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Withdrawing the Mind from the World - 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.

Participant 1: I’m having lots and lots of resistances come up and lots and lots of conflict. I’m not even sure where to begin. So, I guess I’ll begin with where the conflicts seem to come, where it started, where I felt it first.

I was at a girlfriend’s yesterday… And well, I suppose it first started when I talked to Participant 3 because that’s creating lots in me going on… this whole thing of what she’s doing and it’s really not about her. I’m looking at it from the stand point of ‘it’s my own lesson.’ But there’s just lots going on and one big thing going on in me is that I just wonder if it’s the Holy Spirit guiding her or something else because it just seems to be too much of a struggle. It’s not flowing, and I know in my past when things were right for me to do, they flowed; doors opened and things just seemed to happen. And I’m feeling too much of a struggle. I’m just wondering. But then again, I just keep looking at it from my lesson.

So anyway, I was at a girlfriend’s yesterday and we were cooking and she was talking to me about all kinds of things and you’ve probably had this happen where you’re in a conversation and somebody’s talking to you and it’s not relating. It doesn’t make sense any more, it’s not relating and you’re smiling, and saying“Yeah, I know…” and it’s not relating. So I just kept making lasagna. Then if I thought there was something that could have related, I would jump right in with some lesson and then I realized that it was threatening to her. So, I wasn’t feeling comfortable there talking about the Course. I wasn’t feeling comfortable talking about life. I wasn’t feeling comfortable talking about anything. So, I kept making lasagna and then pretty soon I just told her how I was feeling about something and said, “So many things don’t make sense any more. It’s kind of hard for me” because I wanted to share with her. I don’t just want to be with this group. I have a whole other group of people out there.

I know what brought it up, too. She was bringing up a friend, it’s a relationship she’s had that’s been up and down for a long time. She says, “This woman is insane and I just have to accept her for her insanity but I don’t want to get too close.” I said, “In a way, all of our relationships are insane” and I said, “and it’s not that you don’t get too close, it’s just that you love her deeper than what you’re seeing.” We started talking about that and then I said, “I’m realizing that there are special relationships and there are holy relationships.” We got onto that and she just went wild and she said, “I don’t understand that. What do you mean? Of course we have special relationships. I love my husband. I look forward to retiring with my husband. I have a wonderful life with him and my kids. What are you talking about?! What are you talking about?!” And I said, “I shouldn’t have said anything. This is something that I’ve been going through in my group and that’s the part that most people have nervous breakdowns at is the special relationships part and I know that it’s threatening to you and I shouldn’t have even brought it up because I don’t even understand it.” She said, “Well, I’m going to tell you something. That’s crazy and if that’s where you’re going, I don’t know.” I said, “It might be crazy and I understand what you’re saying and I have the same fear. But I feel strongly that I need to go in this direction and… I can see that there are certain things that I can’t talk about.” And she said, “What do you mean, you can’t talk about them?” I said, “Well, maybe it would be better if we just kept the discussion on something else.” She said, “If there’s something you want to talk about, get it out there. Don’t be afraid. Get it out there! What can’t you talk about? What can’t you tell me?”

So, then I just started talking to her some more and she sat down and was very peaceful and then I started telling her about a friend, “For example, there’s a friend…” and I really wanted to talk about this but I was afraid of her judgments because there’s enough going on in my mind… and I just said… “I talked to her and she’s really struggling. This is a person who I’ve known for almost eight years. She’s a wonderful mother.” (It was like I had to defend her.) “She is. She’s got the two most beautiful children and a wonderful husband who’s supporting her. But, she feels very strongly she needs to do this and she’s going to be with us to study and she’s leaving the kids for the summer… Believe me, I’ve had my own share of judgments but I keep thinking that she must be doing this for a reason.” She says, “Why would anybody do that. I understand you want to talk about the Holy Spirit. But, she should be able to do that in her own house. What does she have to come here for, leave her family, create havoc?” I said, “Well she’s feeling drawn by the Holy Spirit. There are two forces, the Holy Spirit and the ego.” And she goes, “You’re telling me that’s not the ego? She’s struggling like that? You know when the Holy Spirit’s worked with you…” (and she’s right)… “everything flows and is open. You didn’t have to struggle. You weren’t having all these tears.” I said, “But the ego is very strong and the ego says, ‘Rhonda you can’t go there you’re a mother.’” And I went through all this stuff, but mind you, this is my own lesson. I’m having this struggle. We sat and gave each other a hug and she said, “Whatever you’re going through, I want you know how much I love you. You can talk to me about anything. If you’re having a fear about it, it’s your own fear.” I said, “I guess it’s about clarity and I don’t feel comfortable teaching you what I’m learning. I’m not clear enough and when I’m clear enough we can sit down and discuss it and I’ll be able to talk to you about anything. But right now I just can’t and so I know that none of this is making sense but the fact that I can even sit in your kitchen and relate with you makes me feel good because I really wanted to feel related to you.” So, that was that and we left and it was fine.

This morning I woke up and I had more conflicts going on and I started thinking about you guys coming to the house and that’s wonderful that you are here but Steve’s paying for the damn thing and we’re all sitting around enjoying it. And I’m feeling very guilty that I’m not going to have a job now and then I started thinking about Christian and… here she is trying to sleep during the day and I started getting angry and wanted my garbage can to put some grievances in….So that’s conflicted. [editor’s note: reference to above passage is not know.]

Last night, I was at the soccer game and my mother said to me, “There’s an opportunity opening up in cardiac rehab and we need somebody to counsel patients who are in cardiac rehab. It’s just once a month, no big commitment…” I just looked at her and said, “You know that I’m trying to take a break.” And she said, “I know you are but this is just once a month. It’s no big commitment.” Snd then she tells me the head nurse wants to talk to me and she may need a nurse to come in just once in awhile to work and it’s becoming tempting… not because it’s in line with my purpose but because I’m feeling very guilty about not helping with the finances. We have a big year coming up and I don’t feel comfortable putting it all on Steve. Even though he is saying, “take the break” I’m not feeling comfortable. So, I thought maybe I would go in on Monday and just look at this… because a year and a half from now I have to be working regardless of whatever journey I’m going to be taking, I’ve got to be working. So that created conflict.

So this morning I wake up and I’m not at all peaceful and then I got to go start working on this class for tomorrow night and I’m not at all peaceful because this class takes a lot out of me and then I talked to one of my students and she said, “You know your class is my favorite class. I just love the class.” So, my ego started jumping and Steve caught it right away and he said, “Ah-ah, if this course is doing anything for you, you don’t want to get into the trap of feeling good about a student saying that.” I said, “You’re right.” So that was that.

And then I started studying my Course book and I started thinking about the laughing Jesus because all this was creating so much havoc that I wanted to either laugh or cry and I said, “I really would like that picture of the laughing Jesus.” So, as I was leaving the house I said, “Honey, do you mind? There is a picture that I really want. It’s the laughing Jesus. I’ll just put it in the study. I just want to hang it on wall next to the floor - nobody will see it.” He goes, “No pictures of Jesus in our house. I’m sorry. I cannot take that.” I said, “This is just something that I want to do.” And he said, “No that just really makes me feel uncomfortable.” In the meantime, right before that he told me how wonderful this Course was and where it’s taking me, but when it came to Jesus that was it. So that created conflict with me and I left feeling like I don’t know who I am or what I want. So, then I started talking about these groups and how I’m doing this for him and I’m doing this for the kids and he said, “You’re not doing it for me or the kids, you’re doing it for yourself.” and he said, “Enjoy it, I want you to take some time for yourself but believe me, by next September you better be done because I need your help. You’re not doing this for anybody else but yourself.” And I said, “If I really wanted to have fun for myself there’s a lot of other things I’d be doing than going to these groups.” He said, “I don’t care what you’re doing, but believe me I don’t need you going to them and the kids don’t need you going to them. Nobody cares. You’re doing it for yourself.” So, I leave crying. I’m upset with him and he says, “If you care anything about me and the kids and our life together, the reality is eventually you’re going to be working.” And when I told him about this possible job he’s the one who said to me, “Look, you want the time off, take the time off.” I left there feeling bad, and then I felt bad that I created so much fear in him because that’s what it is. He’s very fearful.

Then I went out to lunch with another friend and we were talking… she’s my very best friend, a special relationship type thing… and she says, “We’re all very scared for you; whatever you’re doing. Steve’s very fearful. He’s just like we are. We’re very fearful. We’re afraid you’re going to leave us. We’re afraid wherever this is taking you you’re going to leave us. You’ve been the dearest person to me and I don’t want you to leave me. Where is this taking you?” And, I’m sitting there at lunch with that and I said, “I have a fear that you guys are all going to leave me because I’m going to stop making sense to anybody or be able to relate to anybody.” She said, “No, nobody is going to leave you. We love you. You have to trust yourself. Quit losing trust. Trust whatever you’re doing…. Don’t worry about Steve. Don’t worry about us. Do what you’re doing; if it takes five years if it takes ten years. Whatever it takes, do it because we love you. Give me hug.” So, I leave her with that and… I can’t say anymore. I’m just totally conflicted. I’m totally wondering what’s Holy Spirit and what’s ego here. What am I supposed to be doing? Who am I? What am I? I do not feel comfortable traveling on some abstract journey and not helping out financially. I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t think it's right. If I did get a divorce because that seemed to be right I’d be working for sure because I wouldn’t have any support.

Nothing is making sense to me. This is not making sense… and I read… and the only thing making sense is in my lesson today… I’m still on, “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” There’s a part in there… it’s just a little sentence and it says, “Just remember I am here.” And that’s the only thing that’s made any sense to me. Otherwise it was a totally bad day, a ‘bad hair day’, a ‘bad Course day’, whatever you want to call it.

Speaker: That’s good. There’s a lot of things to look at and go into with that. I think maybe we can just try to address a lot of that because it brings everything to the forefront. The basic thing that we keep talking about is that this world is insane and that the only way that we’ll ever be able to come to any kind of sanity is to withdraw our mind from it and consequently it is commonplace when we start to even begin to withdraw our mind from it, that there seems to be an awful lot of witnesses that seem to be doubting or questioning.

Maybe, some seem even to be offering you some support with some hooks ideas of reciprocity or with some time frames on it, “I’m supporting you now in what you’re doing and it’s just for yourself alone, and you have a certain amount of time to do what you need to do and then you have got to plug back in.” And I sense that there’s something in your mind that is wondering, ‘Well if I keep taking the steps, even in two or three months… if I let go of the way I’ve constructed the world and this old way of thinking… that it may be too far gone. My mind might be… I don’t know where… but it may be too far gone from where I think it is now to go back.’ That’s been what I’ve talked to Rhonda a lot about and Jesus says in a couple of places, “Don’t look back because…” Or, that story in the bible, in the old testament, where they tell the woman, “Don’t look back or you’ll turn into a pillar of salt” but she just can’t resist and looks back and is frozen in an image.

I can relate to what you’re saying because I’ve experienced those questions all along about the fear of where this is taking me. But if this world, the way I’ve constructed it, is insane then it has specialness and all kinds of judgments in it. And all the pain and all the struggle comes from my clinging to it. But Course or no Course, there’s a sense that there’s some kind of a reality, something much, much deeper in my mind that is real. And so all the pain just comes from clinging to the way I’ve constructed my identity. And if that’s the case then of course, then it must be the ego Like you were saying at the beginning, “Is this the Holy Spirit?” If there is struggle involved then it cannot be the Holy Spirit. It must be the ego talking and… it’s attributing the struggle to a particular form thing; a decision that’s being made in form.

First, if there is struggle involved then Jesus says you cannot be listening to the Holy Spirit and learning his joyous lessons because there is no single instant when the mind can be listening to the Holy Spirit and struggling… because that would make no sense at all. That would mean that the Holy Spirit’s lessons aren’t wholly joyous or there is some sacrifice or some loss involved in listening to the Holy Spirit. The second thing is that it will be perceived, Jesus says, over and over… as you go along that you have to go through fear to get to the other side… that you have to walk through fear and pain.

I think one of my favorite places in the course that really helped reassure me; when I’ve had times when I think that I’ve started to really vacillate and go insane… One of them that really comes to mind is the one from the “self concept vs. Self” section, the last one, chapter 31. We could go into the whole section… but basically the first page and the second page are just saying… in the first paragraph it says,

“The building of the concept of the self is what the learning of the world is for. This is its purpose that you come without a self and make one as you go along.”

Then, as it goes on, it talks about the ‘face of innocence’ which I heard you describing a little bit… the one that was trying to smile during the conversation with your friend, meanwhile underneath thinking, ‘I don’t feel at peace.’ This is putting on a happy face and smiling through it and that’s the face of innocence.

“The face of innocence the concept of the self so proudly wears can tolerate attack in self-defense”’ and it goes on to talk about that. And then beneath that it says, “It is a lesson in a terrible displacement, and a fear so devastating that the face that smiles above it must forever look away, lest it perceive the treachery it hides.”

I just go through those things to set up the passage that I’m really wanting to point to because I want to get to this idea that there will seem to be perceived ill-at-ease feelings or uncomfortable feelings that go with the journey. When I read a passage like that, it’s kind of helpful, being told that by Jesus because, just like when he was telling the apostles, “There are trials coming up.” It helps prepare me. The one I’m talking about is the second to last paragraph. I’ll just read the paragraph. It begins,

“The concept of the self is meaningless for no one here can see what it is for and therefore cannot picture what it is. Yet is all learning that the world directs begun and ended with the single aim of teaching you this concept of yourself, that you will choose to follow this world’s laws, and never seek to go beyond its roads nor realize the way you see yourself. Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be undone, if any peace of mind is to be given you. Nor can it be unlearned except by lessons aimed to teach that you are something else. For otherwise, you would be asked to make exchange of what you now believe for total loss of self, and greater terror would arise in you. Thus are the Holy Spirit’s lesson plans arranged in easy steps that though there be some lack of ease at times and some distress, there is o shattering of what was learned, but just a retranslation of what seems to be the evidence on its behalf.”

To me when we come together and we keep going into these very radical ideas that seem to be a complete flip flop of the entire world that we’ve known and experienced, we have to keep coming at it and inviting the Holy Spirit to come amongst us and help us retranslate the world.

There have to be concepts that we can grab on to in our minds that will be the next rung to go to because it’s the purpose… it’s the top of the ladder that terrifies us. I think that everyone who gets into the Course and who has been into it for some time starts to sense that, “Wow, the direction that this thing is leading me is this way, and the direction that everyone that I know and have seemed to experience in my life is going this way.” There’s all kinds of perceived losses and thoughts like‘I’ll have to leave them behind’ and so on and so forth. The top of the ladder is terrifying. So, what we need to do when we talk about concepts is to start to let ideas come to mind as possible rungs that we can grab onto… that’s the retranslation. Even those are fearful in the sense that when we’ve even talked about the idea or concept of the ‘teacher of God’ or prophets or priests as you had said, “Oh, I can’t think in those terms even.” And those are ones that are starting to approach going up and up the ladder because obviously He is guiding us towards something that doesn’t really fit into the boxes of the world that we’ve known.

Participant 1: The only thing that brought me any peace with this at all was the thought, “I am there.” [editor’s note: “I” probably refers to Jesus.] Because I just thought that one of the things that I would do is try to analyze the whole thing and like I said, I’m just going to lay it out there and I’m not going to try to analyze where it’s coming from or why it’s coming or anything, but it’s there. It’s just a conflict. It’s just stress.

The peace is that somehow I’m going through this. It’s my own lesson. I have to do this, whatever it is and He’s there. But, even reading this, it’s so hard. It’s like you said, I feel like I’m being brought here. But, it’s kind of like being dragged along because there is something back there I still want. I don’t even blame anybody; it’s that I still want.

When my friend said, “I love my husband and the memories, I would never do without these memories.” And then the last thing she said is, “Can you imagine leaving Marci [your daughter] for the summer?” And I thought [sarcastically], “ Thanks for that. That was really nice.” It was like, ‘Can you imagine? You are going to have such a fun summer with Marci. Can you imagine leaving Marci for the summer?’ It was sort of a dig actually. I said, “It may seem that leaving Marci for the summer would be sort of a crummy thing to do. But, if I were leaving Marci to become more clear about my purpose and I was able then to come back and teach Marci that higher purpose, wouldn’t that be more beneficial?” And she said, “Well, maybe, but I just don’t see why you have to leave her for the summer to learn your purpose.” That whole thing came up. This is just really going through my mind. I talked to Marci about it. I said, “How would you feel if I left you?” … She thought I was going to the Traverse City when I explained the whole thing and I said, “No, I’m not.” She said, “Well, I don’t want you to.” I said, “Well, if I go to the trailer for a few days?” She said, “For a few days you can do anything you want, but not the whole summer.” It’s just a conflict. I see the higher purpose but I’m obviously still not seeing the higher purpose. I’m still conflicted about it. It’s as if I’m going. It’s not as if Participant 3 is doing anything. It’s as if I’m leaving. It’s a symbol to me of what is going on here. That’s scary to me. Yet, another place that comes is I then visualize that higher purpose. I see a world without all these relationships and just people at peace and I think that’s wonderful and I think that’s unrealistic. It’s never going to be. Maybe, my psychologist was right, life is meant to be a struggle. There are ups and there are downs. If you’re trying to get it like this, you’re unrealistic. That’s never going to happen.

Speaker: There is a line in the Teacher’s Manual where Jesus says, “No one can be angry at a fact.” And He goes on to say, “It’s always an interpretation that gives rise to anger.” We can just substitute the word anger for the word upset, general conflicts or whatever you are feeling. So there has to be an interpretation. When we were here the last session, we kind of got into this whole thing of purpose and you said, “But in form… in form… Participant 3 is leaving the kids!” And it goes back to that question of whether vision through the body’s eyes is reliable. Is anything that I interpret in form reliable? Something could happen and… there would be 10, 15 or 2,000 interpretations of an event based on the meaning that it has for the viewer. You look at politics and all this stuff that Clinton seems to be going through now, being charged with sexual harassment and so forth.

Participant 1: I cannot relate to that.

But, the symbol seems to be coming pretty close to home; home to what? That’s what we need to work it into. If I have a false concept or a false identity that’s pretty tightly constructed and I value it… not only is it there by my own making but I have some value for it… anything that seems to be a symbol that is a threat to that is where all this stuff gets flushed up. The ideas of motherhood; the mother and her children and bonding and the different things we’ve talked about. Those are all concepts in the mind, but they now seem to be more than concepts. They seem to be a reality, as if my world is built around that reality. I guess what we can do is just take it from there and work in. Maybe you have something…

Participant 2: Actually from last time… I wanted to share the whole analogy about cancer…. Somehow that seems applicable here.

Participant 1: It may seem applicable but you know what would happen with that… I started thinking about again… I’m doing this for myself. I’m healing my own mind. I’m healing my own body. I’m healing myself. I’m doing this for myself, it’s bothering me and I know that I’m doing it for somebody else. But I feel like my husband may be right, that I am doing it for myself. He’s the one struggling. He’s the one working. He’s the one doing everything and I’m here doing this for myself.

Participant 2: And if you had cancer and it was necessary for you to be away from the family to do what was necessary…?

Participant 1: I’d feel guilty about that too and I’d probably be dying of the cancer because I’d be so guilty. I would… just going to doctors makes me feel guilty. Spending the money has made me feel guilty. Today I had to go to the cardiologist… then he ordered a [?] and I said, “Wonder how much that’s gonna cost.” I’m feeling terribly irresponsible right now. This is not helping. Do you know what I’m saying?

Participant 3: I appreciate what you’ve shared because I’ve been going through a lot of feelings too, feeling really crazy. A couple things come up for me. Number one, I notice the peace and the joy that I feel when I’m in my right mind and when you talk about feeling guilty if you had cancer… when I’m in my wrong mind, it doesn’t matter what it is, I’m going to feel guilty because I know that it’s not the truth.

This question keeps coming up in my mind and other things that I want to share but I feel that this has to come out first: When we were at Mary’s a couple weeks ago we were talking to your friends and I had said something to the effect that I felt like that was an unwise thing to do and you said, “Well, I’m not going to give up my friends.” I guess this is the question that comes up for me in view of what happened today with you and your friends… I question the wisdom of doing that because of… as you said… the challenge that you have in explaining the Course right now because you’re a novice at it.

It takes notice that what’s going on in my life is very ample and is giving me enough to deal with and I don’t need to go out and try to talk to somebody about this and that what I need to do is ‘be it’ and extend the love. I see that this trip coming up to Michigan next week is going to be a powerful opportunity for me to stay in that learning, that it’s always my mind. I just feel like what the Holy Spirit keeps saying is, “Just be here. Just be here.”

The last few days have been real hectic for me and I’ve just been pulling back and doing some alone time. After class today I went to the park and just walked around for an hour. I just needed to connect to the Holy Spirit. I felt I had been in such a mode of ‘doing, doing, doing’. And that really brings up a question for me. Certainly in my mind, it seems like it would be the simple thing to do to become very focused on the Course, to get out of nursing, and not have to deal with all these outside things and just focus. When I’m just doing the Course it seemed relatively easy and I know that I’ll use the outside things and it probably wouldn’t matter if I was out of nursing or not, I’d still find something to run interference with the Holy Spirit because of my fear. But, I do notice that it seems like… and I know this is because I’m in my wrong mind… that there’s conflict going on… I can’t ‘do life’ and get the Course. What I’d like to do is just be able to sit down and not deal with anything else.

Participant 2: That’s just how I feel. And I can’t do that right now.

Speaker: Yes… there are two directions. Jesus says, ‘You may have noticed how different the goals this course is advocating than the goals you held before.’ Talk about an understatement. That’s putting it mildly. They are totally diametrically in opposite directions and we’ve talked about that whole thing of trying to see two worlds. I would say just like you said; if I still value the old goal then I will value the world that proceeds from the old goal. I would perceive it as a threat if I even think I have to let go of that old world because I still value the old goal. As we keep coming together we just want to get clear on the goals or the purposes of the mind because then it just starts to bring a clarity. The ego’s goal is death and all the different forms it seems to take, even the ones that seem attractive to the mind on the surface, are still death. We just want to keep moving towards the center of its thought system just to see the insanity of it, to let it go.

Participant 3: Would it be appropriate to read the Branching of the Road on pg. 444?

Speaker: I think we could but I really think right now we could just go into it and let the Spirit move among us. ‘I am the branching of the road’. It’s not in that book. I offer right now to go into it and it’s scary I know because we don’t even have a book to go into. But, the thing we want to do is to we want to just try to follow this in as much as we can to try to get some real clarity on it.

Are these things relating? What were the issues that you had? I wanted to make sure that everybody had a chance to bring up their issues.

Participant 2: I’m sure they all relate. There is only one problem and one solution.

I just noticed thoughts that I have had coming up today and even yesterday. Again it seems like the teaching device is the car. Yesterday it was actually a friend’s car and today it had to do with the car I was driving. What happened is of no consequence really but the feelings or the perceptions and the thoughts that I had, had to do with feeling like someone else had the upper hand and that I was being taken or ‘had’, that it was my word against theirs, that I was being unfairly treated or misunderstood. I would think all that goes back to the authority problem.

Participant 3: That sounds like what was going on with me the other day.

Participant 2: I had a sense of how that might have felt because I was kind of identifying with how I had felt… in the past when that kind of thing would go on. And it feels to me like, since it's still in my thoughts, it feels like its something that I want to get clearer about and so I cease having those thoughts.

Speaker: Just run through them again. Being taken advantage of was one of them?

Participant 2: Being taken advantage of; someone else having the upper hand; being ‘had’; my word against theirs; being unfairly treated; being misunderstood. But, I think the big things are being taken, being ‘had’, my word against theirs and in the end basically that they had the upper hand, that I’m kind of at they’re mercy; it’s victimization again.

Speaker: Yes. Well, we have this perceptual world now. There seems to be… if we could really get beneath everything that’s been raised today, we can start to see that everything rests on duality in the world. There would be no point in talking about a struggle I was feeling when I was talking with Kathy or being taken or had when I was taking my car in or anything that we’ve talked about… all the things that have been discussed presumed a duality in the world. Being taken advantage of by another, my word against their word… you can hear… it doesn’t matter all the different forms, but the underlining thing is there is duality.

So, we can really boil it down to the simplest terms and say, ‘Gee, all of those are predicated on my belief that there is duality in this world.’ Another way we could come at it is ‘points of view’. There seem to be so many points of view; my view, their view, my friends view, my husbands view, what’s so-and-so is going through. What would you do? Would you leave your daughter behind? All these things are predicated on duality.

Duality is assumed to be reality. And it doesn’t matter whether you studied the Course or whether you studied Hinduism or all the different religions, the core of all the religions point to unity and even philosophers who have gone into this still have come to the point where they recognized that, ‘There’s nothing apart from mind but then, where did the duality come in and how did the duality come about and how did it seem to be so real if unity is the fact of it?’

So, that’s where we have to got to asking the question; is the duality real or am I projecting a conflict that’s in my mind out into the world and seeing it as if it’s between persons, institutions, schools of thought, forces of nature, etc. out there in the dualistic world? What I’m going to propose, and what the course is teaching, is that as long as we believe in a real, factual world of duality that is outside our minds and outside our persons that has a reality… as long as we believe that, there is no alleviation of the pain, there is no escape from the conflict until we are really ready to really question everything. This is the underpinnings of everything. This is not something that usually comes up in casual conversation. This is really deep down. If the fundamental way that I’ve been seeing is messed up and distorted then it’s no wonder that I would perceive all these problems in so called daily life and that they would seem to recur over and over and over without a seeming end at hand. The experience of a world of duality comes from the fundamental belief that ideas can leave their source. Where… would this world of duality come from? It seems to be out of control at times. It seems to have a life of its own. It just seems to be self-perpetuating.

Participant 3: Can we back up for just a moment? How does having the belief that ideas can leave their source create a dual world? I lost you there.

Speaker: If ideas can leave their source, then there seems to be a way that this twoness can come about. In other words, something seems to have left the mind and to now have a reality of itself. Duality and conflict is a belief in the mind and if it seems to have a reality outside of the mind then it would have to leave its source. Another thing is if we relate it back to a more abstract thing of Heaven is that God is Spirit, the Son is Spirit; the Son is an idea in the mind of God and therefore there is no duality or separation in that view. That’s basically the premise that ideas cannot leave their source and Christ has not left his Father’s mind. If ideas can leave their source then that’s the whole basis of the making of the world.

Participant 2: I sometimes think of it in terms of breaking apart. If ideas can leave they’re source, they break apart and then you two things; you have ideas here and you have their source here and that’s the duality, that’s the twoness.

Participant 3: So, there’s me and my thoughts break away… and go out in the world and then it seems that the world is against me; that kind of thing?

Participant 2: Once the mind accepts that there has been the breaking apart, there is two. There’s the idea broken away from the source, two things: idea and source. Then the way that gets played out is the duality, perceiving me against them, this against that, this versus the other. There’s always twoness and they’re not in harmony, they don’t reflect the oneness, they reflect the conflict that is inherent in breaking apart, in separating.

Participant 3: So, how does that relate to the car guy?

Participant 2: It’s still seeing me against him, his word against my word.

Participant 3: Which is the ego world… the world of illusions?

Participant 2: Mmm Hmm.

Speaker: There seems to be this strong conflict between persons. It seems as if, in the world, that you’re given so much time to live on this earth and some time or other everyone seems to conflict. Even the special loved ones seem to be rubbing up and grating on this person. The person is like, ‘Give me a break. Give me some space.’ There’s such a friction that goes on there.

The idea that ideas leave their source is the belief that I’m not whole and eternal. ‘I have left my source in heaven’… that’s the basis of the belief in separation, that I have left Heaven… I have left my source. And not only that, but… all these figures in the dream are apart from the little ‘i’ now. ‘I’m a little person sleeping now. ‘I’m a little person in the dream world and all of these other persons have separate realities with private minds and private thoughts completely apart from my little private mind.’ You can see where that’s a belief that ideas can leave their source because there is that separateness and that duality. And also, whenever I have an upset… do I think, ‘Oh it’s just my perceptual problem, I could forgive and see peace instead of this’ or do I hold on to the reality this is another person, this person at the car dealership or this mechanic is taking advantage of me or this friend is attacking me? It could be any of these different things. You can see what’s beneath that… is the belief that… ‘I’m not just viewing my ideas… as if to recognize that this whole world and all these people are just my ideas. There would be no threat in that. But, if I belief that ideas have left their source and that these people have nothing to do with me… that man saying that to me when I was getting my car or my friend saying that… then you can see where that friction is inevitable from that perspective.

Continue to Withdrawing the Mind from the World - Part 2

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