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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 X
"The Voice for God" (cont.)

Let us go back to "The Voice for God," paragraph 6, skipping to sentence 6.

(T-5.II.6:6) Choosing depends on a split mind.

If the purpose of A Course in Miracles is to help us choose again, the choosing has to be done within the mind. And choosing makes sense only if you are choosing between something and something. Having a split mind means you have a right mind and a wrong mind. Therefore, the only meaningful choice available to us is between these two voices, which exist only as thoughts in our mind, nothing outside.

(T-5.II.6:7-8) The Holy Spirit is one way of choosing. [The problem is that there is another way.] God did not leave His children comfortless, even though they chose to leave Him.

Remember, this is Jesus' fairy-tale to us. He says to us, "Yes, you chose to leave Daddy, but Daddy is not angry. Daddy loves you and will never leave you comfortless, and that is why he sent you the Comforter known as the Holy Spirit." It is a lovely story. Little boys and girls love stories. So Jesus gives us a wonderful story, but it is a story; it is not literally true. The content is true, however, which is God's Love. But it is expressed to us in a form that we can understand. It comes to us in the condition in which we think we are: little children who think that illusion is reality and reality is illusion. Little children go to puppet shows and they think real people are on the stage. Well, we think there are real people here; ergo, we are little children. And so we need an older brother who sits with us in the audience watching what is in truth a puppet show, and he tries to remind us that what we are seeing is a projection of what is inside.

Later on in the text Jesus says, "What if you recognized this world is an hallucination. What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal?" (T-20.VIII.7:3-5) Well, Jesus really is not asking a question—it is a rhetorical question. He is really making a statement. This is an hallucination. The question part of it would only be to help us look at our fear of accepting the fact that this is an hallucination, because if this world is an hallucination and all the figures that come and go are made up, where does that leave me? I am an hallucination, too. That is the fear. That is what we are desperately trying to hold on to, the "fact" that we are not hallucinations.

(T-5.II.6:9) The voice they put in their minds [God put the Holy Spirit in our minds] was not the Voice for His Will, for which the Holy Spirit speaks.

The entire world of time and space, the entire cosmos, our individual world extending from birth to death, all come from the voice that we put in our minds; therefore it is not real because the voice is not real. If ideas leave not their source, and the source is unreal, then what comes from it must be unreal. Me! That is why as you learn this course and practice it you begin to learn not to take things seriously.

As you look back over your childhood—and everyone's childhood was very serious and painful because we never got what we really felt we deserved, and sometimes we got a lot less—our lives became very serious. Birth is very serious, and we have never recovered from what Otto Rank called the birth trauma, which is simply a symbol of the original birth trauma when we separated. That is all our birth is here: a shadowy fragment of the original birth trauma when we believed we were expelled from Heaven. Very serious! But as you learn this course and practice it, you begin to take the world less and less seriously. This is because nothing here, no matter how serious, painful, or cruel, has ever had the power to take away that love and that peace. Nothing has had the power to silence the Voice that speaks for that love and peace. The only thing that silenced it was our own decision. And when we made the ego's thought system real, and then reinforced it by making a life that was real and riddled with guilt, sin, pain, and suffering, we silenced that Voice. Therefore, we are the only ones who can return it to its true volume. That is what A Course in Miracles tries to help us understand.

As little children, we had no power to stop all the cruelty, insensitivity, lack of love, or the hurt we felt. We do have power now. We do not have to carry this around with us anymore. No one is abusing us now. And if they are, we now understand we can look at it differently. As little children, we did not know that. Jesus wants us all to grow up and leave our childhood behind because it is already behind. When he tells us at the beginning of Chapter 28 that "this world was over long ago" (T-28.I.1:6), he is talking cosmically. But if the world were over long ago, so, too, was our personal world over long ago. Why, then, are we still carrying it around with us? He explains that to us in the passage. After that he talks about the guilt. We want the guilt. Guilt tells us the world is not over. My personal world, my past is not over; it is still with me; and I have all the scars to prove it. But they are all made up. The physical and psychological scars on my body are the projections of the scars of guilt in my mind. But the scars of guilt are made up. I made them up to keep away the thought of love that is in my mind.

Letting go of guilt is very difficult because guilt is our self, and so letting go of guilt is letting go of our self. One of the ways we protect ourselves from letting go of our guilt is through projection—in fact, that is the way that we protect our guilt which we believe is our self. We project it out and hate and judge; we withhold forgiveness. The reason it is so difficult to let go of judgment, grievances, and past hurts—as everyone recognizes—is that that is our first line of defense. If we let go of those grievances and past hurts, we then have to deal with our guilt. The ego has told us that if we look at our guilt, right behind it is this raging, maniacal, insane Father Who will destroy us. That is totally made up. It has nothing to do with anything, but that is what we believe. That is what drove us and continually drives us to be mindless, out of our minds. As long as we can justify our projections, judgments, hatreds, and special relationships, we do not have to deal with our guilt.

When we start letting go of judgment, that is when the fear comes up. Very often what happens to people as they begin to seriously address the question of forgiveness and letting go of grievances is they start getting sick, which is just another form of projection. So instead of projecting guilt onto another body by attacking that person, we project the guilt onto our own body. From the ego's point of view it works just as well. As long as my body is hurting, whether it is hurting because of something you have done, or something that a germ did, or an automobile accident did, I do not have to deal with the guilt in my mind. I am still rooted in my body. My ego tells me looking at my guilt would drive me insane and God would destroy me. What it does not tell us of course is that looking at guilt is the way to get beyond it.

There is a lovely passage in the text that says guilt is not a solid wall, it is "a fragile veil before the light" that has no power to keep the light out (see T-18.IX.5). When you look at the guilt, that is what you see. You see the light behind it. And as you allow that light to attract you more and more, you will lose your attraction for your guilty, separated, special self. What makes it difficult, once again, is our fear of losing our guilt, which is the fear of losing our self. Being aware of that is very helpful. As I was saying earlier, it would make you gentler and kinder to yourself, and gentler and kinder toward other people. You would realize that you are not ready to do this yet, and that is okay. It is not a sin.

All we ever have to know is that we are choosing now to hold on to our past, whether it is the past of five minutes ago or fifty years ago. We are choosing to hold on to our past because we are afraid of the present Voice of the Holy Spirit. That Voice would call us by its very nature, by its very presence, to let go of our ego. This does not mean that things did not happen here on the level of the world. It just means that whatever happened on the level of the world has no effect on our mind, unless we give it that power. We are the only ones who can change that power. Jesus cannot do it. God cannot do it. A Course in Miracles cannot do it. No one can do it. All this course can do, all Jesus can do is remind us that the power is in our mind to change our perception and experience—not to change the world or other people, but to change how we perceive other people, which means we withdraw the power we have given them to make us happy or sad, free or imprisoned. No one has that power except our own mind.

Q: Socrates has said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Psychotherapy's focus is in unraveling the past, which is defended against by being put in the unconscious. What is the advantage of examining the past?

Ken: The Course does not specifically address this, but we can extrapolate from its principles to determine how to look at it. It can be healing to help people look at their past if only because they have allowed themselves to be imprisoned by it, and part of that imprisonment has been to repress the past. If you repress your "awful" past with all its pain and hurt, you are still keeping it repressed because of fear. Therefore helping someone look at the past can be very helpful in the sense of looking differently not at the past, but at oneself. In other words, looking at the past becomes a symbol of looking at oneself differently.

Let's say that as an adult I am in therapy and am looking at some things from my past, experiences that I have never been able to deal with. I am really saying that as an adult I am so fearful and so guilt ridden that I will never let it go. Looking at my past with the goal of letting it go is the expression in form of a decision my mind has made to no longer be afraid and identified with guilt.

On the other hand, one could easily make the mistake of feeling so enamoured of one's past and one's abuse and pain that one spends twenty years five times a week in psychoanalysis talking about it. You would then end up simply indulging the fear rather than letting it go. Now it is not necessary to go back into your past, but very often doing so is helpful. Everybody is different. But it can be helpful to at least become aware that this is what you have been carrying around all your life. It is also very helpful to realize when you see how you reacted to your parents when you were a little child, that that is how you reacted to teachers all your life, to authority figures all your life, to your lovers, to your spouse, and to your children, even. It is all the same thing. That is helpful because now you have a context and can better understand the Course teaching that behind this brother stands thousands more (T-27.V.10:4).

Thus, for example, in reexamining my relationship with my parents—my feelings about the special love and the special hate—I begin to see this is no different than what I am doing now. Once that insight is there, I do not have to deal with my parents anymore. I just have to deal with whomever I am with because I now realize it is the same thing.

That is another benefit at looking at the past. It gives you a context for understanding that everything is the same, which is what A Course in Miracles says. We would not have known that necessarily if we did not first begin to see that there was a pattern in our lives that dates all the way back to when we were a little child.

I look at the pattern realizing that it was a matter of survival for me back then as a child, but now I can say I do not want this anymore and can let it go. I cannot let it go, though, if I do not know it exists. In that sense, psychotherapy can be helpful.

I am certainly not saying psychotherapy is mandatory or helpful for everyone, but it can be useful in helping us understand projection and how we listen to the voices of the past. Once we understand that, we no longer have to deal with it. You say, that is what I am doing and I do not have to do it anymore because the problem is not what was done to me when I was a child; the problem is a decision I am making right now, and now I can see that clearly. This means the past is irrelevant, because I am aware now that I have the power to choose right now which voice I will hear: the voice of hurt, hate, and pain, or the Voice of forgiveness, peace, and love. What enables me to crystallize that choice might be examining my past. There is a workbook lesson titled "I see only the past" (W-pI.7). Holding on to the past means I cannot be in the present moment. That decision to hold on to the past takes place right now. The past has an effect on me only by my choosing it in the present. If the world were over long ago (T-28.I.1:6), the past was over long ago, too. It has an effect only if I choose in the present to hold on to the past, which means the problem is not the past; the problem is the choice I am making right now.

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