Monday, August 20, 2012

Of John the Baptist and the Prophet Elijah

The beautiful relationship you have with all your brothers is a part of you because it is a part of God Himself. Are you not sick, if you deny yourself your wholeness and your health, the Source of help, the Call to healing and the Call to heal? Your savior waits for healing, and the world waits with him. Nor are you apart from it. For healing will be one or not at all, its oneness being where the healing is. What could correct for separation but its opposite? There is no middle ground in any aspect of salvation. You accept it wholly or accept it not. What is unseparated must be joined. And what is joined cannot be separate. (ACIM:T-28.VII.2)
As the Course makes clear throughout, everything happens in the context of our relationships, and in this life every relationship starts out as a special relationship, because the ego is our primary driver, until we begin to change our minds. A special relationships starts from the perception of lack, which inspires the idea that the other has something that I don't, and thus the impetus to the relationship is the filling of that lack. Inevitably, the day comes when the relationship partner disappoints, because he or she is always more and/or different than we bargained for. At that point relationships are broken off, and new ones started. If we should be so lucky, one day it will dawn on us that the game never changes, and moreover that it gets boring after a while.

With A Course in Miracles, the very practicality of forgiveness as the way out of this hell, is taught by learning to separate fact from fiction, in the sense that the ego's emotions are always fiction, because they are an interpretation of circumstances on the basis of the self-interest of an entity--our presumed individual identity--that is impermanent at best, and hence they merely are such stuff as dreams are made of.

Forgiveness, Course style, untangles the tangled emotions and eventually frees us from their stranglehold and leads us on the way back home. Along with the process of learning to see our brother sinless, by letting go of our grievances, we are learning to see the face of Christ in our brother, which is the face of who we are as an innocent Son of God. In the final stages of this process, we experience by definition with one particular brother the letting go of our last projections, as part of our forgiveness process. This is the deepest point, the proverbial darkest hour before the dawn, and in the Biblical account of the baptism in the River Jordan, it is symbolized by that baptism, an immersion in the "river of life" of our emotions, to the point of suffocation, before we see the Heavens break and hear God's Voice say to us that you are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased. At that point we are then hearing the voice of guiltlessness, because we have then remembered who we are.

In this sense then Elijah or John the Baptist, as the Messenger who precedes the savior, symbolize that one brother on our way back home who becomes our final teacher by evoking a depth of emotion in us, which we then choose against, one last time, and that is when the Sky breaks, and we finally see the savior. The name Yehochanan (John) is very symbolic, God gives blessings--in it lies the recognition that our very salvation lies in these final forgiveness lessons, and that what the ego judged so badly, is in fact our biggest forgiveness lesson, and our final way out of the ego's hell. This happens only at the point of total immersion to the point of suffocation in that river of ego emotions, all rooted in fleeting awareness of time that is the River Jordan.
The fourth obstacle to be surmounted hangs like a heavy veil before the face of Christ. Yet as His face rises beyond it, shining with joy because He is in His Father's Love, peace will lightly brush the veil aside and run to meet Him, and to join with Him at last. For this dark veil, which seems to make the face of Christ Himself like to a leper's, and the bright Rays of His Father's Love that light His face with glory appear as streams of blood, fades in the blazing light beyond it when the fear of death is gone. (ACIM:T19.IV.D.2)
The key to the "parables" that come to us, and also of the story of the baptism in the River Jordan is the realization that it is all about us. We are not forgiving anybody our there, we are forgiving ourselves for our mistaken choice for the ego, which choice merely resulted in the false perception that we were outside of Heaven, a perception we then "make real" by seeing a whole universe of individual identities "out there" who are all outside of Heaven, and fighting each others for the spoils of the "nothing" that is the world. As long as we are not willing to forgive our silly mistake, we keep seeing the world in terms of "survival of the fittest," and ourselves in conflict with all our brothers. In that deepest ego-pit, that moment of immersion in our deepest emotional despair to the point of suffocating, we finally let go of our judgment of the world. This is the final decision moment when we let go of the last vestiges of our ego's judgments, and learn from our baptist that God gives Blessings, and as we finally relinquish the ego completely, we emerge from the pits to see the "face of Christ," in all our brothers, because we ourselves remember who we are in truth. In the Course's words "I am still as God created me." (ACIM Lessons 201-220: I am not a body, I am free. For I am still as God created me.) In the words of the New Testament, "Thou art my Son, in whom I am well pleased."
And now we say "Amen." For Christ has come to dwell in the abode You set for Him before time was, in calm eternity. The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. No trace of it remains. Not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ from anyone. Thy Will is done, complete and perfectly, and all creation recognizes You, and knows You as the only Source it has. Clear in Your likeness does the light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You. For we have reached where all of us are one, and we are home, where You would have us be. (ACIM:T-31.VIII.12) 
Copyright, © 2012 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.