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Spirit's Relationship to the World

Dialogue Participant: Let’s talk about this issue of Creativity as we’ll see it in a higher expression here. I have had a lot of conversations with people about this issue and I intuitively sense that there is actually a relationship between form and spirit. I think that this runs through everything. And there seems to be a thinking in metaphysics that tends to blow off form or matter as it reasons in Christian Science, “There is no life, intelligence or substance in matter.” Like matter is a bad thing, that if you are not operating in the realm of spirit than you are not doing what you should be doing. And I do not believe that.

I got into a very intense argument with my sister who is a Christian Scientist when I was in Cairo. She was suffering from the later stages of diabetes and she is not going straight in to heal it. She has a whole lot of issues going on; she has lost her sight, etc, etc. And she would not accept or even entertain the possibility the premise that there is a relationship between form and spirit.

It is, for lack of a better world, His pleasure, to see things expressed in the beauty of form. When you see a sunset, when you see a fresh snowfall this is form. This is not an idea. It may well be an idea, but it is also a form. When we hear music however, this is not so much form as a step beyond because it becomes form on paper when the composition was down on paper and ink. Then action occurs when the bow is being drawn across the string or a reed being vibrated or whatever.

The relationship there is very similar to what we are trying to understand is the relationship between what is more important. Is spirit more important than thought? Is thought more important than form? And I don’t think that it is a question of importance as it is of understanding the relationship in the presence of God in all of these things. I just intuitively sense that there is a great deal of struggle when it comes down to the more traditional metaphysical belief systems that tend to negate matter. Like this isn’t true, that you aren’t really sick, or there isn’t really war. When in fact, just as thoughts cannot be beautiful, form can also not be beautiful. And it is in the application down the line, the relationship between Spirit, thought and form that the healing the cleaning and beautification occurs - not in the denial of this relationship. I think that God is present throughout all of these things and we need to learn how to integrate spirit, thought and form and not to somehow get rid of form.

Speaker: There is a lot in what you spoke that we can address. There are some very clear points that Jesus had made.

One the things that you brought up that’s a good one to go into was when you were talking about the Christian Science idea and making the conclusion that the belief is that matter is “bad”. That is an error that is being made. Jesus addresses in the Course and what he says is that this is “making error real”.

In other words as soon as something like matter gets a bad name, then in a sense it is giving it a reality. As well as the positive end of it, to say that there is something good in matter. Both ends take it away from being unreal. And I use unreal only in the sense that it is temporal, constantly changing and in flux.

We can look at the cosmos and the movement of the planets and the stars and the expansion of the universe and Jesus is basically making a distinction between Spirit which is infinite and eternal and changeless and contrasting that with the time /space / matter continuum which is finite and in constant change. That is a fundamental distinction that he is making. The issue you bring up has always been a hotbed of discussion, this whole thing about the relationship between spirit and form.

And people do bring up things like sunsets and so on. And is there intrinsic beauty in a sunset? Or is the meaning entirely read onto it by the mind? That is a big distinction. There are two lessons in the workbook where Jesus clearly tries to make an attempt to come at the very issue you are talking about. Those are lessons 29 & 30. ‘God is in everything I see’ is lesson 29 and follows what you are saying. Then in lesson 30 it says, ‘God is in everything I see because God is in my mind’. So he not only says that God is in everything that I see but he follows it up with the reason.

The error that a lot of times comes in is the belief that God is literally indwelling in everything I see which is a belief in a lot of metaphysical systems, particularly eastern systems that talk about it. Or that God literally tries to express Himself through form in some way. To use your words from last night, “The infinite does not look upon the finite”. When he talks about everything I see because God is in my mind, he steers it away from the philosophical thing of pantheism which is based on the premise that God indwells in each form of the universe. And in this lesson 29 it does almost sound like pantheism… God is in that trash can, etc. If you read what he is saying in lesson 30 he comes out and says that God does not indwell in the objects as you see them with your eyes. But because the Holy Spirit’s purpose can be given to every single projected objected, is what the statement means.

But we have to train our minds to experience that purpose. Whereas the pantheistic view is that God is literally indwelling in things and it takes it away from the mind.

Now, he says in other parts of the Course that God knows not form. So, then it seems to contradict because in one part it says that God knows not form and then in the lesson it says that God is in everything I see. The accurate way of really looking at lesson 29 would be to say that the Holy Spirit is in everything I see because the Holy Spirit is in my mind. It’s that purpose or that white light or remembrance of God, if we can line up with that, we will feel the beauty that you talked about when we are in purpose. And the good news is that we can feel that regardless of what is going on, on the screen. We could be in the middle of the race riots that took place in Los Angeles. But if you were lined up with the Holy Spirit as Jesus was, then your perception of that situation would be totally transformed.

Participant: When I was talking about the relationship between spirit, thought and form, I didn’t mean to infer that I perceived them as being equal because in fact the actual order of magnitude would be spirit, thought and form. And in this world we tend to perceive things as just the opposite. That form is real and spirit, who knows?

Speaker: If truth is subjective… if my subjective truth is different from Carol’s subjective truth and hers is different from yours and so on, then we are back to asking the question ‘What value does truth have if it varies from person to person?’ One person has one version of beauty and you have another. We are back into that truth having all these different meanings.

In the very ultimate sense the Course is saying that spirit, which is much denied in this world, is ultimately irreconcilable with form. All of our attempts to reconcile the two is where the pain comes in. And the Holy Spirit is the remembrance that they are not reconcilable. The deeper we go into our minds and move into that abstract light the more we can see that this is our reality. The other ones were then seen as a stepping stone, or a metaphor. When you reach the point of the real world, when you have cleaned the mirror off and entirely and are just reflecting light that God takes the final step and lifts us in to pure abstraction. At that point the perceptions disappear so even that whole discussion about form and thought and spirit ultimately comes down to recognizing that this is why the Course says that form is unreal, because God didn’t create it. It is changing and time bound. That is the only distinction.

It’s a deep distinction and it does differ from a lot of eastern metaphysical systems where they say that God was lonely and wanted to experience companionship or other ideas that say that God is trying to expand and extend into the material universe which from a Course perspective would make no sense. How could it be that something infinite could come into the finite? This is similar to the belief in infinite and immortal souls that enter into the body of a baby when they are born. (laughing). And then you live a life and the soul leaves and it goes out and then it comes into another one and the whole thing starts over. At some point I had to question, if the soul is immortal, unlimited and eternal and it is coming into this little finite slab of flesh then that lives a little while, is time bound, it gets sick…. How could this be? It was a helpful metaphor for a while, the idea of a soul, gives a sense that there is more than this life, that at least you are evolving. But it’s a metaphor. You are a mind that has projected out a screen of images and have identified yourself with one them. Jesus is calling us out of this false identity. That is going back to the Dreamer of the Dream perspective.

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