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What it Means to Decide for the Light
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.
Participant: Sometimes I have a situation where I’m tempted and I have an opportunity to go either way with my decision about what to believe. Sometimes the instruction seems to be to remove all of your judgments about the situation and just focus on the light and let the Holy Spirit interpret this for you as you’re in it. Sometimes there’s a process that’s called for; a way of looking at the negative and see it for what it is—nothing.
Participant: That’s the same though, isn’t it?
Participant: Somehow it doesn’t seem to be to me because it seems like looking at the ontological process takes more time. If I’m scared to death to play the violin for a hundred people then of course, automatically, I choose just to focus on the light and yet if I were to try a more intellectual approach, going step by step back and saying what is this really about it seems somehow different.
Speaker: The only thing is when you join with the Light the whole purpose is to look at the false or look past the false. To forgive or overlook, that’s really where the two come together, in a sense it’s just one and the same. All the metaphors that Jesus uses like take my hand dear little child, we’ll go down and look at this dark stuff. That’s a metaphor for just joining with the Light. You can imagine if you’re just going to look at this intellectually, just look at the negative, you’re going to be sunk!
Participant: I don’t think that’s what he’s saying.
Participant: What would you look at the negative with? You look with the Light. How would you be able to look at it if it wasn’t with the light?
Participant: It’s just like our friend was talking about which I really agree with. When you see a decision for what it is; when you take the guilt away from a negative act and just see it for what it is, then nobody is dumb enough not to make the right choice. Everyone is capable of making the right choice. Anyway, somehow I saw a difference there.
Participant: Because that’s where you were and you’re seeing it from where you are at that time and that’s how it’s meaningful to you. The answer is the same ultimately. But, he’s not coming from that level. He’s coming from the other level and so you need to see it from that level and that’s ok.
Speaker: I see it as a question too. It’s like you were asking a question. So, you’re open to a possibility, because it sure seems that way. So, we’re not trying to deny your experience.
Participant: One decision seems to be to just turn to the Light and one decision seems to be made with my individual intellect, to turn to the Light.
Speaker: Let’s come back to the metaphysics in this way. Every instant we’re making a decision to decide with the Holy Spirit or the ego. Those are our only two options and there aren’t any other. It seems like in the Rules for Decision (ACIM Chapter 30) it would be great to say, wait a minute there is this thing called me that can just make a decision without the Holy Spirit and the ego. But, in the Rules for Decision Jesus says that’s not the case. Your range is limited. So, you’re choosing for one or the other.
Participant: Nothing happens unless you agree…
What happens with all these layers of false beliefs? What happens is the decision is made way down here in the basement and then it comes out on the surface. I believe I’m subject to space and time. I believe in bodies. I believe I’m a man. I believe I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I believe I’ve got a cat. I believe I’m low on money. I believe its Thursday. I believe its 12:30 and...
Participant: And I haven’t got a brownie and I believe I’ve got to have a brownie. [laughter]
Speaker: I’ve got to have a brownie! You see how it goes... But wait a minute—no, no, no, you are making a decision from the ego or the Holy Spirit and that’s the way it comes out on the surface. So, now you have my attention, Jesus! I will not value what is valueless. Everything you decide upon brings you everything or nothing. He says, “Now, there are some criteria that you need to learn to help you distinguish what is valuable and what’s valueless”. This is getting pretty practical! So, he gives you the first one: “When you choose anything, unless it’s eternal, it brings you nothing”.
Participant: Oh, my goodness!
And this is the first criteria! This is the first one! This isn’t five or six! Then you read on and you see there’s something to this. All idols, all specialness, all the stuff and all those layers and stacks in between that the mind invests in; that’s where the guilt comes from. A clear mind has gone down through all the layers and levels. (David is talking about the building with many floors as a metaphor for the mind). Jesus has transcended the ego and can see that the ego offers nothing. Not on floor 23 or 22, not in the closet! Nothing; there’s nothing there that’s valuable! Then you can see the choice for what it is. This is no choice! When you can get to the bottom then you can see that this is no choice at all. The Atonement is basically accepting a decision that’s already been made. The Holy Spirit is really the only one. There’s no deprivation involved in that. But until you get to the bottom, oh boy, does it seem like sacrifice! Because I want what’s on floor 23 and floor 9 down that hall, And room 7, that one... I call it the corral. Here you go Jesus you can have all these, but not what’s over here...
Participant 4: But that’s why it’s a process.
Speaker: It’s a process until you start to generalize or transfer the training. In other words, we always talk about the main switch. In all those metaphors in the Course where it says in one instant you can choose… perhaps today, it says. There comes a point where you get so good at recognizing backward thoughts. You get so good at realizing, oh, the sun is not making me hot and that person didn’t make me angry.
Participant: But, you don’t begin there.
Speaker: No you don’t start there at all. In fact, when you’re teaching a class with all the newcomers you don’t even get into those, because you don’t want to get into hypotheticals. That’s why we’re here now, in a sense; we’re here to try to go in as deep as we can. Even on some of the stuff that we discussed you may think: Maybe... maybe on some of these ideas but I still have my reservations. We’re kind of like throwing out lots of seeds. It’s not saying everyone has to take these seeds and everyone has to go home and plant them.
Participant: Nobody is guilty for not doing that. That’s a very important thing.
Speaker: That’s the joy of it! You can just throw out seeds and seeds and whichever ones seem to be useful!
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