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Week Intensive Part 16 – The Bridge to the Real World
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: Now, where are the bodies? If we go down to The Bridge to the Real World we’ll start to zoom in on this body stuff which is a central thing.
“The special relationship is totally meaningless without a body. If you value it, you must also value the body. And what you value you will keep. The special relationship is a device for limiting your self to a body, and for limiting your perception of others to theirs. The Great Rays would establish the total lack of value of the special relationship, if they were seen.” (T-16.VI.4)
Friend: What are the Great Rays?
David: The Great Rays in this sense is kind of a symbol for the Holy Spirit. There are like these gleaming rays of light; you might have heard of near death experiences where people see this light and it’s unspeakable, that would be the symbol of it.
“For in seeing them the body would disappear, because its value would be lost. And so your whole investment in seeing it would be withdrawn from it. You see the world you value. On this side of the bridge you see the world of separate bodies, seeking to join each other in separate unions and to become one by losing. When two individuals seek to become one, they are trying to decrease their magnitude.” (T-16.VI.5)
David: That’s a common thing with marriage in this world—two individuals coming together to become one, to be blessed by it. Like somehow we’ll be something greater, but really it’s to decrease their magnitude.
“Each would deny his power, for the separate union excludes the universe.”
David: Kind of like that thing me and you against the world and the universe is outside of it and is excluded from it.
“Far more is left outside than would be taken in, for God is left without and nothing taken in. If one such union were made in perfect faith, the universe would enter into it.”
David: That’s just another way of saying if one such union were made totally with the Holy Spirit; if you came together and said We value nothing but the Holy Spirit, the whole universe would enter in with it.
“Two minds with one intent become so strong that what they will becomes the Will of God.” (W-185.3)
Here we are coming together to really call upon the Holy Spirit and that’s how powerful our minds are. If we join together in relationship and we say we want the Holy Spirit to be the center piece and we want nothing, we don’t want any concern for the bodies or specifics or whatever, then we are literally inviting the whole universe in with us. That’s just another way of saying the whole Sonship. Two minds that come together with no other purpose but the Holy Spirit are inviting the whole Sonship to enter with them.
Friend: But that’s the ultimate goal anyway and until the last one of us becomes a part and joins in that, there’s no salvation.
David: It’s a metaphor that Jesus uses in the Course. I would say it’s more of a lower rung because in one sense it’s kind of like my analogy with the paper. You know, where I said over here it seems like there’s this world of fragmentation and it seems like one by one they’re ascending? And at one point Jesus says not until everyone has ascended is this thing over. However, this is the real world we’re talking about and on the other side, remember, there is no world. So, how many teachers of God does it take to save the world? One. On this side it makes no sense. It’s kind of like Oh, great Jesus, you ascended. We still had Hitler after you! It didn’t do a very good job. It didn’t take! But again, he said that’s understandable from the world’s perspective. But, if you come over here and you start to see that beyond the real world is what reality is, the Kingdom of Heaven; that the world is just a hallucination and when the mind wakes up from the hallucination then the hallucination disappears. It’s not like the mind wakes up and then there’s a hallucination still going on, so you can see where the statement you made is a metaphorical statement that was helpful. When you’re teaching this I’m sure this will come up and that will come out of your mouth, but as you come deeper into awareness you start to see there’s more.
“Yet the special relationship the ego seeks does not include even one whole individual. The ego wants but part of him, and sees only this part and nothing else. Across the bridge it is so different! For a time the body is still seen, but not exclusively, as it is seen here. The little spark that holds the Great Rays within it is also visible, and this spark cannot be limited long to littleness.” (T-16.VI.6)
The symbol that comes to mind when I read that sentence is about the founder of AA and 12 steps, Bill Wilson. He had this vision shortly before he took down a lot of the stuff that’s in the Big Book that seemed to be the catalyst, where he was walking down the street and the people’s bodies were real faint, almost shadowy. And they all had these sparks of light and everybody was just glowing. And then he received all of this information that has become the 12 steps and it seems to have been this … it’s almost like having another religion because it’s such a powerful force of healing on the planet. And that was like a visualization that preceded the taking it down.
“Once you have crossed the bridge, the value of the body is so diminished in your sight that you will see no need at all to magnify it. For you will realize that the only value the body has is to enable you to bring your brothers to the bridge with you, and to be released together there. The bridge itself is nothing more than a transition in the perspective of reality. On this side, everything you see is grossly distorted and completely out of perspective. What is little and insignificant is magnified, and what is strong and powerful cut down to littleness. In the transition there is a period of confusion, in which a sense of actual disorientation may occur. But fear it not, for it means only that you have been willing to let go your hold on the distorted frame of reference that seemed to hold your world together. This frame of reference is built around the special relationship.
Without this illusion there could be no meaning you would still seek here.” (T-16.VI.6)
David: I think those last two sentences really point at how important it is to raise up the special relationship. He’s saying that the whole distorted frame of reference is the special relationship. Once that goes, that’s the ego’s ace in the hole. Once you no longer fall for the ace in the hole then it’s like you’re home free. And that’s also the thing that brings up the biggest resistance. You go into other aspects of the ego and there can sometimes be some resistance, but when you start thinking about my husband or my wife or my child or my mother or my father, those relationships that seem to be so highly invested with meaning and you start to think Hmmmm, if I let go into this transformation then it’s not going to be what it was. There could be some fear. There’s going to be much more than it ever seemed to be, but the mind feels like this is money in the bank. This is familiar and comfortable and what is promised in the Bible and the Course still seems to be the unknown.
“Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition. The urgency is only in dislodging your mind from its fixed position here.” (T-16.VI.8)
David: He goes from a gentle pace and brings it back to a sense of urgency. Keep loosening, and that’s what we talk about all the time. All you need to have is the willingness to keep questioning, nothing more.
“This will not leave you homeless and without a frame of reference. The period of disorientation, which precedes the actual transition, is far shorter than the time it took to fix your mind so firmly on illusions. Delay will hurt you now more than before, only because you realize it is delay, and that escape from pain is really possible.” (T-16.VI.8)
Our friend was saying how she feels at times her mind is more sensitive and attuned to some of the ego schemes, and that’s where the urgency comes in and it’s like an increased sensitivity. Because once you start to raise it up, now you’re aware of it. Before it was like the mind had all these distractions that it was invested in and it wasn’t even aware of the possibility.
Friend: I think there are two things that cause pain. One is delay, standing still because the conflict is there and the other is rushing in action before the mind is ready. Those are the two things that have caused me pain. Delay and thinking I can go back or standing still; and rushing with my actions before my mind is ready.
David: Of course rushing in that sense would be another delay maneuver. It’s funny to think of rushing as delay, but to think that you could change the form and magically hope the mind will follow; that is an ego delay maneuver. The only way that true change can come about is the change of perception with the behavior just symbolizing it and following it.
“Find hope and comfort, rather than despair, in this: You could not long find even the illusion of love in any special relationship here. For you are no longer wholly insane, and you would soon recognize the guilt of self-betrayal for what it is.” (T- T-16.VI.8)
I think most everyone has experienced they start to come to disillusionment about even the whole love and romance scheme. I mean there are the romantics at heart that will still go to the romance section of the video store and go Awwwww, and still try to hang on to it, but as seductive as it is and as strong as it seems to be it just never brings any lasting contentedness. And it certainly doesn’t bring that sense of intimacy of mind where you feel like you know the other person’s thoughts. It may have glimmers and glimpses of it, but there’s been a lot of hatred that has been in there too. It’s part of the flip flopping.
“Nothing you seek to strengthen in the special relationship is really part of you. And you cannot keep part of the thought system that taught you it was real, and understand the Thought that knows what you are. You have allowed the Thought of your reality to enter your mind, and because you invited it, it will abide with you. Your love for it will not allow you to betray yourself, and you could not enter into a relationship where it could not go with you, for you would not want to be apart from it. Be glad you have escaped the mockery of salvation the ego offered you, and look not back with longing on the travesty it made of your relationships. Now no one need suffer, for you have come too far to yield to the illusion of the beauty and holiness of guilt. Only the wholly insane could look on death and suffering, sickness and despair, and see it thus.” (T-16.VI.9)
David: And that’s what we’ve been talking about, to look at the suffering and the sickness and death and see it as beauty and holiness; that’s quite a distortion.
Friend: And a necessary part of life.
David: Well, it’s not necessary in reality, but in this world it seems to be.
Friend: Take the bitter with the sweet. That’s what you grew up with, you know. I think that’s why my grandmother is still lying in this bed not knowing anybody or anything and suffering because it’s such a great thing to bear your cross.
Friend: It’s the way to Heaven. In Catholicism, the more you sacrifice here, the less time you spend in purgatory.
David: It’s that splitting too. It seems that as long as the world is it splits the ugly part, the world is split up into the Harlem’s and the junk yards, and the bomb sites and then we have the parks and the streams and nature etc., all that seems to be good. The world is still split apart and it still seems like certain things are attractive. Like this afternoon when we were watching that movie and scenes of war were coming up in the mind. It’s the pain, the fear sometimes of seeing some scenes of just the ludicrousness of all the wars that seem to have taken place in linear time. Bodies getting blown apart, people following orders to shoot sometimes women or civilians or sometimes friendly fire, hitting some of your own comrades so to speak and all this stuff, I mean it just seems to be madness. And then you think about the good life. The fine dining, the diamonds, the Lincoln Continentals, the cushy seats, all the things that go along with the good life; that’s just the cover!
Friend: My kids are heavily into soccer and the world cup soccer tournaments were going on and it was a big, big deal as if that was a really wonderful thing to watch. But you saw war going on there. One guy gets the goal in the wrong goal and so he gets shot. There’s a war going on under the disguise of competition. Healthy competition, that’s not a war.
David: There are those words again: healthy/competition. That’s why the world was made, so it can see the things that it wants. The ego is the belief in competition, competition with God. When you look at sports events and the big, big bucks that athletes are paid now a days. So and so signs a three-million dollar deal or a thirty-five million dollar multi-year deal or whatever, it’s very attractive to the ego—competition—it wants to see it. It will pay and exchange the green paper strips, but again, it’s in the mind. It’s just an intention in the mind that has to be unveiled.
Friend: It does seem to the ego that to let go of this special love that I’ve worked so hard to get and put so much into, like all my eggs are in that basket, it seems like to let that go is a big loss until there’s some recognition that it’s not that you are without love, but that there is an opening to even learn what love is.
David: And the body is the focus. When you think of the special hate relationship usually there are memories of certain behaviors and they’re memories of bodies; they aren’t memories of mind or memories of Spirit. And the flip side is with the special love relationship. There are those attractive elements. You know what I love about you more than anybody else in the world? I love that smile you have or I love the way you do this with your feet or hair. All those little idiosyncrasies, you know that make that one so special and they’re behaviors that are stored away. This time under the category of precious instead of hated. So it’s all about withdrawing my investment in my physical sight and opening my mind to the spiritual sight; that’s really what it comes down to.
“The Holy Spirit asks only this little help of you: Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you, enter with Him into a holy instant, and there let Him release you. He needs only your willingness to share His perspective to give it to you completely. And your willingness need not be complete because His is perfect. It is His task to atone for your unwillingness by His perfect faith, and it is His faith you share with Him there. Out of your recognition of your unwillingness for your release, His perfect willingness is given you. Call upon Him, for Heaven is at His Call. And let Him call on Heaven for you.” (T-16.VI.12)
Friend: So, basically is this saying that if you have a clear and honest intent that’s all you have to have, and be willing, then the rest is taken care of?
David: Yes. The Holy Spirit will do the transforming. All you have to do is be willing to question and hold on to that intent. And that intention; we talk about staying on purpose or staying with that intention, is buried in the mind. In other words when you first start working with the Course, even when you work with the lessons it seems like you forget to do them. You’re supposed to do them maybe a few times a day and it increases sometimes to every hour and he has all these reminders like If you forget, just remember this or whatever because he knows to the untrained mind how difficult it is to hold on to this intention. As you go along and if you keep your mind open and you keep being willing that you’ll grow and grow in strength and that’s what the mind training of the Workbook is about, to make it very consistent.
Friend: And the whole point of questioning all the beliefs is to make room in the mind for it to become aware of what this intention is. All those overlays are blocking the light or blocking that intention.
David: Otherwise, some people have picked up the Course and have said Well, I want a formula. And it says: just ask the Holy Spirit to help me see this differently. That’s a nice sentence. However, if you have a strong investment in the ego and it’s unconscious and it’s unquestioned, then you can say the words … like people have used mantras or affirmations to try to bring about this change. You can say the words “Holy Spirit, help me see this differently” but if there’s a strong investment in the ego, the mind doesn’t really want to see this differently. That’s where it comes into really questioning the beliefs so that that intention can be held in mind consistently and when you say “Holy Spirit, help me see this differently” you can mean it instead of just saying the words.
Friend: And what I have found is that without questioning the beliefs and just asking for the shift in my mind to see it differently. Like even if it seems like I do eventually come to that shift, it’s not lasting. Because inevitably there will be another upset coming along. And I think that has to be because there’s no real fundamental change in the mind; it’s kind of a Band Aid or quick fix sort of thing. I find a way of looking at it differently enough that I can kind of gloss over that upset and maintain, but to really have a consistent state of peace that’s not so tenuous and unstable there’s a questioning of all the beliefs that run counter to that. And the intolerance for the continued upset leads me to want to go underneath and question at a much deeper level. As long as I’m tolerating the upset and willing to put up with it, then why would I bother to go underneath?
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