The Divine is in my Mind
Today, though...now in this moment, now before I forget again, which I surely will... I practice this Course. I am humble. I am taking slow and clumsy baby steps in learning A Course in Miracles, the Real One. The Course that Jesus offers, and not the facsimiles I fascinated myself with in dreams.
Starting from scratch, I remember there is no hierarchy of illusions, of which this character I believe myself to be is one. Laura is in my mind. "The path" is not "out there" in some doing or not doing that she may be involved in. Progress can not be judged based on anything Laura seems to do or not do, or what seems to happen around her. The "stepping stones" she takes are in my Mind. The "problems" she faces are in my Mind. The "relationships" she has are in my Mind. All of "time/space" is in my Mind. I Am Mind, the son of God, dreaming of Laura who is wanting to awaken.
Most importantly, Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit are also in my Mind. The Correction for all that would fool me into believing in Laura and the fear, guilt, and sin I seem to experience as her -- to keep the dream going in vivid technicolor and great seeming significance -- is in my Mind. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, all Enlightened ones -- They are right here. They are in my Mind. I will never find them "out there." I will never find them in form.
When a body in the dream does seem to be a helpful Teacher, it is my Mind reaching through the dream to me. The words, the behaviors, the specific teachings -- they are part of the dream, too. They are not what heals. But they are pointers to a Great Love that, when I am willing, can use the form of the dream to reach me where I think I am and demonstrate that Love is Safe, that Love is what I Want.
It's all in my Mind. My Right Mind reaching me through the dream that was crafted out of my ego mind due to my very "little willingness" to be open to Truth.
Yes, the good news is that when I need help, They -- all the Helpers of the Universe -- are closer than the breath I seem to take. When I feel anxious or any sense of fear or annoyance or sadness or jealousy or betrayal etc. I need only return to my Mind and turn to Them. They have always been there, because I Am Them. But I need to go where THEY are to find them. I need return to my Mind and to stop looking for them in mindless wanderings in the dream.
The power of my Mind to create the illusion of a separate self and world of time and space is potent. But the power can be redirected anytime. The Divine in my Mind merely points to this over and over: Choose again. Choose again. That is why the Holy Spirit tells us in the Course that He will never take away our fear, because our Mind's power is absolute. But He will gladly help us in undoing the belief in, and desire for, the thought of separation that has caused it.
I thought I knew all of this before.
But somehow something is new. Somehow there is a deep loosening of identity as a body in time. This seems to be coinciding with a deep respect for the power of my Mind and reverent Gratitude that "I Am as God created me." And all of this seems to be predicated on my willingness to really see the hate in my mind.
I've felt absolutely crazy very often lately. I've seen my "multiple personalities" at play. I've had new insights like the fact that I have been trying to learn this Course at one level of conscious awareness, all the while I have actually tried to prove it WRONG on a much deeper level.
"Jesus is wrong that there is no world," goes a deep egoic tantrum! "I am right, and I can 'prove' it through the problems I see as real that never get resolved (or that are resolved briefly only to be replaced by new problems), relationships that come and go to bring me temporary happiness or bring me turmoil, the anger that is justified, the countless steps I seem to need to take again and again without ever arriving at Lasting Peace, etc.And to come to this understanding, while it may sound depressing, feels like the beginning of Freedom. What's more, it has not been by overlooking error, or focusing on Love, or trying to see through Christ's eyes, or "undoing the doer" or any of those ideas. They have their place, but what is changed is a growing willingness to just be honest and Look without judgement. And when the self attack begins, which is most often does, what has also arisen is a refusal to play along for too long. No more indulging the ego, which is what self attack truly is.
Again and again, I drag my mind back to the real issue. No matter what it looks like, I'm afraid of God's Love, and that's where the pain comes from -- not from this shortage, or that relationship, or this potential bad thing, etc.
A new thought comes in next: I am afraid of God's Love, but God's Love is still really here, in my Mind, and God's Love is who I Am.
And I rest with those two ideas... not trying to fix anything at all, or "make" myself less fearful or more loving.
Day after day, moment after moment, I watch my Mind. I see how I fall prey to countless judgments, fears, and guilty thoughts. I just Look. I do my best not to judge myself and be gentle. And I fail at this a lot, but I don't relent. And most importantly, I resist the temptation to believe that this Course is teaching me to 'do' something about my hateful thoughts or change my life in some way to end the pain. I remember again and again, " I need do nothing." Forgiveness looks quietly and judges not.
This honest, relentless looking without judging seems to be ending the dissociation between my two split-off parts of my Mind (ego and Right Mind). Ironically it is through being more and more aware of the split and simply by witnessing the 1,000's of ways I live life as an ego -- and the pain, or dis-ease, that this causes -- that has begun the neutralization of the ego's pull and the unification of my Mind.
And oddly, it has been suffering that has elicited this willingness to look within me. Nothing else will end the suffering. I've tried many ways! There is no right behavior, there are no right relationships, there is no right function or purpose in the world, there are no right words, no right spiritual path. There is nothing in the dream that will end the suffering and undo what separates me from Perfect Happiness.
What seems to separate me from this ultimate Promise is only an idea of a "me" in my Mind. And yet, that "me" isn't even the problem. Laura can continue to live the dream out, be a mother, be a lover, be an employee, be A Course In Miracles student.
The problem is my deeply rooted addiction to the "me." And this addiction is based on a want, a desire. Ego identification is not happening "to" me... it is a deep unconscious choice made out of an even deeper unconscious wanting of separation from God. Honest Looking helps me see that I do not truly want it, therefore I am finally open to knowing God's Love.
Hanging out in my Mind with the Holy Spirit, of course, brings the fear of God's Love up to the surface even faster. More fear seems to come, but there's a growing Certainty that it is a process. And there's a deepening Trust that this Process is taking me through a storm where I will safely arrive at the other shore.
More on addictions....
"I" is a thought we are addicted to worshiping. Who I typically think "I" am is a body with physical and psychological needs that is separate from other bodies. "I" will always require that for one to get what he/she needs, someone or something else loses.
Our dear Ken Wapnick taught us to "make it about them." He used this teaching as a way to heighten our awareness of how "I"-addicted we are. But the point he was not making was that we should try to be good, loving, spiritual Course in Miracles students.
What he was trying to get us to do was see how much we fail at making it about them. As soon as we begin to try to make it all about everyone and everything else but ourselves, we see in short order how we are continually making it about "me," and how incredibly hard it is to stop. We are "I" addicts.
That seeing -- frustrating as it is -- is what ends the mindless wandering. It is what is actually exposing the dark by bringing it to the Light, or making what is unconscious conscious. And that is all that need be done. It's tedious and by no means glamorous. The ego would tell us it's "boring" and depressing, "Go for the Light and Joy!" it would argue. But this Course is about undoing the blocks to Love. That's it.
When I was a hypnotherapist working with smokers, I would first have them become extremely conscious of their smoking habit for a few days before eliminating their cigarettes. If they smoked with their right hand, they had to use their left. If they smoked in the kitchen over their morning coffee, they had to smoke sans coffee on the porch. If they smoked menthol flavored cigarettes, they had to switch their flavor to something else, etc, etc.
People hated this part. They had the right to continue to smoke, but they couldn't do it unconsciously. The first step in undoing any addiction is becoming conscious of all the ways it rules us. This is what begins to end the attraction. We stop minimizing, rationalizing, and defending our egos, which at that point causes us to lose our "taste" for it. We really want to learn the Course, then. Maybe after 20 years of studying it for the first time we actually want to learn it, meaning we want to really let go of the ego because we've seen what it really is all about and how unloving and painful it actually is.
And then things get faster.... we become the Happy Learners, even as the fear and guilt continue to erupt. We stop looking for distractions, and we stop trying to change our scripts or exchange our self concepts for prettier ones.
Back to addictions, we can have great respect for a brother in AA. It takes great honesty to see where we are ruled by an addiction. It is painful to see the ugliness, the ways we have hurt ourselves and others, as addicts. It is often only after great suffering that we become willing to go through the process of exposing the truth of our addiction-- even, and especially, to ourselves. Undoing an addiction requires first becoming acutely conscious of its influence over us, an influence we are allowing by our agreement not to look. When others share this agreement, they are known as "enablers." The Course refers to this shared agreement as "false empathy."
As egos, we are all addicts. We are so thoroughly identified with a thought system of separation -- including bodies with special interests and needs based on scarcity that are born, get sick, grow old, and die -- that the Truth of who we truly are is foreign to us. Our dream life is so real to us that we remain mindless. Our attention is on the dream -- even the dream of "awakening."
We are in denial about our addiction to "me." We suffer greatly, but instead of seeing it is our false identification as it plays out a thousand ways each seeming day, we feed it by attempting to fix it through more "drink." We try to improve our lives in the dream. We often develop a spiritual self concept identity to make ourselves feel like we're doing something "game changing" about the problem. We may even study the ego and work hard to undo it.
Except the ego was never the real problem. So this fails, too. The Course teaches us that the ego isn't really the problem. Our belief in the ego is the problem. And our DESIRE for the ego is what fuels our belief.
But once I see what the ego really means by acknowledging it's hatefulness, I'm no longer unconscious. I stop dressing it up with spiritual ideas, or pushing it out of my awareness. I stop changing the forms of things, hoping it will awaken me. I let all forms be exactly as they are. It's the content -- the thought system of the ego/separation -- that is the problem, not the form. I am no longer kidding myself about its vile nature or being distracted by forms of relationships, responsibilities, or roles in the world. Everything in the world is neutral. Everything.
What's more, I must be in my Mind to do this. I must have stepped back from the dream to the witness position in my Mind where I can just watch. And now that I'm in my Mind, I'm where the Correction is, too. I finally bring the question and the Answer together. I work with Cause and not effect.
This all must work, because there is another Wanting in our Mind. The Wanting for Truth, for God, for Perfect Happiness, for the Atonement, for the Divine -- They, along with the wanting for Them, are also in our Minds.
We are simply ending the split, that's all. We are owning the power of our Mind and using It to Look. That is the healing, that is the miracle, that is the meaning of bringing the darkness to the Light. We aren't gaining something we don't have. We aren't really "returning" anywhere. An agent outside our Mind is not administering to us in order that we experience a "miracle."
We are simply being Present to What Is in our Mind. That's enough. That's everything.