Excerpts from the Workshop held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
"The Dreamer of the Dream" (cont.)
Now back to "The Dreamer of the Dream" in the text:
(T-27.VII.13:1-2) You are the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause it has, nor ever will.
Note that the word "you" is italicized: "You are the dreamer." The you is the dreamer, not the dream figure. The dream figure is the person we think we are—the name we give ourselves, the bodies that we experience and perceive, etc. The you is the dreamer, the decision-making part of the mind. In other words, the world does not come from itself—the world is not its own beginning and its own ending. It is literally the projection of our mind—just as when we sleep at night, the dreams we have are literally the projections of our brains. They have no reality outside of that.
Here Jesus refers to the secret dream once again:
(T-27.VII.13:3) Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God's Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself.
The use of the adjective "idle" is telling us that nothing is really happening. When we say something idles, we mean it is not going anywhere. If a car engine is running but it is not in gear, we say the car is idling—it doesn't go anywhere. Our mind's "engine" may be running, joining with the ego, but it does not go anywhere. Nothing happens. We never left Heaven. Thus, the secret dream of sin, guilt, and fear is an idle dream.
(T-27.VII.13:4-5) So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless a gentler dream preceded his awaking, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice that calls with love to waken him; a gentler dream, in which his suffering was healed and where his brother was his friend. God willed he waken gently and with joy, and gave him means to waken without fear.
Jesus is describing the happy dream. We cannot go from nightmares to awakening because, as Jesus is explaining here, that would lead to "a sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear." The ego tells us that if we go back to God, He will destroy us. It is this fear of God's wrath that continually impels us to maintain a perpetual state of mindlessness. The way we preserve ourselves from certain destruction at the hands of God is to leave the mind, totally forgetting once we are in the world that we die here too. But since we forgot how we ended up here, we forgot that the ego told us to be here. This is why the ego's defenses are so important to understand—they work incredibly well. Since we forgot we have a mind, we have no memory of how we got here, which is that we listened to the ego's counsel: Leave your mind because God will destroy you. Go to the world and the body, and He will not destroy you.
Well, then we end up in the world and the body, and guess what? We get destroyed. But by this time, we have forgotten the secret dream, so that we are just here and have to make the best of it. Then we make up all kinds of fairy tales. We say, for example, that there is an afterlife, so we die but we do not really die. The bad people die, and they go to hell. But they do not really die either—they just get punished with everlasting hell while we enjoy eternal bliss. There is also the notion of many lives: I die but I come back, and come back, and come back. Isn't that wonderful!
It is not that these concepts may not be helpful, but they are all illusory. How could we come back to a place we were never in in the first place? Ideas leave not their source. The idea of God's separated Son has never left its source in the mind. We are not even in a body, so whether we live one lifetime or a thousand lifetimes, or there is an afterlife, it is all the same. It is not even an afterlife, it is an after non-life. What is the big deal about an after non-life? It is non-life after non-life that is a result of non-life. That is all this is, but we make up stories because we are so terrified.
Jesus makes up a story too, but his is a kind, gentle story: He says God loves us. He is not angry. Yes, God knows we left home and we separated, but He does not hold a grudge. He is not upset. God did not create the Holy Spirit to seduce us back to Heaven so He could destroy us. God loves us so much. He misses us, and is lonely without us. He cries without us; He weeps. He longs for us. He wants us back home. Well, this is all made up, but it is a nice, gentle story and it corrects the ego's dream of sin, guilt, and fear. Sin, guilt, and fear are all predicated on God's wrath because we attacked Him. Jesus' fairy tale, and it is a fairy tale, is that we did not attack God. Nothing really happened. Daddy is not angry, and the Holy Spirit is your Friend.
That starts the process of learning to forgive ourselves for what we did not do. Since what we did with what we believe we have done is project it onto others, our journey begins with our getting a different perception of them with a different teacher. In other words, we withdraw all the projections of our guilt that we put on others. We recognize that our external dream in which other people are the victimizers and abusers, at whose hands we suffered, is the world's dream. And the world's dream is the projection of the secret dream wherein we believe we are the murderers, scavengers, sinners, betrayers, and abandoners. But we now have a loving presence in our minds that is not fearful, not angry—a loving presence that tells us we made it all up. At the very end, therefore, we realize the ego's nightmare is made up, but the happy dream is made up too, and so both disappear, and all that is left is reality.
(T-27.VII.14:1) Accept the dream He gave instead of yours.
That is the dream that God gave (although it is not really God Who gives it). That is the happy dream. It is still a dream, but it is a happy dream, a dream of forgiveness.
(T-27.VII.14:2) It is not difficult to change a dream when once the dreamer has been recognized.
This is another very important line. What this is talking about is the process of lifting the veil of amnesia so that we recognize we are not a body but the mind that is a dreamer. The Christ Mind does not dream, but the split mind does. That is all it is: a dreamer. It is not difficult to change dreams once we realize we are the dreamer, and then we see clearly what the choices are. As the text says earlier, "Who with the Love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make?" (T-23.IV.9:8).
When you know you are the dreamer, and one dream is a dream of murder and the other dream a dream of a miracle, it is a no-brainer, a "no-minder." It's easy. But you have to know you are the dreamer. The resistance to that is enormous. I cannot say it often enough. That is what you have to recognize; otherwise you will get so off track with this course so quickly, and you will be sure you are right because you will quote chapter and verse and you will not understand a word that you are quoting. You must understand your resistance to realizing you are the dreamer, not the dream figure. You are a mind, not the body. Jesus is not talking to you as a person, by name, using words. He is a thought of love in your mind that is a light, which by its very presence just calls you to remember that you are the light also. This course is appealing to the decision maker, to the dreamer. Thus, from "Reversing Effect and Cause" in the next chapter:
(T-28.II.7:1-3) The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions. No one is afraid of them when he perceives he made them up.
Remember what this book is called: A Course in Miracles. "The miracle establishes you dream a dream." You are the dreamer, and what you are dreaming is not true. "This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions." What is the crucial step? Realizing that you are the dreamer. That is why this is a course in mindfulness, correcting the ego's mindlessness. Just keep that in mind and you will always be on the straight and narrow with this course.
This is never about the body. It is never about the world. It is never about your personality. It is never about your special relationship with another body. That is the context because that is where we think we are. Therefore Jesus uses the language of the dream to move us to the dreamer of the dream. No one is afraid of illusions. No one is afraid of all the dreams of the world. This is the same point that Jesus made in "The Gifts of God," as we saw earlier. Sentence 3 again:
(T-28.II.7:3) No one is afraid of them [illusions] when he perceives he made them up.
If I know there are no monsters out there, that I made them up, what is there to be afraid of? It is when we forget we made them up that we become afraid. When we forget that this is our dream, we become afraid of cancer, nuclear war, and pollution; we become afraid of all the bad guys out there, and of all the abusing people in our lives. We are all dying of cancer. It is mind cancer; it is the cancer of believing in separation. That is what you want to focus on, because that is the killer. That is where death comes from, but we focus on the body and on the diseases of the body. We keep focusing on building up the body's immune system, which is not a bad thing to do if you are a body, but we forget about the mind's immune system. That is the problem. The Atonement is the mind's immune system. That is what you want to build up; that is what you want to identify with.