OK, let me jump right into Ken’s sharing.
“In this final lesson of the series, Jesus once again emphasizes our power to decide, making it clear that what we see outside is not outside at all, but is simply a shadow or reflection of what we first made real in the mind. This lesson, therefore, elaborates on the principle projection makes perception: we see within first, choosing either the ego’s darkness of sin or the Holy Spirit’s light of forgiveness; we then look out and perceive either a shadow of guilt or reflection of love. Thus the problem is never what we perceive outside, but the teacher we have chosen inside. That decision is the subject matter of this lesson.
It is not what we perceive outside that is consistent, because it always changes. Jesus’ point is that our perception is consistent with our thoughts, as they are consistent with the teacher we have chosen – our choice of what we want to see. We find the same idea in “The Characteristics of God’s Teachers” under the subsection “Honesty,” where Jesus define honesty as consistency” what we do or say is consistent with what we think (M-4.II). Thus honesty is not defined by form, the truth of the form of our words, but by its consistency with the content – what we have made real in our minds: Jesus’ love or the ego’s hate.
What underlies our values is valuing our individual self: we want to prove the separation from God is real and that we exist. Since that is our value, we choose the ego as our teacher. Remember, at the beginning we, as one Son, were presented with two choices regarding the tiny, mad idea: to see it through the eyes of the ego or the Holy Spirit. We valued our separation, so we chose the former. From there we chose the ego’s thought system of guilt and hate to protect our existence, and this gave rise to a perceptual universe of materiality. On the other hand, if we choose to value the perfect Oneness of God’s Love, we choose Jesus as our teacher, and everything will shift accordingly. When that shift is total, we are in the real world.
What we believe, we see: “And no one can fail to look upon what he believes he wants.” That is why Jesus places such emphasis in his course on purpose. Our chosen purpose, based on belief, determines what we want, which in turn determines what we see: projection makes perception.
Recall that dissociation is a psychological term that describes how we maintain two mutually exclusive thoughts simultaneously:
“Dissociation is a distorted process of thinking whereby two systems of belief which cannot coexist are both maintained (T-14.VII.4:3).”
The ego has us believe we can hate and love at the same time. I split off the love in my right mind and hide it, identifying only with the ego’s hate, however – illusion brought to truth – the darkness of our hate must disappear.
Jesus speaks of our need to make a choice. I cannot choose both love and hate, and that is the ego’s fear: if we choose love, hate is gone, and with it goes the self that was conceived in hate and nourished by guilt.
Projection makes perception is the principle that underlies our understanding the seemingly real experiences in the perceptual world.
The Love of God is in my mind, represented by the Holy Spirit’s Atonement principle. The ego is afraid of my choosing the Holy Spirit as my Teacher, and so it keeps the love hidden, holding it in darkness with individuality and guilt as the cover. The ego teaches me I should be afraid of my guilt, its clever subterfuge. However, I really fear choosing love, and thus fear makes me blind.
As in many other places, Jesus appeals to us saying: “Look at what you are giving yourself; look at what you have accepted as flimsy substitute for the wonderful gift of Heaven’s remembrance I offer you.” He asks: “What would you want that this is shown to you? What would you wish to keep in such a dream?” He helps us realize what we are choosing and wishing to keep is nothing; moreover, a nothingness that makes us most unhappy. It is not the world, though, that saddens us, but the nothingness we have chosen in our minds.
Everything in the world – its separation, distinctions, and differences – has no cause, because it comes from fear – love’s enemy – which does not exist. Without a cause there is no effect, and without effect, the things of the world have no being. In the real world you are outside the world’s dream. You look on it – pain, suffering and death – but being beyond it you know what you see is not real : the world’s cause is a thought that has already been undone – in fact, it never existed – and if there is no cause, what you observe has “no being and no consequence.”
When we believe something here has value, or when we hope for a brighter outcome- even if it is something as noble as world peace, or as pure as family health and happiness – we are trying to effect this compromise. And it will never work. Our hopes will fail because true hope lies only in inviting Jesus to look with us at the ego’s hopelessness, thereby letting it go. (Reference to 6:1).
The world’s only value is to reflect back to us the mind’s choice.
It is important to understand we are wrong and do not recognize what we have made real. Moreover, we do not understand what upsets us, but think we know. Yet the fact we think we know and blame our upset on something external tells us we know nothing. Thus we humbly need to call upon the real strength within, enabling us to look differently at what was bothering us. Thus vision, still within the realm of perception, sets the stage for the transformation into knowledge.”
That’s more than enough for today, although I could have gone on and on with Ken’s perspective.
I am beginning to better “get” that all I have to do is watch my thoughts, the content of my mind, and try not to focus so faithfully on what appears to be happening outside, the form. If I am willing to choose the Holy Spirit or Jesus as my teacher, what I will see “out there” will be benign. I will assign no meaning to whatever it may be because I understand that I am interpreting everything I see through the ego’s or His filter.
I love Ken’s reference to the definition of honesty in the Manual.
How often have I not said something or done something the ego would have me say or do in the name of spiritual superiority? Seriously….if my husband and I quarrel and it seems it may escalate, I often have just zipped it and said nothing. What does that solve? I may be furious or enraged, hurt or depressed by what I think he says or does, but it’s always my interpretation and when I realize this, I know I can ask for help.
I appreciate Ken’s emphasis on the difference between content and form as most human beings focus on form and not on content.
Most of us have not questioned what we believe or value, thereby maintaining the livelihood of guilt, nourishing, protecting it from our willingness to see/get beyond it to the light of God’s love to be found in the right mind.
We/I have two choices, Heaven or hell.
And it’s a moment to moment decision and the more we choose the former, the easier it will seem to practice.
Have a lovely day!