Excerpts from the Workshop held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
"The Happy Dream"
"The Dreamer of the Dream"
We will now look at a number of passages that will allow us to elaborate on these ideas. We will start with the first paragraph of "The Happy Dream" in Chapter 18 of the text.
(T-18.V.1:1-2) Prepare you now for the undoing of what never was. [That is the metaphysical position of the Course; that we are undoing the ego, the illusion, the dream that never happened.] If you already understood the difference between truth and illusion, the Atonement would have no meaning.
In other words, if you already knew that all this was a dream, an illusion, then you would not need this course and you would not need the Holy Spirit. The Atonement is the Course's term for the Holy Spirit's correction—that the separation from God never happened.
(T-18.V.1:3) The holy instant, the holy relationship, the Holy Spirit's teaching, and all the means by which salvation is accomplished, would have no purpose.
"If you already knew what I am teaching you," Jesus is saying, "then you would not need me to teach you; you would not need the correction." All of these terms represent the correction. If we knew the error has already been corrected because we recognize that the error never happened, that all of this is a dream, we have never left home and are still at home in God, then we would not need this course or any of the aids that Jesus provides for us.
(T-18.V.1:4) For they are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams, from which you waken easily to knowledge.
Knowledge in the Course is a synonym for Heaven, so we go from dreams of fear, wrong-minded dreams, to happy dreams of forgiveness, right-minded dreams. When the happy dreams of forgiveness totally undo the dreams of fear, all dreaming ends and we are right back where we never left.
(T-18.V.1:5) Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat.
We can understand this and the next sentence to mean that we get confused between form and content, body and mind, the world's dream and the secret dream of the mind, because we always try to evaluate our progress and other people's progress based on what we see and understand. For instance, we are quick to say that spiritual people do not speak like this, they speak like this; they act like this, dress like this, etc. But that is because we do not understand the difference between form and content. We think the form is important. We think behavior is important. We think what our eyes see and our brains understand is important. The fact of the matter is that none of it is important, and there is no way we can understand this. That is the whole point of this first paragraph. We need a thought system, a teacher to move us from the mindlessness of the ego that is the world's dream—the body—to the mindfulness of the Holy Spirit, which is the secret dream. That is why Jesus continues:
(T-18.V.1:6) Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.
In other words, we do not know which end is up. This is Jesus' nice, gentle way of telling us not to even try to understand where we are on the ladder or where we are on the journey, and to please not try to judge where other people are. This is because we will be looking only through the perspective of our body looking at others' bodies with some pre-conceived notion that has nothing to do with what spirituality truly is. That is what he is talking about here.
We do not know the difference between the world's dream and the secret dream, because we do not know anything about the mind, and therefore how can we possibly judge where people are on their Atonement path, especially when the Atonement path and the undoing of the ego does not occur in time and space? It is not linear because linearity is the world's dream. Linear time is the projection into form of sin, guilt, and fear, which are timeless, not timeless in the sense of eternity, but time-less, meaning not part of time. The mind is outside time and space. So how can we possibly know what the meaning of a person's life is, or the meaning of a person's occupation, or relationship, or state of body? We do not know where that fits into anyone's overall Atonement path. There is no way we can know that about ourselves or anyone else. So Jesus is saying to please not even try. All we need to know is that the happy dream is the correction of the ego's fear dream. It has no meaning other than as the correction.
. . . . . . .
This next section, "The Dreamer of the Dream," is the section I referred to earlier when I was talking about the two dreams.
(T-27.VII.11:6) The dreaming of the world is but a part of your own dream you gave away, and saw as if it were its start and ending, both.
"The dreaming of the world" is the world's dream; that is our experiences here as a body. This embraces the entire cosmos from before the Big Bang to the time when it will disappear into one large black hole of forgiveness, and everything that goes on between those two poles. Yet it is but a part of "your own dream," which is the mind's dream we that we gave away, that we projected out. And once we projected it out, we believed the world's dream was self-contained. It had its own beginning and will have its own ending. It existed purely on its own, having nothing to do with the mind that now has been rendered inaccessible. The entire cosmos is a state of mindlessness, and since there is no hierarchy of illusions, it does not matter whether we are talking about a mindless body or a mindless cosmos. An illusion is an illusion is an illusion.
(T-27.VII.11:7) Yet was it [your life here as a body] started by your secret dream, which you do not perceive although it caused the part you see and do not doubt is real.
Even though the mind's dream is the cause of the world's dream, because of the veil of amnesia, the veil of forgetfulness, we do not know it is there and do not doubt that the external world is real, even though it is caused by the mind, and ideas leave not their source. The external world has never left the internal world because there is no external world. The words inner and outer basically have no real meaning. They are both illusory states. The word inner means there is an outer; the word outer means there is an inner. There is no outer, therefore the word inner has no meaning, really.
There is only the mind. There is nothing else—just as when we are asleep at night in our bed, there is only the body that is sleeping in bed. What is going on in the brain of the dreamer is irrelevant to the physical fact within our world that there is a body asleep in bed, even though the brain is dreaming that it is in different places. Thus, even though we are dreaming that we are living in this world as a body doing all kinds of things with our body and with other bodies, the fact of the matter is that we are still in the mind, in that secret dream.
(T-27.VII.11:8) How could you doubt it [that the external dream is real] while you lie asleep, and dream in secret that its cause is real?
We are still asleep, but we are dreaming this; and while we are dreaming and asleep, we are dreaming that this external world, this life as a body is real. That is the problem. That is what makes this course so difficult to understand, let alone apply, because we are reading it as a body, believing it is about the body. Even though practically every passage tells us we are not bodies, those words go right past us. They do not register in our brains because our brains were programmed not to have them register. "I am not a body, I am free" (W-pI.199), the workbook says over and over again. This does not compute. It is rejected even though our brains and our mouths repeat the words, because we forget that we are asleep. And as long as we are asleep, we think that the outer world is real; it has power and effects.