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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 VI
"The Voice for God" (cont.)

Continuing now with paragraph 6.

(T-5.II.6:1) The Holy Spirit calls you both to remember and to forget.

Jesus calls us to forget the ego, and in forgetting the ego we remember the Holy Spirit or God. This is the same idea as later on in the text when Jesus talks about the "last unanswered question," which is, "Do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth?" (T-21.VII.5:14). In order to answer yes to that question, you must first say "not no" (T-21.VII.12.4). In other words, before you can remember the truth and remember God, you first have to look at the ego and then forget it—forgetting not in the sense of repression, but forgetting in the sense of choosing against it. You have to look at the negation of truth, which is the ego thought system, and then say you do not want this anymore. That is the double negative, the "not no." The "no" is the ego's thought system of negation, and the "not" represents your saying you do not want to identify with that anymore.

So the Holy Spirit calls on us to bring the ego with us to Him, and when He looks at it with us, then it is gone, which means we forget it. And when we forget it, as the Course says in other places, then the memory of God dawns on our minds (e.g., T-12.VIII.5; T-18.IX.14; T-28.I.11). That is the "remembering" Jesus is talking about here.

(T-5.II.6:2) You have chosen to be in a state of opposition in which opposites are possible.

That is what we were just talking about. There are no opposites in reality. There is God and there is nothing else. But in the world of opposites that we made we have to use opposites as the way of getting beyond the opposites. Thus, A Course in Miracles always contrasts the ego's thought system with the Holy Spirit's, which is the opposite. But when we choose the Holy Spirit's thought system once and for all, the ego thought system disappears, which means there is no longer an opposite. And at that point the Holy Spirit's right-minded thought system of forgiveness then becomes the pure reflection of Heaven's Oneness. And then that pure reflection disappears into what it was reflecting, which is the Oneness or the Love of God. But in the ego's world, there is "a state of opposition in which opposites are possible."

(T-5.II.6:3) As a result, there are choices you must make.

The choice is always between the ego's voice and the Holy Spirit's Voice, the two inner voices. This is another area where you can see why Jesus repeatedly refers to his Course as simple. In this world there are an almost infinite number of choices. Life here is very, very difficult. You know, shopping in a supermarket is much more difficult now than it was when we were kids. Then, you had Wheaties, Corn Flakes, Cheerios, and Rice Krispies. Now you have endless, endless boxes of cereal. Everything, everything, is very complicated. The only meaningful choice there is, is between the ego's thought system of judgment and specialness and hate, and the Holy Spirit's correction of forgiveness and peace. The two voices again.

I am frequently asked how we can tell the difference between the two voices, because we can think we are hearing the Holy Spirit's Voice, when it is the ego's. Let me tell you a couple of stories as a way of answering this. One has a clever ending, although it was not so to the person involved. Many, many years ago in the early years of the Course, there was a young man who was very serious and very intelligent. When he found the Course, he embraced it body and soul, but not necessarily in a good way. It ended up, unfortunately, with him becoming psychotic: he would wander the streets of Manhattan in the winter time and "the Holy Spirit" had told him to give away all his clothes, especially his winter coat. And Manhattan in the winter is no picnic. The Holy Spirit had also told him he should call Bill Thetford on the phone, and so he called Bill up and said that "the Holy Spirit told me you should give me a thousand dollars." Bill, who was nobody's fool, said to him, "Isn't that funny? Just this morning the Holy Spirit told me you would call me and ask me for a thousand dollars, and the Holy Spirit told me I should not give it to you." So guess who was hearing the right voice?

There is another very interesting story in terms of how easily derailed you can get. Many years ago, in the early 1990s in Roscoe, I received a call one day from a man who was very distraught. He told me his story, and the core of it was that several years before, he had started hearing the Holy Spirit's Voice. And the Holy Spirit had told him all kinds of things. One of these things was that on a certain date he would die. That date was the following Monday, and he was calling me on Thursday or Friday. He was about to be admitted to the hospital for some surgery—it was major surgery but not life threatening. He was convinced because of what the Holy Spirit had told him that he was going to die on the operating table and he was in a panic.

So I talked with him a while and told him a couple of stories about how easily misled one can be. I told him the story of Helen. Now Helen's hearing was incredibly accurate and acute when she was taking down the Course. It was not so acute when it became involved with personal things and specific things. She had a dream once in which she saw her tombstone with the number 72 on it. So she became convinced that she would die at the age of 72. Well, she died at the age of 71—close, but no cigar. She always said to me that Bill would die within a year of her death, and Louis would die within five or six years of her death. Well, Helen died in 1981. Bill did not die until 1988; so that was seven years instead of the one year. Louis at the time of this phone call was still very much alive, and the call was 1993, 1994, or something like that, thirteen years after Helen died, and he was supposed to die within five or six. In fact, Louis lived another three or four years after that.

So I told this man this as an example how Helen, the scribe of the Course, could be wrong when it came to her own death and the death of these two very important people in her life—that when it came to specifics you could really get off base. Anyway he felt very, very comforted and I asked him to please call me after he got back from the hospital, which he did. As far as I know, he is still alive.

The point of these two stories is that a good rule of thumb to tell the difference between the ego and the Holy Spirit is that when the Holy Spirit starts getting specific, you want to run. That does not mean that each and every time you "hear" something specific it will be the ego; but the chances are greatly enhanced that it is the ego simply because it is specific. Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not care about specifics, and They do not speak in specifics, as I was explaining earlier. We are people of specifics. Our specific bodies have very specific needs that require very specific attention and very specific things like oxygen, water, food, as well as other people, to meet our very specific needs. It is impossible to conceive of life without specifics. Bodies demand them.

Therefore, once we start "hearing" the inner voice tell us specific things and tell us to tell other people specific things, the chances are very great that since this has nothing to do with changing our minds but only changing our bodies, that while its original inspiration might have been the Holy Spirit, the voice very likely has gotten derailed. What you want the Holy Spirit for, and what you want to ask Jesus for, is help in letting go of your guilt. That is really important. The specifics of your daily life, while they seem very important to you, are not going to bring you home. They are not going to awaken you from the dream.

Again, your mind can translate an experience of the Holy Spirit's non-specific Love into a specific message, but this is not always the case and you could so easily get off track that way. Helen, again, was a very good example. When it came to taking the Course down, which was non-specific, non-personal, there was no interference. When it came to specific things for specific people, especially people who were close to her, it was different. And when it came to her own death, she was obviously wrong. On the other hand, when Helen was dealing with people who were relative strangers or whom she was helping professionally, her hearing was almost always unimpaired.

To repeat, this does not necessarily mean that when you hear specifics it is the ego, but you should be very, very careful. Your emphasis for yourself and your focus should never be on asking for specific help to solve a problem. You want to ask for help with the problem, which is the problem of your guilt. That is why very early in the text-it is in Chapter two-when Helen was complaining to Jesus about something she was afraid of, some fear that she had (she had a lot of fears), and she asked him for help, his response to her, which was so important that it is integrated now in the Course itself (T-2.VI.4), was that she should not ask him to help her take away what she was afraid of. In other words, "do not ask me for specifics." He said, in effect, "Do not ask me to help you take away the fear; ask me to help remove the conditions that led to the fear. which is always the willingness or decision to be separate."

Many years later in a message that is not in the Course, when Helen was asking Jesus what she should say to someone to be helpful, his response to her was, "Do not ask me what you should say to this brother. Ask me to help you remove whatever judgments are in your mind." The clear implication of that, which Helen certainly understood, was that if the judgments are gone, then the wisdom and the love of Jesus would just flow through her and she would say whatever would be helpful. (See my Absence from Felicity, p. 381.)

So as I have said for years, instead of trying to hear the Holy Spirit's Voice and asking Him for help, ask Him to help you do what you have to do so you can hear His Voice. And what you have to do to be able to hear His Voice is to let go of your guilt, because guilt is the static. Guilt is what interferes with hearing that Voice of innocence and love. Rather than ask what the Holy Spirit should say to you and how do you hear the Holy Spirit, ask rather for help in letting go of the interferences to hearing His Voice. That is what he was telling Helen. "Do not ask me what you should say. Do not ask me to take your fear away. Ask me to help you remove your judgments, because these come from your decision to be separate from me, from God, from yourself, and from this other person. And when those judgments are gone and your ego is gone, then the wisdom of my love would flow through you and would come out in whatever words and behavior would be helpful."

You do not want to focus on the Voice as this magical, mystical, spiritual thing. You want to focus on the work. This Course is work. It takes a tremendous amount of determination, willingness, and vigilance. It is work at looking at your ego, which you cannot do by yourself. We tried that once already. We tried to make a world and a self by ourselves, and look where it got us, so we need to ask the Holy Spirit for help. The purpose of having Jesus in your life is to go to him with your ego, with your judgments, with your decision to be separate, and that will simplify everything for you in this Course. It will get you away from that kind of magical, spiritual specialness about hearing the Holy Spirit's Voice. Remember how I began this class: Everyone hears a voice. What is the big deal! You cannot not hear a voice.

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