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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 VII
"The Voice for God" (cont.)

Is it possible, as I have been asked, that the Voice of the Holy Spirit could be experienced as saying that the very behavior we are judging in another person is what we ourselves do all the time? Actually, that is all He would say! He is great "finger pointer," and He always points the finger at you. Now it is not an angry, guilt-inducing, accusing finger. It is a very gentle, loving finger that says what you are accusing someone else of is what you are secretly accusing yourself of. In fact, that is what asking the Holy Spirit and Jesus for help means. The reason is that what we have usually asked Him for help with is something external: I am upset with what is happening in my body. I am upset with what is happening in the body of a loved one. I am upset with what is going on in the world. I am upset with what is going on at work. I am upset with my dwindling bank account. I am upset with all kinds of things. We go to Him for help with these kinds of things. That is what we do, and this is what we are always told we should do.

What the Holy Spirit does is help us redirect our focus from what is outside to what is inside. That is why it so important to understand that the body does not exist outside the mind. The body is a thought that is projected out. What forgiveness or the miracle does is bring the projection back so that the guilt that we projected onto the situation is brought back within to the fact of it; that is, I am upset because I believe I separated from God, and I now believe God is going to separate from me permanently, which means I am finished. That is the fear.

The Holy Spirit is always bringing us back. Recall the passage in Lesson 134 that says whenever we are tempted to accuse anyone of anything we should first stop and ask ourselves, "Would I accuse myself of doing this?" (W-pI.134.9:2-3). It may not be in the same form, but the content would be the same: I am separating from love; I am not being kind; I am accusing you of not being kind, of not being thoughtful, of not being loving. But that is what we all secretly accuse ourselves of. I accuse you of being selfish and not thinking of me. Well, that is what we accuse ourselves of. Right at the beginning we did not think of God. We thought about me: "me, myself, and I," and what my needs were.

Therefore, the way Jesus helps us is not by giving us specific information about a specific problem—there is no specific problem out there; he is not helping us by reinforcing the defense. He helps us by redirecting us so that we realize that our concerns outside are a defense against our concerns about our guilt. Once we are back in our mind, we can then finally look at the guilt and realize we made that up, too; but we cannot know the guilt is made up unless we know our external problem is made up.

That is the role of the Holy Spirit or Jesus. That is what it means for Them to be our Teacher and to be our eyes. There is a very important section in the text called "Sharing Perception with the Holy Spirit" (T-14.VII) and also that beautiful Lesson that says "Now let a new perception come to me" (W-pII.313). We look differently, and the difference in looking is that our ego would always have us look outward. That is why we have eyes—eyes do not look in the mind; eyes look outward and they see things; but they see only what the mind tells them they should see. Thus, the way Jesus helps us and the way his voice guides us is by redirecting our attention away from the situation outside and back within. We begin to understand that the special relationship with another person that has been so problematic, so hurtful, so abusive, or so wonderful for us, is nothing more or less than a projection of our special relationship with our ego. That is everyone's problem.

This course is all about undoing special relationships. If you really read it carefully and understand it, you will see that Jesus is really redirecting you from your brother out there, whom you want to attack or cannibalize, to the special relationship of which your relationship outside is a projection: the special relationship with your ego. Likewise, the holy relationship is not between you and me because we are both students of A Course in Miracles and do the workbook together; the holy relationship is with the Holy Spirit, which then gets extended, so that the love I feel with Him now is extended out and takes the form of my forgiveness of you, realizing you and I are not separate. That is the projection or the extension of what has gone on in my mind—that the Holy Spirit and I are not separate. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit and I are not separate, and the Holy Spirit is the memory of God, then I am not separate from Him, which means the separation never happened. There is no sin. There is no guilt. There is no projection. That is how I forgive you. I forgive you not by joining with you—how could a puppet join with another puppet?—the way I forgive you is by joining with that inner Voice. When I join with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, automatically my perception of you would change, because in that holy instant when I am with Him, there is no guilt. If there is no guilt, there is no projection. There is only forgiveness, the forgiveness that says nothing happened. Nothing happened between Him and me; nothing happened between me and God; and therefore it must be that nothing happened between you and me, whatever it is you did or did not do.

You could be the worst villain in history, the most abusive parent in the world, the cruelest, vilest teacher; yet none of these has an effect on the Love of God in me unless I give it that power. As children, we do not have that power—we have it but are not aware of it—but we can reclaim it as adults. That is what forgiveness is. It recognizes, as A Course in Miracles says, that what you think your brother has done has not occurred. That does not mean he did not beat you up, or abuse, abandon, betray, or neglect you. It means he did not rob you of the peace of God. He did not steal the Love so that you would never have it. The only one who took the Love and peace of God away from you is you.

Forgiveness recognizes that the person I have to forgive is not you, whoever the "you" is; it is I. And I cannot forgive me, my mind, if I do not know I have a mind. Therefore, what I ask Jesus for help with is remembering I have a mind. The 365-day mind-training program of the workbook is all geared toward having us realize we have a split mind: the wrong-minded home of the ego, the right-minded home of the Holy Spirit, and the power to choose between them. That is what the workbook and text are about.

Thus, when you ask Jesus for specific help, you are asking him to reinforce the problem. Even better, you are asking him to reinforce the defense against the solution of the problem. You want Jesus to focus on your life—he wants to focus on your mind. He does not know about your life. He knows only thoughts, because that is what the mind is, and there is nothing else but thought. Schopenhauer, the 19th-century German philosopher, wrote a very important book called The World as Will and Idea. The world is an idea. He was a Buddhist, so he understood the illusory nature of the world. If the world is an illusion, why change it?

Every student of the Course knows the line, "seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world" (T-21.in.1:7). Now, again, this does not mean that you do not do things in the world; it does not mean that you do not help people who are in distress. It just means that if you want to be truly helpful, your help must come from love, which means your focus should not be on the help you are giving outside. Your focus should be on getting rid of the judgment in your mind that interferes with that love. When the judgment and guilt are gone, the love just flows and your body would automatically do and say what is the most loving and caring, in the form that the person who needs the help can accept. But you know that the help has nothing to do with the form. The form is just a symbol of the love. And you are very happy to use whatever the symbols are, because that is the only way that the love inside you can find expression in a separated world. But what allows that love to be truly healing and truly helpful is that you have no investment in the form, because you know the form is not important; it is the love that is important.

In a sense, then, when you are in your right mind you are playing a game, except it is a right-minded, helpful game. The game is that you are really here interacting with other people who are really here and have problems that you are helping with. But when you are in your right mind, you realize all this is a dream; it is simply one thought reminding another thought that it could choose love. That is all that happens here. When you are in your right mind that is what you do. That is exactly what Jesus talks about in that extremely important subsection in the manual, "The Function of the Teacher of God" (M-5.III). In the second paragraph he says your job is to be the "Alternative," to remind your brother who is sick that he can make another choice. He says it is not your hands or your words that heal; it is your mind that heals simply by reminding others that they can make the same choice you have made. They will realize the choice you have made by your love, which may be expressed in very specific forms.

However, when you insist on having Jesus or the Holy Spirit do things for you in the world, you are really negating what They could do. In fact, in another message to Helen, Jesus said of this very thing that when you do this, you are trying to make his love more manageable, by you. In other words, you are trying to control it. Rather than letting his love flow freely, you are trying to tell it where it should be and what it should do. (See Absence from Felicity, pp. 445-46.)

An image I have used in this context is that rather than experience Jesus' love as a vast, limitless ocean, we hold up a little thimble and ask him to please fill the thimble with his love, meaning "answer my specific request; do this specific thing for me"—while Jesus keeps offering us the ocean. That is what The Song of Prayer pamphlet is about. Written one year after the Course was published, it is a plea to all students of A Course in Miracles to ask for the song. He says it is the song we want, not the parts, as I said earlier. Asking for specifics will never get us home. It may get us on the right ladder with the right teacher, but it will always keep us below the second rung, stuck on the bottom rung. (See The Song of Prayer, I.1.)

Getting back to the original point, the way to distinguish between the two voices is that the Voice of the Holy Spirit will always be non-specific and will always call us back to our mind. The voice of the ego, masquerading as the Holy Spirit, will always be involved with specifics, and behind the specifics is that arch enemy, spiritual specialness: Look how holy I am. I hear the Holy Spirit's Voice all the time. If you really heard the Holy Spirit's Voice all the time, you would probably keep your mouth closed and let the Love do the speaking, and act just like everyone else.

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