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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 III
Introduction (cont.)

Jesus is always quite emphatic about having us understand the idea of purpose. There is a purpose behind choosing the ego's voice. Since there are two voices in our minds and we are free to choose one or the other, there has to be a reason we so consistently choose the ego's voice over the Holy Spirit's, and A Course in Miracles helps us understand the reason. As long as I choose the ego's voice, I exist. If I choose the Holy Spirit's Voice consistently, I will begin to learn that I am a part of love—not a child of guilt and hate, but a part of love. And as a part of love, there is no longer an I. There is an illusion of an I. And I may still be aware of an illusion of an I, but I do not take that I seriously anymore, because there is no room for an I, a separate self, in love. The way we approximate that and move closer to experiencing the oneness of that love is to realize that there are no meaningful or significant differences among people in the world. That is always the bottom line. We acknowledge all the superficial differences, the physical differences, the psychological differences. But we realize that behind all of these traits that seem to distinguish people from each other, there is the underlying unity of the one split mind that has the one voice of the ego and the one voice of the Holy Spirit, and everyone has both.

Thus, paying attention and being vigilant, one of the mainstays of the workbook's one-year training program, means that we are paying attention to all of our judgments: the petty judgments or the flagrant judgments, the little minor annoyances or the huge annoyances. It does not make any difference; we pay attention to them all. And when they happen we realize they are there because we chose the ego's voice.

Again, A Course in Miracles helps us understand the purpose or the motivation behind choosing the ego's voice: we are afraid of love. Very simple! Over decades we have built up an identity of a self that has been victimized, abused, unfairly treated, not understood, and on and on and on. Some people have stories in which this abuse has been quite flagrant, cruel, and vicious. Other people have stories where the abuse is no less vicious but very subtle. It does not make any difference. We all have grown up erecting defenses to protect ourselves from the hurts that we experienced when we were young. Everyone has experiences of being hurt when they were young, because that is why we made bodies that could physically and psychologically feel pain. That is why we made families that we would be so tempted to believe are the perpetrators of that hurt. That is why we made people who are viciously cruel and merciless, psychologically and/or physically. Then we would all have our tales of woe and victimization, which then justify the barriers of separation that we erect between ourselves and the world. Those barriers after a while no longer are barriers—they become who we are. So it is almost impossible to distinguish our self-concept from the hurt that we felt as we were growing up, and the barriers of judgment and hate that we made to keep us from being hurt even further. We become those defenses.

There was a wonderful book written decades ago by Wilhelm Reich called Character Analysis, in which he described brilliantly the various ways that we arm ourselves. And this armor then becomes characterological, that is, part of our character. It is not just something that we put on in the morning and take off at night. It is something that is now woven into our self, so that it is inconceivable there could be a self that exists apart from that.

As unhappy and as painful as our lives may be, and they all are if we look at them honestly, to us that pain is nothing compared to the pain of losing our identity. That is the fear of love. That is what is in back of the very important section "The Fear of Redemption," in which Jesus states that our real terror is not of crucifixion but of redemption (T-13.III.1:10-11). Later in that section he talks about another level of fear, that if we listen to our Father's Voice we would leap into Heaven and our world would disappear (T-13.III.2:6; 4:3). Well, the world that would disappear is the world of my self, because Heaven there is no self. This is why we so stubbornly, albeit unconsciously, hold on to this voice of guilt, judgment, hate, pain, separation, and specialness, and why we do not want to give it up. This is why practically all students have the experience of feeling they have made some progress—they become more forgiving and less judgmental—and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. Well, it does not break loose; we have broken it loose because we are much more comfortable in our hell, the hell of our psychological and physical existence and of our physical and emotional pain than we are in the Love of Heaven.

Thus, what this course helps us to do is become aware that we cannot hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit unless we first do something about the voice of the ego. Always be wary of people who tell you that they hear the Holy Spirit and are channeling Him, especially if they tell you all the specific things that this inner Voice tells them to do—most especially if they tell you what this inner Voice told them to tell you you should do. That is everyone's favorite. The Holy Spirit does not speak in specifics. His is the Voice of the "forgotten song" (T-21.I). His is the Voice of The Song of Prayer, in which Jesus tells us that the specifics—the notes, the harmonics, the overtones, the intervals, the echoes—are nothing. It is the song that is the Voice (S-1.I). That is what we want. It is our mind that translates the abstract non-specific Voice of Love into specifics, because otherwise we could not hear It. You must realize this is simply a device you use to at least maintain your separation.

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