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Week Intensive part 15 - The Choice for Completion part 2
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: “For this world is the opposite of Heaven, being made to be its opposite, and everything here takes a direction exactly opposite of what is true. In Heaven, where the meaning of love is known, love is the same as union. Here, where the illusion of love is accepted in love’s place, love is perceived as separation and exclusion. (T-16.V.3)
And there can be no better example of that than the special love relationships. That exclusive element, you know? And certainly monogamy and marriage as it’s known in this world, is a very helpful stepping stone. A lot of times that involves hanging in there together with your learning partner through the ups and downs, through the thick and thin and sticking with it instead of just blowing it off and saying I’ll find something better and breaking it off. Even though this mutual attraction and this seeming exclusivity seems to be hard to maintain, it still doesn’t even approach the union we’re coming to talk about which is union in Heaven.
The role model for the top of the line relationships in this world would be the ones that I’ve seen in the movies all those years. Where they go through stuff in the movies but they end up in each other’s arms; husband and wife and then a big heart or THE END comes on.
David: Yeah. We’re going to take a look at the exclusion that’s part of the ideal relationships that this world holds out.
I remember watching a movie one time Venice, Venice. There was this film maker, Henry Jaglom, who loves to use his films just for the purpose of exploring relationships. He comes at it from all angles. In one of them he would just have men and women come in and sit down in front of the camera and just tell what they thought relationship was all about, what they were looking for. Some of them said Oh Cary Grant you know. A lot of it was related to the movies. Those were their images of love. And they went on and on and on. And also the disillusionment of My life has never gone that way. I had this image in my mind of what the ideal relationship would be like but I’ve never found it. That’s the common theme through everything.
And of course, no one ever reaches the ideal because it’s a scam. The ideal relationship that’s held up in this world is an illusion of love. It’s a substitute for life eternal and there’s no way in the world that it could substitute for or live up to life eternal.
So that’s why people call it codependency, they call it dissatisfaction, restlessness, discontentedness with relationship; always seeking Mr. Right or Ms. Right; always seeking to find that right partner. And some of the more sophisticated spiritual paths will talk about how there’s twin flames, there you go, soul mates; that’s another one. You know, this belief that there’s my soul mate waiting out for me. He or she is just around the corner. And I’m not going to give up the quest for that … looking for that. And what the Course is saying is that every relationship you perceive yourself having, every relationship can be used, can be given over to the Holy Spirit. And you can be totally committed to every one equally; that every relationship you have is a total commitment. That flies in the face of this ideal that’s kind of saying, You’re lucky if you can find one that you can be totally committed to ‘til death do you part. And Jesus is saying, No no, that’s the scam. You want to come to a place where you are totally committed to everyone without it interfering; in other words without there being conflict between that. Yes, total commitment with my spouse and the mailman. [chuckling] What? In this world it seems: you’ve got to be kidding! Why do I want a total committed relationship with the mailman?
Friend: Or any relationship? I mean, even take out “committed” a lot of times. Why would I want to even talk about relationship at all with my mailman?
David: That’s my mind’s energy.
Friend: With the woman behind the cash register at the grocery store? I may never see her again.
David: And again, if it seems like a stretch, we just have to go back to what the Course says: “Under the Holy Spirit’s teaching all relationships are seen as total commitments,” (T15.VI.1) So again, it’s the Holy Spirit’s teaching that’s going to bring us to this new healed perception. It’s not thinking, not even trying to say Well, I don’t perceive it that way. In fact, I can’t even imagine it that way and I don’t even think that it’s possible. But it’s just being open and willing to say Holy Spirit, it sounds very different. But I’m willing to move in that direction. I’m willing to have you enter all of my relationships and heal them.
Friend: Again, it’s the I don’t know. I really don’t know what relationship is. I really don’t know what love is. So show me. I have much to be shown.
Friend: I can just feel the resistance. People hear this and they may say I’m not even able to make one relationship work. [laughter]
David: And that’s the good news. It’s kind of like Yes; you never have been able to make one relationship work. So maybe that’s not it; maybe there’s another way.
Friend: I don’t think the ego believes in commitment at all. Because, it seems to me, even when we talk about that one relationship that seems to be the biggest thing that comes up among discussions and things you read that that’s the hardest thing to even commit to one.
David: Right, in this world.
Friend: The ego doesn’t even think in terms of total commitment anywhere, to anything or in any respect.
Friend: Yeah. Somebody was recently saying they couldn’t even get the word out. C C Commitment, they couldn’t even say it.
David: Basically, at one point in the Course it says the ego doesn’t want any one whole person. It breaks it apart and wants special parts and aspects. See, that’s how it makes the world to its own capricious liking so to speak. Where it says well I really like being with so and so for their lively personality but I don’t like this, this, this about them so I’ll only see them every once in a while. Or maybe: I like so and so because they’re a really good tennis player and I like tennis. And I don’t know many other people who can play tennis that well. So it’s really important. That’s why I’m going to maintain that relationship. And my ex-husband, he didn’t meet my need, he didn’t do this and this but he still supplies me with some money. Or maybe you have a current husband or current wife. They still give me money and I like that security of the house and the money so I’ll hang with that, but I’m going to go out and have affairs or go out with my best girlfriend or my best buddy and spend more time. I’m not going to spend a lot of time around here. I mean, I like the security but as far as when it comes to personality, what a stick in the mud or what a deadbeat. I’m going to go out here and find that.
And that’s what the ego does with relationships. It just assembles reality to its own liking. It just takes the parts and picks and chooses based on what it wants.
Friend: It seems like no matter who you find there’s always something that you can find to change about, even the best of friends, the best of relationships.
David: The flaws. It doesn’t want the whole person.
Friend: In some psychology it says that you have to have four people in your life to fulfill your needs. You can’t expect your spouse to fulfill all your needs; you need at least four people to take care of those. So you kind of spread it around, like David was describing. You get something from this one, something from that one and these needs taken care of here and these needs taken care of here. And if you have enough of the right people in the right combination, then you get all your needs supplied.
David: And the old thing about the construction workers watching the girls go by and whistling and this and that and all the comments: I’m a leg man. Or I look at this, you know. All the comments about the body is just another symbol of breaking everything apart and saying Well I like this better than that. Or what are you looking for? I like redheads. I like blondes. How many times have we heard that? It can be male, female, it doesn’t matter. It’s still a lot of the breaking apart that goes into the physical. And then you get into the intellectual parts too like Well, if they only had a brain to go with that body then they’d really be a catch. Or stuff like that. It’s still the same thing, just breaking apart. So if it’s not that then what is it?
“In Heaven, where the meaning of love is known, love is the same as union. Here, where the illusion of love is accepted in love’s place, love is perceived as separation and exclusion. It is in the special relationship, born of the hidden wish for special love from God, that the ego’s hatred triumphs. For the special relationship is the renunciation of the Love of God, and the attempt to secure for the self the specialness that He denied.” (T-16.V.3)
So again, we’re back to those dynamics. The ego says to the mind You’re out of Heaven. You’ve pulled away. You’re obviously not in Heaven anymore, so you might as well go for it here. You can make up for it. You can make your own kingdom. You can come up with a pretty good substitute for Heaven since you can’t have the real thing. It also teaches that “the specialness that He denied” the specialness that God denied. In other words, the ego asks God for special favors and said, Just give me the kingdom. Just give me this new kingdom I’ve made up. Just acknowledge it! Please! Won’t you please acknowledge it? And of course God is not going to acknowledge a world of fragmentation and of separation. Some religions talk about how there’s going to be a judgment day coming where God gets tired of waiting and says Alright! That’s enough of that. Kind of like a parent who sits back patiently with the child, as the child is doing things …
Friend: Counts to ten.
David: Counts to ten. I’ll give you another ten. ALRIGHT that’s it! Here I come. You know.
At one point the Course says where God finally just steps in, splits the world apart, relegates the evil to hell so to speak and takes the good back to himself. Of course if he would come into the world in like an impatient rage and do that would make the world real. And so basically the ego is waiting for acknowledgement from God; for God to acknowledge its made-up kingdom. And it is never coming. So basically the ego says AHA! You see? God has denied you your specialness. So again it gets projected out and gets blamed on God. If God wasn’t denying me this special favor then I’d be happy. But that’s the way that happiness is ever found.
“It is essential to the preservation of the ego that you believe this specialness is not hell, but Heaven. For the ego would never have you see that separation could only be loss, being the one condition in which Heaven could not be.” (T-16.V.4)
It reminds me of a Workbook lesson where Jesus says, “If guilt is hell, what is its opposite?” (W-39.1) He says “the hesitation that you feel in answering is because you don’t believe that guilt is hell.” And again it gets into the specialness that we’re talking about. Some of the world seems attractive and yet, anything that you take as part of this world is really going to bring guilt. If some parts seem attractive, then it’s not going to seem like guilt is hell. Guilt is hell sometimes and guilt is Ooo la la sometimes. So well, Jesus, I don’t know about this if guilt is hell, what is its opposite? That’s why the mind has difficulty answering the question because it doesn’t believe that guilt is hell.
As soon as the ego’s system is raised up into awareness, then the mind can say Ah, guilt is hell. I don’t want this anymore. I choose the right mind as an alternative to the wrong mind, to guilt. But as long as it’s submerged and there seems to be all these attractive things on the screen, the ego is saying it’s not all bad. There’s still some good with this ego thing. It’s not all guilty; it’s not all bad. So you see how seductive it is; how important it is to raise it up.
Friend: So how can God consummate a marriage?
David: Good question!
Friend: Who said He did?
Friend: No, he didn’t. That’s what I’m saying, it just hit me. There’s no consummation of marriage then.
Friend: We get married under God’s Name and we come together under God. And then the honeymoon, you know, you have sex and it’s supposed to be this union with God and marriage if you’re thinking supposedly the right way according to the world’s eyes of marriage. But the way we’re looking at it then what’s marriage? What’s marriage other than committing to a special relationship? Because if there’s no commitment to special relationships, and essentially we, here, are all in holy relationship, what’s the purpose of marriage? And bringing everyone who’s ever been in your life, bring them here, let this room get bigger and bigger and bigger; what’s the purpose of marriage?
Friend: The point is, it just hit me; what is marriage, that’s the question. Let’s not go too deep, but what is marriage?
David: And again, we want to put it in perspective. First of all, in the consciousness where the world seems to be, marriage seems to be a very altruistic and very helpful thing. Jesus when he spoke in the Bible of marriage, this was something that was good. And in the context of history, so to speak, there were armies that would go and raid other villages, would rape the women, then pillage and move on, conquer another city, sack it, rape the women, move on. I mean talk about this total going for the pleasure and the sensation and talk about lack of commitment to the nth degree! That is what the barbaric kind of times of the world would be like. And certainly what seems to be marriage where two people commit to a relationship. Sometimes they say “until death do you part” or they commit to try to come together and love each other and cherish each other and honor each other. That’s a big step from rape and pillage. And from what we’re talking about here again, that whole idea of marriage “until death do you part” involves bodies. And there’s a much much higher meaning of marriage than what’s the traditional view of marriage. What we’re talking about is aiming at the much higher one. We’re not trying to put down marriage as it’s seen in this world. But we’re talking about elevating it up to see that asking the Holy Spirit to come into our relationship and have no purpose other than God’s and let go of all idols. That’s the kind of a marriage that we’re moving towards.
Friend: I was going to say that questioning it isn’t throwing it out saying ahhh forget marriage. I don’t know what the hell does it mean anyway? It’s just questioning what does it really mean? Let’s raise it way up and look at it from a much higher perspective.
Friend: And then you can look at what is divorce?
Friend: Yeah and that’s the same thing. Look at it from a much different perspective and get a much different view of it.
Friend: But before you go further, I don’t understand; if bodies aren’t real why we’re concerned about relationships? Because if everything is in our mind, then why do we have to look at these things?
David: Well, it’s redefining it. We’ve talked about that in this world relationships are defined in terms of bodies. When you talk about coming together, whether people living together or being married or working at a committed relationship, it has to do with these bodies seeming coming together.
Friend: That’s where I get confused. Because it seems like one day we’re saying one thing and the next day we’re saying Well, they are sort of real if we think they are.
David: Yeah and we’re starting there. The only thing I’m trying to do is to get to the point so that they’re not dismissed entirely. We have to start there and then we’re going to be moving towards holy relationship. To really come at what you’re saying is: the ego doesn’t care if the minds are kept private. But the key ingredient for the ego in its relationships, to use its definition, is that the bodies be together. That’s the ego’s key thing. It doesn’t care if you maintain separate interests from your spouse or if you have a whole world apart from them, a whole private mind, as long as those bodies are together. The ego believes that union is joining bodies. And, of course, the consummation of a marriage is sexual relationship. Even when you talk to people who study relationships, they’ll look at things like trust and communication. And sex is usually in there somewhere. You know, it’s seen as a fairly important component of these kinds of relationships. And again, to the ego that’s the central component. Not only sex, but we can say companionship, being there together. You know, not being apart. Give me some time together (under the same roof); Oh don’t be a workaholic; No come back.
Also, the ego tends to believe about its relationships that bodies must be together. It uses guilt to keep the bodies together. Oh, you haven’t spent time with your children. You’re not being a very good father. Oh you aren’t bringing home the money that I thought you should; all these little hooks for trying to keep the bodies together. So really where your question is going is the ego’s definition: keep the bodies together, keep the minds private. And this direction that we’re moving in which is to undo the illusion of that, of the ego, would be Oh I want to join minds. I want to totally communicate. I want to have no private thoughts.
Friend: Everything is out on the table.
David: I want intimacy so deep and so close that I can feel free to share anything and everything and be loved and accepted and not be afraid that if I share those deep, dark secrets, that my partner is going to leave or that anyone can even leave me.
Friend: This is about ego.
David: Ultimately it’s working towards holy relationship, which is what we’re going to talk about. Holy relationship would be really just being in tune with the Holy Spirit full time. Now again, how that looks in form is irrelevant. You can have bodies in any way, shape or form. In other words, bodies together under one roof, you could have a prophet or saint who would wander through the wilderness in total relationship with all that there is because he’s in tune with the Holy Spirit. In that sense it’s a realization that minds are joined, or that Mind is One, and that bodies are totally irrelevant to the whole idea of relationship. And that is consistent with what we’ve been talking about. So what we’re doing here is we’re starting to trace it back towards that.
Friend: [chuckling] Now; how do I explain that to my wife and say These bodies are irrelevant. We need to join minds. And understand how we do that. And I guess I’m asking the question: how do you do that?
Friend: Be very clear yourself.
David: That’s the thing where it starts. In other words, in my life as I’ve gone along, it’s been more and more just valuing that communication and pulling attention away from the body. We’ve talked about elements of special relationship; one thing is that it seems important for the body to look good. To be with a good looking body is a big part of the self concept a lot of times. Put your best foot forward and look good in this matter.
As you go along things like make-up, diet, different things like size, weight, and shape, becomes more and more insignificant. In the mind, there’s no attention focused on that. Conditions of mind like honesty, trust, integrity, are really raised up as really important. And the focus on the body: fat, thin, attractive, unattractive, sexually attractive, sexually unattractive, dirty, and clean. You see all these things on TV; like the anti-perspirant commercials where the woman comes out and says, “If you’ve got BO, I don’t want to be around you.” All the commercials are really aimed at the body being a certain way, looking a certain way, smelling a certain way. Colognes, cosmetics, you know, bodies being in shape versus being fat and flabby and all that. It’s just starting to say in my own mind, No I’m not going to raise up the body and emphasize the body or even count how much time that body is with me. A lot of the time relationships are about quality time versus quantity time. I’m not going to be counting the minutes and the hours and the days that the bodies are together or apart. Really I just want to communicate. I want to be able to lay everything out and totally reveal myself and in the process see that I am one with everything.
Friend: And if minds are what are connected in this relationship, then there’s both quantity and quality time at all times.
David: Yes. Regardless of…
Friend: Regardless of form of bodies.
David: Right it’s all in the attention. If my attention is on a body and I’m thinking about the body thoughts and I think Oh I miss so and so. I used to think that was a big, important component of relationship.
Friends: It’s a sign of true love.
David: If you’re here with some body and they say Well I really don’t care if you’re here or not. You know that’s not a good sign. Your relationship is on the rocks. If they’re pining and they’re saying Oh I miss you honey! I count the hours when you’re away.
Friend: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
David: Or maybe even a mix like Well, I don’t want it to be obsessive here. [laughter] Get a life! But I do want you to miss me some. No, Jesus is saying the whole missing part is thought of bodies again. You know When will that body be back with this body? When will I be able to hold that body again? When will I feel their touch? That’s all raised up as of crucial importance and the communication is not.
Friend: But what I hear our friend saying and probably better be addressed is in that diagram where we see little circles out on the side … Ok we’ve been talking that the circles don’t exist and bodies don’t exist and yet we’re really putting a lot of emphasis on relationship right now. So what is the sole purpose of relationship in our purpose?
David: It’s to see that there are no private minds. In other words, all those dots that we drew in there as part of the wrong mind, part of the ego system, that what the basis of the ego system is that every body has a private mind. Or as I defined it early on when someone was asking me, “What do you mean by assigning the properties of the body to the mind?” That’s exactly what private mind is. The bodies are separate, there’s no doubt about that. And so the properties of the body, separation, are assigned to the mind, therefore it seems like every body has a private mind of their own. That’s not true.
What we’re coming to see in true relationship is that there’s really nothing apart from ones own mind. I may think I see dream figures out there, I may ponder about their motivations: [whispering] Why do people do that? How could they possibly…? You know, ponder about their thinking. Or even with pets, we talked about with cats and dogs you know. Do they have choice? What are they thinking now? Why is he so undecided?
Friend: I don’t know if your question is totally answered. I guess what I was hearing you say and it’s something that I used to feel, and that is: Ok, we say that bodies aren’t real but then in the next breath we’re talking about bodies, so which is it? Are they real or not real? What’s the deal?
Friend: It seems inconsistent sometimes.
Friend: Here we all sit, but we’re not real. Is that what you’re thinking?
Friend: No I’m thinking that we don’t give any credence to the body and then in the next breath we say that bodies are here.
Friend: And we’re examining relationships and all that. And I guess, the way I had to come to see it was Yes in the back of my mind I have to remember that bodies are not real but it sure seems that that’s what I see
Friend: In my experience it seems like bodies are very real.
Friend: And my experience is it feels like I’m in relationships with people and I experience a lot of what this is talking about. And so what that means is I still haven’t gotten to the fact of bodies aren’t real. I still am acting as if there are bodies. And the only reason for that is the Course talks about we have to start from where we believe we are. I still obviously believe in bodies. I take care of this one as if it was my own. [laughs] And I recognize other bodies as people that I know or people I don’t know and things like that. So even though I have a growing sense that this isn’t the way it really is, it sure still seems to be that way. And so that’s why there’s all this attention and focus given to something that we ultimately say isn’t really real. Because we have to start with what we believe.
We still haven’t gotten down to that, you know we talk about tracing back all the beliefs; we still haven’t gotten to the belief of bodies. You know there’s an underlying assumption in all of us and that’s a belief in bodies! And so until we can get to that belief, which is way, way, way at the bottom of all this pile of beliefs that we have, then we still have to start from ... you know if we talk about the transparencies that are all piled up, bodies are probably the bottom transparency.
David: Time and space, the world…
Friend: And then bodies. So I have to start up here with the top transparencies and start taking those off before I get way down to this one that deals with bodies. So that’s why sometimes it seems inconsistent to say Well there aren’t really bodies but we’re going to talk as if there are.
Friend: Well I have a question that I’ve been wondering about. When you finally get down to the body’s transparency; are you going to quit taking care of the one that seems to be yours?
David: That’s why this is like kindergarten. If you guys want to follow me around and really go into this very, very deeply and devote your life to it, I’ll guarantee you that there will be shifts and there will be changes. And you won’t take care of … you know how Jesus said to his disciples, “Take no care for what you wear and what you eat.” You know, just trust. Go out and speak the Word and all will be provided. That’s been my experience. The difference is that there isn’t a personal I, a private I thinking that it has to take care of all those things. That I really have to do a lot of work to maintain the body and all the things that seem to go into it, you know; feeding it, clothing it, sheltering it, buying health insurance for it, getting it the proper medical attention, eating right, exercising right and everything. That’s not my experience of this world any more. I don’t have that experience.
Now what I’ve seen is this giant synchronicity, that everything is taken care of. It’s kind of like the night we went to pick up our friend and I was telling the story here of picking up a hitchhiker, and I know someone was saying “It’s time to go”. She got up, got over by the door and I said, “Well we’ll just finish the story.” And after the story was told, it came to its completion, we got in the car, we didn’t race, or go 70 miles an hour, we just obeyed the traffic lights, we got down there, got out of the car, the bus had just pulled in and people were unloading and by the time we got to the entrance where our friend was coming through, we both kind of just met. We were not there two seconds or three seconds too soon or too late. It was perfect synchronicity.
You hear this term synchronicity come up a lot because when you get so detached from the wrong mind and you’re in the right mind, then it’s like you’re watching a play in which everything is synchronized in which you don’t have to struggle anymore, or to really work hard to make pieces fit just right. You start to step back and you start to just say Well, I don’t have to work on the screen anymore. Everything will be provided. And it’s really effortless.
Friend: You don’t have to give any attention to it, is what I hear you saying.
David: Yeah, oh, you don’t give attention to food. My gosh, we have enough food here to choke a horse. And I’ve traveled at times when we haven’t had a lot for long times. You just don’t take thought for it. It seems crazy. I mean I came to a point even with things like bank accounts and checking accounts. Symbolically it moved more and more to I said “OK Holy Spirit, it’s your account now.” And I even got to the point when I wasn’t balancing the checkbook. I went months and months and months and months, never bothered to balance the checkbook. No problems. You know usually that can be a sign of big problems. But it was this sense, even with the money, that everything was just synchronized.
Exercise: I used to exercise, I used to play tennis, I was concerned about my cardio-vascular thing, basketball, I used to run, and I ran in a ten-kilometer race. I used to go to the supermarkets and really read the packages, like they told me to, you know: fat contents, sodium content, calories, and cholesterol. “Take no thought for what you wear or eat.” I used to go to the dentist. There was a time I used to go to the doctors. There was a time I used to work and really think about when the end of the day was going to come so I could, like Fred Flintstone, go “Yabba dabba dooo!!” You know? [laughter] There was a time when Friday at five o’clock used to be important. There was a time when Monday at eight in the morning used to be a significant time, on and on and on. What I’m saying is, if you follow this in, there’s a detachment that comes where it still seems on the screen like things are clicking in and being taken care of, but you take no thought for it. Your whole attention is just riveted on staying with the Holy Spirit and sharing His Word and sharing the good news of the gospel, so to speak. And really, I’m just teaching myself so it’s not like I’m trying to go out and evangelize. I don’t even have a pressure to feel like I’ve got to go out and reach more people or like I’ve got this long mission in front of me that’s incomplete. To me, it’s a state of completion. I feel very, very total and complete, like there’s nothing out of place.
So every time we come together is very precious. Jesus will even describe it in the next section. Because what we do is we’re really still looking at the symbols that the mind still believes in. I’ll talk about this higher metaphysics, but I’ll also talk about bodies and different things that seem to be the everyday experience because that’s where you have to start.
Friend: So, getting back to our friend’s question about the body; I understand that we’re trying to get back to the mind. But you know all through the Course it says basically that the body is a learning device. And that’s why you have it. So it’s not completely unimportant. And it’s for the Holy Spirit’s use.
David: And again, the idea of the body as a learning device comes back to; what are we learning? We’re learning to expand perception to come to healed perception. And for me, the ego would have it be a learning device for developing skills, drawing attention to oneself, and on and on and on. So again, you have to be really clear on the purpose. If it’s just a learning device and there’s only two lessons in the mind, the right mind and the wrong mind, the whole point of the body is to come to learn right mindedness. At which point, the Course says, you will realize that you have no need of a body at all. In other words, when you learn what you need to learn with your learning device: holy relationship, true perception, the real world, then you have no need for a learning device any more. At that point it does become totally meaningless.
Friend: And then? What happens?
David: WAKE UP TIME! Wake up, abstract knowledge, total joy and love beyond anything that’s conceivable.
Friend: It has nothing to do with the body.
David: He says if you multiply your faintest glimmering of love by a hundred, and multiply it by a thousand times more than that, you still only have a faint glimmering of what that state is.
Friend: You know interesting that we gotten off on bodies because in this paragraph here in Choice for Completion bodies are never mentioned. Holy Spirit knew that we needed to stay at some other level at first.
David: I think it gets into a lot of deep stuff about specialness here about trying to trade the self and everything. And I just want to keep moving on toward that transformation that’s coming more and more. A couple lines at the bottom of page 342 kind of summarizes what we’ve been talking about, about the attraction of guilt and how as long as some things in the world seem valuable, the mind is actually attracted to guilt, not seeing that that’s what it’s attracted to. It doesn’t believe that guilt is hell. It thinks that guilt looks pretty attractive.
“The appeal of hell lies only in the terrible attraction of guilt, which the ego holds out to those who place their faith in littleness.” (T-16.V.9)
So that kind of describes these gifts. That’s what the ego’s holding out saying Here you go! Got a lot of gifts over here for you. And once the mind, once you start to get clearer and clearer, those aren’t gifts at all. I don’t want your gifts! Those aren’t really helpful to me. They’re just reinforcing this guilt. And it’s three paragraphs later:
“Whenever any form of special relationship tempts you to seek for love in ritual, remember love is content, and not form of any kind.” (T-16.V.12)
That really lays it out straight because ritual has all these attempts. If you think about parent/child relationships or romantic relationships, there’s so much ritual that seem to go along with it, so many actions. For example, let’s take romantic love: set the mood, candlelight, table for two, bottle of wine, some roses; that’s a ritual. [laughing] There’s no doubt about that, that’s form. And that’s what is raised up as important. It doesn’t matter what the two partners say; they could be quiet, or they could argue and bicker about the food or something, but I mean the whole thing is Set the ambiance; give the night a good start. [laughs] You know, give it some good form. And it really is just raising a ritual or form up as important. But again, where is the content?
“The special relationship is a ritual of form, aimed at raising the form to take the place of God at the expense of content. There is no meaning in the form, and there will never be. The special relationship must be recognized for what it is; a senseless ritual in which strength is extracted from the death of God, and invested in His killer as the sign that form has triumphed over content, and love has lost its meaning. Would you want this to be possible, even apart from its evident impossibility?” (T-16.V.12)
[laughs] He’s telling you, this is impossible, but would you want it to be possible even apart from the fact that it is impossible.
“If it were possible, you would have made yourself helpless. God is not angry. He merely could not let this happen. You cannot change His Mind. No rituals that you have set up in which the dance of death delights you can bring death to the eternal. Nor can your chosen substitute for the Wholeness of God have any influence at all upon it.” (T-16.V.12)
And then one more sentence:
“See in the special relationship nothing more than a meaningless attempt to raise other gods before Him, and by worshipping them to obscure their tininess and His greatness.” (T-16.V.12)
So it starts to get more and more apparent that nothing is really important in terms of form. When we’ve discussed relationships, it kind of like Well what are your interests and what are your partner’s interests? Well, we like some of the good things in life. We like fine dining. We have rituals of fine dining. We have sexual rituals. We have rituals of travel. Every year, we take a vacation to an exotic place. We have a travel ritual, holiday rituals, family get-together rituals. You can see it’s all rituals of form, repetition of things that we do to keep our relationships spiced up.
Friend: Patterns. It’s always patterns, isn’t it?
David: Patterns; and what we’re talking about is holding on to a purpose and really wanting to communicate. You know really wanting to say Well the form isn’t so important. Darling, I may not be sending you a Valentine’s Day card this year, but let’s sit down and have a heart to heart talk [chuckling] for three hours or something. That would be an expression or a symbol of moving toward wanting to really connect at the mind.
Friend: Well any of that, you know. Whether it’s sending a Valentine’s Day card or whether it’s cutting fresh flowers for the table, it’s all a matter of what’s the intention for which I’m doing this? If it’s a symbol of my caring and my extending, then that’s one thing. And if it’s a way to get something, or done out of obligation or guilt or thinking that it’s causative in some way, that it will add to in some way the relationship, then that’s something else.
David: Yes. It’s in the intention and I would say that again, you’re moving to a place of seeing that really the only thing you can share, the only thing you want to share is ideas. In other words, Jesus was not a big philanthropist. [chuckling] He did not go around, when the beggars were begging, and just go [swishing sound] Here’s some gold for you. He shared his ideas. He shared about his Father in Heaven. He shared about the Kingdom of Heaven and how to come to the Kingdom of Heaven. He wasn’t big on gifts. There’s not a lot in the Bible about him handing out gifts. They talk about the three wise men bringing gold, and myrrh and frankincense, and this and that, but there’s not a lot of mention of Jesus going around like Santa Claus. Santa Claus is like the ego symbol that it’s covered over Christmas with. Because what better symbol is a reversal of Jesus’ idea of just sharing these beautiful ideas of going around and turning it into a materialistic holiday? Santa Claus, in many respects, if you really look at it, can be a symbol of the ego trying to cover over the unconditional Love that Jesus represents with lots of stuff; lots of forms and rituals.
So it’s really important as you move along more and more you can see that initially when you believe in stuff, it may feel real comfortable, like our friend was saying to still as a symbol give cards or cut flowers for people or do this and that. And as your mind gets clearer and clearer and you’re called on to be a teacher of God, that even those things, start to dwindle away. If I go to a birthday party, they’re glad to have me there at the birthday party to be the Presence and to share the ideas. It’s gotten to the point where they aren’t looking for the other stuff because it’s not there. The Presence and the ideas is the gift. And that’s truly how you keep them in your mind by giving these ideas away. It’s not like I’m traveling around the country trying to enlighten a bunch of other bodies. I do it because it’s my joy and to let them extend is how I keep them in my mind. It makes sense. You keep something in your mind by giving it away.
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