Weekly Questions and Answers, 05/11/2005
This week's questions/topics:
Q #724 (i) Why does Jesus say we hate the Self that we have made?
Q #724 (ii) How can there be a world that is "not God"?
Q #724 (iii) Why would Jesus be channeled, but not, say, Buddha?
Q #725 Are all egos separate consciousnesses, or am I the only one, just projecting the rest?
Q #726 What should I do about falling in love with my therapist?>
Q #727 Are the teachings of the Kabbalah similar to those of A Course in Miracles?
Chronological List of All Questions.
Interactive Index of all topics
Q #724(i): (The following answers are in response to different questions posed by the same person.) Why does Jesus say that we hate the Self that we have made (T.4.III.4)? I thought that the Self (which is one with Christ and God) would have "made" separation and thus "the ego" would have come into existence?
A: In the paragraph you cite, self is spelled with a lowercase s, not uppercase. The self Jesus is referring to was "made out of denial of the Father" (T.4.III.4:3), as distinguished from Self with an uppercase S, Christ, created by God as an extension of Himself. Christ always remains Christ in Heaven. Once the "tiny, mad idea" of separation was taken seriously and became a reality in the Sons mind (not the Mind of Christ), the ego was "born," and the dream of separation from God began. At that point, Gods Son, became a decision-making mind that could choose either to remember his true Identity, or choose to deny that and instead be a separate, individualized, limited, vulnerable self. How could we love a self that we made to replace our invulnerable, innocent Self that exists eternally one with infinite Love? How could we truly love something we produced through the rejection of infinite Love, and which we equate with sin? That is why there can never be love in this world. We can reflect the love of Heaven through forgiveness, but love is only in Heaven, which is the "awareness of perfect Oneness" (T.18.VI.1:6).
Q #724(ii). Isn't it a paradox that we should live in a world that is "not-God"? Isn't that the prime illusion of separation? How can we think something that God would not have thought?
A: We cannot "think something that God would not have thought." That is the point of the Atonement principle: the separation from God never happened because it could not happen. Only when the mind dissociates itself from reality and therefore thinks insanely can there be a sense of being alive "in a world that is not-God." And that clearly would be an illusion, because it is impossible to be what you are not (W.pI.191.4). All of this is very baffling to us because we feel so sure we actually exist as individuals outside Heaven and God. Jesus does not demand that we stop believing this; rather, he teaches us that we can use our lives to carry out the egos purpose in the world, or to identify with the Holy Spirits purpose, which will gradually and gently put us back in touch with the sanity in our minds (W.pI.199), where, in a moment of readiness to relinquish what is false and accept only what is true, we will awaken in Christ and return to our Identity as God created us.
Q #724(iii). I am puzzled by the fact that a Jesus Christ would come channeling through but a Buddha wouldn't. "Hi, I'm Buddha, and I'm going to channel through now!" Is this the basic difference between Jesus and figures like Buddha, Zarathustra etc. that he is still "around there" somewhere, thus showing he cares? Why is Jesus doing this "now," and could this be compared to the "coming of the stillness"? In the "original" New Testament Jesus speaks in parables very often, why does he not use this "technique" in A Course in Miracles?
A: This could easily turn into a book-length answer, which of course we are unable to do here -- so we will answer briefly and then direct you to some readings. Of utmost importance is your starting point: your understanding of channeling, perception, time, the New Testament, and above all, Jesus. In many ways throughout A Course in Miracles Jesus informs us that we basically do not understand anything. Thus he uses terms like thought-reversal, upside-down thinking, and insane, among others. There are layers and layers and layers of defenses in our minds blocking our access to the truth -- and it is our choice that it be this way. So Jesus starts with what we perceive reality to be and then gradually helps us -- respectful of our fear and resistance -- to dismantle the whole edifice we have built as a substitute for the truth so that we will once again be as God created us. One of the foundation stones of this edifice is that perception tells us what is really "out there" -- external reality impinges on us and then we have various internal experiences that make us who we are and our lives the way they are. Jesus explains that we have it all wrong, however: "It is essential it be kept in mind that all perception still is upside down until its purpose has been understood. Perception does not seem to be a means. And it is this that makes it hard to grasp the whole extent to which it must depend on what you see it for. Perception seems to teach you what you see. Yet it but witnesses to what you taught. It is the outward picture of a wish; an image that you wanted to be true" (T.24.VII.8:5,6,7,8,9,10; see also Section 8 in the manual, M.8). What could be more radical or disturbing!
Jumping from this introductory phase of the book we are not writing to its closing chapters -- meaning our perception has been corrected and we have experienced the unreality of the separation, of time and all things physical (limited/quantitative) -- we realize Jesus and his course represent in form the abstract, formless truth and love that have always been present our minds, but that we erroneously convinced ourselves were lethal to our existence. As separate, individualized existence has become meaningless and without value to us in this advanced state, we realize there is only one Identity, the Son Who is perfectly one with His Father. Perception had simply been a means of convincing ourselves that something else was true as well as this ultimate truth. We had believed that Jesus was an individual, highly evolved being who spoke to and through other individual beings to help them reach his state. That was not wrong, but it was only the bottom rungs of the ladder of spirituality. Making our way up the ladder involves learning to relate to everything in terms of symbols. Anything of form symbolizes a thought or dynamic in the mind, and those thoughts and dynamics are what we increasingly learn to focus on -- not the symbol, but what it symbolizes.
Thus, any enlightened, historical figure can be thought of as a symbol of the love and truth that are beyond form. That love and truth come in whatever form we can accept and understand, and in the Western world, Jesus is that symbol. Because of our fear of love without limit, we will allow ourselves to experience it only in forms that are acceptable to us; and so the mistake we typically make is to mistake symbol for source. A Course in Miracles is here to help us recognize these mistakes and accept the correction for them so that lasting, unconditional peace may be restored to our awareness.
For further study: Absence from Felicity, chapter 17; The Most Commonly Asked Questions About A Course in Miracles, #50 (Buddha); 52, 56 (Jesus and the Bible); and on this Question & Answer Service numbers: 97, and 473ii.
Q #725: Are all egos separate little consciousness in their own right or is there just one mind/ consciousness dreaming figures in the dream which have no sentience of their own? In other words, am I the only consciousness that exists and all the persons and animals I see are just unthinking, unseeing, unknowing cardboard cutouts in my field of vision that I have sketched out myself and who are not aware at all? Or, do "I" give them their consciousness?
A: In the "reality" of the split mind, there is only one dreamer, the sleeping Son of God, in which consciousness resides. And his dream is one seemingly complex yet seamless whole, encompassing all of time and space. But with the defense against the guilt over separation in this one mind -- the seeming fragmentation into billions and billions of seemingly separate minds -- each fragment seems to have its own "individual consciousness" (C.in.1:4). And so each individual mind seems to be a separate dreamer, identifying with only a certain specific figure in the larger dream, for particular coordinates of time and space -- an essential arrangement in order to experience victimization, the final step in the egos line of defense to preserve itself. This specific, narrowed focus is readily apparent with our sleeping dreams at night, where our mind identifies with only one of the characters, although the whole dream, including the figure we think we are in the dream, is coming from the sleeping mind.
So it is not simply all the other figures in the world that are like cardboard cutouts with no consciousness or life, but also the particular self with which my mind is identifying, which thinks it has eyes and a field of vision. This self is not different from buildings and trees and rivers and mountains and grains of sand (T.28.IV.9:4). Everything in the world is a projection of the one dreaming mind, much like a movie on a screen is a projection of the one piece of film running through the projector. Even the animation of the seemingly separate figures on the screen/in the world is a trick of the mind to make what is a lifeless unitary whole seem to be composed of multiple, separate, and alive figures. Again, it is perhaps easier to recognize that none of the figures in our sleeping dreams has consciousness, including the figure we think we are, and that consciousness resides only in the mind that is asleep and dreaming, but this exactly parallels the nature of our waking dream. There is no consciousness within any seemingly separate aspect of the dream, but there is consciousness behind every aspect, both the so-called animate and the inanimate.
Although the experience of individual consciousness is really an ego sleight of mind, it can serve a helpful right-minded purpose. For it means we can each learn to choose between the egos and the Holy Spirits way of looking at the dream, and my decision is not dependent on what may seem to be going on in the other fragments of the mind. In other words, none of us can be a victim of others wrong-minded choices. And so, as Jesus reminds us repeatedly throughout A Course in Miracles, our only responsibility is to accept the Atonement for ourselves (e.g., T.2.V.5:1; M.7.3:2).
Q #726: I have been getting counseling for the last seven months. Recently, the process has become rather painful. I have done a great deal of reading on the subject of transference and I guess I am not the first client who has (or thinks he has) fallen in love with his therapist. I have spoken with her about this, but I am trying to make sense of all my feelings from A Course in Miracles perspective. Is transference simply the same projection that happens in everyday life? Is it significant that I know very little about her? Is this another example of a special love relationship? Aside from the obvious (a married man falling in love with a woman), what is the role of forgiveness in this situation? Whom do I forgive? I dont even know whom Im transferring from.
A: Yes, whenever we feel someone else has something that we dont have -- peace, love, insight, answers, etc. -- the situation is ripe for specialness and all the pain that accompanies it. For it reminds us of the guilt and lack we feel within and desperately want to cover over with our fantasies surrounding the new relationship. And this is why the projection works better the less we know about the new person, since the reality of that person will interfere with our fantasy (T.17.III.4:5,6,7,8).
Within psychoanalytic theory, transference involves projecting thoughts and feelings associated with other people from the clients past, beginning with the parents, onto the relationship with the therapist. The Course, however, would say that even the parental relationships are not primary, for we have projected the experience of our initial special relationship with God onto our parents. So, in Course terms, transference involves bringing our ego fantasies about God into the relationship with the therapist. And these fantasies would include both special love and special hate, because we have seen God as having what we lack and we have been willing to attack as well as seduce Him in order to attain what we desire. And we must resent Him for not simply giving us the specialness that we want (T.16.V.4:1,2; T.24.III.6).
And so the therapist simply has become the current screen onto which these feelings of unrequited specialness are being projected. It is an easy trap to fall into, with the nonjudgmental acceptance and focused attention the therapist most likely offers each visit for that well-defined, circumscribed period of time. And there could be latent if not overt resentment that the time is indeed so limited. And so, yes, the relationship does offer another opportunity to practice forgiveness. But it is not really the therapist, nor any of the shadow figures from your past that you are bringing into the relationship (T.17.III), including God, who need your forgiveness. For each of them is really nothing more than a symbol for the guilt and sin you believe is real in your own mind, from which you believe you need to be saved. And so that is where the forgiveness is really needed, within your own mind. And the Therapist -- the Holy Spirit -- also there in your mind, is available to you at any time, in any place or circumstance you need Him, to help you remember the truth about yourself, that you remain Gods wholly perfect and innocent Son (T.10.V.12), no matter what foolish beliefs you cling to about who you really are and what you need to be happy.
Q #727: I just read an introductory book on the Kabbalah. It said that it is impossible to escape the ego while we are on this earth in the form of a body. This makes sense to me. The Kabbalah talks about achieving a balance of giving and receiving in order to achieve harmony. What do you think?
A: A Course in Miracles takes very different positions on both of the issues you raise, because it holds a radically different view of who we are and where the world and bodies have come from. Reversing the worlds teaching, the Course says we will continue to believe we are in this world in a body until we escape our identification with the ego in our mind, since the experience of the body and the world is the egos defense to prove that the separation -- and the ego -- is real (T.4.I.4:4,5; T.4.V.4:1,2,3; T.6.IV.5; T.7.VI.8:1,2,3,4,5,6; T.23.I.3:3,4,5; W.pI.68.1:3,4; W.pI.72.2). That is, the world and bodies are the outcome of choosing to identify with the ego -- they are simply part of its illusion to convince us that we have indeed separated from God and left our true home in Heaven. And they have worked so well that most of us are now convinced that the body is the problem, that it is the source of our feelings of limitation and pain and unhappiness. In other words, the ego has very cleverly persuaded us to reverse cause and effect in our mind (T.28.II.8,9). The body, according to the Course, is neutral, and our experience depends simply on what purpose we give the body -- either to reinforce our guilt over the separation or to undo it (T.26.VIII.3:7,8; W.pII.294).
From the Courses perspective, giving and receiving must always be "in balance" because "giving and receiving are the same" (e.g., T.25.IX.10:6; T.26.I.3:6; W.pI.108:6:1; M.2.5:5). This simply reflects the fact that mind is one, so that whatever is given, is given to oneself (W.pI.126). And so this principle applies both to the wrong mind and to the right mind. If we attempt to give guilt to others through projection, we reinforce it in our own mind, receiving what we have attempted to give away or get rid of (T.13.II.1). And if we allow the Holy Spirit to extend His Love through us to others, we too must experience that joy and peace. So any experience of harmony comes not from any balancing act on our part between giving and receiving, but simply from releasing the ego, with its dedication to sin and conflict and pain, and accepting the Holy Spirit as our Teacher. While it is true within the world of form that what we give in terms of objects, money, time, etc. we no longer have (T.5.I.1:10,11,12,13,14), the Course would consider these simply as symbols representing the purpose we hold in our mind, depending on which teacher we have chosen. Giving under the egos direction will always represent the desire to get rid of our guilt, whatever form it takes, while giving under the Holy Spirits guidance will always reflect the desire to share love by undoing guilt through forgiveness.