CANSCIOUSNESS AND MIND

Why these blogs about mind and consciousness? How would understanding the Course’s position about them help us in our everyday life? Because that answers the questions: how did we get here; what are we doing here?

According to ACIM we are here because we choose a “tiny mad idea” for a way of being other than our home in Heaven with God. To do that we split the Mind God gave us into two parts, one that remains with God, and the other that we use to make the illusion of what ACIM calls the separation. That split part (the separation) then splits again into the Right mind which listens to the Holy Spirit, and the wrong mind that listens to the ego.

Sounds insane? Well it is. And, it makes the complicated world of illusion we call the separation.

Here are two Course definitions of consciousness: one from the Clarification of terms and the other from Text Chapter 3. First recall this oft cited Chapter 3 statement which establishes our true nature as spirit created by God.

The statement “God created man in his own image and likeness” needs reinterpretation. “Image” can be understood as “thought,” and “likeness” as “of a like quality.” God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own. There [is] nothing else. Amen. [T-3.V.7]

The following excerpt defines ACIM’s view of consciousness.

Consciousness is the receptive mechanism, receiving messages from above or below; from the Holy Spirit or the ego. Consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm. [C-1.7.3-4] (my emphasis)

In the following “as you are” refers to our being as the One Son of God in Heaven. Mind with a small m is the split mind of the separation which perceives but cannot create. The following passage complements the above excerpt.

Consciousness, the level of perception, was the first split introduced into the mind after the separation, making the mind a perceiver rather than a creator. Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego. The ego is a wrong-minded attempt to perceive yourself as you wish to be, rather than as you are. Yet you can know yourself only as you are, because that is all you can be sure of. Everything else [is] open to question.
[T-3.IV.2] (my emphasis)

Scientists and philosophers try to make sense of mind and consciousness as functions of our body and brain. As I wrote in my previous post they have not come up with ideas which are even close to being universally accepted. Recently in an interview about his writing and thinking, Yuri Noah Harari author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, was questioned about mind. Here is part of what he said.

We know very little about the mind. We don’t understand what it is, what are its functions and how it emerged. … And because we understand so little about the mind, we also don’t know why and how it emerged in the first place. … the details at present are far beyond our understanding.
(See www.thebrowser.com for the complete interview.)

But, Course teachings about mind and consciousness are within our understanding here in the separation. Those terms; however, denote actions apart from body/brain activity (opposite to the concept of mind–body unity). Our God given mind, which we split when we entertained the “tiny mad idea,” causes the world we project. That action is consciousness, the domain of the ego. We not only are able to understand it but we control it.

This excerpt from The Manual for Teachers, Section 19, WHAT IS JUSTICE, paragraph 5, gives us a way to do that. The crucial aspect to grasp is that in the separation we are free chose between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is represented with the word perception. The Holy Spirit is represented by “God’s Justice.”

Pray for God’s justice, and do not confuse His mercy with your own insanity. Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see. Remember this. In this lies either Heaven or hell, as you elect. God’s justice points to Heaven just because it is entirely impartial. It accepts all evidence that is brought before it, omitting nothing and assessing nothing as separate and apart from all the rest. From this one standpoint does it judge, and this alone. Here all attack and condemnation becomes meaningless and indefensible. Perception rests, the mind is still, and light returns again. Vision is now restored. What had been lost has now been found. The peace of God descends on all the world, and we can see. And we can see!

KINDNESS II

Today’s growing uncertainty and negativity brought me to where I must again write about kindness. In my 2012 post about kindness I told how a checkout clerk in a Big Box Store taught me that kindness is the opposite of rudeness.

I went to look for wine glasses so my wife and I could enjoy wine in our Motel instead of using their flimsy glasses. After a frustrating search I found two plastic wine glasses and took them to the cashier. He couldn’t ring them up because they had no bar code, but I insisted, “they were the last two on the shelf.” I grumped, and then found a woman on the service desk and led her back to the shelf to prove that I had taken the last two. Ops, there were at least a dozen on the shelf; all with bar codes.
I apologized to her and to the cashier for being rude. He was then waiting on a Latino mom trying to pay for a toy with a damaged bar code. He smiled at me and said, “That’s OK,” and went off to find her a one with a scan-able label. Meanwhile she taught me to be patient.

After I left the store I wondered, “How does he do it; stand there hour after hour and deal with grumpy old men like me and keep his composure?” I doubt he knew about A Course in Miracles. What does that say for me? It tells me to be aware of my impatience and follow George Elliot’s heroine Dorothea as Elliot described her in her conclusion to Midddlemarch.

Her finely-touched spirit had still its fair issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name in the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffused: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistorical acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

Elliot framed Dorothea within a story replete with human foibles making her nature far nobler than the characters with whom she lived, especially the hypocrites who flaunted religion. The K-Mart cashier’s kindness was an “unhistorical act,” from a “faithfully hidden life.”

Now five years later we need kindness more than ever. It will help all of us to settle down and counteract what is happening in the world. I not going to be a “bliss ninny” and believe that our leading perpetrator of unkindness will have a change of mind. But we can be kind to counteract unkind behavior.

Many people are thinking about kindness. In Catherine Pearson’s article in the November 14, 2014 issue of Huffington Post she offered, “5 Incredibly Easy Ways to Spread Kindness Every Day.”

1. Make a personal connection, 2 Make someone’s day easier, 3 Use the talents you already have, 4.Forgive someone, 5. Meditate.

Number 1, 2 and 4 are self- evident. Number three suggests that if you love to cook; cook someone a good meal. If you are a “handyman,” repair something for someone. As for number Five, Meditate, Pearson suggests that when meditating think positive thoughts about someone.

Kindness is dramatized in, “The Way,” a movie about four pilgrims who become friends while walking the “way” of St. James. In a poignant scene one pilgrim, a writer who overcame writers block during the walk wrote this about his fellow traveler Jost. “For Jost kindness is an instinct.” Let’s all embrace kindness as an instinct.

One way to do that is to think of kindness is as “a touch of Heaven,” with everyone we interact with. In the following poem from Workbook Lesson 67 the terms Holiness, Kindness, Helpfulness and Perfection refer to God. Thus we see that we were touched with heaven as God created us holy, kind, helpful and perfect.

Holiness created me holy.
Kindness created me kind.
Helpfulness created me helpful.
Perfection created me perfect.

What would it take for us to be kind to everyone in our everyday lives?
Follow the advice Greek philosopher Philo gave us centuries ago.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is doing a hard battle.”