The 'self' Construct
This transcription is taken from a one-on-one dialogue between Speaker
and a student of A Course in Miracles. The topics of discussion are
the self concept, victimization and the subject / object split. This
conversation also makes a general reference to lesson 80 in the workbook,
"Let me recognize my problems have been solved".
ACIM student: For me, there was an opening when I felt that I was really
in a pit in my life. Just out of the feeling of desperation there was
a willingness to open up to something else. It seems that is often the
case with people. As along as things seem to be going along smoothly
then the desire to question and to look at what is going on isn't there,
there is no motivation for it. But when things have obviously gone amuck,
there's a greater readiness and willingness to take a look and see what's
Speaker: In some sense when things have gone amuck in my perception,
I've got a perceptual problem. It really isn't sane to project the problems,
chaos and conflict of the world onto God. As if God knows about it but
chooses not to do anything about it. Any attempt to make a connection
between God and the fragmented run- amuck world is still an attempt
to evade the responsibility I have in my own mind for my state of mind.
Peace is a choice that I can make but when I choose to perceive myself
as a victim or as part of a world run amuck, there is a distortion in
my perception that needs correction.
ACIM student: The world never has run amuck. My mind has run amuck!
Let's talk about the concept of victimizations and all the different
forms that that takes and how the concept really is not possible except
in a deceived [sleeping] mind.
Speaker: To even have a sense of a victim or a victimizer, you have
to have two.
ACIM student: There we go again!
Speaker: You have to have subject / object to have a victim and a victimizer.
As you said earlier when you talked a bit about the metaphysics, conveniently
for the mind that has two thought systems [ego-fear and Holy Spirit-love]
there is such an intolerable condition that the split gets projected
out. Therefore the world serves the purpose of reinforcing that the
split is in the world. It is on the smoke screen so to speak, it is
on the projection - it's on the screen and not in my mind which is where
the construct would be seen as a construct. It would literally be seen
then that there is no problem. Some of the early experiences of being
helpless or victimized are by parents, which are just part of my construct.
I've set it up so that I can seem to perceive myself as victimized as
a person by other bigger people.
ACIM student: At least dependent upon. I guess dependency is another
form of victimization. I set it up so that physically, for instance,
I am dependent on my parents to provide food and clothing and shelter
as well as emotional needs.
Speaker: The scarcity and the lack of believing in an ego is then projected
out onto the world so that the world seems to be a place of scarcity.
So now I am a subject [a person] in an objective world outside of me.
This is a world of kill or be killed, where you have to fight for what
you get and to keep your head above water. The meaning can be read into
it may be that I am a dependent little child that will die unless I
get food and shelter from mom and dad.
ACIM student: I am helpless, of myself. I have to count on there adults
in my world to take care of me.
Speaker: That's a construct. We're back to it being a construct. Then
you might have other children, siblings, as part of that construct.
My older brother, my younger sister. There's a competition going on
there and I seem to be victimized. At some point I seem to be victimized
and at some points I seem to be playing the victimizer role, the teaser
and the tormenter. Then you go to school and there are teachers. The
teachers have rules. Now I have to sit in a particular seat in a seating
pattern perhaps or do things, start and stop activities. This can be
perceived as a battle for control. Or church with ministers and Sunday
school teachers. This construct of victim and victimizer of otherness
come in many different forms. If the person seems to be an adult, which
is a construct, or a child which is also a construct.
ACIM student: The mind is always wanting to see inequality, essentially.
So whenever there is inequality, somebody is always going to be dependent
and the victim.
Speaker: The deceived mind always needs the split in the world to be
a distraction from the split in the mind. It doesn't want to see that.
It is just a decision. You have military and IRS and police departments
and officers. Literally we could bring it back to talking about the
authority problem. There are authority issues all the way through with
any of these and basically there is an authority issue with God in the
sense that the true self, the true spirit is one, is whole and complete.
It is abstract. To believe that I am a person in a world [the subject
/ object split] is to literally deny my reality and to make up something
that isn't real. The pain of that belief that I could separate from
God then gets covered over by this construct and these concepts of the
self that's now a substitute. It's another kingdom that's been made
up. The kingdom of time and space and form.
ACIM student: The idea of victimization really depends on the belief
in separation and the whole authority problem. And worked in through
all that is this idea of wanting to or needing to be in control.
Speaker: The belief that one can actually be unfairly treated, by another
person, by the world or by society. It has been setup [the world] to
see that split and to emphasize that difference between the subject
and object, which is literally a choice in the mind.
ACIM student: Okay, so lets bring this into what feels like a practical
kind of realm. Address the issue of being abused as a child by a parent.
Speaker: Okay, well first of all, from what we've been talking about
this can be perceived as a problem. There can be a lot of pain or upset
associated with it. The pain is coming from that sense of being victimized.
ACIM student: The belief that that was the was it was… that particular
interpretation of being victimized is where the pain stems from.
Speaker: Yes. That's a construct. Before you can have a belief that
you were victimized by a parent we'll say, first comes the subject /
object split. You have to believe that you are a person, that you are
a body or in a body in the world. That the circumstance took place and
it wasn't your choice. There was no decision or choice involved in this.
That it happened to you as a person.
ACIM student: And that something outside my mind could bring me hurt
or distress or upset of any kind.
Speaker: If I believe I'm a body and I set up certain boundaries such
as psychological and physical boundaries I can even say I have certain
inalienable rights as a person, and I believe that there are other persons
out there who can violate those rights then I have set up that construct
too. I believe that there are things that can invade my personal space
that are violations of my personhood and that are against my will.
ACIM student: So you're saying that if I think that I have any personal
rights related to this body and how it is used in relationship to other
bodies, that this is nothing more than a construct.
Speaker: Exactly. It's made up, fictitious. So, one can have the illusion
of being violated. It could be something one might say as traumatic
as being physically or verbally or sexually abused to someone frowning
at you, or ignoring you or failing to give praise or compliment in a
particular situation. These appear to be degrees of rejection or of
violation or victimization or however you choose to word it, when in
a sense it's all within the construct. The mind has to believe that
it is that construct before that can happen. There's an ordering of
thoughts. There is a belief that there is something outside of me that
can take away my peace. That has to be questioned. The construct has
to be questioned, it has to be stepped back from and seen as a construct.
ACIM student: So, the very idea that I have rights about my body feels
to me like it rests on my desire to be in control. And that desire to
be in control rests on the fear that I'm not in control.
Speaker: You think you're given a little band of time between birth
and death to choose and to do and to be as you would like to be. It's
kind of like getting a blank canvas and a paint set and saying `okay,
it's yours - go to it!'. And then you may be painting along and having
a good time and then someone seems to come up and start to throw and
smatter paint onto your painting! Or to pull at the canvas and to rip
and tear the canvas. Or as you are painting a delicate detail that really
is precise that you really want to be a certain way, someone comes up
and bumps your hand and the paint smears. These seem to be violations.
And this is a metaphor of course for what so called life in this world
seems to be for a mind that believes that it's a construct or a concept.
It says,"Hey! I've got my uniqueness. I've got my individuality.
I'll share some things with you and we may be able to agree on some
things, but I'll always be a separate person." In a sense, that's
where the control comes in because it is perceived as if there are forces,
external situations, and people that are taking away or eroding the
`me' that I believe in. And until it is all seen as a made up construct,
there can be no peace.
ACIM student: The horror of being out of control is really the horror
of no longer having this construct or self concept to cling to.
Speaker: Yes. And what is the alternative if I let go of this construct,
then what? There is a voice in the mind, the ego, counseling that you
would be obliterated, you will be annihilated. You won't be you, there
will be nothing left. You'll be destroyed. The spirit in the mind is
reminding that you will be you. You are you. But as you hold yourself
as a concept you do not know the magnitude of your own identity and
your own reality. So, the spirit is advising, reminding and counseling
the mind to let go.
ACIM student: So while the ego is saying, `It's going to be the worst
thing that ever could happen', the Holy Spirit is saying, `Ahh! If you
only knew how wonderful the experience will be!'.
Speaker: And, what are the implications of this? There is no racism
in the world. Oh! What a statement. There is no sexism in the world.
Huh! There is no ageism. There is no bigotry.
ACIM student: Where have you been? (laughing)
Speaker: Yes, what place are you talking about? What we're talking about
is of course, that all of those perceives inequalities and problems
are projected in order, once again, so that the mind will not have to
look at the subject / object split in the mind. These two irreconcilable
thought systems in the mind is where the problem is. So I can crusade
against racism and go out and try to convince other persons, other bodies
to start to shape up and think better. To pass laws. All the different
controversies and social issues… it seems ludicrous in the world
to say that there are no problems. Are we talking pie in the sky when
we bring it back to this being all a construct? All these complexities
and layers and levels of problems from the inter-psychic levels to global
or international problems. With every single level, they were all made
to obscure the simplicity that the split is in the mind not in the world,
that the problem is in the mind and not in the world, and that the problem
has been solved. There is no problem. Once the mind can step back and
see the world as nothing more than ideas, as nothing more than it's
own construct, then in a sense it sees that it's the dreamer of the
dream. It's not in the dream, not a figure in the dream battling against
other figures and forces of a wild and crazy dream. Once that's realized
then the dream can be let go of. It's a very happy dream for the dreamer
when he sees that he is the dreamer of it, that he is the cause of it.
ACIM student: Because then he sees that there's nothing that goes on
within the dream that matters.
Speaker: Mmm Hmm. In the ultimate sense we shift into time because having
said, "he sees he is the dreamer of the dream or the cause of it"
… that more accurately could be said that the dreamer can see
that he was the dreamer…
ACIM student: That it's over and done, it's past.
Speaker: That it's over and done. That it only seemed to have an existence
in the past. That it has no existence now. That is where we really get
into the time thing about the unholy instant and the holy instant.
ACIM student: Because the only thing that can have existence now is
what is real. When you recognize that the dream is not real, then it
can't be something that's held in the present moment. It has to be something
that was of the past.
Speaker. All those lines in the course about `the past is gone' start
to click in. Literally the construct is past, literally from that point
we talked about when the construct is seen as a construct…the
awareness of that involves the awareness that the construct is past.