Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Truth Shall Set You Free

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said: "If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." (Jn 8:32)

And in the Course we have:
Since you cannot not teach, your salvation lies in teaching the exact opposite of everything the ego believes. This is how you will learn the truth that will set you free, and will keep you free as others learn it of you. The only way to have peace is to teach peace. By teaching peace you must learn it yourself, because you cannot teach what you still dissociate. Only thus can you win back the knowledge that you threw away. An idea that you share you must have. It awakens in your mind through the conviction of teaching it. Everything you teach you are learning. Teach only love, and learn that love is yours and you are love.
" (ACIM:T-6.3.4)

There are numerous other references to this statement in the Course. In both of these traditions we can see the same Jesus - the statement in John is totally consistent with the clarification he offers in the Course, and in the meantime we should carefully note how this statement has been badly distorted in the teaching of the world.

For once we manage--as Christianity did--to pull Jesus into the world and reinterpret his teaching as a moralistic teaching within a dualistic framework of good and evil, then 'truth' promptly becomes misunderstood in the ego framework as being 'truthful,' i.e. to honor 'how it really happened," when instead the teaching of love is that nothing really did happen, which is the Atonement.

So the supposed virtue of truthfulness in the ego's world means allegiance the truths that set us free (supposedly), are the accusations of ourselves (confession!) or of our brothers (telling the 'truth,' including such 'virtues' as whistleblowing, etc.), in flagrant denial of the fact that the whole thing is a lie. The freedom that is promised in these virtuous actions, is along the lines of 'getting it off your chest,' and similar notions, which feeds into the ego's black-jack system where guilt is OK, as long as we can pass it on to someone else, and we are oblivious to the fact that this keeps the guilt alive, whereas forgiveness truly sets us free. As the Course makes very clear, not only do these kinds of truths not set us free, they are the chains of accusation with which we keep our brothers and ourselves in bondage, be reinforcing the separation. So the self-serving respect for truth on a worldly level is all about making the world and the separation real and thus about making a liar out of Jesus.

The correction he offers in the Course is to make it clear that if we teach love and forgiveness, we must first be accepting it in our own hearts, and thus we learn forgiveness and love by teaching it, and this is the teaching of truth Jesus was and is passing on to us, and asks us to take into our lives and the world. And it has nothing to do with teaching the Course, the Gospel, or any other formal teaching, for it is a teaching that goes beyond words entirely, and it's truth is in the experience of it. That is living in the truth that shall set us free.

There are many passages in the Course which show us how the ego's judgment serves merely to reinforce the bonds of guilt on our brothers and ourselves, and keep us in chains forever. And many passages show us the way out through forgiveness and Jesus' teaching of love, such as the following section from "The Holy Instant":
We said before that the ego attempts to maintain and increase guilt, but in such a way that you do not recognize what it would do to you. For it is the ego's fundamental doctrine that what you do to others you have escaped. The ego wishes no one well. Yet its survival depends on your belief that you are exempt from its evil intentions. It counsels, therefore, that if you are host to it, it will enable you to direct its anger outward, thus protecting you. And thus it embarks on an endless, unrewarding chain of special relationships, forged out of anger and dedicated to but one insane belief; that the more anger you invest outside yourself, the safer you become.
It is this chain that binds the Son of God to guilt, and it is this chain the Holy Spirit would remove from his holy mind. For the chain of savagery belongs not around the chosen host of God, who cannot make himself host to the ego. In the name of his release, and in the Name of Him Who would release him, let us look more closely at the relationships the ego contrives, and let the Holy Spirit judge them truly. For it is certain that if you will look at them, you will offer them gladly to Him. What He can make of them you do not know, but you will become willing to find out, if you are willing first to perceive what you have made of them.

Copyright, © 2007 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Special Relationships - the Ego's Obfuscation of the Holy Relationship

One of the key things to understand, which as always becomes experientially clearer only through working with the Course is that the ego's methodology is very predictable and always the same. It's business is to sell us on duality as a substitute for reality, and does everything in its might to keep our attention fully engaged at that level so as to distract us completely from our reality which is in oneness.

The Course is all about relationships - and that is what is perhaps most unique about the Course that it teaches our relationships are our classrooms to get home - once we invite the Holy Spirit as our teacher. The ego uses relationships to distract us to the maximum extent possible. And preferably dresses it all up in a religious aura, at which point we need to appreciate that the ego's use of religion is as a way to obfuscate and protect from examination the faulty assumptions on which its logic rests. In other words to the ego religion is a defense mechanism, and it uses the cloak of spirituality to prevent exposure of its premises.

The culmination of the ego's relationships is surely marriage, which in the church becomes a sacrament, and is surrounded with appropriate mythology. This is the elevation of special relationships to new would-be spiritual and religious heights, whereby the ego literally dresses itself up for Sunday. And so on a worldly level it is now the relationship between two bodies, a man and a woman which is being declared sacred, and the celebration of specialness is substituted for the meaning of the Holy Relationship, which would have us see our true Self, "the face of Christ" as the Course calls it in all our brothers. Naturally such sacraments and mysteries of the faith are not open to examination, since the ego cannot bear the uncovering of its unfounded assumptions, lest it should go back to "the nothingness from which it came," (ACIM:M-13.1:2) like all other ego thoughts must when they are brought into the light.

In the world all relationships are designed to be special and exclusive, and serve the purpose of clouding over the one betrayal that we make real by virtue of our worship of specialness and separation, which is the ego thought itself , the thought of separation, the thought that the "tiny mad idea" could really be real, just because of our say so. And so we have the notions of faithfulness, adultery, jealousy, loyalty and so on in the world, between separated individuals, and a whole code of presumably virtuous behavior, as well as institutions to make real our faithlessness and sinfulness by the seeming absolution which is solidly founded on "confessing" our sins and making them very real. And so these institutions elevate the ego's forgiveness to destroy to an art form, and are dutifully maintained by us. We have special relationships pertaining to "intimacy" defined in various ways, marriage being only one of them, but we have business loyalties, brand loyalties, and so on, constantly fooling ourselves with the virtues of being loyal to something that isn't worth being loyal to, while denying our loyalty to our true Self in the process. The Course puts it this way:

You do not realize how much you have misused your brothers by seeing them as sources of ego support. As a result, they witness to the ego in your perception, and seem to provide reasons for not letting it go. Yet they are far stronger and much more compelling witnesses for the Holy Spirit. And they support His strength. It is, therefore, your choice whether they support the ego or the Holy Spirit in you. And you will recognize which you have chosen by their reactions. A Son of God who has been released through the Holy Spirit in a brother is always recognized. He cannot be denied. If you remain uncertain, it is only because you have not given complete release. And because of this, you have not given a single instant completely to the Holy Spirit. For when you have, you will be sure you have. You will be sure because the witness to Him will speak so clearly of Him that you will hear and understand. You will doubt until you hear one witness whom you have wholly released through the Holy Spirit. And then you will doubt no more.

The way forward becomes simple and clear the more we take the trouble to actually look honestly with Jesus at all the hidden assumptions which the ego never wants us to questions, just so as to be able to keep up the charade a while longer. And on the way we end up cracking ourselves up when we see the seriousness with which we maintain all of these presumed worldly virtues, once we start getting it that they are in fact nothing but our pledge of allegiance to the ego system, which does not even work, for it may be "foolproof," but it is definitely not "God proof." (ACIM:T-5.VI.10:6) It is upon us to let the light shine in, which begins with questioning the ego. The path to the Holy Relationship begins when in our relationships we learn to be true to our true Self, by following Jesus, instead of our idol worship of specialness at the altar of the ego.

Copyright, © 2007 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.