"You will undertake a journey because you are not at home in this world. And you will search for your home whether you realize where it is or not. If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you will be seeking it where it is not. You do not remember how to look within for you do not believe your home is there." [T208f/224]
A Course in Miracles says that the ego's maxim is "Seek but do not find."(2) Have you noticed that some way somehow, you are always seeking something? Another thing, another person, another situation, another place, another experience. We are all seekers. Why is that? Do we even know what it is we hope to find? The United States Declaration of Independence states "All men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Is it not strange that Life and Liberty are given, but only the pursuit of happiness? Why is it that only the right to pursue happiness is acknowledged and not to happiness itself? Ultimately, is it not happiness that all are seeking?
Modern psychology has discovered that the fundamental nature of self-mind is to seek. Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his book, Psychocybernetics observes,
"The new science of 'Cybernetics' has furnished us with convincing proof that the so-called 'subconscious mind' is not a 'mind' at all, but a mechanism--a goal-striving, 'servo-mechanism' consisting of the brain and nervous system...."(3)
A mechanism! Not a mind at all! Merely a goal-striving machine. What is the need for a goal-striving mechanism? What is the fundamental basis of the need to strive and seek? What is the nature of the need to achieve, acquire, accomplish and accumulate? What is need or desire itself? Does not need or desire arise from some feeling of lack? of discontent? that something is missing? that in some way one is unfulfilled? Is it not the recognition, perhaps unconscious, and certainly not welcomed, that the fundamental process of physical life is incomplete, insecure and always deteriorating? At one level, then, seeking is an attempt to escape from this recognition and the accompanying revulsion with life as it is currently constituted. Perhaps even deeper, more basic, is the realization that essentially our self, as we have learned it, is at best incomplete, always impure, at worst evil. Mr. Krishnamurti puts it this way:
"...we know actually when we are faced with it that it is an evil thing. I am using the word 'evil' intentionally, because the self is dividing: the self is self-enclosing: its activities, however noble, are separative and isolating."(4)
For most there is a vague malaise or discontent, at least a rather undefinable notion that somehow something is not right; that we need progress, growth, evolution, more of something. This feeling manifests almost universally in various vastly different forms, as low "self-esteem", to use a contemporary term. But all attempts to improve this "self-esteem" are doomed to failure in that they do not address the essential problem. A Course in Miracles points out,
"...self-esteem in ego terms must be delusional." [T53/58]
Simone Weil has perhaps identified the reason for this,
"We are all conscious of evil within ourselves; we all have a horror of it and want to get rid of it. Outside our selves we see evil in two distinct forms, suffering and sin. But in our feelings about our own nature the distinction no longer appears, except abstractly or through reflection. We feel in ourselves something which is neither suffering nor sin, which is the two of them at once, the root common to both, defilement and pain at the same time. .... The soul rejects it in the same way we vomit. By a process of transference we pass it on to the things that surround us. These things, however, thus becoming blemished and ugly in our eyes, send us back the evil we had put into them. .... It seems to us then that the very places where we are living and the things that surround us imprison us in evil, and that it becomes daily worse. This is a terrible anguish."(5)
So, one of the motivations for seeking is the attempt to escape from facing this awareness consciously. We distract ourselves with the entire process of achievement, acquisition and accomplishment; with sensation and gratification; with drama and strife.
Another manifestation of motivation is the attempt to offset the lack of "self-esteem". We feel that somehow we have personally failed to measure up to some undefined standard. We therefore delude ourselves into believing that this feeling of revulsion at what we think we are is a unique and specific personal problem that can be assuaged by "becoming better", doing more, or some psychological technique, either individually or collectively.
We can see then that all seeking is based in a deeply-rooted and profound sense of lack, emptiness, meaninglessness, unfulfillment, unhappiness. Real seeking then would be a move toward meaning, toward completion, toward happiness. Completion could be thought of as a state in which there is no longer any need or desire; only satisfaction, fulfillment, contentment would exist. This would, of course, be some state of perfection -- something ultimate and final. The difficulty arises as one sees that, in this world around us, nothing ultimate exists. Nothing here is final or perfect. Everything is relative, contingent and temporary. The "good" is so admixed with the "bad" as to be inseparable. We know all too well (though we may refuse to see it) that this world, as it is presently constituted, does not and cannot work. For every problem solved, two more arise. Yesterday's solutions become today's problems.
As one begins to examine life from a larger perspective, what has appeared as a movement from specific seeking to accomplishment and then on to some seemingly unrelated discontent leading to another separate search, accomplishment and yet another different discontent emerges, at its roots, as a single, radical discontent; a deep sense of unfulfillment that is the source of all searching, all motivation and all desire to accomplish, achieve, acquire or accumulate. This singular, fundamental sense of dissatisfaction is, in fact, without focus or hope of resolution in this world as it seems to be. It is simply a rejection of the status quo, regardless of what it is. There is, at the root of human existence, the insistence in every moment that things be different from what they actually are. There is no possibility of dissatisfaction unless one desires things to be different than they are; so that fulfillment, happiness is identical with total, unconditional, unqualified acceptance of everything as it is now. Since nothing is final in this world save death, this leaves one in a seemingly untenable situation in which there is no possibility of satisfaction or finality.
The realization that the only finality in this world is death provides the reason for our strange fascination with it as well as the fact that many seek escape through death from the apparent lack of perfection here, hoping to find it either in oblivion or some "afterlife." But, if perfection only exists in the "afterlife," what would be the purpose for being here now? What sense does it make that there be a meaningless, miserable world that one must tolerate and adapt to while waiting for some sort of reward only after this life of suffering comes to a painful and fearful end? What sense does it make to lead a life of quiet desperation, conscious unfulfillment, shifting and changing degrees of happiness, or temporary and pretend satisfaction, while only waiting to die, that we may reach fulfillment only after this life is over? This is insanity indeed! And probably why many have rejected it in favor of "Go for the gusto." Since few can find an intelligent answer or any real satisfaction in the approach that one must die to go to Heaven, most have discarded this possibility as a real solution and have instead adopted the belief in progress, growth and evolution; that while this world is not perfect, final or ultimate, we are somehow gradually moving toward that perfection. And, with that settled, continue to pursue a life of distraction from the persistent feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong here.
However, what is not really seen is that to believe perfection is only a future state is an admission that it is not possible here and now. And, if it only exists in the future, it does not exist at all as a real possibility. To be possible means that it already exists now. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven (or God) is "at hand."(6) He did not say it was coming sometime in the future. "At hand" means NOW. So that, if perfection exists at all, it must exist right now. He also said "...the Kingdom of Heaven is within you."(7) He did not say to go looking for it in some external form or activity.
First, we might inquire as to whether or not perfection exists at all. Is there something which is not relative, contingent, temporary, changeable, dualistic? It cannot be that this state does not exist. Something, somewhere must be final and ultimate and all of our scientific as well as philosophical inquiry points to its existence. In addition, the idea of perfection, of completion, exists already in consciousness else we would not seek it. We do not and could not seek something which does not already exist, at least latently, in our mind. The idea had to come from somewhere. One does not intelligently undertake an impossible search. A Course in Miracles puts it this way,
"...no one undertakes to do what he believes is meaningless." [T395/424]
"...no one undertakes to do what holds no hope of ever being done." [T440/473]
And certainly, if some sort of perfection does not exist, we would be condemned to an eternity of fruitless seeking and never ending unfulfillment. This would be hell indeed and is precisely why this world as we see it now IS hell; there is no finality here. What better definition of hell would there be than a place where one can get anything he wants and still want more? This is, of course, why life here is ultimately depressing. We have at least a vague sense that there is no possibility of an answer to the problem as we know it. Yet we go on as if there were some hope of fulfillment here. This is both ignorance and insanity.
It is most important that one first recognizes that all seeking, in whatever form -- material, political, social, psychological, spiritual -- is fundamentally, unconsciously the search for God, for something ultimate, something perfect. All desire to accomplish, achieve, acquire, or accumulate is essentially the same search. All seeking is based in a deeply-rooted and profound sense of lack, emptiness, meaninglessness. This feeling of lack arises only in, through and because of our erroneous, self-centered, finite perception -- the belief in our separation from God and from each other.
How and where does this tiny self propose to search for God? To seek God, the infinite, from the perspective of this finite, reflexive self-consciousness, is to seek based on memory, history, accumulated knowledge and concepts. Whatever is sought or found in this fashion can, in no way, be God; for no matter how grand, it will always be finite, non-ultimate. It is merely a projection of finite, formal imagination and is therefore an idea or idol of God, not the Thing Itself. Montaingne once said,
"Man is certainly insane. He cannot make a tiny mite, and makes gods by the dozen."
The search for the infinite on the part of the finite is not only impossible but ridiculous. A Course in Miracles points out,
"Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes." [W347/357]
It is like a fish swimming frantically, searching for "the ocean." Or perhaps, a man jumping and jumping and jumping, trying to escape gravity. No matter how high the separated human self jumps, it cannot escape its own self-imposed limitations. All spiritual "practice" is an attempt on the part of the ego to confirm and strengthen the belief in an autonomous, separated self as it attempts to find God as Thou, as other; as an object of its desire. One can never find God "up there" or "out there" somewhere, as an object of reflexive consciousness. Therefore, all forms of external seeking must be surrendered as an interference to the actual relationship with What Is in this and every moment.
"Seek not outside yourself. For all your pain comes simply from the futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. What if it is not there? Do you prefer that you be right or happy?" [T573/617]
Facing the apparent impossibility of finding what we seek, either consciously or unconsciously, what then are we seeking? In the search for God, are we really seeking the Kingdom of Heaven above all else? For most, the search becomes merely distraction from the inevitable conclusion that, as the Buddha has pointed out, "Life is suffering." Even though it is clear that there is no escape from misery here, still we refuse to accept it. The vast majority of even our spiritual seeking is not spiritual at all. The four principal reasons why most people pursue the so-called spiritual path are:
There is an ever-present sense that something is missing or wrong, that there must be something else, something better. Perhaps one has encountered some immediate difficulty, disappointment or loss and is looking for a way to fix the pain. We look to God as Santa Claus, some sort of fantasy father who will give us what we think we want, who will magically take away the pain without disturbing the fundamental cause. Or perhaps one encounters the profound loneliness of life on earth and attempts to assuage it through social contacts. This is probably the single biggest function of churches and religious or so-called spiritual groups of any kind -- a sort of extended family. While there is seeming good in this, these groups in fact can and do become an impediment to the awakening that they purport to seek. In this alienated modern world, we all feel more than ever the need for relationship, of relating to and being with people of "like minds." This, too, can become a block to real spiritual awareness. To gather together in a group to talk about Truth and argue or agree in order "to get along" (which really means to attempt to avoid the pangs of loneliness) may be no more than a distraction from the personal inner work necessary to come to real spiritual realization. In a social environment there is a tendency to suppress the radical and fundamental change which is necessary for real awakening. Simone Weil in Waiting for God points out,
"The trap of traps, the almost inevitable trap is the social one. Everywhere, always, in everything, the social feeling produces a perfect imitation of faith, that is to say perfectly deceptive. This imitation has the great advantage of saving every part of the soul. That which longs for good believes it is fed. That which is mediocre is not hurt by the light; it is quite at ease. Thus everyone is in agreement. The soul is at peace. But Christ said that he did not come to bring peace. He brought a sword [of discrimination], the sword that severs in two, as Aeschylus says.
"It is almost impossible to distinguish faith from its social imitation. All the more so because the soul can contain one part of true faith and one of imitation faith. It is almost but not quite impossible.
"Under present circumstances, it is perhaps a question of life or death for faith that the social imitation should be repudiated."(8)
Most of the enlightened ones who have come to Truth have been rather solitary, non-conforming types. Some were married and had a career, but kept to a few close friends at most. Beware the social trap! Truth does not come by committee decision. If the goal is principally comfort, an escape from the inevitable misery and depression of this world, then any so-called relationship becomes just another of the many varied ways which we avoid and evade transformation. The group or church environment can give an impression of faith and experience which is comfortable, but that is the problem -- it is not real faith or real religious experience at all. We hug and socialize and think we are being spiritual. There is nothing wrong in that, but there is little or no Truth in it. Social closeness is not Oneness and it may be just another way to avoid Oneness.
Most of the writings about religious experience speak of "bliss" or indescribable love. The seeker then sets out to find, not union with God, but bliss. Many self-hypnotic techniques, passing themselves off as "meditation," can lead to tremendous feelings of euphoria, even wondrous visions, and temporary distraction from the misery of the world. What is sought and sometimes found is merely another "high" that can be induced far more easily and quickly with drugs. Any self-induced experience is not authentic experience of God. This must be recognized. Thomas Merton, in speaking of what he calls authentic transcendent experience, says this,
"To attain this experience is to penetrate the reality of all that is, to grasp the meaning of one's own existence, to find one's true place in the scheme of things, to relate perfectly to all that is in a relation of identity and love.
"What this is not:
"It is not a regressive immersion in nature, the cosmos, or 'pure being,' in a narcissistic tranquility, a happy loss of identity in a warm, regressive, dark, oceanic swoon."(9)
Are we willing to see that we are experience junkies, addicted to adrenalin, drama, stimulation, titillation and excitement? And that this seeking after experience alone is but another block to the awareness of love's presence.
A Course in Miracles points out,
"To fulfill the Will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known, because it is the only function that can be fully experienced. When this is accomplished there is no other experience. Yet the wish for other experience will block its accomplishment." [T131/141f]
Here is a trap for many who have seemingly come very far "along the way." Beware the drive to be an enlightened being among unenlightened ones; this is a major deception. "I know and you don't" is clearly and obviously a position of separation. This "guru trip" is, however, a very seductive trap. There is tremendous power is having "followers" for whom one is the spiritual guide. There is possibly no greater power exchange in the world between two individuals than when one surrenders his life to the guidance of another. This is not to say that there are not true teachers, but among "gurus" there are few.
We must see the tendency to use even our spiritual path to reinforce the belief in "me". The man who consciously seeks to be spiritual, virtuous, pious, is not a man of Truth. He is seeking to be different, special, superior. He is seeking virtue for the "me". To be holier than thou, so to speak. And that...is murder! It is possibly the ultimate in self-deception. Most know the seven "deadly" sins. If you would like to know the deadliest form of them, put the word spiritual before them--spiritual pride, spiritual lust, etc. In whatever way we attempt to make ourselves better or more special than anyone else, we are moving directly away from Truth, from God, from true spirituality.
For many who have encountered the actuality that "Life is suffering," religion or spiritual pursuits offer an escape from the seemingly never-ending onslaught of brutality in this world. One sees that the material world is corrupt and attempts to escape into some other structure or form, such as a monastery or religious community, which purports to lead one to God. All that is happening is throwing off one paradigm and substituting another. What is actually going on is merely the attempt to avoid dealing with the consequences of self-centered existence, to avoid the perception and experience of suffering and to evade the realization that there is no hope in this world. Thomas Merton exposes this deception when talking about Christian monastic life in the present,
"With the Desert Fathers, you have the characteristic of a clean break with a conventional, accepted social context in order to swim for one's life in an irrational void.
"Though I might be expected to claim that men like this could be found in some of our monasteries of contemplatives, I will not be so bold. With us it is often the case of men leaving the society of the 'world' in order to fit themselves into another kind of society.... The social 'norms' of the monastic family are also apt to be conventional, and to live by them does not involve a leap into the void -- only a radical change of customs and standards."(10)
In the event that any of these four reasons is the motivation for the spiritual search, one will not find true spirituality. In this type of seeking, one is merely attempting to strengthen or protect the narcissistic self-image which is the only cause of suffering (and seeking) in the first place. If it is not God or Heaven we truly seek, then we are not seeking at all but merely running away, seeking only escape or distraction from the awareness that nothing here is final or ultimate; refusing to face the unavoidable conclusion that without God, our lives are empty and meaningless as we march inexorably from birth to death.
Oscar Wilde once said that the Western mind, given the choice between going to Heaven and hearing a lecture about Heaven, would choose the lecture about. Another way of saying this is that most are much more interested in the so-called spiritual path than in actually arriving at the destination. All of this is but unwillingness to look at the problem AS IT IS. Is it any wonder that we live a contradictory existence filled with conflict? Perversely, we know, at our deepest level, what the problem is, but are unwilling to let it go. We want the solution while still holding on to the problem. At the bottom of all of this are but various forms of unwillingness. And, if one looks carefully, he sees then that the only thing which must be undone for salvation to be manifest is unwillingness. We must give up hope, hope of finding satisfaction and fulfillment here in this world, in the life of separated, self-centered existence. Unless the basic error is uncovered, there is no hope for a solution. Without the discovery of this fundamental error, the spiritual search is as doomed as all the others. In fact, it seems that the real spiritual search only emerges when the realization dawns that there is nothing final, pure or perfect here.
A Course in Miracles promises that there is another world to be seen. In the Bible there is reference to a new Heaven and a new earth.(11) These promises do not speak of an improved version of the old, but a radically and totally new one. Yet, we are much more interested in trying to fix up this world than in seeing a really new one. The Course gives this direct injunction,
"Learn now, without despair, there is no hope of answer in the world." [T608/654]
and continues, in the Workbook,
"Seek you no further. You will not find peace except the peace of God. Accept this fact, and save yourself the agony of yet more bitter disappointments, bleak despair, and sense of icy hopelessness and doubt. Seek you no further. There is nothing else for you to find except the peace of God, unless you seek for misery and pain.
"This is the final point to which each one must come at last, to lay aside all hope of finding happiness where there is none; of being saved by what can only hurt; of making peace of chaos, joy of pain, and Heaven out of hell. Attempt no more to win through losing, nor to die to live. You cannot but be asking for defeat. Yet you can ask as easily for love, for happiness, and for eternal life in peace that has no ending. Ask for this, and you can only win. To ask for what you have already must succeed. To ask that what is false be true can only fail." [W374/384]
Then, any real spiritual path merely leads us to remember our Real Identity. To put it another way, to remember that we were Happy before we started thinking we were un-Happy. Happiness is our natural state and by attempting to be something else, we have made ourselves very unhappy. What we are seeking is what we are.
Rajneesh, in his commentaries on Tilopa's Song of Mahamudra, says it this way,
"The great teaching is: You are already what you can be, realize this. You are already the goal, be aware of this. This very moment your destiny can be fulfilled. For what are you waiting? Don't believe in gradual steps -- take the jump, be courageous."(12)
Let us say that we finally see the wisdom of this. How do we begin? A Course in Miracles recognizes the fundamental basis for our incessant seeking and attempts to point us in the direction of the only final and ultimate experience of fulfillment which it calls the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Peace of God.
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, because that is where the laws of God operate truly, and they can operate only truly because they are the laws of truth. But seek this only, because you can find nothing else. There is nothing else." [T110/119]
What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of Heaven? or Truth? or Love? This is where most get fouled up. The self-mind, which is but a mimic, attempts to project and imitate the state of Realization it has read or heard about and winds up in endless self-deception. The real spiritual search is far simpler, though not nearly so attractive as that. There is nothing to be attained, achieved or accomplished.
"This is a course in how to know yourself." [T312/335]
Is it not shocking that you don't have any idea who or what you are or where you came from? St. Teresa of Avila pointed this out around 400 years ago,
"It is no small pity, and should cause us no little shame, that, through our own fault, we do not understand ourselves, or know who we are. Would it not be a sign of great ignorance, my daughters, if a person were asked who he was, and could not say, and had no idea who his father or his mother was, or from what country he came? Though that is great stupidity, our own is incomparably greater if we make no attempt to discover what we are, and only know that we are living in these bodies, and have a vague idea, because we have heard it and because our Faith tells us so, that we possess souls. As to what good qualities there may be in our souls, or Who dwells in them, or how precious they are -- those are things we seldom consider and so we trouble little about carefully preserving the soul's beauty. All our interest is centered in the rough setting of the diamond, and in the outer wall of the castle--that is to say, in these bodies of ours."(13)
The inscription at The Oracle at Delphi was "KNOW THYSELF." How does one go about it? For what does one search?
"The first step toward freedom involves a sorting out of the false from the true." [T30/34]
"The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth." [T267/287]
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false." [T315/338]
"Love is not learned. Its meaning lies within itself. And learning ends when you have recognized all it is not. That is the interference; that is what needs to be undone." [T369/396]
So that the application of A Course in Miracles involves first seeing the problem exactly as and where it is and then becomes a careful negation of all the interference to the actual experience of God which is right in our face, closer than our very breath at all times. We must see that all seeking is suffering; the seeker himself is the problem. Once again, Merton seems to understand,
"Both Christianity and Buddhism agree that the root of man's problems is that his consciousness is all fouled up and he does not apprehend reality as it fully and really is; that the moment he looks at something, he begins to interpret it in ways that are prejudiced and predetermined to fit a certain wrong picture of the world, in which he exists as an individual ego in the center of things. This is called by Buddhism avidya, or ignorance. From this basic ignorance, which is an experience of ourselves as absolutely autonomous individual egos--from this basic wrong experience of ourselves comes all the rest. This is the source of all our problems."(14)
Perhaps Meister Eckhart, who also saw the problem, offers some hope,
"Further, I say that if the soul is to know God, it must forget itself and lose itself, for as long as it is self-aware and self-conscious, it will not see or be conscious of God. But when, for God's sake, it becomes unself-conscious and lets go of everything, it finds itself again in God, for knowing God, it therefore knows itself and everything else from which it has been cut asunder, in the divine perfection.
"No one ought to think that it is hard to attain this, however hard it sounds and however hard it may be at first to cut one's self asunder and be dead to everything. But once you have come in, no life is easier, nor pleasanter, nor lovelier, for God is very anxious at all times to be near to people, and to teach them how to come to him, if they are only willing to follow him. Nobody ever wanted anything as much as God wants to bring people to know him. God is always ready but we are not ready. God is near to us but we are far from him. God is within; we are without. God is at home; we are abroad."(15)
All forms of external seeking are interferences and, as such, must be surrendered. God must find us. And, in fact, God is always seeking us, but cannot find us because of our constant and consistent activity of seeking for things that are not God; by our being perpetually turned away from Him. All seeking, even the overt search for "God", is avoidance and must be surrendered. In the words of Thomas Merton:
"..it is not even a question of seeing a road. It is simpler than that. For as soon as you stop travelling you have arrived."(16)
and this is echoed by the Course,
"...there is no journey, but only an awakening. .... There is no road to travel on, and no time to travel through." [T222/238]
By what means does God find us? When the fruitlessness and deception of all seeking is actually recognized and surrendered, what is left is a deep longing, a radical discontent, which is the underlying motivation for all seeking in the first place. This longing, when left without a projected escape or relief, even for a moment, is like a distress beacon and is the only real prayer of the soul to God, by which God may find us. Only when this longing, this discontent, becomes pure and without any hope of escape via natural or projected supernatural means does it have any hope of penetrating beyond the limits of our self-containment, of the individual or collective unconscious. All prayer prior to or other than this is incapable of reaching through the veil of samsara, the bounds of the unconscious, of finite mind; but it does serve to purify the longing by ultimately failing us. Sooner or later the realization dawns,
"...that I do nothing of myself...."(17)
A Course in Miracles emphasizes and expounds on this,
"Here again is the paradox often referred to in the course. To say, 'Of myself I can do nothing' is to gain all power." [M67/70]
because it is the separated self which is the problem and all of its doing is, in fact, nothing real at all, but it is an interference to what always already is.
Here we once again encounter a fundamental teaching of the Course -- that truth, wholeness, perfect peace already exist. They are already resident within our consciousness. It is what we have attempted to add to Truth that has interfered with our awareness of it. To understand A Course in Miracles and bring the principles into application requires that this be understood first. Awakening, enlightenment, the Peace of God, whatever you wish to call it, is not something to be acquired, attained or earned. It is our Real Nature, already existent. Of course, that is not our awareness, our experience, but it is the fact. So, if we are to seek the Kingdom of Heaven, what is it, then, for which we are to seek? The Course, once more, is very explicit, both as to what to seek and what not to seek. It begins in the Introduction,
"The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance."
"Removing the blocks"! It repeats this theme in many ways.(18) A Course in Miracles could not be more direct, explicit or simple to understand on this point. Why is it that so few students of the Course turn their attention in this direction? Why do we insist that it is difficult to understand? Here, I believe is where we encounter our unwillingness in its most naked form.
"Specialness is the function that you gave yourself. It stands for you alone, as self-created, self-maintained, in need of nothing, and unjoined with anything beyond the body. In its eyes you are a separate universe, with all the power to hold itself complete within itself, with every entry shut against intrusion, and every window barred against the light. Always attacked and always furious, with anger always fully justified, you have pursued this goal with vigilance you never thought to yield, and effort that you never thought to cease. And all this grim determination was for this; you wanted specialness to be the truth." [T477f/513]
Who is willing to see the truth in this? The Course is so very simple to understand.
"All that you need to give this world away in glad exchange for what you did not make is willingness to learn the one you made is false." [T237/254]
But, who is willing to do that? This is what A Course in Miracles calls "a little willingness." How does one come to that willingness, that realization? Are we willing to look upon unwillingness as and where it is?
If this is seen, then it is clear that truth can neither be sought nor found by the self for it was never lost. All seeking by the self is avoidance, looking away from truth, attempting to validate its own existence. Truth can only be dis(un)covered by a rigorous questioning of every concept on which our experience and thinking is based and a thorough negation of all that is false, thereby finding out who and what we actually are in truth. The only seeking which has any hope of success is for the blocks in our consciousness which prevent the awareness of our immediate union with Reality. Only by clearly seeing the false as false can Truth be REvealed, REcognized, REmembered, REALized.
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©1993 daan dehn
1. This is a sub-chapter heading T573/617. It appears three times in the text of this sub-chapter. Twice on T573/617 and once on T574/618.
2. T318/342, W120/121, M33/34
3. p.12 (1960)
4. J. Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom, (1954) p.76
5. Simone Weil, Waiting for God, pp. 189f
6. Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 10:7; Mark 1:15; Luke 21:31
7. Luke 17:21
8. p. 198
9. Zen and the Birds of Appetite, p. 72
10. Wisdom of the Desert, p.9f
11. Revelation 21:1
12. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, TANTRA The Supreme Understanding, p. 174
13. Interior Castle, First Mansions, Chapter I, (trans. & ed., E. Allison Peers)
14. The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (1968)
15. from the sermon "The Kingdom of God is at Hand"
16. The Sign of Jonas, p.28
17. John 8:28 (KJV)
18. see T142/53, 261/281, W328/336, and PPP1.