Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Translating Awakening in Love

"Translation however demands more than knowledge and dedication. For translation is at the same time interpretation. Translation demands more than the knowledge of both languages. Translation demands understanding." (J.W.Kaiser as quoted in The Gospel as a Spiritual Path, p. 89)

Those words are always with me. They come from J.W. Kaiser's reflections on the job of translating the Gospel according to Mark, and express his awareness that many gospel translations are so horribly inadequate, because the translators may be good linguists, but in most cases evidently foreigners to the inner process which the gospel story conveys. This makes complete sense once one understands the fundamentalist nature of all religion, and why it consistently mistakes the manifest content for the meaning, and thereby obfuscates the meaning. The Christian tradition is the living proof, starting with the substitution of the worldly institution of the church for the spiritual community of joining with Jesus in the mind.

Our experience in learning the Course is full of the same pitfalls, and Margot Krikhaar pays attention to this in her book Awakening in Love, which I'm currently translating. Being a bit of an intellectual, she sees in herself, and thus helps me as her reader, and in this case translator, to see in myself the tendency of wanting to master A Course in Miracles, and in this way many of us fall for the temptation to mistake intellectual mastery of the material for the practice of it, when in fact it is nothing but an ego-tactic to prevent us from practicing the Course at all costs. After all, if I already understand it, why should I have to practice it? What a wonderful way of keeping Jesus out of the house once again: No need today.

Such are my current adventures in this translation process - constant opportunities to recognize my own struggles with the material of the Course through her account of her own experiences, and at the same time that process of recognition and the subsequent forgiveness naturally helps me again as a translator. I find myself getting completely "in" to the material.

The story of the book is the story of Margot's life, first upto finding the Course, then with the Course, progressively practicing it, up to the point of her experience of awakening. Finally in the second half of the book, there is her own unique summary of the path of the Course in twelve topical recaps that were channeled from Jesus, and which give an amazingly compact rendering of the most important features of A Course in Miracles.

Copyright, © 2011 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.
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