The Non Dual Path of A Course in Miracles by David Hoffmeister
T he non dual path of A Course in Miracles is inherently practical. The teaching I share is that Enlightenment is available this very moment. And anything in one’s mind that stands in the way of that recognition of Enlightenment right now must first be questioned and then seen for what it is—illusion.
The duality of the world is false. This essential teaching is conveyed in both the Advaita Vedanta and in A Course in Miracles, with no contradiction, although the words differ.
God alone is real.
The world is illusory.
A Course in Miracles
God is real.
The world is illusion.
When we go deeply into the mind, it is apparent that peace of mind is available to us this very instant. We need to take a close look at the false beliefs presently held dear, that obstruct the awareness of true Self and God. We want to raise the false beliefs to the light and trace them back to their false cause: The belief in separation from God.
The feeling of restlessness is related to choices that are varied and complex. Can you see that, if this is the case, you must believe that there are real future choices to make? What are these personal choices between? Aren’t they perceived to be between options or alternatives within a dualistic world? Aren’t they seen to be between two or more specific things? That’s inherent in this concept of choice, isn’t it? Now, what is the commonality of the choices in the world, the personal choices that we are describing? They are always choices between forms and specifics. Choice rests on the belief in a dualistic, linear, time-space world of opposites, including past/future, does it not?
So, it comes down to this: the whole idea of choice between specifics must rest on the concept of linear time, as contrasted with simultaneous time—Now! Heaven is Eternal Oneness and has nothing to do with choice since there is nothing to choose between in Oneness. One must see choice where it has meaning as a learning device—at the mind level—before there can be a remembrance of choiceless Oneness. Just beyond all the things you think you have to do lies one simple choice. All you have to do is make one decision for peace! Really, it’s not even a decision; it’s just an acceptance. What we want to look at is everything that seems to stand in the way of this acceptance. It’s that simple.
We want to be so thorough in tracing specific personal choices back to the false belief that underlies them all, that there is opening for the grand moment that seems to change everything and yet is changeless: this instant. Just say and mean: “I want peace! I want it more than anything else. I’m going to drop all my personal masks. In order to drop them, I’m going to have to look at them. I want to see them for what they are, to discern the false from the true.” What a precious opportunity this is! Can you think of anything more important than looking at your own mind and examining the obstacles to this recognition?
The split mind is a context in which the idea of choice is meaningful as a metaphor or a steppingstone, a preparation for the last decision or final acceptance that brings an end to all decision. This final decision is a decision/acceptance of the content, or the purpose, of God.
What if there is actually no purpose or meaning for anything in-and-of-itself? What if everything perceived with the five senses is simply the past? All the meaning that is given to everything is all based on the past. And the past is gone.
When we talk about letting go of the past, we are talking about a necessary and fundamental unlearning of everything that has been learned, of time/space. It is letting go of the world perceived with the senses. The deceived mind thinks it sees meaning and purpose in the world. The teaching I am sharing is that purpose or content is of the mind.
There are just two purposes in the split mind: the first is the purpose of letting go of illusion and awakening to one’s true Self; the second is the purpose of holding onto the illusion. From this perspective, would the idea that every choice you make brings everything to you or nothing seem meaningful? If we can just get really clear on the discernment between these two purposes in the split mind, then the simple choice for Enlightenment will be obvious. Consider that you believe your mind is full of real thoughts. What if you had a hint that this belief is not true? Then you would understand the need to take a look at every concept and thought, as basic as these that we are examining, and see that the beliefs about identity and the world that these thoughts rest on are untrue.
The whole idea of personhood has to be questioned very carefully. The way this world, this cosmos seems to be constructed is as follows: There is the subject (or person) and there is the object that is always the surrounding and separated other, be it time, space, object, person(s), society, world, or cosmos. Personhood or personal identity is based on this duality, this basic split. Every time you feel that frustration of thinking that there is something to do, it doesn’t feel good, does it? There is an impetus for change, but the change seems to be too difficult or overwhelming to accomplish.
The deceived mind thinks that those beliefs are itself, having identified with them. What one mistakenly thinks one is and has to give up, doesn’t exist. In other words, the true Self does not have to give up the person-self. The true Self has no other self, no deceived mind. There only seems to be coercion because of a belief that there really is something that one is right now that one has got to get rid of. But what if one is not that something? In this realization, the feelings of coercion or of having to do something dissolve!
It gets back to purpose again. You need to get very clear in your mind about the two purposes. If you think you are embedded in an illusory world of form and believe your life is a real person living in this world of nature, then your true Self is going to be perceived as very threatening. You will perceive God as asking you to give something up that is real, that is good, that is beautiful, and you will not want to listen to the voice of your true Self.
Just calmly look at the person-self and see its falsity. Light dispels darkness by its mere Presence—this is the whole message. There really is no life in the world of images. Images deny Life. Life is eternal and formless and changeless. All judgments are tied into the concept of personhood and the basic subject-object split. Unreal beliefs produce unreal appearances. If one can question the beliefs, then one can give up the entire belief system and the time-space cosmos it seemed to produce. Only then can one remember one’s true identity as One with God. Yet even to say “give up” implies that one had it, that the unreal belief system was real in the first place. It’s a watching, seeing that all images are past, rather than selecting and sequencing the images into an ordering of objects and events. It is a state of stillness, of peace, and of joy!
The deceived mind believes that it is the person-self. That belief is a decision that must be reversed before God and one’s true Self can be remembered. That belief is projected onto the screen of the entire cosmos as guilt attributed to a doing or a not-doing. But the guilt is never because of anything on the screen. The guilt results from choosing the wrong mind, from believing one is something one is not; a person in a world of duality. One can laugh at the idea of the person-self. That is how peace of mind is reached. One sees what one is not; and what one is then gently returns to awareness.
If one takes a higher perspective and sees oneself as the dreamer of the dream, one can accept a different purpose for the dream. It’s quite a detached place to just see the false as false. One watches and observes the thoughts of the world. One no longer reacts to them. In worldly perception it still seems like the body speaks. It still seems like the body is active, at times walking or talking, but one’s attention is so far removed from the thoughts of the world that one feels dis-identified from form and identified with the Self’s purpose of transcending illusion. In the flow of this purpose there is no awareness of separate persons, actions, situations or events.
The deceived mind is full of unreal thoughts, which is not really thinking at all. Real thoughts of the Self remain available and can be heard if that is one’s desire. Judgment denies Reality and therefore offers nothing. The release point is seeing the impossibility of judgment of anything in the illusion! If one can clearly discern between these two thought systems, then one doesn’t fall for personalizing everything and making problems specific. When judgment is seen as impossible, and the mind no longer identifies with the images and characters of the dream, there must be peace!
The only way that it’s possible to look at yourself and not feel wrong is to be looking with God, from the perspective of your true Self. In other words, there are two purposes: forgiveness of the illusion and choosing the illusion. If one is looking at the thoughts calmly with the Self, the purpose is forgiveness of the illusion. When there is complete acceptance of true forgiveness, it is seen that there never was anything to choose between. All is One. As one steps back and defers to the judgment of the Self, one comes from a point of clarity or complete forgiveness and makes no interpretations by or of oneself. The individual perception dissolves into forgiveness.
The big insight that we are talking about is this: Upset is never because of what happened to a person in a personal dysfunctional past. How one is feeling is the result of a present decision of mind, a choice of perception. That, and only that, brings peace or upset. Remember, the split mind has only two contents or purposes. The perception or interpretation proceeds from the purpose the mind chooses. If you are feeling upset, it is only because you are presently choosing personhood, choosing separation from God. You must still believe the past is present, instead of seeing that the past is gone. This is deception, for the past is gone! Upset is always a sign that illusions reign in place of truth.
So, we are back full circle. If one seems to be upset, it’s not because of what somebody said, or what somebody did, or because of the weather, or what might happen. The upset, regardless of the form or intensity, is always because one is presently choosing personhood, and therefore still valuing illusion. The wish to be separate from Oneness remains intact and needs to be questioned.
Tracing upsets from specifics to the false belief that produced them is the same as becoming clear on the distinction between form and content. Once this is clear, one is able to discern what comes from God and what doesn’t—what is true and what is false—and thus realize that only the truth is true and there is nothing to decide.