Transcript of Kenneth Wapnick
YouTube video entitled: "How can we be happy in an illusory world?"
The topic for this morning will be how do we live lives that are fulfilled, rewarding, and happy in a world which is made as an attack on God... in a world that we're told over and over again is an illusion. Some passages even tell us that there's no world out there at all, it's just a massive hallucination. How could we be happy here?
There is a line early in the text that says how could you find joy in a joyless place except by recognizing that you are not there. That's the key. What makes us happy in this world is to see a different purpose for our being here, different from the one the ego has told us. We're told early on in the text that the only real pleasure comes in doing God's Will. Well, as we've seen over and over again in the Course, anything that is positive really is the negation of the ego's negativity. The ego's negativity or the ego's negative thought system is saying that God's Love is an illusion, my special love is the reality. And not only that, you would be happier choosing to identify with my love than with God's Love. And so my will, the ego's will in this world, is to maximize pleasure, minimize pain, and always to do it at someone else's expense.
One of the key principles, one could even say it's the cardinal principle of the ego's existence, is one or the other because in that instant, in that unholy instant, the ego thought system was born. It was either God's perfect Oneness and perfect Love or the ego's separation and special love. One cannot have both. It is literally one or the other. Either separation is true or perfect Oneness is true. Either special love—which is always exclusive—is true, or God's Love—which is all-inclusive—is true, but it's one or the other. And since we all believe that we exist as separated, differentiated beings or entities, then we are saying with each breath we take, every action, each moment every morning when we awaken and we feel our presence, when we stumble into the bathroom and look in the mirror and see someone that we think is ourselves... whether we like what we see or not... we clearly recognize a person as ourselves. In that moment, we are saying that the ego is right, the ego is real, the ego is true, and God is an illusion.
And so what reinforces that illusion, what preserves that illusion is the fundamental ego doctrine, its two-fold goal that I want to prove that I exist and I want to make someone else responsible for it. And when I can get away with that, when I can have my ego's cake of separation and eat it too, which means I affirm my individual existence but someone else is held accountable and responsible for it, that's the ego's...and when I do that with another person... that's the ego's union made in Heaven. And I do it with another person, that I do for you what you do for me. I preserve my existence with you...you preserve yours with me... I believe my needs are met by you at your expense...you believe your needs are met by me at my expense and that's what we call happy marriages in this world, or happy friendships, or happy relationships. This is the ego's will. This is what gives us pleasure and always someone loses. That's the ego's plan of salvation— someone wins and that person winning means someone else loses.
The fourth law of chaos in Chapter 22 is we have what we have taken. If I am happy, if I have something, someone else does not have it. I have what I have taken. If I have something, it is because I took it from someone else who no longer has it. So that's what we all believed right at the beginning. We took God's Power of Creation. We took God's Love. We usurped His place. We made it our own and so God no longer has it. Again, it's one or the other but there is no real happiness there. There's no real joy there because this principle makes the world very real... it makes our individual selves very real and makes us all miserably unhappy, desperately trying to prove how happy we are, but it never works because deep down we realize the fundamental lie of the ego thought system and indeed of the ego's world.
So the only way to find joy in a joyless place is to recognize we are not there. Now this does not mean that as we practice forgiveness that we deny our experiences in this world, or deny that there's a world out there, or deny a world where there's tremendous pain and suffering. But it does mean that we don't obey the ego's interpretation of this that what goes on outside of us is what makes us happy or makes us sad. We don't deny our experiences in this world because as Jesus tells us early on in the text, that's a particularly unworthy form of denial. But what we do do is deny the ego's interpretation that says what happens outside of me, including my body which is also outside of my mind, has an effect on me.
So the way I learn to be happy in a world that was designed to be unhappy is to not subscribe to the fundamental law of the ego, which is that my happiness and my unhappiness depend on forces, circumstances, situations, relationships outside of me over which I tend to have no control. But recognizing that no matter what you have done, you do not have the power to take God's Love or God's Peace away from me. That's what shifts the purpose of my life here. Its function no longer is to be a prison and to make everybody into the jail keeper; rather it's to see this world as a classroom in which I learn the happy lessons of forgiveness that tell me nothing here has any effect on me. And as I learn this lesson and generalize it more and more, I come to understand everything of the ego's thought system is a lie including its fundamental premise that the separation is real. And I learn that the separation is a lie, that the Atonement is correct, by not giving the ego thought system in any way, shape, or form power to disrupt my inner peace and my love.
Link to YouTube video here.