Saturday, November 05, 2011

Level Confusion

In the meantime, I'm working on the translation of Chapter 5 of the 2nd part of Margot Krikhaar's book, Awakening in Love. Among other things this chapter speaks to the idea over level confusion, a concept in the Course that is sometimes hard to understand at first. It is a concept also that goes back through the entire Judaeo-Christian tradition, and is constantly horribly misunderstood. In the hands of the ego, it predictably becomes another tool of sin, guilt and fear. The original intent is very clear however, and the Course points the way to restoring it, though in the end the complete restoration will be experiential.

The fundamental idea of level confusion is based on the Course's teaching of 'Level One'--the level of abstract truth, which speaks of Heaven, God, Oneness, Mind, Love, Reality, etc. as our only reality, and level two as the dualistic experience of the world which only flows from an illusory decision to separate. At level One, there is no world, there is only a oneness which is one and all inclusive and of which we are a part. This is however not our daily experience. So the Course also speaks to us on 'level two' which is the level of our concrete experience in the world, which we mistake for reality to the extent that we are identified with our egoic individuality, where we believe the body and the world are our reality, and we are not in touch that we made them up ourselves--not on the level of the conscious mental processes which are associated with brain activity, and which we mistake for our mind. The Buddhist calls it 'monkey mind.' The projection of the holografic reality happens in the mind, on a level outside of our individual bodily experience in the time/space hologram. Subconsciously, we would say, because we are completely dissociated from the mind, limiting ourselves to the conscious thinking of our 'monkey mind.'

The process of forgiveness as the Course offers it, and which is a restatement anno 2000 of what Jeshua taught in Palestine 2000 years ago, in effect is a way to dissociate our dissociation, the separation thought, the ego. In the Course's terms it helps us to 'deny the denial of truth'. (ACIM:T-12.II.1:5) Our 'stinking thinking' operates always and only at the level of WIIFM (What's In It For Me). It is shortsighted and geared to survival, and places us firmly on the battlefield alongside Arjuna. And the first sign of waking up is to realize the absurdity of the battle, of brother killing brother, and then turning to our Inner Teacher. He may be Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, or Kuan Yin in the Buddhist tradition, or Jesus in the Western tradition as in the Course. He is the Symbol of Heaven, of God's Love.

In an ego conflict, the threefold forgiveness process of the Course points the way out:

  1. To start to question the ego's kill or be killed dynamic, and instead ask ourselves: "Would I accuse myself of doing this?" That opens the door, because it shifts our attention back from the world (effect) where we are unable to change anything, to the mind (cause), the only place where we can change anything...
  2. Is to look at the situation with Jesus, i.e. without guilt--having just made the first step to objectivity by at least questioning our ego's foregone conclusions. We may not know how to stop ourselves, but we can always:
  3. Ask our Inner Teacher to see things his way instead, and by withdrawing our judgment we will have made room for the judgment and guidance from the Holy Spirit. A that point the ego has stepped out of the way. 
What this also means, is that we have backed away from Level 2 and returned to Level 1, by joining with Jesus, and almost literally asking him if we can borrow his glasses, for ours are pretty foggy at times like that. At that level the guidance will always be the most loving solution for all concerned, not the unilateral and conflict-prone pushing of one party's interest. We have shifted out of fear and into Love.

The ego does all it can to prevent this kind of a disastrous outcome. So when we ask for Love, which is always our deepest will, this is a threat to the ego, for at Level 1, Love is all there is, and the ego is out of business. So, much like in the elections, the ego constantly offers us seeming alternatives, which are really all the same, because they implicitly reaffirm our choice for the ego. So when the ego hears us calling for Love, it--like the expert juggler that it is--promptly comes up with a love object of some sort, an idol. That could be anything that tickles our fancy, sex, food, drink, drugs, important functions, fame, fortune, Nobel prizes and whatever it takes to keep us convince of the importance of what we are doing in the world. The ego pulls a rabbit out of a hat, to distract our attention and keep us unaware that we are reaffirming the ego's power over it by whatever choice we make from the ego's menu, which is always at level 2, and which will have more options than the menu of the Holy Spirit, which has just one option: Love. 


In short, the ego is the provider of substitutes, surrogates, idols, something to worship, in lieu of the content, it  is the Wizard of Oz, it is the Emperor without clothes, the Hyacinth Bucket of the soul, insisting it is a Boucquet, and investing all available energy in keeping up appearances, and keeping us focused on problem solving in the world, lest we should ever remember we have a mind, let alone start to wake up. Perhaps the most monumental such substitution is the Pope in the RC Church, whose title is 'Vicar of Christ", according to the operative theology, he holds a spot for Jesus when he returns. By virtue of that title alone, he is the denial of the resurrection, and the theological model goes hand in hand with the notion that the Second Coming should be the return of Jesus in he body in this world, whereas the Course, in line with its overall metaphysical framework, has the opposite notion, that the Second Coming is about us folowing Jesus and joining with him in the resurrection (in the mind). The Course's definition of temptation is convincing the son of God that he is a body. The Course's version of the Lord's Prayer points the way out.

Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions, and where none can ever enter. Our holiness is Yours. What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect? The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love. Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your Will.  And let us receive only what You have given, and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love. Amen. (ACIM:T-16.VII.12) 
Copyright, © 2011 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.
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