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The Inner Voice

Excerpts from the Seminar held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Temecula CA

Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.


Part II
Introduction (cont.)

There are, thus, two inner voices, and actually the word inner is superfluous because there are no outer voices. There is nothing "outer." There are only two voices. We think of them as inner because we think there is an outer. That is because we think there is a world, and that is because we think there is a body. We think there are bodies out there with whom we interact, to whom we speak and who speak to us, in voices. Therefore, in order to distinguish between those voices and the so-called inner voice, we use the terms outer and inner. In reality, the outer is simply the projection of the inner and has not left its source.

Actually, when I am sitting or standing here talking to you, I am really talking to myself. When you make a comment or ask a question, you are asking it of yourself, because there is nothing else—just as all the characters in a sleeping dream are interacting with the mind of the dreamer because they are all split-off parts or symbolic expressions of different aspects of the mind of the dreamer. It is really a conversation that the dreamer is having with him- or herself every night. It is no different with our everyday waking dreams. We are having conversations with our self, but it is not the self we think we are. It is the inner self. And so the first really important step in being able to hear the true inner Voice, the Voice of the Holy Spirit, is to be aware that we have spent this lifetime, and God knows how many other lifetimes (as the Son of God believes in years) listening to the wrong voice—the ego's voice.

The text says that our task is not to seek after love, but to seek and find all the barriers we have placed between ourselves and love (T-16.IV.6:1). We could rephrase that to say that our task is not to seek for the inner Voice of the Holy Spirit, but to seek and find all the barriers, all the other voices, we have put between ourselves and that Voice. If we are truly serious about wanting to hear the Holy Spirit's Voice and having our lives be expressions and extensions of that Voice's Wisdom and Love, what we have to do is withdraw our investment and belief in the ego's voice and our identification with it. If we do not do that, then we will think that every time we close our eyes and have a thought, it is a voice, and the voice must be the Holy Spirit's, because the workbook says that "God's Voice speaks to me all through the day" (W-pI.49). It is always helpful for students to remember that Jesus never says we hear God's Voice throughout the day—he just says God's Voice speaks to us throughout the day. Of course He speaks to us because His Voice is in our mind and is always there.

The problem is that there is another voice to which we listen. If you do not think you are listening to that other voice, then just stop for a minute, look in a mirror, and think about what you see. If you see yourself and have some kind of judgment about yourself, which almost everyone does, that is proof that you are listening to the wrong voice, because that perception is saying you believe you are here in a body. If you believe you are here in a body, what voice brought you here? What voice projected you here? Certainly not the Holy Spirit, for He knows you are still at home in God.

The Holy Spirit is defined in A Course in Miracles as the Answer. Another term for the same function is Correction. Again, what good is a correction if you do not know what is being corrected? The only value and the only role the Holy Spirit has in our dream is to correct our mistaken choice for the ego. Keeping that in mind will keep us honest with this course, so that we will not go off riding furiously on the wrong horse, going in the wrong direction to the wrong town, thinking that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to tell us what to do. Since He knows very well this world is an illusion and that bodies do not do anything, why would He tell us what to do? He knows the problem is what we think, and obviously we have thought incorrectly because we think we are here.

Therefore, if you catch yourself asking the Holy Spirit or Jesus for specific help with a specific problem, as quickly as you can try to stop, and if you do not have The Song of Prayer handy to read the opening pages, at least try to realize that you are asking the Voice that speaks the truth to tell you how to get along in the illusion. Not only is that arrogant, but it is insane! Tell yourself, rather, that you should be asking the Voice for truth to help you get your illusions out of the way so that you, too, would become the voice for truth. At the end of the clarification of terms in the section "The Holy Spirit," Jesus is described as "the manifestation of the Holy Spirit," and he now asks us to become his manifestation (C-6.1:1; 5:1-3). In other words, as we learn and grow in this course, which means growing in forgiveness, which means decreasing our identification with guilt, we are silencing the ego's voice more and letting the Holy Spirit's Voice speak out more and more frequently. The Voice is always there, but we are the ones who introduce the static that covers it. Our ultimate goal, therefore, is to become Jesus' manifestation, just as he is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other, if you remember high school geometry, which means we, too, then become the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

I frequently refer to Helen's lovely poem "A Jesus Prayer"—a poem from us to Jesus—in which our prayer is that we would grow up and become like him so that when people look at us they would not see us, but only him (see The Gifts of God, p. 82). To become his manifestation is to be the pure vehicle of love that he is. Since in his mind there is no other voice but the Voice of Love, the Voice of the Holy Spirit, he then becomes that Voice's manifestation. His function as our teacher is to lead us along the journey or up the ladder so that we, too, would become as pure an expression of that Love as possible. At the very end, which is when we attain the real world, there is nothing but that Love. What keeps us from knowing and experiencing that Love and being the direct expression of that Love is listening to the voice of guilt.

In that evocative section "Shadows of the Past" (T-17.III), Jesus is basically telling us that we are always letting the shadows of the past affect—and really it is infect—our relationships with others. Thus, when I meet you and do not see you as you are, I have brought along all the shadows of my special relationships from the past. Certainly in our lives that almost always begins with our parents. It is just another way of saying the same thing—we are always listening to the voices of the past, and those are the voices of guilt, shame, fear, hatred, anger, loss, depression, and ultimately death. Those voices actually are variations of one voice. That is the problem. How can I hear the voice of love when the voice of guilt is so prominent? And you know the voice of guilt is prominent the second you have a judgmental thought. It does not have to be a maniacally furious, judgmental thought. It could mean, as the Course says, a "slight twinge of annoyance" (W-pI.21.2:5). That is telling you that you are listening to the voice of guilt. How can I possibly listen to the voice of love, how can I possibly have chosen at this moment to have Jesus as my teacher if I am making separation and judgment real? Whether it is the judgment of another person, myself, an animal, an object, or anything else, it does not make any difference. Anything that I push away and see as separate from me or as having the power to hurt me is coming from the inner voice of the ego.

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