Andrew Brown’s recent article in the Browser reminded me of the Course teaching about the separation, which, due to the extreme divisions throughout the world, led me to re-visit that issue.
Brown tells about his years as a young man in Sweden when he observed unity there. He then contrasts that time with recent months when that is fractured by conflicting beliefs regarding immigrants. Their mostly cohesive society of the late 20th century is now divided by racial animus (as is ours). Brown tells how that led a Swedish white supremacist to murder school teachers and children. Brown describes the man’s mind set this way.
There is… the question that echoes at the edge of hearing, which has to do with the opaque banality of his life: the sense that beneath all the social explanations, and even the psychological ones, there is just a blank.
My first thought as I read this was: he is so separated from his fellow humans that he turned to murder as his only way to connect with them. Coupled with that is racial animus – his victims were immigrants of color.
But helpfully; Costica Bradaten gives us another insight in, “Why and how we fail.” *
Atavistic as it may be… we still find nothing worse than to be left out, all alone, the one in the corner no one talks to. There can hardly be a harsher predicament than to belong to no tribe ─ reclaimed by none, exposed to all ─ and therefore doomed to perdition.
The murderer sensed but did not understand that this world is an illusion. That was his blank. He was alone, separate and threatened by outsiders who upset his world view.
We have separation with in separation within separation. When we split our mind and separated from God we divided ourselves (at the least), by gender, families, clan, tribe, race, religion, countries and political beliefs.
This chain of separation then causes us to yearn for unity. Ironically we find it within each of the above categories. We form bands of brothers in armies, flocks in churches and mosques, and identity in our race. Thus, in our self-made separation from God we seek and find ways to overcome the hell of loneliness and join in special groups with our fellow humans, which, in itself, induces more separation.
Added to this jumble of beliefs is neoliberalism which for several decades has promulgated economic policies based on the belief that competitive markets and individual incentives lead to economic growth. Alone, living this way, too many among us behave in unsolvable ways; finding a seeming permanent individual solution for their “blank” illusory separation.
In a Jane Roberts Seth class I attended in the early 70s he shared this.
The only reason there is to suffer is to learn how not to suffer.
This paraphrase of his words could help in this discussion.
The only reason to separate is to learn how not to be separate.
One way many people do this is by joining in music groups which connect us in positive ways. We love to sing and to play musical instruments together. Sport also joins communities and team members, but all too often leads to unsavory competition. The ultimate way or goal; however, is to learn how to remember that we are still joined with God in Heaven.
In ACIM that process is the Atonement. It is Jesus’ most important goal in his course. In his Glossary Index Ken Wapnick defines it as,
the holy Spirit’s plan of correction to undo the ego and heal the belief in the separation: came into being after the separation, and will be completed when every separated Son has fulfilled his part in the Atonement by total forgiveness: its principle is that the separation never occurred.*
This passage: paragraph10, Section II of Text Chapter 6, gives us clear teaching about the Atonement and the separation.
The Holy Spirit uses time, but does not believe in it. Coming from God He uses everything for good, but He does not believe in what is not true. Since the Holy Spirit is in your mind, your mind can also believe only what is true. The Holy Spirit can speak only for this, because He speaks for God. He tells you to return your whole mind to God, because it has never left Him. If it has never left Him, you need only perceive it as it is to be returned. The full awareness of the Atonement, then, is the recognition that [the separation never occurred.] The ego cannot prevail against this because it is an explicit statement that the ego never occurred. [my emphasis]
It takes a leap of faith to believe that the separation never occurred. Our belief that this world is real is existential, so embedded in our split mind that we need a miracle to change our mind to find the little willingness take that step. That’s why Atonement is cited early in ACIM in Miracle Principles number 25 and 26.
25. Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement. Atonement works all the time and in all the dimensions of time.
26. Miracles represent freedom from fear. “Atoning” means “undoing.” The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles. [my emphasis]
By working “in all dimensions of time” Atonement, takes place in the separation. Undoing fear reduces our ego-centered adherence to the separation. It leads us to remember our true reality in Heaven. The central sentence in the new Lord’s Prayer leads our mind to that truth.
The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love. [T-16.VII.12]
The “sleep of forgetfulness” is the separation. It is based on our unwilling ego-centered mind. We need only to be willing to remember to replace the “blank” of illusion with the reality of God’s forgiveness and love. That is Atonement, which takes us to where our mind is eternally with God in Heaven. There, where illusions cannot enter, the Holy Mind God gave us resides eternally within God’s indissoluble union.
* Published in The Browser, 9/26/2017
*Glossary Index for A Course in Miracles 4th Ed. P.32