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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 V
"The Voice for God"

Now we will look at a section in Chapter 5 of the text called "The Voice for God," starting with paragraph 3. This is a very clear presentation of the idea of the two voices.

(T-5.II.3:1-2) The principle of Atonement and the separation began at the same time. When the ego was made, God placed in the mind the call to joy.

This is one of those places, and there are many, where you must understand what is being said metaphorically. God did not literally place the Holy Spirit in your mind. If God did place the Correction in your separated mind, then He would have seen you have a separated mind. This is another of those examples where Jesus is talking to us on the level we can accept and understand.

One way of characterizing that whole procedure in the Course is to remember that the ego speaks first, and the Holy Spirit is the Answer. When the ego speaks first to us it tells us a story of God's wrath, the same story that you find in the Bible. It tells us the story of how we have sinned against God and that we should be overwhelmed with guilt because of what we have done, over the separated self we are. And now we should stand in terror awaiting the immediate vengeance of God Who is going to come crashing into our split mind and destroy us, and basically take back the life we believe we stole from Him. Of course this has nothing to do with the real God Who knows nothing about any of this. But the ego's God—which is really a projection of its guilt—now has become this ferocious monster that is hellbent on letting us know how we sinned against Him, how sinful we are, and that we deserve to be punished, and indeed we shall be punished for what we have done. That is the ego's story.

So every night the ego puts us to bed and tells us this fairytale designed for us to have nightmares. There is no child who would go to bed hearing a story like that without having terrifying dreams of punishment. That is what our lives are: these terrifying nightmares of sin and guilt, and fear of the inevitable punishment that we have all done very well in pushing down and then projecting out. We have made up a world of terror, cruelty, misery, pain, torture, suffering, and death. That is the projection into form of the ego's nightmares in our mind that are the inevitable result of the ego's fairytale. We all are still these little boys and girls running around in adult bodies, but still little children believing in this nightmare tale that the ego as our father has told us—again, a tale of cruelty, abuse, victimization, shame, hurt, pain, and death. Then at some point, we finally throw up our hands and say in desperation that there must be another way, there must be another voice, there must be another father hanging around because the one I have is awful.

The response we get from our new teacher, our older brother, is also a fairytale because we are still little children. Children like to be told stories, so Jesus tells us a fairytale. His is a kindly fairytale, a benevolent fairytale; yet it is a fairytale and therefore not literally true. It is a set of symbols, and Jesus' set of symbols is based on the ego symbols, but now with a different content. So we still have a Father Who created us. We still have a Father that we believe we sinned against. But now Jesus turns the whole story around and tells us: "You know, you really did not sin; you just thought you did. God is not angry; God loves you. And God loves you so much that He went to extraordinary trouble to create a Holy Spirit and put Him in everyone's mind so we all would be reminded of our Father's Love."

That is a lovely story. With that story we all would just go right to sleep and sleep beautiful, happy, gentle dreams. These are the happy dreams of forgiveness the Course talks about. It is the same story line. There is a child and a father, a child who believes he sinned against his father, and has done terrible things. But this father in the corrected fairytale is not angry. It would not be of any help to us as little children for Jesus to tell us there is no father and no child. That is not helpful. That would strike terror in our hearts. So he uses symbols to reflect the Love of God that we are still too afraid of. That is what he does here, and he does it throughout the Course.

It is very important as you read this course that you understand what a metaphor is and what symbols are. It is helpful to read this course with the mindset that you are reading a great poem, an epic poem, on the scale of Homer or Dante—alongside learning and practicing it—a great epic poem with magnificent poetry, magnificent imagery, but it is not literally true. Dante might have thought there was a hell and purgatory and a heaven as he described it, but these are all symbols. They are symbols to describe states of mind: states of guilt, states of forgiveness, and states of love.

Jesus does the same thing here. He says that when the ego was made, God placed in the mind a Call to joy. Take that as a symbol, a metaphor to correct the ego's symbol that God is a hateful Father Who placed in our minds the call to hate. That is the ego's holy spirit. Watch out for him! Watch out for his henchman Jesus, because the ego's Jesus is on the warpath. Jesus is going to return not on clouds of glory, but on clouds of hatred and vengeance, and he will punish you if you have been bad. If you are good he may reward you, but if you are bad you are going to be condemned to a life of hell. That is the Christian fairytale—good guys and bad guys.

So the fairytale Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles has the same contour, the same characters, but a totally different script. What this is talking about is that when we took the tiny, mad idea seriously, which we did because we liked the idea of being on our own, there were two voices. There were two thoughts: the thought of the ego which says the separation is a wonderful thing. And then there was the thought of the Atonement. The Atonement is the Course name for the principle that says the separation from God never happened. The Holy Spirit is the symbolic expression of that principle, and Jesus is the expression in form of that thought. The separation from love never happened. The way this is manifested in the illusory world is by demonstrating that no matter what you have done to me, I still love you—your seeming sins have had no effect on me. This becomes a reflection of the principle of the Atonement that says our seeming sins against God had no effect on Him. He did not even know that anything happened: ". . . not one note in Heaven's song was missed" (T-26.V.5:4). Nothing happened. Nothing interrupted the flow of love, and of course it is not a linear flow because there is no time or space in it. Both thoughts are in our minds because when we fell asleep and began the ego's dream of separation, we took this memory with us into the dream. That is our link home. There is a section called "The Link to Truth" (T-25.I). The link is that memory, that thought. And that is what the Holy Spirit represents.

(T-5.II.3:3) This Call is so strong [this Call to joy, which is the Call of the Atonement] that the ego always dissolves at Its sound.

In that one sentence you have the entire Course. That is the problem. If we allowed ourselves to hear that Voice, that Call, the ego would dissolve. But the ego is not this abstract thing; the ego is us. The ego is the part of our mind that likes being on its own, that likes being separated. That is the ego. It is not an entity in and of itself. It is certainly not the devil. It is not an extraneous foreign thought. It is not an alien. It is us, the part of us that likes being separated and special. It is the part that is terrified to be in the presence of that Call to joy.

Now what is implicit although not spelled out here is that what the ego is really afraid of is that the part of the mind that chose the ego would change its decision and choose to hear the Call to joy. Thus, the ego's fear is not really the Call to joy—it does not know about that. The ego's fear is that if we choose against it, which means we choose for the Holy Spirit, it (the ego) will dissolve.

So the great threat the ego labors under all the time—like a dark cloud always over the ego—is the power of the Son's mind to choose between the two voices. The Holy Spirit is not a problem for the ego as long as you do not choose it. This course is not a problem for your ego as long as you do not practice it. You could read and study it forever; if you do not practice it, the ego does not care. In fact the ego loves it if you read it, read into it, and study it. Just do not put it into practice. It is not afraid of the Holy Spirit, or Jesus, or God. It is only afraid of our choosing Them. That is a very, very important distinction to understand. Again, "This Call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at Its sound": the ego always dissolves when we choose to hear Its sound. That is what is implicit here. It is spelled out in other places, but here it is implicit. I cannot hear the sound of the Call to joy unless I choose to hear it. There could be the most beautiful music on my radio, but if I do not tune into that station I am not going to hear it. I may have the most wonderful books on my bookshelf at home, but if I do not pick them up and read them, what difference does it make? I could have the most holy, the most beautiful, the most loving Voice in my mind, but if I do not choose it, it is of no use to me at all.

One could say that Jesus' purpose in A Course in Miraclesis to have us be aware of how much we are directly and actively choosing against hearing the Holy Spirit's Voice, because we do not believe we are. What helps you recognize how resistant you are to hearing the Holy Spirit's Voice is to be aware of how identified you are with your body, emotionally and physically—what you feel is good about you and what you feel is bad about you; what you feel is beautiful about you and what you feel is ugly about you. It does not make any difference. As long as you make a judgment, positive or negative about yourself, psychologically and/or physically, you have made it real. As long as you think your body is important; as long as you think other bodies are important you have made it real. And we all do that.

That is why studying this course should be a very humbling experience. It would humble you to recognize how much you do not want to learn it and how much you do not want to hear Jesus' voice. And this, once again, is because the ego dissolves at its sound. That introduces the idea of purpose. We do not hear it because the ego is not something that is alien to us; the ego is us. Thus, I would dissolve at the sound of the Holy Spirit's Voice. I would dissolve in the presence of forgiveness. Who would I be without my anger? Who would I be without my hurt and my pain? Who would I be without those voices of the past that always tell me how right I am in how I perceive the world and myself? Who would I be without this? Rather than give that up, I would gladly give up the Holy Spirit. That is what we all must see.

(T-5.II.3:4-6) That is why you must choose to hear one of two voices within you. [There is not one voice, but two voices within you. You must choose to hear one of two voices within you.] One you made yourself, and that one is not of God. But the other is given you by God, Who asks you only to listen to it.

This is the exact same thing Jesus says later on in "The Two Emotions" (T-13.V), when he says you have but two emotions, love and fear: one was given you, and one you made. He is saying the exact same thing here, except he is talking about voices.

(T-5.II.3:5) One you made yourself, and that one is not of God.

Well because I made it myself, I love it. Elsewhere, Jesus asks us to think of the love animals have for their offspring (T-4.II.4:1). Take an animal that has just given birth; if you do something to its young, the animal, however sweet it might have been, will turn ferocious, because it will seek to protect its offspring. Parents tend to become very protective of their children. Teachers tend to become very protective of their students, and on and on. Well, the ego is our child, "one you made yourself"—the ego's voice we made. We made it because we believe it is who we are. It is who we wanted to be. We wanted to be separate and we wanted to be special. We were not aware at that time what we were really getting ourselves into. But having made this self, we are stuck with it, because now if we let go of this self, we will believe we have let go of our very being.

Once the decision-making part of my mind chose the ego, it became fused with the ego. It became one with it. To let go of the ego is to let go of my decision-making self. That is who I am, except I do not know I am a decision maker anymore, because I have chosen the ego. Therefore we need a thought system and a teacher that teaches us to distinguish between the self I now think I am, listening to that one voice of the ego, and the other voice, the Holy Spirit's Voice. The more we identify with the Holy Spirit's thought system that we are all one, the more we will break our identification with the ego's thought system of specialness, judgment, and hate. We are all joined with the same ego, with the same Holy Spirit, and the same power in our minds to choose between them.

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