The Course advises us several times to focus on the content of what is being said rather than the black and white words. It corresponds the content to a picture and the symbols used to convey it as the frame. It tells us that if we only look at the frame, we will miss the picture/content.
I see numerous occasions where disagreements occur as to the meaning of the Course when one or more involved in the conflict only look at the frame and not the picture/context.
The problem is that when we are in the ego we cannot see the correct content for “It (the ego) is capable of asking questions but not of perceiving meaningful answers.” T-3.IV.3
The ego does not want meaningful answers and will alter the meaning of the form to suit its purposes. On the other hand, an important purpose of the Holy Spirit is to translate the form so the correct meaning is preserved. We are told this:
“A conflicted mind cannot be faithful to one meaning, and will therefore change the meaning to preserve the form. The Holy Spirit’s purpose in translating is exactly the opposite. He translates only to preserve the original meaning in all respects and in all languages… The meaning of His message is always the same; only the meaning matters.” T-7.II.4-5
In that same text it tells us that “a good translator (such as the Holy Spirit), although he must alter the form of what he translates, never changes the meaning.”
The need for translation of the form causes conflict between students because the form changes within the Course, or “he must alter the form” for the purposes of emphasizing the point under discussion.
To some this is seen as contradiction, but to others the apparent conflict is seen as merely emphasizing points of truth.
For instance, sometimes the Course talks about this world as if it does not exist and never happened, yet other times discusses it as if it is real and has happened.
The ego picks a side in the apparent conflict, but the students relying on the Holy Spirit will not see the conflict and will not need to pick sides, but will see how the apparent contradictions do not contradict at all, and instead are two points of emphasis to help us see the whole and true picture/content.
The real meaning or content of the Course is difficult for many to perceive because some apparent contradictions are caused because Course has its own definition of a number of Key words such as real, reality, truth, forgiveness, judgment, creation/made, salvation, knowledge, and others.
If one student uses the dictionary definition and another uses that of the Course, then they are likely to disagree because of lack of communication.
Understanding the Courses’ use of the word “real” is one that is of great importance for it differs significantly from that of our dictionaries. In this world something is real if it can be perceived by the senses or experienced, but not so with the Course. According to it anything perceived by the senses is not real and does not exist.
This gives us a good summary of what real is:
“Whatever is true and real is eternal and cannot change or be changed.” OE Tx:1.68
The idea of that which is real is that which is eternal is reinforced here:
“Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real.” M-20.5 “What God and His Sons create is eternal” T-8.VI.3
That which is real in the Course then are things eternal created by God and Sons. That means that everything we perceive with our senses is not real, as nothing we see is eternal. Even the earth, the sun and the stars will end someday.
Since everything with form has a beginning and an end then nothing with form is real as the Course defines it. What then is real?
What is real are things beyond form such as our thoughts:
“Thoughts are not born and cannot die. They share the attributes of their creator, nor have they a separate life apart from his. The thoughts you think are in your mind, as you are in the Mind which thought of you.” T-30.III.6
So the thought of a lightbulb would be real but its manifestation in the world would not. The life of a lightbulb will end but the thought cannot be destroyed. Neither the thought or the idea of a lightbulb could be destroyed but the bulb itself will have an end.
Ideas are created by thought so they are also eternal for we are taught of “of ideas that are eternal.” T-9.IV.4 and “ideas are of the mind.” “And Everything is an idea.” T-5.I.2 Even “you are an idea.” T-15.VI.4
The mind which created thoughts and ideas is also real: “the mind is real, because only the mind can be shared.” T-6.V.A.3.
Spirit is also real for it is eternal: “Spirit is immortal, and immortality is a constant state.” T-4.II.11
Joy is also real: “Pain is illusion; joy, reality. Pain is but sleep; joy is awakening. Pain is deception; joy alone is truth.” W-pI.190.10
True peace is also real and eternal: “For the instant of peace is eternal because it is without fear.” T-15.II.2 “Reality brings only perfect peace.” W-pI.52.1
That which is most often spoken of as being real is love. Even love in this world is real:
“Every loving thought that the Son of God ever had is eternal. The loving thoughts his mind perceives in this world are the world’s only reality. They are still perceptions, because he still believes that he is separate. Yet they are eternal because they are loving.” T-11.VII.2 “Love is real” T-13.III.8 “Only perfect love exists.” T-1.VI.5
Does the fact that we can experience love, peace and joy while in this world mean that it does indeed have some type of existence, but an existence that does not strictly fit in with some of the Courses’ statements concerning what is real?
Are we seeing the picture or the frame, the content or the symbols, when some insist that we are not here when it is obvious we are having an experience, and at times feel love, joy and peace?
Interesting food for thought.
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