Tuesday, March 04, 2008

On Popeye and the Channeling Bonanza

Years ago, when the topic of listening to the Holy Spirit, and "feeling guided" came up, I found myself joking with a group that my mother always was sure she was channeling the Holy Spirit when she told me to eat my spinach as a child. At which point I'm reminded of the following paragraph in the Course:

Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this, and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be. (ACIM:T-18.IV.2)

We presently seem to have entered an era of channeling bonanza, where in some circles it is acceptable and "done" to publicly announce that you feel guided to do or say either a or b. The common sense response to which should be, "So?" Over the years, Ken Wapnick has discussed this issue many times, and he likes to common-sensically point out that we're always channeling something, i.e. either the ego or the Holy Spirit, which should be completely evident if we see the body as merely a vehicle, but not as who we are, and just like there are only two emotions, love or fear, so there are only two ways we can speak, from love or from fear.

If we were ever truly and wholly coming from love, there would be no need to be here, as the above paragraph says pretty clearly, so we are here to learn. If we come from love, the results should be completely self-evident, as the following paragraph suggests:

Every brother you meet becomes a witness for Christ or for the ego, depending on what you perceive in him. Everyone convinces you of what you want to perceive, and of the reality of the kingdom you have chosen for your vigilance. Everything you perceive is a witness to the thought system you want to be true. Every brother has the power to release you, if you choose to be free. You cannot accept false witness of him unless you have evoked false witnesses against him. If he speaks not of Christ to you, you spoke not of Christ to him. You hear but your own voice, and if Christ speaks through you, you will hear Him.

So if you are totally coming from love, then you will experience love, which will not need any elaboration, conversely, if it needs to be explained that something is coming from love, then it probably is not, at least not wholly. If nothing else to lay the burden on someone that you are telling them something which is "guided" amounts to really a subtle way of making the other person feel guilty, by implying that whatever they are saying may not be so guided, etc. So it is a way of intimidating the listener, of making them feel guilty, and therefore an ego-manipulation. My mother might have been coming from fear (about my health), or from complete love, and knowing that I would be OK whether I ate my spinach or not. We cannot know that, we need not know that, for that is between her and the Holy Spirit and moreover she is OK irrespective of any momentary delusions, which is the whole implication of the atonement principle. So there is no point to analyzing if someone else is being "guided" by the Holy Spirit or the ego, the point is I am here to learn my classrooms, and to find the way home.

Back to basics with the Course always means to begin with the central notion, stated at the outset, that our job here is to remove the obstacles to love's presence, which is our natural inheritance. (cf. ACIM:Introduction) In human interaction I am responsible for my actions, my words, etc. where I think they are coming from is purely superfluous information to everybody else. Moreover to put labels on it is the same mistake of level confusion, as why God does not hear a prayer in words, but only true prayer of the heart, and why the thoughts you think you think are not your real thoughts, as the Course points out in many ways (a.o. Lessons 15 and 45 in the Workbook). It is completely irrelevant if I think--in words--whether anything I say is either from the ego or from the Holy Spirit, for if I did not have to learn to tell the difference, I would not be here at all in the first place. Simply put, you will know the tree by its fruits, and our job is to learn to pick the right tree, accept the Atonement for ourselves.

Copyright, © 2008 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.
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