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Time, Space and Personhood
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: This morning before we started the session our friend was saying, “I want it, I want it now!” So maybe this would be a time to go into the section, The Immediacy of Salvation, and to examine the whole idea of Can I really want it now, and not have it?
Friend: Chapter 26, section 8.
David: The Immediacy of Salvation
Now there's a lot of metaphysics right there in that first paragraph. It kind of eases into it but then the last three sentences are the basis of everything we look at. They're zeroing in on that one remaining problem that you have. Everything is a thought in the mind, so every memory is just a thought and if it has been projected beyond your mind you think of it as time. So all those memories...
Friend: …of the times we've read this.
David: Of the times we've read this; of all these comings together. If you think of it, everything is just a thought. And if it’s projected beyond your mind you think of it as time. In other words it seems to have happened in the past. Or to flip it the other way, future, if you can imagine it; some of the images that have been coming about a center and how it would look and what kind of atmosphere it would have and so on and so forth. All those images of a coming center or of a trip to Cam Loops or Calvary or whatever; all those are images and if it’s been projected beyond one’s own mind it’s thought of as time. As if I'm a person and I have a private mind. And as if I'm a person in time. Instead of seeing that all the circumstances and events that have ever happened in a personal past or in any past are in the mind. Julius Caesar or Cleopatra or Abraham Lincoln or Gandhi or whatever, all of the images are of the wrong mind.
And when it seems to be beyond ones own personal private mind it seems to be projected to time as if it’s happened in the past or it will happen in the future. There's nothing that happens apart from me. When I say, “I am the universe,” that is in the deepest sense of the word, the universe of creation; God and His Creation. But even if you talked about the projected cosmos, there's no aspect of the cosmos that’s apart from me in the sense of the right mind. It is a perspective that sees that the entire projection was made up and that there's no ordering of any of the concepts and images. And so without that ordering there's no sense of being in the cosmos or a teeny little speck or a teeny little part. It’s more of a sense of the vastness of “I dreamed this up,” which is the dreamer of the dream analogy. And in that experience there would be no sound no image no light or variation of light, nothing within the cosmos that would be apart from one self so to speak; if one is the dreamer of all that, dreamed all that up.
Now, the second part, “The nearer it is brought to where it is, the more you think of it in terms of space.” We've been through this one before as well in the sense that if you perceive yourself as a body or as a person in the world, and you think of it as if the deceived mind has surrounded itself with the cosmos; the first thing that it seems to have surrounded itself with in terms of space is a body. And then seemingly outside of that body there are other bodies and walls and furniture and trees and grass and sky above and earth below and moon and sun and other planets and stars and so on and so forth. It seems to have wrapped the whole cosmos around it beginning with the body and so we get the line, “The nearer it is brought to where it is, the more you think of it in terms of space.” If you think of the projector, the closer you bring it to the projector the more it’s thought in terms of space. That’s literally how it’s described. Even stars are described in terms of light years because the space seems to be getting so far out away from the projector that then they start being described of in terms of time. Like all those events that seemed to happen before or all those events that will happen in the future.
Friend: At any rate whether it’s time or space it’s a means for distancing; the description of it—distancing.
Friend: And it’s the same thing. It sounds like something different... you wouldn’t think of the past as two miles ago versus a few years ago or minutes ago.
David: Or time and space are one illusion which takes different forms. It comes back to the tree trunk and the tree analogy that all the branches come back to the trunk. So you could have time and space seeming to be branches off this trunk but if the ego is the ego and everything that’s of the ego is the ego.
Friend: No matter what you call it or how you conceive of it.
David: Or how many times it seems to have been multiplied. Talk about the ego belief system. It seems like its got oodles and oodles and oodles of beliefs.
Friend: A billion times zero.
David: Yeah. But if the ego is zero the ego is zero.
You can tell that the personhood is in there. You'd have to have a belief in personhood to be external to your brother but if your brother is a body or your brother is a person and you are a person then you seem to be external to your brother. If you are a private mind and your brother seems to have a private mind then your private mind seems to be external to your brother’s private mind. This is what we go into from all these different angles; that personhood and the idea of a private mind, both of those are made up, and cannot be so.
"This makes trust impossible."
You could say the subject object split makes trust impossible. When the mind seemed to fall asleep and believe in the ego, it had two opposite thought systems; two thought systems that have no meeting point. That is where the intolerable sense of strain came in and it tried to dissociate and forget about the light and keep them apart. To use that diagram that our friend has been working on, it tried to spiral out away from that light at the bottom so that it could keep the two thought systems apart because if they were ever brought together it would be seen that they can’t coexist. One denies the other. So the way to try to hang onto both and to hang onto the split and the separation would be to spiral away from the light, and keep the darkness, as if it can have an existence by itself, apart from the light.
So because of that intolerable sense of strain of trying to hold them both in; that’s when the cosmos and the split was projected out instead of being seen in the mind, instead of being seen as Oh we have two thought systems here that are irreconcilable. The split was seen as on the screen and that is exemplified in the subject object split. Or the mind identified with the person and then everything outside of that person, seemingly perceived with the five senses, was seen as the object. So there's the split. Now there's fear because the mind has done all this and in one sense you could say it knows that it’s done all this and it’s tried to forget what it’s done. It’s tried to forget the way it set things up but the Holy Spirit is a reminder that this can’t be forgotten that God can’t be forgotten.
So in other words it still has the guilt, it still has the strain, and it just seems to have relieved itself with this projected cosmos. It seems to have loosened up the strain a bit and it’s really afraid of God but it has projected it out so that it seems it’s afraid of all these things in the world. It’s a setup, it’s a scam, and yet, the subject object split has not resolved the conflict. It’s tried to forget the wholeness that it truly is. And it’s made up this concept of a whole person. Now I'm a whole person separate from the cosmos and that’s where the subject object split comes in. So as long as the fear is maintained: until the fear is found to be just a hoax, unfounded, then the mind is in a fearful state and that’s what lack of trust or doubt is about. It’s in a state of deception and in constant doubt. And it can’t trust anything because it doesn’t know itself. That’s why the split has to be seen as not on the screen, not a split between a person and another person or a subject in an objective world. The split has to be seen in the mind for trust to be possible. Listening to the Holy Spirit would be the basis of trust and if one truly listened to the Holy Spirit, one would see that one is the dreamer of the dream, one is not a person or a little figure in the dream.
The one thing that can be truly trusted in is invisible in terms of the body, and that’s the one thing that the deceived mind is afraid of. As Jesus says in a number of places in the Text, “… you are afraid of what your spiritual sight will show you.” T.2.V You believe that spiritual sight, i.e. the Holy Spirit, would rob you of something; that you would lose something if you ever had spiritual sight. That you would lose the world you see, which you would! [laughs]
Friend: And as long as that seems like something then it feels like loss.
So the mind is afraid of giving and receiving true forgiveness. That’s where the loss seems to be. It seems to entail a loss to give or to extend and receive the gift of forgiveness.
David: Well forgiveness just sees the false as false and what seems to be lost in forgiveness is personhood; is that little gap that makes one a separate unique individual person, with personal interests and a personal past and a personal future and a personal will (small w). That’s what the mind is terrified of losing. It’s a sense of a separate self. That’s that little space, that little distance it would like to retain.
During the weekend when we were getting into discussions there was lots of anguish, pain and gut wrenching stuff coming up and I remember at one point you were saying, “It goes much deeper than just this talk about bodies moving and this and that.” And you said, “It’s like I have to give up my whole world.” From the ego’s perspective that’s exactly how it could look. The ego is a sense of separate self. And to that come all the preferences and all the personal memories and all of the goals and ambitions that seem to be private, that seem to be unique, separate than everyone else. That’s all part of that concept.
Friend: I guess what I was thinking about was just this feeling that the ego is just kicking in with everything it has. The ego’s just seeing more and more clearly what's going on here and it’s just pulling out all the stops. It just feels so strong and powerful at times when that happens.
David: Well let’s look at that one. That is a metaphor that we've used certainly; that the ego is pulling out all the stops and the ego’s having a backlash and so on, and we're describing it in the metaphor as if the ego is an entity. As if it kind of has a life of its own and exists. But ultimately it comes down to the idea that the ego is a decision and the Holy Spirit is a decision. It comes down to I'm either an ego or I'm not an ego. You could see where that’s going beyond the idea that the ego is kicking in. If it could then you can get into talking about it and describing it that way, and it just seems to give it a reality.
Friend: So instead of describing it that way it would probably be more helpful if I just say, “I am deciding for the ego.”
David: Everything is a statement. Everything the mind thinks and says and does is teaching what it believes it is. You can’t leave it at that, that has to be just a stepping stone or a metaphor because where? Where are you? If you say, '”I am presently deciding for the ego?” That’s a definition of hell.
Friend: Again who is that I, right? Is that what you're getting at?
David: Yeah. So it’s a helpful stepping stone to say I'm not upset because of what happened yesterday or what happened ten years ago or what I think will happen tomorrow. I'm upset because it’s a present decision. Now that would be a definition of wrong mindedness. A present decision for the ego is wrong mindedness. And wrong mindedness is the problem. At one point Jesus said, All sickness is wrong mindedness. It doesn’t seem that way. To the deceived mind it seems like there are many many problems and many many forms of sickness that don’t have anything to do with wrong mindedness. But Jesus says that the decision for the ego, for wrong mindedness is sickness. Now right mindedness is the correction for wrong mindedness. Therefore we're back to the thing of discernment between the right mind and the wrong mind. The key is that discernment.
The key is in coming to see that right mindedness is the only possibility. Like when we were in this session somewhere and there was this glee and joy and the statement was made, “I am the right mind!” We traced it traced it traced it traced it and came to see that that’s the only possibility. I am the right mind. I am right minded. That is the only possibility. Not I am right minded some of the time, but period. And from that clarity then the wrong mind is dissolved.
Another way of saying it is that the right mind must be a constant state because in reality there is no vacillation back and forth between right mind and wrong mind; that’s just a metaphor. And if the right mind is seen as a constant state then the wrong mind is no more, because as we talked about earlier these two thought systems are mutually exclusive. That is the awareness that they are mutually exclusive; that it can’t be both.
Friend: It never was and it never will be.
David: Right. So that’s what this Immediacy of Salvation is about; really coming to see that there is no gap between me and my brother because there's just one mind. There is no gap between private minds.
Friend: To maybe reword what I'm saying, “I'm deciding for the ego,” to, I am the right mind, but right now I'm denying it. I'm going to deny it in this instant.
David: Which is meaningless if you really look at it.
Friend: It’s like I'm right minded and I'm going to pretend I'm not.
Friend: I can’t say I am the right mind and not recognize it at the same time.
David: A body can say the words I am the right mind there's no doubt about that. A body can say the words I am as God created me. The reason why we go into this so deeply, when we talk about preferences, when we talk about ordering of thoughts, when we talk about judgments, is because the right mind is a state where there is no ordering of thoughts. Where there are no preferences; where there are no judgments. Images are just seen as images. They aren’t arranged; they aren’t constructed and put together in a certain way. That’s laughable. I mean that’s seen as impossible. If ordering thoughts automatically seems to bring about pain and guilt and fear, what's the point? At one point Jesus says, that those in Heaven so to speak, or even if you talked about in terms of the real world; have seen the temptation but have seen the falsity of it. They see no value in judgment.
Friend: And until I see that I can’t stop judging.
David: You could say it that way or you could say I don’t know who I am. [laughs] So you just said, “Until I see that...” here we are with The Immediacy of Salvation, [laughs]
Let’s question that “until.” [laughs]
It gets to cause and effect. If a mind believes in the reality of the ego it believes in a false cause or we could say a cause with a little c, instead of capital C, for God. And it must be that the mind is holding onto that belief in that false cause now. Jesus is saying here Don’t project the error; don’t project this fear to time, for time is not the enemy you perceive. The old clichés about time heals all wounds; it’s not true. Time doesn’t heal wounds. As a metaphor you could say the Holy Spirits use of time heals all wounds. But even that you have to see is a metaphor because the whole awareness that brings the release is that there is no linear time. There's only now, there's only the holy instant.
Friend: Time is not in the healing. Time is in the sickness as it were.
David: The belief in linear time is the sickness.
Friend: That is the sickness. So how can what is sick contribute to healing?
David: Does everyone have an understanding of what the word hypothetical means?
Friend: Ah no. [group laughter]
David: Every thought that you hold in your minds right now is hypothetical.
Friend: So even the thought that we're gathered here this morning for a teaching learning session is hypothetical?
Friend: Anything related to time at all would be hypothetical.
David: You shared a thought about I have to leave this session at twelve; that’s the hypothetical. You've shared that you're off on Wednesday next week; that’s hypothetical. We've talked about looking for a job or this or that; that’s hypothetical. Anything that you think you've done, experiences that seem to have happened in the past, that seem to be concrete experiences, real experiences, those are hypothetical.
Friend: Is it the relationship to time that makes it hypothetical?
David: The whole projected world and the belief in linear time is what the hypothetical is about.
Friend: So anything I could talk about or have talked about or think I can talk about, is hypothetical? Because what is there to talk about if there's no time, there's no space, there's no images, there's no form; how do you talk about that?
David: What we're back with is go for the experience. I know a lot of times to use the example of Course groups where you go into the ideas you go deeper deeper deeper deeper But! But David! What if?! You were at such a such a city at night and what if a man came up to you with a knife and said such and such and such and such? Hypotheticals; hypotheticals. The mind wants to come up with a lot of hypotheticals. It believes in an objective world.
Friend: But that’s no more hypothetical than an experience that you seemed to have actually had.
Friend: I can’t get that. I don’t understand that.
David: Well the teachings that we're coming to is that now is all that there is.
Friend: And now is free of images and form completely.
David: When we say now, the present moment, don’t think that you know what that is. We've heard these phrases for a long time, Live in the moment. Be totally present. The deceived mind doesn’t have a clue.
Friend: So now doesn’t mean just now— the 5 of us sitting here.
David: Right. Now is to the deceived mind unknown and in the ultimate sense now is all that can be known because...
Friend: …that’s all there is.
David: In the Course section called I Need Do Nothing it’s described as there are no bodies in the holy instant. “At no single instant does the body exist at all.” T-18.7 That’s a direct line from the I Need Do Nothing section. [laughs] Very interesting; “At no single instant does the body exist at all.”
That’s what makes this seeming perception hypothetical. Hypothetical is the belief that cause and effect are apart, or that there's a gap between cause and effect. Everything in this world is made up of distorted cause and effect relationships. It’s part of a fixed delusional system of distorted cause effect relationships. At the beginning of the Psychotherapy Pamphlet, Jesus makes a reference to that in the sense of time. The stepping stone to coming to the Holy instant is to see that all the perceptions that seem to be occurring, that seem to occur as events and situations and happenings over linear time, are simultaneous.
Another way of saying that everything within the cosmos is simultaneous is, “Ideas leave not their source.” T-26.VII There is no gap; there is no space in between events. There is no span of minutes or seconds or days or months or years that separate events, because “Ideas leave not their source.” All events are of the wrong mind. There is no gap.
We were just reading the line “For time and space are one illusion, which takes different forms. If it has been projected beyond your mind you think of it as time. The nearer it is brought to where it is, the more you think of it in terms of space.” So time and space are just this little gap in between cause and effect. And the teachings of the Course and what I'm teaching is that there is no gap between cause and effect. And if there is no gap between time and space; there is no personhood.
Friend: Because that’s where personhood is, is in that gap.
David: That isn’t.
Friend: That isn’t. Well it seems to be. [laughter]
Friend: [laughing] That’s right, but it isn’t.
David: The subject object split.
Friend: You didn’t think the first half hour could be so crucial I bet huh? [laughing]
Friend: I feel like I'm running to catch up here.
Friend: You want to say that in another way?
David: You could say it in many ways. The subject object split that we talked about can only be equated with that gap. No matter how you come at it you just have to see the impossibility of that gap. The whole teaching of the Course is that there is no gap between cause and effect. The whole teaching of the Course is that there is no such thing as linear time.
Friend: But by hanging on to linear time, personhood I hold the gap. And I'm standing here like this, [speaks with voice to signify a struggle] cause… effect.
Friend: Pushing them away from each other.
Friend: [speaks with voice to signify a struggle] It’s hard, but I can do it.
David: To use the example of the hub or the teaching-learning sessions where I say, Bring all of your adjustments, bring all of your logistics to the hub to see that there aren’t any. The whole point of mysticism is to keep coming towards that point where you see that cause and effect aren’t apart and that there aren’t any logistics to handle. Even the things that we seem to be doing as The Messengers of Peace, preparing whatever a cover page, or art for the front, preparing applications to send into the IRS for non-profit status; everything that seems to be done in the world is perceived within the basic assumption that cause and effect are separate; that you have to do certain things to have other things happen. That if you do this; then this will happen. If I apply for non-profit status and I fill out all the forms and do this and this and this and I really am persistent with it, then non-profit status will be granted; cause/effect. If I plant some seeds and I put them in fertile soil and I water them and there's sunshine and there's rain; the seeds will grow.
Friend: Why is that showing that there are separate causes, separate from effect?
David: Because one is happening before the other seemingly in linear time.
Friend: One of those precedes the effect.
David: And what the teachings of the Course are and what we're coming to see is that’s ludicrous. The world of images is a projection of unreal effects that are coming from this unreal cause. If you think about the projector or the motion picture analogy where there's the projector and then there's this film going through; which would be the false cause and then the images that are seen on the screen at the movie theatre, those would be effects.
Friend: Of that?
David: Of the projection of those images. But if the film is an unreal cause then the images are an unreal effect. But when you're watching a movie from a deceived point of view it seems as if it’s real. You know how the mind gets identified as if it’s right there in the movie and it starts feeling startled or happy or crying and doing all these things because it believes in these false cause/effect relationships. And it really believes that people do things to other people and certain objects. Like in science, for every action there is a reaction. The mind really believes in the reality of that. So that’s why when you go really deep into this stuff it can start to seem disorienting. Tom and I were talking about it on our walk today. At times there can be these disorienting moments where the world, as one has known it, doesn’t seem to be as it was. Things are not as they appear to be in the world.
Friend: There's nothing in the world—there's not this cause in the world—that’s producing this effect in the world; it’s all generated from my mind. The cause and the effect, that’s where they're simultaneous. It’s all in my mind. So the effect goes along with the thought of a cause, because “Ideas leave not their source.” If the idea is in my mind, that’s what's generating it, that’s where it’s coming from, then the effect is there as well. There's nothing in the world. It’s not like the thought produces something in the world; then the cause and the effect.
Friend: I guess the question that I am at then is how does knowing this help us out any? I mean I guess what I would ask... I mean is it even a valid question to ask do you experience differently? Because then I'm assuming that you're a person.
David: You don’t have to assume that I'm a person.
David: Just think that there's this symbol that’s speaking to me...
Friend: Whoever I'm speaking to now, do you experience it differently?
Friend: It’s not even whoever it’s with the clarity of mind with the right mind, how is that perceived? That’s a question.
Friend: But that’s still... I want to know...
David: You want the experience.
Friend: I want the experience of it. I want to know if that’s possible or...
Friend: Or meaningful.
Friend: Yeah. This is what you will experience you know... written down doesn’t help me out because that still… you know I take that and say, Well that's a possibility but I don’t know how to get there, then it doesn’t help me.
David: You said: How is this helpful? It is helpful this way; If the goal is peace of mind or the peace of God, which we've stated, you could formulate it in different ways; joy or however you want to look at it, freedom, whatever; then this is the most practical thing. The recognition, the realization that cause and effect are not apart is imminently practical in the sense that, that is the state of peace, that is the state of restfulness, that is the state of contentedness, and that is the state of joy.
Friend: It’s the state of pulling it all back to the mind too and not seeing the cause and effect out here in the world as something separate.
David: Yes. The whole purpose of time is to see that there is no linear time. It can seem like Whoa! that’s a mind bender of a statement but that statement we just read, "Do not project this fear to time, for time is not the enemy that you perceive. Time is as neutral as the body is, except in terms of what you see it for.” T-26.VIII
What is the purpose that I have for time? What am I using it for?
Voiceover: David then gave two examples. The second example was that of advising someone who had great resistance to the idea of drawing unemployment to apply for benefits. He did so as advised. However when found ineligible for benefits he thought having done so was a waste of time.
David: But it’s all about the healing of your own mind. I could tell that there was resistance that you were having. Going and having the holy encounter with the woman with the German accent, was that a waste of time? Was getting in touch with the resistance, the feelings that you were having about being in that office, when that was coming up, a waste of time? Nothing is a waste of time, no perceptual image, no event or circumstance is a waste of time, if you use it to get in touch with what you believe and how you perceive the world.
Anything in that sense can be used for your healing, to start to see that cause and effect are not apart. You can see that those are specific examples of just getting back, back, back and starting to move into the experience of, I don’t know what anything is for. Where you're not trying to think that I know that this is the way things happen in the world so if I do this then this will happen. If I do that, then this will happen. It takes a lot of effort and strain to hold onto that kind of a conception of the world.
So to answer your question, what's practical about this? Joy, peace, happiness, rest, that’s the state of mind that comes from the recognition that cause and effect are not apart. That’s the experience that you want. And when we go into these metaphysics it’s just to seem to bring the mind to the experience of that. It’s not to get into a bunch of deep philosophical, metaphysical stuff, so you can go pontificate and go around the country, and come across philosophers and professors, and prove how deep you can go, or how fancy the words can sound and all this and that. No, this is eminently practical because this is about coming to the awareness of peace of mind.
Another way of looking at it is if you start to really come to the awareness that the script is written, and that there is no cause and effect in the world; well that takes the entire struggle out of life, you see. What would you be striving for? What would you be striving to attain in the future? If you can really come to see that cause and effect are not separate, what a joy!
Friend: Then there are no results in the future?
Friend: That’s what all striving is for, future results.
David: Future results, future outcomes. I've been saying over and over, that I have this feeling and this experience, that everything is complete now. Messengers of Peace or no Messengers of Peace, non-profit status or no non-profit status; tapes, journals, teaching learning sessions, traveling the country, coming together with people, or no coming together with people, no journal, no teaching learning sessions, this and that, it’s all the same from this perspective from this state of mind. There's nothing that has to evolve or unfold. Yes those metaphors will still be helpful at times but what I want you to do is look at, to go beyond the metaphors. I want you to leap into the experience. That’s what you really want; you want the experience you don’t want the words. You want to go beyond the words.
We’ll pick it up with “Do not project this fear to time, for time is not the enemy that you perceive. Time is as neutral as the body is, except in terms of what you see it for.” T-26.VIII
What is my purpose for time?
Friend: Well that’s a good sentence, “Future loss is not your fear,” because it sure doesn’t seem that way.
David: Oh yeah, if the mind believes in linear time, future loss seems to be big time.
Friend: Primary source of fear.
“But present joining is your dread.”
David: That’s that experience of… a lot of times people will feel butterflies or a little bit of anticipation or a little bit of uncomfortableness in the presence of others so to speak. Even in Course groups and gatherings a lot of times there's that chitter chatter talk at the beginning, Hi, what are you up to, this and this... the ego is afraid of this present joining business. And so there are all kinds of little things that are seen to be normal things within this world but are ways of just avoiding. Eye contact, I mean there's another great symbol.
Places where there seems to be lots of people, like the streets of New York City; when you walk down there’s no eye contact; it’s just another expression or symbol of the minds fear of present joining; that’s its dread. And a symbol of the other direction would be like the book about the Aborigines in Mutant Message Down Under where the thing was raised, “How do you have this sense of telepathy where you can just communicate by minds?” And they said, “We have no secrets.” I mean that’s a symbol of the other direction where if you become totally transparent, as Siddhi Girard used to say, if you are a transparent self if you have no sense of a private self no mask that you're holding up, no pretenses that you're wearing, you are totally just revealing of your right mindedness, then you don’t believe in private minds with private thoughts. You don’t have anything to hide from anybody else.
That’s where the telepathy, that’s where the connection of minds seems to come in, where the one mindedness can be experienced. There's another line in the Course that says, “The willingness to communicate attracts communication to it...” T-15.VII
So in one sense, at a deeper level of your mind, you’ve chosen to really be in communication with the Father. And then the holy encounter or these teaching learning sessions is just a symbolic expression of that willingness to communicate; attracting communication to it. It’s still at the metaphorical level of persons, but it’s a very helpful symbol.
It’s like; Hmm, I seem to be in contact with other people who are really committed to this waking-up. Of course, willingness to communicate attracts communication to it. This is a symbol of your own mind coming to that awareness.
Personhood is very deeply rooted. You can say the words I am mind. I am not body I am not in body, I am mind, but as we keep going into things and looking at things, you'll start seeing Gee I don’t perceive myself as mind, as purely mind and every concept that I hold has to be looked at and questioned because that’s what's keeping me in my awareness of mind.
Friend: It’s my beliefs that hold up what I think I am and that’s why it’s not just a matter of sitting around reading and talking, but it’s really about looking at those beliefs and questioning those, because that’s who seems to hold up this person.
David: The most beneficial form of practice, that the Course recommends and that I recommend in the ultimate sense, is completely unstructured. It’s not dependant on a time a place, it’s not dependant on a body posture, it’s not dependant on repeating something so many times a day, it’s sinking in your mind, sinking down and letting go of everything that you think you know. That is the most beneficial form of practice in salvation.
And as you progress through the Workbook that’s what you come to. But the majority of the Workbook, the beginning parts is highly structured and that is for a reason. That’s why repetition of ideas and trying to think of the ideas in a frequent number of times is important. The mind that is not highly trained, can’t remember its purpose. It gets off into all these specific things, it can’t remember its purpose because it’s so tied into this thinking in terms of goals. I've got to do this and I got to take care of this and all these specifics.
As we get into it; as we continue along, it’s going to come the point when talking about the specifics and tracing it back, will become less and less a part of the teaching-learning sessions. There will be more and more times of just sinking into the silence and not bringing up all these scenarios. Because the mind will be open and ready for the stillness and it will be attracted to the stillness.
And that present cause is the belief in separation. That is the one thing that mind has tried to conceal. Making up a world and seeing linear time and all these separate parts; the whole world is like a hiding place, or a smoke screen to conceal this present cause that must be examined. You mean that right now there's a present cause? That’s all it really comes down to? But the ego is trying to use all its magic tricks and do all of its fast dances to avoid being looked at. And that’s a metaphor again because it’s as if the ego is this identity. It has to really be just looked at as just thoughts and to come to a point of, “My mind holds only what I think with God.” W-142 That puts the ego out of business and doesn’t give it any kind of a life of its own.
So in other words we talked about the idea that there really is no hypothetical but the deceived mind believes that the hypothetical is real and it’s disastrous. [laughs] It has judged disaster in the past and it believes that disaster will inevitably be repeated in the future and so it believes that there is cause for fear because these disastrous effects that have really happened in the past; pain! Real pain! Real misery! Real scarcity! Lots of proof of scarcity; will actually come about in the future. More real pain, more real scarcity, more real lack, more real loss, and that’s what the whole ego system is based on.
Another great line from the Text Jesus says, “In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause, and looks not to effects.” T-27.VIII.9
The Holy Spirit does not look to the projections of the world and judge the effects of the world. He is not working in the world. He is not finding people jobs and finding people parking spaces and giving people sunny days for picnics and helping people lose weight and...
Friend: Find a mate.
David: Finding soul mates and so on and so forth. The Holy Spirit looks not to effects but has judged the cause. The ego is the belief that produced all the effects. All the images on the screen come from the ego and the ego... the Holy Spirit knows that the ego’s not true. So he’s simply judging, he’s looking at the ego and seeing that it’s untrue. He’s not judging all the images that have been projected from the ego, “looks not to effects.”
Friend: If I think that something happened a few days ago and I was very sad and in a lot of pain, I had to believe that there was a cause of that pain. Something happened, I experienced the pain and now I look back on it and say That was disastrous. And turning that around is saying it was a total misperception, that there wasn’t anything that happened that caused me to feel what I felt, that it was all a projection from my own mind. And I was looking at the script and making a judgment about it and misperceiving what was happening.
David: Even the I that seemed to feel the pain was a misperception.
David: From this moment it’s just seeing how that must be so.
Friend: Yes. I was misidentified.
David: Even take it a step further back from that; from I was misidentified.
Who is that I? Who is that I that is misidentified? The deception is thinking that there was this real being this real person back then, that experienced this pain or that was misidentified. You see how it just reels it back to the present. Do I believe that there is a present cause (small c) that is disastrous?
Friend: And as long as I do then I have to believe that disaster is imminent in the future.
David: If it was real in the past...
Friend: Hang onto your seats because it’s coming again.
David: Even if it’s constructed that salvation and atonement are coming but if it was real in the past then I'm going to have to wait and I have to go through a period of more pain. And that’s what I heard the voice and the words saying, I don’t know if I want to do this. I don’t know if it’s worth it. That is the voice of wrong mindedness. Because it’s like the pain is real. It has been real and it will be real and that’s what has to be questioned.
Friend: Yeah great. Thank you for adding that. [group laughter]
David: I mean that relates to what we were saying earlier it’s like, I want the experience. It can say all these things in here, but until I have the experience... and Jesus is saying, Right,
“Good in disaster's form is difficult to credit in advance.”
Friend: I don’t understand what you’re saying by that.
David: If everything that’s good comes from God and, “You have been told that everything brings good that comes from God,” and you are experiencing confusion, frustration, and lack of peace in any form, then it seems like, well those are nice words. Well they sound sentimentally nice and correct, “All things good come from God,” but it’s as if that’s not my experience of it. It’s as if it’s like a game, or it’s kind of just words, and it doesn’t make any sense. I always use the example of, if God gave answer to the separation, where would he have placed it? Would he have placed it in the future or would he have placed it in the present? And wouldn’t he be cruel if he placed it in the future instead of the present? Because there would be a gap to accepting it. What if he has laid it so to speak right under one’s nose? What if it’s right there? And what is blocking my awareness of it, if it’s right under my nose?
Friend: The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Friend: I don’t see it. I keep tripping over it but I don’t see it.
Friend: So what is there? So what is at hand?
David: Here we go!! Here we go!!
Friend: Don’t leave me hanging there.
“Why should the good appear in evil’s form?”
David: God has given you the present answer. The Holy Spirit is right there, right here, right now!
Friend: How can who I am be yet to come?
David: “Why should the good appear in evil’s form? And is it not deception if it does? Its cause is here, if it appears at all.” When it says “its cause is here” it’s talking about the good. “The cause of the good is here if it appears at all.”
Look at the reasoning of that...
“Why should the good appear in evil’s form? And is it not deception if it does?”
I mean there is cause for joy right now and the thing about it is if I'm not experiencing the joy and the peace and the rest, then it can’t be that God is withholding anything. It’s not like the sun is not shining if I'm going like this [holds up a book to symbolize blocking the sun] and going My, it’s dark. I wish the sun would come out. [laughs] I mean that’s kind of an image of what the deceived mind is doing. Father! Father help me! As it holds its shield to the light. Take my fear away! [laughs] I mean that’s the shield.
Friend: But even if the Son of God is doing, Please help me! wouldn’t the Father still...?
David: Shine! shine, shine, shine, the shining is not stopping. That’s all the Father can do is shine. Will the mind be aware of it though if it just keeps on shining, shining, shining...
Friend: But the Father won’t pull that book away?
David: No way! No way! Can’t happen because that would prove that the son was helpless and needed to be rescued. It would prove that perfection needs some help to be perfection. God would not be Himself if He reached down into air and said, That is awful! That is real! [laughs] Your shield is real. I will help you out, because the Father knows his son is perfect and that’s why it has to be voluntary. That’s why it’s totally from within and looking at the shield and coming to the point of saying, This isn’t me, I don’t need this. The thought that salvation is in the future has to be questioned.
And that comes back to everything we talk about; linear time, cause and effect, ordering of thought, judgment. I use all these different things. It’s not complicated. It’s not like ok, I’ll get all this thing down on judgment and all this thing on ordering of thought, and then I’ll do this stuff on special or holy relationships, and then I’ll do this stuff over here on... take your pick of categories and everything; like in college you got to get all the different parts down and then regurgitate it back. You’re right it’s not about this book like you're in college and studying 1200 pages, but it is about an experience and even seeming to read this book is symbolic.
Friend: It’s the minds desire for that experience.
David: There is nothing special about moving eyes over this blue book. [ACIM]
Friend: So will the blue book help us get clear on how to take this shield down?
David: The Holy Spirit will. And if the blue book is a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s thinking in a form that you can understand, it could be helpful. It’s just like you’re turning to the light in your mind and this is what seems to be going on, on the screen. It seems to be this person that’s reading this book, that’s coming to these sessions, that’s doing these things, that’s all a bunch of images out on the screen, that’s the way it seems to be happening.
But really it’s just your intention your burning desire to turn around to that light. That’s not caused by this thing, this was no magical thing when the Course seemed to drop into your lap and everything, that’s still just an effect. Just like this is an effect [points around the room to specifics], and this is an effect, and everything in the world is an effect. There’s nothing special about a course, there’s nothing special about dialogues as if it’s better than other forms and techniques.
Well let’s look at these last two paragraphs here.
Friend: Let’s keep going.
David: So there it is stated again that cause and effect are together. So any kind of reasoning that says salvation is in the future, or it’s coming, or I will achieve enlightenment in the future, and on and on, all those thoughts are just merely a denial of the fact that consequence and cause must come as one. Enlightenment must be simultaneous, it must be instantaneous. That’s what it means to recognize something that is already there.
Friend: That’s the freedom now.
David: Yeah. It’s not like enlightenment is something new that somehow if you read the Course enough or you do this amount of good deeds or you do something perceptually that you’ll come to, when you’ve filled the cup up or whatever. The cup is full. The cup is overflowing this very instant and the only choice is: will I accept that? And will I recognize that? If there still seems to be some vagueness, some obscurities and questions like Gosh it sounds so simple, but if it doesn’t seem to be the fact of it, then there’s something to question. I still must believe in personhood, I still must believe in preferences, I still must believe in linear time, I still must believe that there are real things that happened in the past and there are real things that are going to happen in the future. If I believe any of that then I’m just denying the awareness that’s available to me right now. I’m denying enlightenment. And when those objections come up in your mind like what about my debts, or what about my wife and those kids? Great! Salvation is immediate! But! But, but, but, but, but...
If you line up with the Holy Spirit and just say, This takes everything that I’ve ever believed and it just seems like it turns it upside down, it just flies in the face of everything I've ever believed and you have a contentedness and you listen to the Holy Spirit. He will dictate to you. It’s not like you have deal with all these problems. How am I going to deal with my wife? How am I going to deal with the debt? How am I going to deal with all these things, so that I then can be open to you Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is available right now and he will dictate. He will give it to you. What you have to say and do, so to speak. That’s comforting. Just that thought,
“Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you. Not one seeming difficulty but will melt away before you reach it. You need take thought for nothing, careless of everything except the only purpose that you would fulfill.” T-20.IV
You can’t have it spelled out any clearer than that. To me that’s cause for rejoicing. Right now! Not rejoicing in the future!
Friend: So it seems like a really helpful question to ask myself is What is it I want? If what I want is what I get, then I want to be very clear and very focused about what I want. And that I can just trust since the mind gets exactly what it wants, that whatever seems to need to happen in form to have that come about will absolutely happen. How could it not?
Friend: I understand that but that’s again making it sound like, ok we just have to go through this time interval. Even if it’s perfectly planned in time what I'm questioning is the whole idea that we have to do this in time. In other words why can’t it happen today, right now? I feel ready. But what I'm always left with is, Oh I must not be ready, there must be something left unquestioned.
Friend: There must be something else I want more than that, if I'm getting anything else but that.
David: As we go deeper and we continue these sessions you’ll just notice a lot of the thinking. The words will come out of the mouth and you’ll notice where the thinking is coming from. You’ve already sensed that sense of monitoring. How many times the first few words of a sentence come out and you go, “Oh never mind.” I can tell and sometimes it doesn’t even take the first few words it’s like [Laughs and makes hesitant speaking gesture] it’s that quick, of a monitoring. You can see it and that’s great because that’s being aware of those thoughts. You are not just passively condoning mind wandering, that you're going to be some sleep-walking little person; that you are watching thoughts. I mean that’s a symbol of watching thoughts when you seem to catch your words, really you’re just watching the thoughts. You’re unplugging the ego. It seems to be right there in the thought... Never mind no point in finishing, no point in giving energy to even finishing a thought or finishing a sentence because it’s pointless.
So I mean again the conclusion that you’ve arrived at is I must not be ready or, I must have investment in a false belief system to not experience it now. Good. That gives you an impetus to question. If you have this sense that it’s [salvation] available right now and yet there’s something that’s holding you back from experiencing it right now then, wow!
Question. I mean, there’s something to look at. The value of questioning. When I was reading the Course I sensed I had these beliefs but I wasn’t even aware of what the beliefs were. So one day I did a search in the Course on belief. Specifics. Oh my! belief in levels, belief in time, belief in space, belief that what is amiss on one level can affect another level. I just did little snippets and I was like, Ohhh it’s nice to just look at them all.
“And do not let it be disguised as time...”
It seems as if all problems that are within this world have to do with time. Whether it’s paying off debts or whether it’s resolving this issue with my wife and moving towards becoming a mystic or a teacher of God, it seems like there’s some time involved. And when there’s an upset that comes about it like a strain of even thinking about it How is this ever going to work out? Nothing I've ever seen in my past, Jesus has ever showed me that I should have confidence [laughs] that this is going to work out. Because the past hasn’t seemed to always work out, the past seems to be fraught with pain from upsets even the recent past like this morning or yesterday or whatever.
And so, He’s [Jesus] just saying, whenever you’re upset look not to time. Don’t let time disguise it or be the preserver of it, but be open to the present correction that is always available. It seems to be a tracing back only because there's a belief in linear time. But the whole idea of tracing back falls away when you just can see the falsity of the ego. That’s where the flat line or that’s where the constant joy and peace come in because you don’t first buy the bait and then have to trace it back and see, Whoops. But you don’t buy the bait!
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