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!