Mayor’s Journal, 29th July, 2010
A number of interesting subjects have been coming up lately in the ponderings: the intriguing and provocative film Inception, the wonderful interview with Kenneth at the Monastery, and Ken’s lovely article in the Lighthouse. Some thoughts:

sunrise Inception:
My nighttime dreams are second level dreaming according to the film. A dream within a dream... So lucid dreaming would be knowing that it's not at night that I'm sleeping, but during the day, and like the figures in the film, I can become perfectly aware of my choices and experiences within the (daytime) dream, knowing that my 'host-mind' is not present here at all but safely tucked away elsewhere far, far away above all the ruckus down here (‘above the battleground’).

With respect to the technological blip in the ponderings (see Annie's 311), I can't explain that weirdness, except to say that it was an 'inception' like moment in which it became apparent that there can be no true unbreakable order to a hallucination. It's like the computer/internet was pointing out that weird things are going to happen because, baby, this is a dream! That seemed to happen to me literally all the time when I was renovating houses. Doing handyman/craftsman work is usually so extremely logical - you do X and Y is the result. Only on so many occasions that rule just didn't apply. The impossible happened just so many, many times that I eventually got the message to stop being surprised.

Did it cross your mind that the Course is not about 'extraction' (taking away our fears and hurts) but 'inception' - putting the idea in our minds that we are asleep and maybe reality is in fact something else, like Cobb's spinning top, showing us 'this can't be the true reality', with the promise that our fears and hurts will eventually disappear because they were never really real? Hmm.

After seeing the film, did you go out and sit at a sidewalk coffee shop looking at all the figures passing by and wonder if they knew they were images in a sleeping mind and that the real mind was somewhere else? Double hmm. Did you think you were a figure in your own dream?

In the film the characters awoke when their dream-figure was killed. This is not the case in our world here. According to the Course, nothing happens when our dream-figures die; they merely slip from one dream of individuality to another, continuing to believe in their separation from reality. We awake only when we learn to have a lucid dream, that is, when we learn to smile and chuckle at all the ways in which we still try to make our dream-figure real (our anger, fear, guilt, judgments, investment in differences, etc.), trying to symbolize for ourselves in three-dimensional Technicolor that the separation with reality is true and not just a product of our imagination or an ‘idle wish’.

Susan Dugan’s Interview with Kenneth (home page at the Monastery)
Some passages that really stood out for me:

“There’s that lovely phrase in the Course about the quiet center. And while the image is not used, it’s implicit in it that if you think of a hub of a wheel there’s that quiet center where you live and the spokes that emanate from it are your various roles: wife, teacher, mother, etc. The spokes are not important. What’s important is that you stay in that quiet center and the love in there infuses everything you do; whether you teach the Course or whether you’re playing with your grandchildren. In a sense it should all be the same and to the extent that you recognize that it’s not the same then you recognize that you still have work to do. That’s where the process comes in.”

“I get asked a lot how can you stand to teach the same thing over and over again. People listen to tapes I made 25 years ago and it’s basically the same thing. And I sometimes make a joke; I can say the same thing over and over again because I don’t listen to myself. But really it’s because it’s always for the first time. So if someone makes a “demand,” the person’s just always talking to me for the first time. Otherwise I couldn’t do what I do. It’s all for the first time.”

“I used to say a lot instead of worrying about which voice you’re hearing and what the voice should tell you why not ask to hear what you should do to remove the blocks so that you can hear the voice better.”

“What is it like to basically be peaceful all the time? Really nice.”

“You know, it’s just a book. Books are harmless; it’s nothing. It’s when you take it seriously that you have a problem. You don’t want to dismiss your ego. You want to respect it but you don’t want to give it a power it doesn’t have.”

sunrise Extracts from the Lighthouse Article:

“Jesus reminds his scribe and all his students, that the purpose of A Course in Miracles is to return attention to the decision-making mind that is the single source of our perceived problems, and the only means of correcting them. This is the role of the miracle, as we have already seen, for it corrects the belief in the reality of magic, including the need for it. It is also the basis for our kindness toward others, enabling us to focus only on our reactions to what we perceive without judging them. The miracle’s kindness leads us to exemplify the Holy Spirit’s judgment: someone expresses love or calls for it (T-12.I.8-10; T-14.X.7:1). Either way, our response would be loving: sharing love with the person, or answering the call for love with love.

Thus, our focus shifts from the various forms of magic to our reactions, and this is nothing less than the shift from judgment to kindness, respecting people’s fear as being their call for the love they do not believe they deserve because they betrayed it.”

And a nice passage that harkens back to the discussion of the film Inception above: “If the idea of separation has never left its source in the mind, through projection, then there can be no world outside the mind that is dreaming it, let alone having an effect on us. And so, how can we be upset by what is not there? Indeed, who would be there to even become upset? There is no world, only the mind’s belief that there is. Once again, the world is only magic, pure and simple: an illusion that is the projection of an illusory thought, delusional thinking that has led to hallucinatory perceptions—a maladaptive solution to a nonexistent problem.”