinquishing judgment is letting go of the ego and its distorted world. All false beliefs and thoughts are self-judgments, but Self is beyond judgment.
Questioner 2: So, restlessness is simply believing that I am who I am not.
Speaker: If we bring it full circle, restlessness is believing that there is a choice to be made where there is no choice. You can see that, if you follow that in, it comes to a place of just examining the thinker and the thoughts in the mind. Choice between images is no choice at all. Forgiveness is just a state of seeing the false as false as one watches all the doing thoughts, all the body thoughts, all the personhood thoughts: Oh, I need to do this. I need to do that. I need to take care of this. I need to take care of that. I'm ashamed of this. I'm afraid that will happen.
Questioner 2: What am I doing then? I'm actively making phone calls to drop things from my calendar of activities. That's doing, not watching.
Speaker: If one is asleep, if one is not to the point at which one has questioned all aspects of personhood and time and space, etc., one still has a false belief system. But the Spirit is able to infuse through that belief system, so to speak, and reach the mind where it believes it is. Let's say that you are beginning to question your beliefs about everything. Well, what's on the screen of perception is just a motion picture of those beliefs. It seems like there is still a person who continues to do things in linear time. Remember, that is the dream. That's the interpretation or perception of the self as a person in the world. So one can say, "I seem to be getting more peaceful" or "I seem to be getting more upset." Do you see that that is a meaning or an interpretation? Who is the "I" that seems to be getting more peaceful? Who is the "I" that seems to be getting more upset? It is still a person. As one steps back, steps back into one's right mind, so to speak, deferring to the judgment of the Spirit, one comes from a point of clarity or complete forgiveness and makes no interpretations by or of oneself. The "individual" perception dissolves into forgiveness, Spirit's one interpretation or judgment.
As long as one believes that one is in this world, there seem to be judgments and choices that are necessary. The Spirit is judgmental in the deceived mind, as it seems to undergo the "process" of sorting out the two thought systems. Here's an example of how that seems to play out: One tunes in to the Spirit and is quiet. One wants so much to join with the Spirit and has a strong willingness. Thoughts that still involve form come to mind, thoughts to call so and so, to meet with someone, to leave this job, to take that job, etc." Obviously, those thoughts are still form thoughts. But Spirit understands that the deceived, split mind still believes it is a person in a world. The false belief system takes the form of projected shadows on the screen of the world, an outpicturing of dark beliefs. Spirit is working with the mind to let go of the false beliefs and thoughts that are producing the shadows and screen. And so, the mind feels disoriented as it starts to loosen and to question these once-protected beliefs (i.e., "I'm not so sure, anymore, that I am a wife or a mother or a man or a construction worker or an American, etc. I'm not so sure what I am."). Symbolically, things still seem to be "happening" on the screen, but these are just the interpretations of the deceived mind about itself. That makes the issue of judgment clear. The Spirit isn't working "in the world," but is working with the mind that "thinks it is in the world" so it can realize that it made up the world. One can meaningfully ask the Spirit to teach one to perceive the world differently. Do you see how that's different from saying, "Spirit, come into the world and change the circumstances -- find me a parking space, help me win the lottery, etc.?"
Interpreting that the Spirit works "in the world" can, however, be a helpful steppingstone for a mind that believes it is a powerless, helpless person and seems to need a concrete symbol of help. The mind that believes in the concrete and specific can only interpret in this way. The interpretation is obviously helpful for the mind that asks, "Please God, help me find a parking space," and then perceives "finding a parking space" as an event that "proves" there is a loving, helpful God. Yet, do you see that such a perception is just another interpretation? The Spirit does not come into the world. Truth does not come into illusions. The Spirit is working with the mind to let go of the false beliefs. One can choose to interpret oneself "as a person" and attribute situations and events to Spirit, such as, "Spirit found me a parking space." or "Spirit helped me to lose 20 pounds." That would still be a "personal" interpretation, as if the Spirit was actually concerned with separate persons, objects, events, and situations instead of the mind, which believes in these specifics. In summary, Spirit does not perceive the world the way it is perceived with the body's eyes. Vision is not "personal."
Questioner 2: I'm wanting to be a bit practical. Isn't it okay to be practical?
Speaker: To me, what is most practical is looking at thoughts, concepts, and beliefs. I think an association is often made between practicality and specifics, or doing form things (i.e., "do the practical thing.") But you said at the beginning of our discussion that there's something uncomfortable for you about the thought "I have to do something." In questioning this, I'm asking you to just look at the beliefs. We start with something specific and then trace it back to the belief system in the mind. That is very practical.
Let's simply look, for example, at the idea of "The girl ran across the street to get the ball." It may seem that what happens in the world of form is "a fact" and that the only choice one has is how one will interpret "what happens." One must understand that "what happens" is the interpretation because perception is interpretation. "What happens" -- the world of form -- is never a fact. It is a hallucination, a dream. It is an illusion of reality. "God and Reality" is the only true fact there is. So you can see how it is important to examine the belief system that produces the interpretation, for example, "the girl ran across the street to get the ball." That interpretation assumes personhood, wouldn't you say? That interpretation assumes the concepts of "girl," "ran," "across," "street," "get," and "ball." These concepts, strung together and associated, make up the interpretation. Surely the subtleties of our inquiry today can lead one to appreciate questioning the purpose of everything one perceives.
Questioner 2: We have talked before about inner-child work, psychotherapy, or looking into the past. Is it practical to look at all that? I want to question what I am looking at when I'm looking at my dysfunctional past. The dysfunction was not at five or seven years of age. It occurred when I believed I separated from God. Isn't that the dysfunction that occurred?
Speaker: Yes, and the "dysfunction" can only be uncovered and corrected right now! History would not seem to exist if one ceased making the same mistaken choice (i.e., separation) right now. There would be no conception of a future if one accepted the Correction right now! Personhood has no meaning without history and the future. Do you see that?
Questioner 2: You're saying the dysfunctional past is irrelevant in historical terms.
Questoiner 1: It is happening right now. Speaker pointed out earlier that every choice one makes brings one everything or nothing. If one chooses separation, if one chooses to keep reliving that, then one thinks one is a separate person with a past and a future.
Speaker: There is a point here that requires clarification. The big insight that we are talking about is this: upset is never because of what happened to "a person" in a personal dysfunctional past. How one is feeling now has nothing at all to do either with an event that happened in history to a body or bodies or with what could happen in the future. How one is feeling is the result of a present decision of mind, a choice of perception -- that, and only that, brings peace or upset. Remember, the split mind has only two contents or purposes. The perception or interpretation proceeds from the purpose the mind chooses. If one is feeling upset, it is only because one is presently choosing the ego, choosing separation. There is another way to say this: one must still believe the past is present, instead of seeing that the past is gone. This is deception, for the past is gone! Upset is always a sign illusions reign in place of truth. So we are back full circle again. If one seems to be upset, it's not because of what somebody said, or what somebody did, or because of the weather, or what might happen, etc. The upset, regardless of the form or intensity, is always because one is presently choosing the ego, and therefore still values the ego. The wish to be separate remains intact and needs to be questioned.
Once more, in order to make a clear decision for peace, one needs to get really, really, really clear about separation and forgiveness, the two different purposes of the split mind. Otherwise, one is going to stay plugged into the ego. I would like to use the analogy of the ego as a kitchen appliance, a blender that is running and making a loud noise. It has a cord that goes down into the mind, and the way to stop the loud noise is to pull the plug. One's mind is giving the ego the juice or the electricity, so to speak. The blender doesn't run without the electricity. The ego will not run, it can't even seem to exist, unless one gives it the power of one's mind. So the key is to follow the cord down, down, down to the plug (purpose), and unplug it. The thing is, if one is holding onto a belief system of linear time, space, bodies, families, professions, nature, and all the things of this world, then as one starts to go down, the ego shouts "STOP! You don't want to do this. You'll be left with nothing! No identity!" And if the ego still seems to have value, if it still seems to give one something that one thinks one wants and needs, the mind will halt the search for the plug. In its attempt to handle the loud noise of the blender, the deceived mind will retain defense mechanisms and distractions on the surface (the projected world). Following the cord down in this analogy is the same as tracing upsets from specifics to the false belief that produced them or becoming clear on the distinction between form and content. Once this is clear, one is able to discern what comes from God and what doesn't, what is true and what is false, and thus realize that ONLY THE TRUTH IS TRUE AND THERE IS NOTHING TO DECIDE. Until that realization is reached, purpose is the only choice.
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