Weekly Questions and
This week's questions:
Q #38: A question about the "call that never has been made".
Q #39: A question about attachments to this world.
Q #40: A question about the "intellectual" level of the Course.
Q #41: A question about sleeping vs. waking dreams.
Q #42: A question about whether God intervenes in this world.
Q #38: What is the Course referring to when it says: "There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made" (T.31.II.8.5)?
A: The "call that never has been made" refers to the "call" to be separate from God, heard constantly in our wrong minds. It is impossible to separate from totality, from everything; therefore, the call "never was made." That is another way of stating the Atonement principle that the separation never happened in reality. And we will not be punished for wishing to hear the call that tells us that our individual, separate identity is real. In a different context, Jesus says basically the same thing: "Here is your promise never to allow union to call you out of separation" (T.19.IV.D.3). But he never tires of reminding us that it is not a sin deserving of retribution to prefer to exist as an individual being and make up a God in our own image rather than answer the call of the Holy Spirit to return to our true Identity as spirit, as Christ. This is what is meant by: "There will be no assault " It corrects the traditional biblical views that an offended, vengeful God demands atonement through sacrifice for the sins of His children.
Q #39: I have heard you say numerous times that when we awaken, we dont go poof, that we dont disappear, etc. And yet, every time I seriously consider going home with Jesus, I think of the unfinished job I still have "here" and it stops me. I then remember you say that whatever needs to be done here would be done because my body would then be directed in the most helpful way, but that it wouldnt be my concern any more. In fact, if it were my concern, it would be my ego doing it. Is that right? How do I reconcile that with the example of bodhisattvas who choose to maintain an attachment to something in this worldbe it a loved one or chocolate, in order to maintain the body and do the work of helping that they came here to do? That is an investment in what we do from the point of view of the Course, isnt it?
A: If I understand you correctly, you are saying that you believe you are here and would like to go home, but you havent made that choice yet because you feel you are not finished here. That state of mind is distinctly different from the state of a mind that is healed, knows that it is not really here, but has become solely the instrument of the Holy Spirits Love. The starting points, in other words, are very different. The healed mind has already "left," you might say, and is "here" in a totally different way from the mind that is still on the journey and considering the choice to go home with Jesus. A healed mind is beyond any bodily identity and thoroughly identified with non- dualistic love. To be present in an illusory state, therefore, requires a focus on something to help ground it. It could be anything at all -- from a love of chocolate to following a certain baseball team. But there would never be a reluctance or resistance to returning home, because the healed mind knows it is already there; there is nothing to attain, no journey.
I believe you are expressing something entirely different in content from this state of mind. In form, both might experience that they are not yet finished with what they are here to do. But for those still on the journey and learning how to lessen their investment in their bodily identity, there would be tremendous fear to let go totally of the only identity with which they are familiar. It is a gradual process over many, many years requiring the commitment to look fearlessly with Jesus at the contents of their wrong minds, which rest almost immutably on the defiant choice to leave Home and never return. As Jesus poignantly reassures us: "I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny" (T.11.VI.3.6). It is a process, and the final choice will be made effortlessly. In fact, the attraction to Love will be so strong, that it will not even be regarded as a choice. There no longer is a concern about going "poof"!
Q #40: I have heard and read from some that the Course is not for everyone and some Course authorities go so far as to say that it is intended for a more intellectual/educated audience. I find this claim to be very dangerous. Are these claims true or are they nothing more than a form of seeking salvation through separation and a desire to create a level of specialness within a certain demographic namely those educated enough to understand, comprehend, live the Course? How do we reconcile these claims with the text statement: All are called?
A: Anyone at all can benefit from the Course. One does not have to be an intellectual to learn from it and use it as a spiritual path. Nonetheless, it is obvious that it is written on a high intellectual level with sophisticated metaphysical, theological, and psychological concepts integrated into the teaching throughout the three books. Much of it is written in blank verse. Thus, a reader/ student who is not intellectually inclined and has no background in these areas would have difficulty understanding a great deal of the material. This does not mean, though, that such a person could not be helped by reading through it and doing the exercises in the workbook. If the person comes away from the Course being more kind, more loving, and reassured of Gods Love, and less angry, depressed, and fearful, then its purpose has been fulfilled. On the other hand, there have been many highly educated people who were not able relate to the Course at all, for a variety of reasons. They will find another path more suitable to their needs and inclinations.
Thus, to say that the Course is not for everyone is not to say that it deliberately excludes people. The Course says of itself that it is only one among many thousands of other forms of the universal course (M.1.4). It does not have to be for everyone. Some religions have claimed that theirs is the only true religion, the only way to be reconciled with God. A Course in Miracles does not do that. Rather, the implication throughout the Course is that everyone will eventually find a path that will lead them to God. It does not have to be this one.
Q #41: The events, activities and relationships of our "waking dream" comprise our classroom and are the vehicles for learning our lesson of forgiveness. Is there any particular significance or value of our "sleeping dreams" in the process of learning forgiveness and should our response to these images be any different from our response to our "waking dream" classroom?
A: It is the same mind that is dreaming both our waking and sleeping dreams. And it is one of the egos many tricks to try to convince us that there is a real difference between the two so that we believe we are awake when we are really still asleep, just having a different form of the same dream of separation. One of the more important insights our sleeping dreams offer us upon our shifting to a seeming waking state is the realization that our mind has the power to make up a world in dreams that seems very real while we are experiencing it, a world made up solely to meet our own personal needs. Jesus elaborates on this aspect of our sleeping dreams in a very clear passage:
"Does not a world that seems quite real arise in dreams?...And while you see it you do not doubt that it is real. Yet here is a world, clearly within your mind, that seems to be outside. You do not respond to it as though you made it, nor do you realize that the emotions the dream produces must come from you...You seem to waken, and the dream is gone. Yet what you fail to recognize is that what caused the dream has not gone with it. Your wish to make another world that is not real remains with you. And what you seem to waken to is but another form of this same world you see in dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality, and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it" (T.18.II.1:1; 5:2,3,4,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15).
In our sleeping dreams, we have the same choice of teachers that we have when we are "awake" and we may find over time that we can choose forgiveness while we sleep, recognizing that our judgments within the dream are not justified. We may even become a lucid dreamer, becoming aware, even as we are dreaming, that our sleeping dream is an invention of our own mind, presaging the awareness that will eventually come to us about our waking dreams. And our sleeping dreams also afford us the opportunity to understand the real meaning of forgiveness that Jesus is attempting to lead us towards, when we realize, upon awakening, that the source of any upset we experience in our sleeping dreams has nothing to do with what anyone else is doing to us. Our upset reflects nothing more than a decision in our own mind to be upset and then to attribute that loss of peace to a cause that seems to be outside of ourselves. The awareness that this is what we are also doing in our waking dreams is the foundation for the process of forgiveness as Jesus presents it to us in the Course: "I am never upset for the reason I think...I am upset because I see something that is not there" (W.pI.5,6). "Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred" (W.pII.1.1:1). When we can generalize this recognition from our sleeping dreams to our waking dreams, we will be well on the way to awakening from all of our dreams of separation.
Q #42: Does A Course in Miracles refer to "God" as an interactive god who makes changes and alterations to our physical and worldly existence in relation to our daily actions? The Course initially states that we are changeless but later refers to all the various changes which we make as we progress. I do not understand if we are capable of making any changes or not? If we are changeless, why bother doing anything at all because we are what we are anyway.
A: Although much of the Course refers to God in personal terms, as if He were a concerned Father, distinct from His children, who is watching over us, when we understand the basic metaphysical teachings of the Course on God, it becomes apparent that these kinds of personal, human references to God can not be meant literally. They represent the Courses attempt to "use the language that this [finite] mind can understand, in the condition [of separation] in which it thinks it is" (T.25.I.7:4) and to correct the misperceptions we hold of God from our ego interpretation of God as an angry, vengeful Father who seeks to punish us for our attacks on Him.
The Course spends very little time on the impossible task of describing to our limited, finite minds the true nature of God, His creations, and reality -- "there is no symbol for totality" (T.27.III.5:1) -- but there are a few attempts. For example, from the workbook, "What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him" (W.pI.12:4). And acknowledging the impossibility of capturing in words That Which is beyond all concepts and symbols: "Oneness is simply the idea God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say God is, and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel it is now aware of something not itself. It has united with its Source. And like its Source Itself, it merely is" (W.p.I.169.5).
So God, Who is "All in all" (T.7.IV.7:4), can not act on a part of Himself, as if it were separate from Him. And even to refer to Him as "Him" is to attribute a personal nature to the Source of all that in reality is totally abstract. The Course therefore does not describe God as interacting with his children in the world. That role is given to the Holy Spirit as the Voice for God, providing the Holy Spirit a symbolic function, unlike the Father and the Son (T.5.I.4:1). But since the world is all a projection of the basic ego illusion, which has no reality, there really is no world in which the Holy Spirit intervenes, only a mind that believes there is a world. And even then the Voice for God has no active function in the mind -- "It merely reminds" (T.5.II.7:4) us of the truth about ourselves and God, which has never changed.
The Course also refers to God as "the Changeless," (W.pI.112.2:2) and "Formlessness" (W.pI.186.14:1), Who creates "only the changeless" (T.6.IV.12:4). Consequently, it is inconceivable that He could be involved in making changes and alterations in a world of form.
And that brings us to the second question you raise about our changelessness. In our reality as spirit, nothing has changed and we remain sinless, perfect and at one with our Source -- this is the principle of the Atonement, repeated numerous times throughout the Course. It is in this sense that we are truly changeless. But clearly this is not what we believe or experience about ourselves. And so the Course does not simply assert what is real and true and leave it at that. That would not be of any help to us, trapped as we seem to be in the morass of our mistaken beliefs. So the Course accepts us where we think we are, acknowledging that we believe that we are each a separate physical being, living as a body in a world of time and space, struggling against forces that seem to be beyond our control. And it offers us the means -- forgiveness, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit -- to find the way out of this meaningless, senseless maze of beliefs in which we have imprisoned ourselves (T.26.V.4:1). Not because any of it is real, but only because we believe it is. And so long as we believe we have changed ourselves from our true reality as Christ, we will need to move through a seeming process of change that undoes all the changes we believe we have introduced into our identity, until we at last realize that in reality nothing has changed at all and we are back at home in the Heaven we never left, where we have always been. So this is a process of undoing, and not really doing at all. And any change we may seem to experience in the process of undoing our mistaken beliefs is as illusory as the initial thought of change that seemed to expel us from Heaven. But while we hold on to the belief that change is both possible and real, then change will be our experience. And our only choice will be whether to seek for change that reinforces guilt and separation and seems to take us even farther from our true home, or change that results from the practice of forgiveness in the context of our worldly relationships, allowing us to return.
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