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Week Intensive Part 14 - The Choice for Completion Part 1
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: Well, here we are again. We have precious time to explore together and investigate whatever is your passion to investigate. It’s a golden opportunity. This afternoon we started to talk about war a little bit and the insanity of all that, how extreme that seems, and start to work that in. There was a suggestion of maybe going into the special relationship and taking a look at that. What we’re really looking at is the ego thought system. The main point that we keep coming back to is that it has to be thoroughly looked at, thoroughly investigated. Because if you raise part of it to light and keep part of it in darkness then you might as well be all the way in the dark, because that’s the way it is. You raise this thing all the way up or you sleepwalk, you stay asleep.
We talked a little bit about the special love relationship or special relationships where Jesus says that we’ve looked at a lot of the other aspects of the ego very closely, but until this one’s raised to light, you won’t let the ego go. As long as you have an investment in anything of the ego system, then you have an investment in the whole system. So it can even seem like Well, I’m making good progress now. I’m judging less, I’m less prejudiced, I’m more this, I’m more that but in the end, unless you raise it all the way up then it’s kind of the illusion of progress. Even when people in many ashrams and spiritualities throughout the ages have attained psychic powers and abilities, and what the world would consider quite advanced states of consciousness, as long as there are ego tricks, then it’s not the release that the mystics have talked about.
So is there anything coming up that is your passion, is your burning question to go into very deeply today?
Friend: Transforming special relationships into holy relationships.
David: Well, transform is a good word. We were discussing translate or retranslate and getting away from the idea that OK here’s special relationships and I have to give up something. But if you think about it, everyone who seems to be in this world has formed special relationships; there’s nobody who’s come here who doesn’t have any. The question is really How can I transform my perception of what relationships are? Because initially, it’s difficult to even conceive of, or imagine a relationship without talking about bodies, even when people discuss a long-distance relationship or a coast-to-coast relationship. Years ago there was a couple; he was in Chicago and she was in New York, which is another example of relationship being inherent in bodies, because it’s described around where the bodies are; the difficulty of seemingly having a long-distance relationship, as opposed to both being under the same roof and so on. The starting point of all special relationships is that they involve bodies.
Holy relationships are symbolic of the mind giving up all judgments and all thought of what relationships mean in the ego sense. It’s just a metaphor for healed perception, just another way of talking about healed perception. Then there’s a section in the Course where Jesus talks about The Only Real Relationship, and he says that the only real relationship is the relationship between the Father and the Son. So that has nothing at all to do with special relationships or holy relationships. But holy relationships, again, being healed perception, that’s the step that the mind has to take, that’s the direction it has to move in so that it can remember the only real relationship.
Friend: Isn’t it also a reflection of that real relationship?
David: Yes. So it’s not the thing itself, it’s symbolic or representative of the only real relationship. Also what was coming to mind is two sections in the Course, one really goes into specialness and how it has to be looked at, and the following section in the Course is part of this translation. You were saying you wanted to get to a translation or transformation, and it describes in great detail what that transformation is like. It talks about stages of disorientation. And it’s kind of nice to have the road map, to hear Jesus talking about this period, because there could be the thought Well, I’m somewhat clear now and as I get clearer and clearer and clearer I’ll just get clearer and clearer until I have a burst of clarity and wake up. Actually he’s saying You know, you’re not clear at all now and as you go along you’ll seem to get clearer and clearer and clearer and the clearer you get, you’ll reach a point of disorientation. [laughter]
Friend: You got it Jesus!
David: It’s nice to have it described in there because if you don’t have an idea then it can seem like the ego can kick in like You’re doing it all wrong or You’re doing something terribly wrong. How can following the Holy Spirit come to a place of aimlessness or disorientation? He’s describing that you’ve become accustomed to a world of total darkness where nothing means anything. And now he’s saying that as long as you believe that you’re in a world of separation and fragmentation that your whole perception is backwards and upside-down; that if you can imagine turning something forwards and right side-up, it’s kind of like....
David: Yes, right. Or those little things that when you shake them, the snow, for Christmas you know? When the snow settles it’s great. Then you start to turn it around it gets real murky and the snow flakes are all over. And it takes a while before all the snowflakes settle on the top, so to speak. And that’s another little metaphor for what’s happening with this transformation of mind.
Friend: It was helpful for me to see that in reading that, Jesus or Holy Spirit really understands what I’m going through. He’s describing it in great detail. And that was so reassuring to me. It was like he had his arm around me It’s OK.
David: A little further.
Friend: I know what you’re going through. I know it’s not fun. I know it doesn’t feel good, but it’s OK.
Friend: Hang in there.
Friend: Yes, and that was the little bit that I needed to hang in there, because otherwise it felt like turn and run.
David: So if everyone’s game, we can turn to The Choice for Completion T-16.V And the section which follows is called A Bridge to the Real World where we talk about this transition period of disorientation. So we’ll start off with The Choice for Completion to just get a snapshot, or a look at…
Friend: I thought we were talking about healed relationships…
David: [laughing] That’s described as well.
The Choice for Completion
“In looking at the special relationship, it is necessary first to realize that it involves a great amount of pain. Anxiety, despair, guilt and attack all enter into it, broken into by periods in which they seem to be gone. All these must be understood for what they are. Whatever form they take, they are always an attack on the self to make the other guilty. I have spoken of this before, but there are some aspects of what is really being attempted that have not been touched upon.” T-16.V.1
So generally, when we talk about special relationships, another term that we can use would be love/hate relationships, and every relationship that one seems to have in this world would easily fall into the category of love/hate. Whether it’s with your spouse, your parents, your son or daughter, your pets, your employer, you know. Nobody in this world seems to have a perfect relationship where there is always total bliss, peace and happiness. There always seems to be that “pain, anxiety, despair, guilt and attack, all enter into it….” But there seems to be some pretty good periods where it seems like you’re cruising along pretty good; it seems like everything’s working real well. But then the hate rears its head. Sometimes it’s not really overt. Sometimes it’s just minor annoyances, little bitty irritations, frustrations. Again, Jesus says there’s no difference between rage, hatred and minor annoyances. So it still all falls in that category of love/hate.
“Very simply, the attempt to make guilty is always directed against God. For the ego would have you see Him, and Him alone, as guilty, leaving the Sonship open to attack and unprotected from it.” T-16.V.2
So this is the basic ego belief that God is angry and that God has pretty much abandoned you and this world, and you’ve abandoned God, and this is a kingdom that’s been made up apart from Him. And the special relationship attempts to find some kind of pleasure in the dust, so to speak, or find something that’s consoling or seems to have the characteristics of love, or seems to act as a substitute for love. It’s really an attack directed against God.
Friend: I don’t understand how that happens.
David: Well, we can talk a little bit about the dynamics that we’ve used on a couple different occasions. We’ve used the scenario where he’s said “Into eternity where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad, idea at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh.” T-27.VIII We’ve also looked at the section where he talks about how you have made just one substitution, delusion for Truth. And the fragmenting substitution: the whole world that you see is a world of fragmentation that just sprang from that one thing. So the mind wants to believe that it separated from God. It was horrified at what it thought it had done. And in its horror, it was advised by the puff, or the snake, or the tempter to become identified with a screen on which the error was projected, a world of form. That’s where all the special relationships that we’re going to be talking about come in. In other words, all those relationships with bodies, whether they be bodies of husbands, wives, children, pets, whatever, it’s still relationships that seem to be between bodies. And as long as those are held on to, it’s still not going within the mind and questioning the whole belief system that this world is built on. And in that sense, it’s being distracted by these relationships in bodies and the guilt that’s been buried, and the fear that we were talking about earlier this afternoon is not being questioned and looked at. So in a sense, by using the screen, using the world as a smoke screen to hide from God, it’s generally seen as attacking God. Not in reality, in reality the Holy Spirit’s back there, the light in the mind is saying You can’t attack God, he’s beyond attack. And in reality, you can’t attack yourself. You can deceive yourself, and the Holy Spirit keeps reminding the mind Come back to me. Come back to me. We have to question all these false beliefs because attack isn’t real.
Another way we can say it, is that the attack against God is really the mind’s belief that it can and has attacked, and one of the basic cornerstones of the Course is that the mind cannot attack. The mind is really one and how can something that’s one, attack? It doesn’t have anything to attack with or to be attacked by. It’s just this abstract mind. But, he says, you can make up fantasies. And you can make up bodies. And bodies can seem to attack each other. And as long as the mind believes in those fantasies, that those fantasies are reality, then it certainly seems like attack is real.
Friend: And if the mind believes that it is one of those bodies, then it thinks it can be attacked.
David: Yes, and has attacked in the past whether it’s in a violent way or just screaming and yelling at someone, or frowning even. As long as the mind believes in the reality of the body, then it believes attack is real, it believes guilt is real and it believes that it has thrown away the Kingdom of Heaven for good. So what we’re going to try to do is work it back to the point of seeing that attack isn’t real.
Friend: So the bodies just act out the wrong-minded thoughts.
Friend: So anytime you talk about the reality of the body, you’re automatically talking about mis-identification with the body.
“The special love relationship is the ego’s chief weapon for keeping you from Heaven. It does not appear to be a weapon, but if you consider how you value it and why, you will realize what it must be. The special love relationship is the ego’s most boasted gift, and one which has the most appeal to those unwilling to relinquish guilt.” T-16.V
That sentence should give you a little bit of a hint. Jesus does not mince words, so when he’s talking about “most boasted gift” I think the word insidious was used. Yes, it’s insidious, it’s illusive, and it’s obscure. It’s like a mirage of something that seems really good and really attractive and the more you look at its foundation, the more you see Hmm, this is no good.
Friend: The ego’s gifts always boil down to pain, that’s the common denominator of all of the ego’s gifts.
Friend: Yes, that idea of ego’s gifts I never heard put that way quite like you did before, which is that we wouldn’t hold on to this at all if the ego didn’t allure us with some sort of gift.
Friend: Very seductive. I’ll keep the pain to take this gift. It all seems worth it.
David: And this waking up would be easy as a snap [snaps fingers]. It wouldn’t seem so rare. Like Oh great Jesus! How many awakened beings do you have? Can you count ‘em on one hand? or whatever. It seems to be this thing in this world, like a really difficult achievement. It’s nothing to be a billionaire; that would be a piece of cake compared to waking up from the dream. Yet it’s these seductive gifts which make it seem so illusive and difficult.
“The ‘dynamics’ of the ego are clearest here, for counting on the attraction of this offering, the fantasies that center around it are often quite overt. Here they are usually judged to be acceptable and even natural.” T-16.V.3
And again I was pointing to the idea the other day that a lot of times things that are judged to be very natural in this world are actually disguised forms of attack. They don’t seem to be attack at all, so the mind says What’s the harm? What’s the big deal? It continues on with the fantasies. You brought that up at one point when you were discussing counselling. When you were talking about a lot of fantasies in male-female relationships even, they’re judged to be quite normal. It’s like Well, yeah everybody seems to have a fantasy life. Whether it’s sexual fantasies, whether it’s fantasies about far-off plans, fantasies about being on Maui or day-dreaming kind of fantasies, or whatever. Those seem to be a normal part of life. That’s part of the human condition. And again Jesus is saying Well, those thoughts are not part of your right mind. When you’re thinking of the past or thinking of the future, he says at one point in the Workbook, your mind is literally blank. Well [laughing] that’s a different definition. It seems like, as you go through a day, your mind is filled with real thoughts. Jesus is saying think again. Your mind is really blank because it’s filled with ego thoughts, and that’s the same as being filled with nothingness.
Friend: Another example that came to my mind is how that psychology book was describing normal developmental psychology. When a baby is born, there’s a natural attachment that takes place between the mother and the infant. If it doesn’t happen, it’s considered to be very abnormal and the child is considered to be at high risk if the bonding does not take place. It’s called bonding or attachment. And as I was reading it, I mean I learned all that stuff. I taught it! But reading it, I’m just seeing how this is so funny, how this is so backwards! This is considered to be natural and normal and if you don’t get this attachment that’s just, you know, painful, in the end. It always is. That’s considered to be abnormal.
Friend: And unhealthy.
Friend: And then they described even how the child goes through pain when it’s attached to the mother, the mother leaves the room and the child is in pain. And so there were studies about attachment, the attachment of the babies. Some babies would cry when the mother would leave and other babies would ignore the mother and other babies would be nervous. You know all this craziness.
David: The ego enjoys studying itself. A lot of the books are written from the ego perspective. Anybody can study human development. Even with babies, the sucking reflex, what do they call it, the Babinski reflex? Here comes Jesus, he says No, reflexes are not in the body.
Friend: The startle reflex.
David: Yeah there you go. You study these things and it’s like accept it, there are whole professions built on it. And it really is just the ego studying itself. Like some of the pain and deprivation that’s observed, again, it’s like it’s just restating the problem. It’s not getting at where the pain comes from. It’s not really getting at the mind, going into the mind and looking at the ego. It’s just describing the problem. All the stages of pain that people seem to go through, through adolescence, through middle age, menopause, you know, all the things that are described, it’s just really describing the problem.
Friend: The problem in quotes because it’s the problem as it’s seen on the screen. Not the problem as it is in the mind.
David: Yeah. It’s restating something when it’s not getting at the problem at all, which is the belief in separation. That’s why the word dynamics in that sentence is in quotes: “The ‘dynamics’ of the ego are clearest here...” The ego really has no dynamics. Dynamics implies power, and it’s a delusional system. How can a delusional system really have dynamics, really have power? Movement? It’s all an illusion.
Friend: As I’m thinking about the hysteria of a mother being in the hospital and babies getting switched, if this is all-inclusive, what difference would it make what baby you got? If this is holy relationships, what difference does surrogate motherhood make?
Friend: They even talked about that in this book. They said that the attachment is so strong that even mothers who they found that the babies had been switched, they were not willing to give up the baby they were attached to. Even though they knew that this other baby was really theirs. They were saying that’s how strong the attachment is; that you wouldn’t even want to give up this baby that’s not even yours!
David: Or natural. A lot of times kids will find out at some point in their life You mean I’m not really your child? Where is my mother or father? Then there’s this big hunt. There have been a lot of movies and books about that. But it’s this identity confusion. There’s a real deep identity confusion that gets projected out to natural versus adopted, and all these things.
Friend: And guess what? We all have identity confusion.
David: And just for a moment, if we extend it beyond the human realm to the biological world, you know, Alistair Cook and all the people who have studied the main habits of all creatures, and the bonding times and all the different rites of passage, and different things that go on, I mean it’s all made up! Even these people will say there are some things that are instinctual, that are not learned; you know, from a mother bird to the baby bird are instinctual. But there are some things that are learned. And what we’re learning from the Course is; there’s only mind. And Jesus is teaching there aren’t any instincts in the body, that’s just a projection. So everything’s learned! But again, you pull it back and you can say well, what does this mean for the learning of a mother hen? It’s not about that. It’s about bringing it back to my mind and starting to see I’ve learned this whole world. Like you were saying the other day, from Adam and Eve, what if we’ve learned everything wrong? The Course is saying the entire world that’s been learned is an illusion. Everything. Not part of it. Not 80% or 90% or 95% but the whole thing is learned! And the good news is; it can be unlearned.
“No one considers it bizarre to love and hate together, and even those who believe that hate is sin merely feel guilty, but do not correct it. This is the ‘natural’ condition of the separation, and those who learn that it is not natural at all seem to be the unnatural ones.” T-16.V.3
Anybody getting that feeling as you go along this path? When you hear the words like I don’t know that this is possible, what you’re talking about; it sounds like a fairy tale and on and on and on. Those that start to see that it is possible seem to be the unnatural ones in this world. Like Go on, go out and get a job and be like everybody else. You ask too many questions. [laughter] And to me, that’s been a real experience.
Friend: And even the thing of not ever even questioning that love and hate could go together. You know the line about There’s a thin line between love and hate. We just accept that. Oh yeah, I guess it’s true. I hate people that I love the most, seems to be the most intense hatred I feel is for those people at times. How can that be?
David: The old clichés; that’s just the way life is. You gotta take the good with the bad, the bad with the good. How many times have I heard that?
Friend: That doesn’t make sense!
Friend: What goes up must come down. And if it goes down, don’t worry it’ll come up again, to go down. That’s life!
David: What comes around goes around.
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