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The World Has No Real Cause
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: Jesus refers to that there is a child in you that needs your protection. There’s even inner-child work in the Course Workbook. But I would say that there is some confusion in the approach about protecting the wounded child. You don’t want to protect the ego. That’s where all the defense mechanisms come in. All the defense mechanisms are attempts to protect the wounded split off self. And the defenses need to be laid down. In John Bradshaw’s work there is a part where they talk about the wounded child. “You’ve got to protect the wounded child and it’s good to have anger as a tool to get anger back and protect yourself.” Well, obviously that’s just an idea, but that idea is totally and completely the antithesis of what Jesus is saying in the Course. Jesus is saying, “Anger is never justified,” and “Every time you attack you’re literally attacking yourself. There is no value at all in attack.” So, it’s not like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Another thing is it would sometimes say “go back with your little inner-child and redo scenes from the past.” The difference between what the Course is doing and some of that inner-child work is not so much that you redo a scene and you change the form of the scene, but that you are able to, through the metaphysics, understand that there is another way to look at this.
Friend: I was in hypnosis last summer and I was so surprised to find out that I had been sexually abused within my family as a child. I had absolutely no recall about it what so ever, no idea. It was amazing to me because I had been around people who had been doing a lot of healing work about sexual abuse as children and it’s been very difficult and very painful and very traumatic and I always thought if I ever had to deal with that it would have to be traumatic and it wasn’t. It was a real experience of feeling myself above the battle ground and just watching it and not getting caught up in it and not feeling victimized and not feeling abused. Neither during it nor since then have I felt any anger about it or resentment or revenge or any of those things. I think what David’s point was that it’s always the present decision. So even when you go back into the past and recall what seemed to have happened, it’s like right now, what’s my present decision about how to look at that?
David: The interpretation evokes emotion so that’s why hypnosis or rebirthing or getting in touch with memories in many different ways… that’s where the Courses path differs from that inner-child work of going into a safe place with the inner-child or re-doing a scene. The Course is really about looking at your interpretations which also works with so called present memories, your daytime dreams when things are coming up. It’s the same principle that it’s your interpretation of what’s happening that you’re reacting to.
Friend: It’s not a matter of saying If only this could be different, but how can I look on it differently and interpret it differently? And that’s where I can have peace with it.
Friend: It’s just another forgiveness thing and further more the present memory that you’re talking about—we see only the past anyway. Everything…
David: Past life regression… It’s all the same. Perception is perception, right?
Friend: I had a fun experience recently; my friend was saying it’s a step on the way. Like the Course says in the section, Is Reincarnation So? If the concept is useful, given where you are and what you believe, then so be it and go with it. An example of that is the AA program, and that’s really where I got started on a spiritual path, because I was drinking abusively and chronically, and just exactly the pattern that they talked about in the program right to a T. Now, I was an alcoholic and I believed it. But, one of their main messages in the 12 steps while I was in the program, was We are powerless over alcohol. It meant that alcohol was basically the devil that we had no power over. Step one might as well have basically said, I am a body. And after I started getting into the Course I started saying This is not jiving here so I tried drinking again and once again I was drinking abusively. It’s been over two and a half years since I’ve had a drink after going out twice as they say in the program and just recently after reading some books and having some really deep experiences with God and Love and Christ and the Holy Spirit—just perfect peace—which were really the first ones I remember having, I started noticing these really strong urges to drink. Immediately I would dismiss them as Oh, I’m having a feeling. And then one night, it was about a week and a half ago or something like that, I was riding my bike and I just thought Tonight I’m going to have a drink. And I thought, No, if you do you’re going to ruin everything. You don’t want to ruin everything, do you, and basically I went out and got a six pack of beer and drank the whole thing and sat there thinking This is so dumb. When you go out in AA there is heaps of guilt, people come in and their heart is as heavy as a brick wall and they’re like, “I had that drink! My life is ruined! I’m horrible.” And I was sitting there drinking thinking This is so dumb! Why did I ever do this? This is no answer. It just felt awful. I felt kind of crummy, a little bit bad the next morning but I just dismissed the whole thing. I’m not an alcoholic. I’m not a body. Alcohol has no power over me whatsoever and I don’t need to take a drink. I doubt very much that I ever will again, unless I feel called upon for some reason to do so. But, it was a demonstration to me of taking it just beyond that; you know the story about Ram Dass’s guru taking a hundred hits of acid, just as a demonstration. But, for those people in the program and for me that first AA experience was extremely valuable, regardless of the message maybe not being quite right for me.
Friend: And you’ve gone on from there.
Friend: Oh yes. But, it got me started.
David: The form/content thing.
Friend: People are on the path that they need to be on and it’s not up to us to judge if my path is better and it certainly appears, if you were to implement the ego, that our path is best for people who were into guilt, but it’s not. Especially given that we’ve already arrived and we’re all heading the same direction and basically have already gotten there.
David: I’m seeing some real parallel to the part We’ve found our lives to be unmanageable and we are powerless over alcohol. To me that is about “the script is written.” That’s what the message of the Course is; you are powerless over the script. The script is written. You can’t change the form. The only remaining choice you have left is how you can look upon it. And to really come to that is a real opening of the mind. When you can start to see that you don’t have control over events but only over the way you perceive things. It’s not that my mind or my choice is unmanageable in the sense that my life, which has seemed to be on the screen, is uncontrollable or unmanageable. It’s giving up attempting to fix people… to change things.
Friend: That brings up an interesting question. If the law of cause and effect is in effect at all times, everything that happens to us, we’re responsible for on some level. It could be our conscious mind, or it could be our subconscious mind. Everything that happens to us we bring to ourselves because we are the cause, and perception is true of the way we perceive things. But the last part of the Course when it talks about, “I’ll make no decisions by myself today. I’ll only make decisions with the Holy Spirit.” Getting into that is being released from the ego and that is getting release from the negative cause and identifying with the Holy Spirit and then getting into another cause with different effects. So, couldn’t you say in a sense we are in control? We have our choices and not just from perception, but also from who is our guide, who do we identify with at all times?
Friend: Isn’t that what you’re saying? In a sense, who is your guide determines your perception?
David: There’s only two. There’s only the ego and the Holy Spirit.
Friend: Right, but I seem to be hearing what you’re talking about. If I was driving home tomorrow night and got into a car wreck I would look at it as if I have asked for this on some level. I am responsible so hence I am not a victim in no way, shape or form.
David: That’s a good point. We can go into cause and effect a little deeper. In the next step people could feel like Ok, I got cancer. I am responsible for this or I got in this car wreck and I lost my arm. I’m responsible for this. Aack! Still big time guilt! So, the question comes down to this thing What am I doing wrong, or why did I bring this upon myself? What I see the Course doing is, the way it talks about cause and effect; it basically says that the pure cause and effect relationship, the real one, is in Heaven. God is the Father and the Son is the effect. Now as soon as I think I have some causative power that’s involved with the screen or the script, that’s where the level confusion comes in because all causation is in the mind. As soon as we get into even manifesting then the mind believes that there is some kind of creative ability that’s connected with form. What the Course is saying is we have to start to return to the mind level sense of causation. Once we start to see that there is nothing on the screen that can take away our peace, there is no effect out there that can take away our peace, we prove that there was actually no real cause for anything that happened. It’s a backwards way of disproving the ego. Obviously, if this world has no effect then it can never take our peace away and we can generalize that to every situation. That’s the way the Holy Spirit proves Aha, then the world must not have a real cause and therefore the ego is disproved. That takes away all sense of guilt, because in a sense we never did in reality do anything to ourselves. Like our friend is always saying, “We can say the script is written but the script is unreal.”
Friend: In other words, we keep saying the world is an illusion and any attempt to look at a cause outside of yourself and try to make any judgment about why or why not or anything is acknowledging the reality of what’s on the screen and it’s not out there. Another way I think of answering that is to say it’s not out there. It’s in the mind, and we have one decision to make.
Friend: If that was true then we couldn’t affect anything. All of our trying to teach the Course, to change not only our thinking, but convey to others that they can change theirs... we couldn’t do that.
David: In the ultimate sense, that’s true. The metaphor of “other brothers” and “helping,” gets back to using the metaphor of a seeming split mind. Another thing too is that sense about affecting another persons mind. Just think a moment about it, it’s kind of like the old voodoo thing, like Alright, I’m going to send out bad vibes or good vibes. The ultimate sense of it is that even if we use the metaphorical sense of everyone having a separate mind, Jesus says your minds are equal. He can’t take away our fear, he says at one point in the text because it would be interfering with the basic law of cause and effect. He can’t come in between our thoughts and their effects. That’s where another great relief comes in. You mean I’ve never been able to hurt anyone ever—really— and no ones ever been able truly to hurt me? That seems like a vast idea but that’s what the message of the Course is.
Friend: That’s the only way that God’s Son could be guiltless. There’s nothing you can do to me and that’s why you’re innocent. Another way to look at it is, the goal of the Course is complete peace which implies a complete absence of fear. If there is an absence of fear, it doesn’t matter what happens on the screen. If there’s a complete absence of fear we recognize that what happens on the screen has no meaning at all except that we recognize that there is only love and that is all there is.
Friend: Nothing can disturb your peace.
Friend: So, it doesn’t matter if my, whatever gets cut off… my leg. It doesn’t matter.
Friend: It’s all the false value, the investment that you placed in it.
Friend: It says in The Development of Trust section of the Manual, “…and finally there is a period of achievement. It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before become as solid gains to be counted on in all emergencies as well as tranquil times. Indeed the tranquility is their result, the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought and full transfer.” So, when the mind comes around to what we’re about here then to be counted on in tranquil times as well as emergencies implies that we’re just at peace.
Friend: Yes, in quote; emergencies. Do me a favor and read the section just before that though.
Friend: You mean the paragraph before?
Friend: “The next stage is indeed a period of unsettling. Now must a teacher of God understand that he did not really know what was valuable and what was valueless. All that he really learned so far was that he did not want the valueless and that he did want the valuable yet his own sorting out was meaningless in teaching him the difference. The idea of sacrifice so central to his own thought system had made it impossible for him to judge.” So, we’re not at peace yet. We still think that we have a way of determining what is valuable and what is valueless. Our belief in sacrifice makes this completely impossible because sacrifice is not real, but we think it is. So, we have no basis for judging anything.
David: What our friend is saying is that the path of the Course is to first of all, the step is to bring causation back. In other words, before you can give another purpose to this dream, you have to first of all, pull back from identifying as being “the dream figure” to “I am the dreamer of the dream.” Now if I’m the dreamer of the dream then I can accept another purpose and I can have a happy dream. That’s a responsibility in that sense, but you see that is a very essential point because if you try to skip from dream figure to happy dream without I am responsible, then you miss it. You get into all kinds of things.
Friend: You have the full peace because you don’t judge anything, because it seems to me that you’re not putting out any attack thoughts. When you’re not putting out any attack thoughts then the love comes forth. The Love that we truly are so when that love comes forth you don’t judge anything, love accepts everything as it is.
Friend: You can’t be loving and judging simultaneously.
Friend: You can’t be. So I saw the end product, but what you’re saying is in getting to that you realize that nothing does have a cause, it only seems to.
Friend: There are no real effects. I see that when my state of mind has no connection to what goes on, on the screen. When my state of mind is not affected then there must not be any real effect and if there are no real effects then there must be no real cause.
Friend: It just seems to make a lot of sense and it follows what you are saying, Love has no object or subject. Love doesn’t need to be returned or even acknowledged and that takes out all judgment from everything in the dream itself and that’s what we all are and that’s what we’re trying to bring forth.
David: We’re getting pretty deep into this stuff. There’s a line I was reading right before we started today in the Psychotherapy Pamphlet and it talks about cause and effect. This is coming down to the world level. It says:
“Very simply the purpose of psychotherapy is to remove the blocks to truth. Its aim is to aid the patient in abandoning his sick delusional system and to begin to reconsider the spurious cause and effect relationships on which it rests.”
Now those cause and effect relationships are the relationships of everyday life you consider. If you water a plant, if you give it food, it will grow; cause/effect. If the power goes out, it’s asked “What happened?” The response would be, “Well, maybe I blew a fuse. Maybe there was a storm and the power went out somewhere else.” Do you see how in this world it is assumed that there are causes and consequences in the world? Those are spurious cause and effect relationships. But what we’re saying is that it’s just a screen and that there isn’t ever a cause. Now, this is pretty drastic when you apply it to your own life. All of these mature judgments that we make as we grow older. “I do these things.” “These” are good outcomes. “These” are bad things. I will avoid “these” causes and therefore I will not suffer the consequences. All of the judgment of the world is taught on learning these spurious cause and effect relationships. And here comes the Course and it’s saying they’re not true. When you start to do this it can be kind of mind blowing because the world as we know it is constructed on spurious cause and effect relationships.
Friend: Do you think it would be accurate to say the Holy Spirit takes what we made which is spurious cause and effect series of relationships to effect… like if you practice the Course the effect will be that you will experience more peace of mind. In other words, that would have to be considered another spurious cause and effect relationship in the world and yet the Course takes us where we are, uses our bodies, which are false, as a means of communication, uses these spurious effects to help us within the illusion, out of the illusion or to right perception.
Friend: I guess what I was saying; I’m not saying that the effect is real because nothing in the illusion can be real. But, it seems as a teaching aid I guess that what you’re putting out is coming back. It’s in one part of the Course that we were reading last night. You put out these messengers and the messengers would be one of love and then that’s what you would see.
David: There’s a part in the Course that talks about the Holy Spirit looks not to effects, but it’s saying that He’s that presence of light in our minds. He works with the lower mind on these beliefs and then automatically whatever the mind believes… the mind looks within, sees what it sees within…sees what it feels and then calls forth witnesses automatically simultaneously even. So, literally it’s not like the Holy Spirit is kind of out there doing anything on the slide show or on the screen or whatever. He’s just trying to work with the mind to give up the dark beliefs that are producing the slide show. But, it sure doesn’t seem that way. It seems as if, like our friend was just saying, “If I study the Course and I apply it daily there will be feelings of more consistent peace.” This would be a spurious cause and effect thing. Because here’s a person studying the book and going through life and it seems to be Oooooh peace, peace coming more and more and more and really what’s taking place is that we quit judging and we quit interpreting things. It really doesn’t have anything to do with reading a book. That was the light of a remembrance of God and the form in which this deceived mind could accept it. The symbol or the representation of that is this book seeming to come into this world in 1965 and this person seemed to read it. Do you see how our personhood and our individuality are all symbols too? But, it’s kind of neat to think of it that way. The first time I heard that I thought Oh, it’s brilliant! Because that really gives me an idea of how it’s just this light, my mind accepting this light, and it seems to be played out a certain way.
Friend: So, what you’re saying when you say that the script has been written is that since all this is an illusion and it’s just a script and you can’t affect it in any way, shape or form and being in that illusion, then it’s ok.
David: If you can give it another purpose, it will seem to be happy.
Friend: It’s just what our perception is.
Friend: It seems like saying the script is written though, if you look at it incorrectly then it’s another way of saying the world is real. That bridge fell down and that tornado swept through, but the only reality is thought, the idea of God in the mind. So, the script is written to me can very simply be summed up as the tiny mad idea and the instant reaction and the fact that we’re all in pretty good shape thereby if you know what I mean. It’s all over. The script is written is we’re all back.
David: And that’s really helpful to keep it in that context, that it happened in an ancient past. And as the Course keeps saying, the past is gone and if it still seems present—the script is written—as long as it still seems to be a present thing then there is this Oh no!
Friend: A year from now my toe is going to get a needle in it.
Friend: I see what you’re saying. If you think that you can affect it, then it makes it real because it’s part of that ego trying to do something, trying to get into effect.
David: For me the joy has been that thing about pulling back from participating in it. You get so accustomed to “doing” and “striving” in the world. To step back from striving, you could hear those messages around you like, “You’re nuts! You’re crazy!” and you almost need a metaphysical basis or you need something to put your foot on, so to speak, to start withdrawing from the constant striving and the participating. That’s where the Course helps me; I can withdraw. I can approach more and more that section I Need Do Nothing where the Course says to do anything requires a body and that you’re a mind and that there’s a place in your mind that’s so quiet and so still that you can reach into that place and there is no doing in that place. At one point in that section it says, “At no single instance does the body exist at all.” That’s a pretty deep statement. It’s always remembered or anticipated. You can see that only through those thoughts about the past and the future does the body come in. And then all the doings and all the strivings; it’s like layered on.
That’s the thing about that section, it’s phenomenal! I know people who have studied the Course for years and when they’ll get to that couple sentences in there they’ll just flip out. Because, you know, it’s like you’re working hard to do this. Twelve hundred pages, “I’m doing the lessons” and then you come to the I need do nothing section and you go Wow, what’s this about? In that one section he says, “It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do.” Oh my Gosh! I’m trying to follow this, I’m reading and doing all these lessons and its like “It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do.” You can see where it’s like a plea to just come into the stillness and just let go of all the ideas and concepts. There is a part where it says, “One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but remember you need do nothing.” To me, I call it the short cut. Everything has something that just kind of gets right down to it.
Friend: Then there is a section where it says we need your hands and feet and he kind of vacillates back and forth, but then I need do nothing.
David: Ok I’ll go back to this other section up here. [Laughter]
Friend: Obviously he meets us at different levels.
Friend: What was it last week… I said something about on one page it says, “You do not do miracles” and in the next page, you don’t even have to turn the page and it says, “You have done miracles.” Both are true, just what you’re talking about and it’s like Hold on. What’s going on? [Laughter]
Friend: Is it this or is it this?
Friend: Come on, Jesus, quit playing games.
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