“The mind can be right or wrong, depending on the voice to which it listens. Right-mindedness listens to the Holy Spirit, forgives the world, and through Christ’s vision sees the real world in its place. This is the final vision, the last perception, the condition in which God takes the final step Himself. Here time and illusions end together.” (C-1.5)
The “final step” is metaphorical, a representation of the return to that which was never left. This step can’t be taken by the separate self, because the idea of separation inherent in the separate self is the very idea that gives rise to the sense of being separated from Source. It is this sense of separation from which the separate self must find its way back by uncovering and then relinquishing all its beliefs of separation.
The illusion of separation is created by mind, which takes Wholeness and splits it into parts. In and of itself the illusion is not a problem, and splitting Wholeness into parts for the practical application of interacting with form is not a problem. The only problem is thinking that the parts are indeed separate, and that separation has actually occurred. There is no separation. There is only Source.
When the “real world”—the world of manifestation, without the overlay of any coloring by ego (“Sometimes, Dr. Freud, a cigar is just a cigar”)—is seen and known for what it is, the sense of separation can dissolve, merging self with Self. This isn’t some far-out experience; it’s simple and natural. Knowledge can then permeate beingness, and inform every action, and shine its light in the world of form.
But I experience a world.
Yes. But that experience takes place in the mind. There is no contact with a world of form. All experience happens in and with the mind. The eyes seem to see a world “out there”, but seeing itself takes place in the mind; the eyes merely return to the mind what the mind expects to see.
Are you saying that if I drive in a neighborhood I’ve never seen before, the houses I see in that neighborhood appear because I expect them to? What about the people who live there? Am I making them up?
You are accustomed to thinking of your mind as distinct and separate from other distinct and separate minds. There is only one Mind. The mind you think of as your own is part of that one Mind. What you see driving in that unfamiliar neighborhood is known within the one Mind, by the one Mind. Each person you see as you drive through that neighborhood is having their own experience of being a distinct and separate mind in that neighborhood, but in truth they are merely experiencing what is known within the one Mind.
Direct contact is never made with a world.The only object with which contact is made is the current object within awareness. Think of the experience of listening to birdsong. Conventional thinking says the sound comes from “outside” the mind. But where is the sound known? The body doesn’t know the sound—it’s simply a sensing apparatus by which a world can be experienced physically. The brain doesn’t know the sound—it’s an information-processing apparatus for the body. What is it which knows the object called “sound”, not in terms of information, but in the knowing of the object itself?
I guess the mind. But isn’t sound made of soundwaves?
Soundwaves, when they are known, are known by the mind. Outside of the knowing of them by the mind, they cannot be said to exist. They, too, are an appearance in the mind. Nothing more than that can be said about them with any certainty. Same with everything in the world of form: outside of the mind, nothing in the world of form can be said to exist.
Ego is not an entity; it has no being or existence. It is a reflex, a habit, an activity of the mind born of the belief in separation, from which then follow thoughts reflecting that belief, which themselves are reflected in the world of form. The world is nothing more than a reflection of the thoughts in the mind.
Recently I’ve been hearing quite a few Course students say “I was guided to…” when talking about feeling inspired toward some action. I myself have used the phrase on occasion, usually when sharing a story of how some unexpected impulse initiated a miraculous chain of events which in turn led to a perfect outcome that I myself couldn’t have known would happen, let alone conspire to make happen. Including a nod to this sense of guidance is a wonderful way of acknowledging the hand of God in the unexpected and beneficial ways that our lives unfold, and of sharing a deep sense of gratitude for the ways in which we’re held by God.
Like anything, though, the phrase can become a tool of separation, used in the service of ego, and obscuring the Truth of what we are, which is whole and complete within God. How to tell if a response is egoic? This is where vigilance comes in. Be vigilant in monitoring the body and mind for any changes that arise within them. Similar to how a particular gesture on the part of a poker player can expose what’s going on in that player’s mind, energetic changes such as feelings are a great “tell” when it comes to discovering whether we’ve bought ourselves a ticket to the ego’s belief system. “I was guided to…” can be a subtle way of declaring grandiosity: “I’m so special because the Holy Spirit talks to me.” Grandiosity always stems from a sense of superiority, which itself arises out of a sense of inferiority. Neither are true; both superiority and inferiority are thoughts of specialness which stem from beliefs pertaining to worthiness. Recognizing when feelings of inferiority and superiority accompany anything we say is a great way of realizing that we’ve lost touch with the knowledge of our own inherent worthiness. That recognition enables us to choose again, and return to the awareness of our true Self, in which our own inherent worthiness becomes self-evident.