How many of us still read books these days? Well, one thing is for sure: the genre of horror and crime is blooming like never before. It sells by the millions. Movies are no different. Movie makers are perfecting the art of presenting us with the most bloody, horrible, gruesome scenes imaginable — and we all love it. The gaming industry cashes many millions of dollars annually on extremely violent games such as Call of duty, Thrill kill, Doom, and Mortal combat, to name but a few. Why this addiction to violence, murder and attack, while usually we profess to be kind and loving? What’s the source of this insatiable need for violence, while at the same time we all want to be remembered afterwards as a ‘good human being’?
A Course in Miracles provides a crystal clear answer to this seeming paradox, or conflict in the mind. It all goes back to the ontological instant (outside time and space, the metaphysical foundation of A Course in Miracles) wherein the tiny, mad idea (T-27.VIII.6:2) of separation from God seemed to be taken seriously in the mind of the Son of God. In reality this never happened at all (M.2.2:8), since in reality there is no time. But the mere seeming consideration of the idea of “ego”, which is the idea of separation from oneness, set in motion the nightmarish dream of the Big Bang, the cosmos, and the world, with time and space progressing seemingly forever. In this dualistic dream, the now seemingly fragmented sleeping Son of God becomes aware of something not itself. Wow, the separation from God apparently succeeded. I attacked oneness and I won. I’m on my own! I exist!
To conclude this ludicrous tale which is nonetheless the basis for everything we hold dear and proclaim als real in our dream world of time and space: thanks to my rejection, attack and murder of God I exist. My attack on Heaven is how I, as the god in my own personal kingdom, came into existence. I therefore constantly need to experience rejection, attack and murder to keep proving my existence. Why do I need to constantly re-confirm this belief? Because somewhere deep inside I know it’s not true. How could I possibly have murdered God, the Creator of all? Sure, I exist, but God is bound to find me out and punish me for this horrendous sin of rejecting Him. Unconsciously, I project my attack energy away to God. I then become convinced that God (that is, the ego’s version of god) is out to attack and murder me, which, to be honest, is fully understandable and justified. And so we turn to the ego for counsel. Help!
“Relax,” the ego soothes us. “Look at the world around you. Did you cause all the misery you see? Of course not. Others are responsible for attack and murder. God will obviously recognize your face of innocence and punish the evil-doers in the world. Just pretend to be kind and loving, and you’ll be fine (well, at least for a few decades, heh heh).” So how does this relate to all the violence in books, movies, and games? These media provide me with an excellent finger-pointing opportunity. Attack and murder are not in me; they are out there! I am innocent, for the violence is obviously outside of me. So to recap: we are addicted to violence because (1) this affirms the undeniable reality of the ontological separation from God, proving that I exist; and (2) it demonstrates that the violence inherent in the separation belongs to others, not to me. Just imagine what could change if heads of state would become aware of this thought mechanism in their mind!
In A Course in Miracles, Jesus presents us with a gentle way out of this nightmare. What’s more, this way is guaranteed to work, since we cannot obliterate the presence of the Holy Spirit (the voice for Love/oneness/God) entirely, although we try to bury it deeply. Since every external attack on me (physically or verbally) unconsciously reminds me of my own sinfulness, eventually the pain reaches a level at which I cry out that there must be a better way. Jesus gladly responds by inviting me to look above the battleground (T-23.IV) at what is really going on. From that position, that is, not being drawn in, but objectively watching the movie of the split mind, I come to realize that what I thought to be gospel truth is not so! The bloated, roaring ego turns out to be nothing — a lie to keep up the illusion that the separation from oneness did actually happen. By looking with Jesus at this dream, I come to realize that the peace of Heaven was never shattered, that God knows nothing of separation whatsoever, and that He still loves His Son. I am still safe at Home with the Father.
However, realizing this truth is obviously not enough to discard the ego nightmare as if by a finger snap. I chose the ego, and I obviously still choose it most of the time. Why? As we saw in previous posts, the consequence of accepting the truth of Jesus’ message is that I will lose my precious individual personality. However illusory my little separated self may be, in my gut I still believe it’s all I got. We all focus a lot on the body, the embodiment of the ego. It takes a while (probably several lifetimes) to unlearn the ego and to gladly accept that giving up individuality brings me, as holographic part of the Son of God, eternal peace and never-ending, changeless Love. That’s why the study and practice of A Course in Miracles is a slow process that requires trust and patience. So how to go about it? You guessed it: forgiveness. That is, not forgiveness in the sense that I am more spiritually advanced than other wretched souls, but the recognition that we are all equally worthy of God, and that we all share the same interest of joining eachother in our journey-without-distance back to God. It’s the mindshift from the ego’s “one or the other” to the Holy Spirit’s “together, or not at all” (T-19.IV-D.12:8).
Forgiveness means: choosing the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of what we seem to perceive around us. It means bringing our mind’s focus to the now, instead of on the sinful past and the fearful future. If I choose to see a forgiven world (because of the silliness of the ego illusion; nothing happened) I allow my own mind to be healed by the Holy Spirit’s correction. And what happens then to my consciousness? “Nothing around you but is part of you. Look on it lovingly, and see the light of Heaven in it. So will you come to understand all that is given you. In kind forgiveness will the world sparkle and shine, and everything you once thought sinful now will be reinterpreted as part of Heaven. How beautiful it is to walk, clean and redeemed and happy, through a world in bitter need of the redemption that your innocence bestows on it!” (T-23.in.6:1). Thus we unlearn the lessons of the ego.
One final point: the next time you see your spouse or kids watching horrific movies or playing violent games, and you now fully realize what is going on, stop yourself from trying to change them. Whenever you feel that urge, realize that you’re falling in the trap of perceiving something externally that is wrong, and that it is up to you to do something about it. This is what Kenneth Wapnick refers to as “Making the error real”. Trying to convert people is much like rejecting and attacking them, which will numb the voice of the Holy Spirit in your own mind. All you need do is to accept the Atonement for yourself (T-2.V.5:1, T-5.V.7:8, M-7.3:2). Just try to be kind and loving to them. This is the best way to remind them of the kindness and love in their own mind. Thus you leave it up to the Holy Spirit to correct the conflict in their mind. When they are ready for that is not up to you, and time does not really exist anyway. Just keep practicing unconditional forgiveness, that is, keep expressing love unconditionally. This brings and extends the peace of God that you and I really yearn for.
Also see my seven “guidelines for living in an illusory world” in “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com: