Questions and Answers about A Course in Miracles: 7/11/2007
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Q #1177 How should I deal with an increasing detachment from everyday "reality" ?
Q #1178 What is the relationship of thought to the laws of chaos ?.
Q #1179 Does the term "God's son" refer to us?
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Q #1177: As a result of my study of A Course in Miracles I've encountered an uncomfortable, and at times alarming, lessening of my identification with, and interest in the events and activities of my day-to-day experience. Is this an appropriate result from the shift of thinking that is described as the objective of the Course teachings? How are these feelings of detachment from the dream reconciled with a participation in the curriculum of my life experience so that I may teach and so learn to join as Jesus describes?
A: Learning not to take oneself too seriously is indeed one of the rewards of applying the principles of forgiveness to one's life. It is the result of recognizing that everything that occurs is a projection of the mind. Although it is true that the events and activities of day-to-day living are part of the illusion, until the mind is healed of all belief in the separation they are important opportunities in the classroom of forgiveness. The teaching contained in the text and the workbook lessons is meant to be applied to the specific experiences of one's life. All the events and activities do lose the meaning they had before the study of the Course, but can now serve the Holy Spirit's curriculum of healing the mind of the thought of separation: “The Holy Spirit teaches you to use what the ego has made, to teach the opposite of what the ego has "learned" (T.7.IV.3:3). There could be no higher purpose for the activities that fill our days. Nothing but the ego's devastating curriculum of separation is lost when the mind shifts to the Holy Spirit's lessons. Learning to see everything as a classroom for the practice of forgiveness more than compensates for the loss of interest.
One of the goals for a student of the Course is to become a “happy learner.” The energy no longer expended in the pursuit of worn-out interests can now be spent paying attention to the activity of the mind that is often very busy putting up “interesting” obstacles to the awareness of love's presence (T.in.1:7) in the form of attack thoughts and judgments based on separation. They are the reflection of the mind's fear of fully accepting the memory of God's Love that the Holy Spirit represents. If we are willing to look at these obstacles, without judging, changing, justifying or defending them, they can be given to the Holy Spirit to be healed. As Jesus tells us in the text: “If you would be a happy learner, you must give everything you have learned to the Holy Spirit, to be unlearned for you” (T.14.II.6:1). Engaging in this practice of forgiveness is how we join with Jesus and journey with him to the final goal of his Course.
Q #1178: What, then, is the nature of thought (and/or Thought) in conjunction with the laws of chaos?
A: The split mind holds two mutually exclusive thoughts: the ego's thought of separation and the Holy Spirit's thought that separation is impossible. The “laws of chaos” is a term that refers to the insanity that follows when the mind decides to take the ego's thought of separation seriously. They govern all the thinking of the world in complete opposition to reason, which abides only in the truth. There is no reason within the illusion of separation, so there is no real thought: “While thoughtless ideas preoccupy your mind, the truth is blocked. Recognizing that your mind has been merely blank, rather than believing that it is filled with real ideas, is the first step to opening the way to vision” (W.8.3:2,3) and the way out of chaos.
One of the important teaching goals of the Course is to help us understand that nothing is really happening in the dream of separation because there is nothing outside the unity of God and His one Son. Jesus tells us in many different ways in the Course, that the figure in the dream does nothing. It does not see, or think , or hear: “...sights and sounds the body can perceive are meaningless. It cannot see nor hear. It does not know what seeing is what listening is for . It is as little able to perceive as it can judge or understand or know. Its eyes are blind; its ears are deaf. It can not think, and so it cannot have effects” (T.28.V.4:4,5,6,7,8,9) . Thus, the brain produces ideas the mind has fabricated to fill the void that results when the mind turns from truth and seeks meaning in illusion. The ideas all support the choice for separation and its companion chaos. The term thinking can be replaced with the term choosing, which is the only activity of the split mind. Thinking, therefore, is synonymous with choosing, and thought with choice. The brain does not think; it reflects the mind's dictates. The split mind does not think; it chooses between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The only real thoughts, therefore, are the thoughts I think with God (W.51.4:4), which, in the mind of the sleeping Son, means choosing the Holy Spirit.
In reality, God's only Thought is His Love for the Son, and the Son's only thought is his love for the Father. That is the meaning of workbook lesson 45: “ God is the Mind with which I think” (W.p.I.45). Everything else is the chaos of the ego's insane thought system, whose foundation is the belief that sin is real, God is a vengeful murderer, and so guilt and fear are justified. In this chaos lies the reversal of reason and of truth. God's laws of love, innocence, and life are replaced with hate, guilt, and death. His Thought is exchanged for thoughtless madness. In choosing separation, the mind chooses the insanity of the laws of chaos, no matter how brilliant the world's “thinking” may appear to be. As it chooses against God, it chooses against thought. The laws of chaos, then, are the absence of thought. The Holy Spirit's teaching of forgiveness is the correction to these laws, for it means recognizing that the mind that put them into effect can make a different choice, thereby restoring awareness of its decision-making power to the mind.
While the mind remains split between the ego and the Holy Spirit, vigilance for thoughts of judgment and attack is needed, for they reflect the mind's choice for the ego. Learning to identify with the mind in this way establishes mindfulness, and thus undoes belief in the thoughtlessness that gave rise to the laws of chaos. Becoming mindful is the goal of the important mind-training exercises of the workbook. It is the only meaningful use for the thoughts we think we think. They are undone as their emptiness becomes apparent, making way for the laws of God that have never changed: “ Nothing but the laws of God has ever been, and nothing but His Will will ever be” (T.10.IV.5:5) .
Q #1179: I read the term God's Son, does that pertain to us as well? Because some of the statements in A Course in Miracles regarding the Son of God are confusing to me.
A: Your question touches the heart of the separation dilemma -- identity confusion. In reality there is only the Oneness of God and His Son; defined in the Glossary as the second Person of the Trinity. This is our true Identity/true Self, always referred to in the Course as God's Son or the Son of God. This Identity remains unchanged by the “tiny, mad idea” of separation that crept into the mind of God's Son. Confusion sets in when the mind decides to believe this insane idea is real. Then there seems to be a son/self who is separate from the Father, fragmented into countless individual identities whom we call “us.” Fragmentation is thus the essence of separation -- each part distinguished from the next. The mind is now split between the identity of separation (the ego), and that of the memory (the Holy Spirit) of its oneness with the Father: “In a split mind, identity must seem to be divided” (T.27.II.11:1).
In the Course, Jesus speaks to the split mind of the separated Son who no longer knows who he is, having identified with a body and seeming to exist in a world of form. Very early in the text, Jesus puts forth the separation creed, addressing this split mind: “...you believe that what God created can be changed by your own mind. ... you believe that what is perfect can be rendered imperfect or lacking. ... you believe that you can distort the creations of God, including yourself. ... you believe that you can create yourself, and that the direction of your own creation is up to you (T.2.I.1:9,10,11,12). Here, “you” refers to everyone who identifies with the thought of separation (most of us, most of the time). Also found in the Course are many passages in which Jesus speaks of our true Identity: “... God's Son is guiltless (T.14.V.2:1) “God's Son is One” (T.17.III.1:2), “ God's Son is perfect, or he cannot be God's Son (T.30.VI.9:1), “You stand in light, strong in the sinlessness in which you were created, and in which you will remain throughout eternity” (W.pI.94.2:6). In these passages, “you” refers to the true Self that is one with God and knows not of separate parts or a split mind. In either case, “you” refers to God's Son for there is no one else. It is important to understand this distinction; otherwise identity confusion will be compounded by the belief that Jesus is addressing the body/the figure in the dream. That is never the case.
One of the important goals of the Course is to teach the confused separated Son of God that he is not a self, but a Self. “Your goal is to find out who you are, having denied your Identity by attacking creation and its Creator. Now you are learning how to remember the truth” (W.pI.62.2:3,4). The process involves learning to distinguish between when Jesus is addressing the self and when he is reminding us of our true Self. It is an important process of gradually dis- identifying with the body in order to identify with the split mind, and eventually with the right mind that reflects the Self. The first step is paying careful attention to the upsets and conflicts, large and small, that present themselves every day. They reflect the mind's choice to deny its identity as a mind/God's Son, and to identify with the body instead. Being willing to make that simple recognition identifies the problem at its source (the mind), where the correction can be found. It reminds the mind that it has the power to choose. This is a very important step in the mind's return to acknowledgment of its Identity as God's Son. In the seeming dream of separation, the power to choose unites the Son with the creative power he shares with the Father. Each step in choosing brings the Son closer to full acceptance of his Identity, and will eventually undo all belief in the alien identity of a separate self. Then the ultimate answer to the identity crisis will ring true: “You are God's Son” (W.pI.199.8:1).