New Horizons

As of September, 2010, I have been proposing a direction for our study of the Course, which is to work together through Ken's workshop The Meaning of Judgment. We're using his transcript notes for this taken from the Foundation's website (see link in the tool bar at the top of the page) as a support for this work. Below you'll find the notes for each section we've been working on (with highlights of the specific sections studied) , followed in some cases by the summary notes taken from our Skype meeting discussing that section. I chose this particular workshop because it gets immediately into the real heart and practice of the Course while taking us through its basic principles at the same time. So, for those interested in finding out where the 'rubber hits the road', even though it might get a little confronting at times, then join us on this little adventure Homewards!

The Meaning of Judgment
Excerpts from the Workshop held at the
Academy & Retreat Center of the Foundation for A Course in Miracles

Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.

Part I

1. This workshop is basically a companion to the other workshop I have given on judgment called "To Judge or Not to Judge." We will end up in the same place, but we will approach it a little differently. I would like to structure this around four different kinds of judgment, three of which are directly articulated in A Course in Miracles, and the fourth, which is actually the second type of judgment in the sequence we will be discussing, is implied all the way through.

2. The first is the ego's dream of judgment, based on the idea that we could be separate from God. It is a way of judging God as inadequate, if not puny. The ego in all its great might has brought God to His knees, usurped His authority, and made up its own world. This judgment is based on differences, which are all different forms of attack.

3. I am going to skip the second type of judgment here and come back to it shortly. The Course refers to the third type as the judgment of the Holy Spirit, discussed most clearly in "The Judgment of the Holy Spirit" (T-12.I) and "The Equality of Miracles" (T-14.X), sections we will not be reviewing in this workshop. We are all asked to share this judgment, which sees everyone and everything in this world as either expressing the Love of God or calling for It. There is no attack in this kind of perception.

4. The fourth judgment the Course speaks about is called the Last Judgment, the Final Judgment, or God's Judgment (e.g., T-2.VIII; W-pII.10). This judgment occurs at the very end of the process of the Atonement. It states that "what is false is false, and what is true has never changed" (W-pII.10.1:1). This judgment ends the dream entirely. It is the pure expression of the Atonement principle: the separation never happened. Once we have accepted and identified with the judgment of the Holy Spirit, God's Final Judgment is just a wisp away. In the Course's metaphorical description, God reaches down and lifts us back unto Himself -- God's last step.

5. The crucial issue, however, is how to get from the first judgment -- the ego's dream of judgment -- to the third judgment -- the Holy Spirit's perception of everything as either an expression of love or a call for love. We will spend a great deal of time talking about this second kind of judgment. It does not have a name in the Course, but it is reflected throughout. This is the judgment we make when we look at the ego's judgment and recognize that all of our thoughts and judgments have had no effect. I will elaborate on this later. Without this intermediate step it is impossible ever to know truly what the Holy Spirit's judgment is about. One of the mistakes students make when they begin working with the Course is to think it is easy to go from the first to the third type of judgment -- from the ego's judgment of differences, specialness and attack, to the Holy Spirit's judgment that recognizes everyone as the same, where the only seeming difference is that people either express love or call for it.

6. Anyone who has worked seriously with A Course in Miracles for a period of time recognizes that it is not easy to shift from our ego judgments to the Holy Spirit's judgment. An interim step is needed. Again, that is the judgment we will be addressing. This kind of judgment is expressed very clearly in one of the important definitions the Course gives for the process of forgiveness: "Forgiveness . . . is still and quietly does nothing. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not" (W-pII.1.4:3). Jesus' repeatedly urging us to take his hand and to look with him on the ego's darkness is this second form of judgment. It does not deny the ego thoughts that we express in the world-all of the thoughts of violence, viciousness, and murder.

7. This step recognizes that all of our thoughts ultimately can have no effect on our inner peace. That allows us then to look out on the world and truly see that everyone here is either expressing love or calling for it. Without this second judgment, the third and fourth steps are absolutely impossible. When I say, as I have said many times, don't skip over steps, this is the step I am speaking of. It means that we really look at the fact that we judge all the time.

8. My earlier workshop poses the question whether "to judge or not to judge"; and the obvious answer seems to be that we should not judge. But that is the wrong answer. The right answer is not only should we judge, but there is no way we can avoid judging, because that is what this world is. This whole world rests on the premise that our judgment of God and of God's Son is valid. So first we really want to be able to judge and not feel guilty about it; that is inherent in this second step. We look at all the judgments we make against other people, ourselves, Jesus, and God, but without judging ourselves for making those judgments -- in other words, without feeling guilty.

9. We will use as our basic text for this workshop the section called "The Forgiving Dream" (T-29.IX), which will enable us to review these four steps. But before turning to that, I would like to discuss the steps in a little more detail: first, the ego's dream of judgment; then looking with Jesus at these judgments without feeling guilty, which allows us then to look at everyone in the world as our brother or sister in Christ; and, finally, the end of the process, the Atonement, the recognition that everything in this world is an illusion.

10. The entire ego thought system began with the initial judgment that came when the "tiny, mad idea" seemed to arise within the mind of God's Son. Before that, God and His Son dwelled in Heaven together in a unity so perfect that it would be impossible even to speak of God as a Creator or Source distinct from Christ, His Effect or His Son. In other words, no differentiation is possible in Heaven. Judgment, of course, is always based on differentiation. All of our judgments entail comparing one person to another, or one series of events to another, or one object to another, etc. Our entire world of perception rests upon this. That is why there is no perception and no judgment in Heaven.

11. When the Course speaks about God's Judgment, it is meant as the expression of this perfect Oneness. God's presence as perfect unity and perfect Love, and the presence of Christ as forever one with God's Oneness and God's Love is the judgment on everything that the ego thinks. And that judgment simply says "what is false [the thought of separation] is false and what is true [the reality of the oneness of Heaven] has never changed" (W-pII.10.1:1). But when the "tiny, mad idea" seemed to arise, all of a sudden duality appeared. And that was the birth of judgment.

12. The Son of God now began to experience himself in relation to -- as separate from -- his Creator and Source. And he did not experience that relationship in a very nice way. He saw himself as lacking, with God unfairly having what he did not have, but that he now had the power to steal from God what he believed was coming to him. And so the Son became the creator and source of life. He became the one who existed on his own. That was the birth of the ego. In that instant, God became the Son's effect, for the Son was now God's cause. The Course refers to this as usurping God's role. The Son sets himself up as his own creator, so that God, as He truly is, ceases to exist, at least within the Son's mind. God is no longer the Source of all Being. The Son now is.

13. The initial judgment is that there is an unfair or unjust difference between God and me, which leaves me in a state of scarcity or lack. My ego concludes that I am lacking the creatorship, of being on the throne, because God has deprived me of it. Therefore I am justified in taking back from God what is rightfully mine. That is the initial judgment. One of the most crucial things to understand about this initial judgment is that it is based upon differences. Before the "tiny, mad idea" seemed to arise there was no separated consciousness that could observe, perceive, or think about any differences.

14. Skipping ahead a few steps now: From this "tiny, mad idea" and its initial dream of judgment arose the whole physical universe. When Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that this world is an illusion, he means that the entire physical universe is an illusion. It is unreal. We know it is unreal because the world we see and experience is a place of differences. That is how we perceive. It is extremely important in working with A Course in Miracles that we recognize that everything in the world is completely unreal. As a result, any thought that God or the Holy Spirit does anything in this world must be false. If They did anything in this world for us, They would be insane, because They would be making the world of duality real, which would compromise their own integrity as pure spirit that is perfectly one.

15. The entire world of time and space -- a world of differences -- arises from the thought that the Son could be different from God. We are the world that we believe we come into when we are born. But we do not "come into" this world; the world comes from the projection of the thought of separation and differences within our minds. That is why the principle, "Ideas leave not their source" (T-26.VII.4:7), is so crucial for understanding the Course's teaching. The world is nothing more than the projection of this thought of separation and guilt. And it has not left its source within our minds, where we also remain -- which means there is no world out there.

16. The judgment we all make is that there is a world into which we come, a world within which we experience ourselves, outside our minds, which will exist after we die. We will explore this in more detail later. But this entire world is a dream of judgment. It is a dream because it is outside the reality of God's Mind; and it is a judgment because anything outside God's Mind must be perceived as different from It -- and that is a judgment.