Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No-Mind is a Worldly Concept; the Holy Instant is an Unworldly Experience: A Savior's Dialectic

Philip Chard, a psychotherapist, writes a regular column, “Out of My Mind,” that appears in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His most recent article (May 22, 2007) is entitled, “Paying no mind to the ego can help reduce stresses.” He tells of a woman, Connie, an advanced student of meditation who can induce "no-mind," a state of consciousness in which one's sense of self temporarily fades or evaporates. Consequently, she experiences interludes when there is no discernible "me" in her awareness.

She was able to draw on this discipline when she was confronted by her boyfriend-turned-stalker.

Eyeball-to-eyeball with this bully, she intuitively used her spiritual training to remove her "self" from the confrontation.

"I stood there, got centered and entered a no-mind state," she recalled. "In any ego sense, I mostly disappeared."

This goon screamed at her and brandished his fist, but Connie remained steadfast in no-mind awareness. There was a tense pause until, inexplicably, he backed away, gave her an irritated but bewildered stare and then took off.

This appears to be a victory for Connie, and it seems that training in no-mind meditation offers protection from ego conflicts and bad things that happen in the world. This is a rather seductive account.

But before you begin searching for a meditation center in your area, I would invite you to take a hard look at the premises of this story. The word “premise” comes from the Latin praemissa, meaning “to set before.” A premise, then, is a proposition that forms the foundation of an argument. The foundation of her story is based on four main premises:

1. There is a world.
2. We are victims of the world.
3. There are other people out there.
4. My ego-personality is real.

Before I take on the premises one-by-one, let’s imagine that you are hearing the story by listening to Connie tell it as if she were having a sleeping dream. That’s right. You are sitting by her bed listening to her narrate the story deep in a sleeping dream.

“I am walking along a deserted street at night, and suddenly I run into my ex-boyfriend who has been stalking me. He begins yelling at me. ‘You are a horrible person. You treat me terribly. I am so disappointed.’ He raises his fist as if he’s going to strike me. I just stand there, entering into a no-mind state. He continues yelling, then he pauses, steps back, gives me a bewildered look, and runs away.”

Because you know that she is simply recounting a dream, the story does not have the impact and seduction that it might have once had. And, if we take it one step further, when Connie awakes from the dream, the events will quickly fade away into the nothingness from which they came.

As you listened to the narration of the dream, it was obvious that it was all going on only in her mind. As the center of the dream, all the images were seen through her eyes. She was peopling her world based on her past experiences. She was describing a world of time and space that existed only in her mind.

You may be catching a glimpse of a well-kept secret that there is absolutely no difference between a sleeping dream and a waking dream. If Connie were to wake up from her dream and see you sitting there, she is, in fact, not waking up at all; she is simply falling into another dream. Look at the parallels: Everything is going on only in her mind. She is peopling her world with images based on her past experiences. She is making up a world of time and space based on what she sees, hears, tastes, smells, and touches. And her basic premise is that seeing is believing. It seems that the waking dream is more real than the sleeping dream, but this is not so.

Now we are in a position to take a hard look at the premises of Chard’s article, and replace them with new premises based on the transformation of your mind.

1. There is a world.
New premise: There is no world out there separate from our image making.

2. We are victims of the world we see.
New premise: We cannot be victims of a world we made up in the first place, unless we choose to be.

3.There are other people out there.
New premise: There are not people out there, separate from the peopling I do in my own mind, projecting images.

4. My ego-personality is real.
New premise: My ego-personality is the dreamer of the dream, both sleeping and waking.

The only way to see the truth of these premises is to recognize that there is no difference between a sleeping and a waking dream. This recognition requires the experience of non-dreaming state of mind, a place in your mind where you experience the peace of God. It is quite possible to discover this state through the mind training provided by Jesus’ other-worldly masterpiece, A Course in Miracles.

Listen to Jesus describe dreams.

Dreams show you that you have the power to make a world as you would have it be, and that because you want it you see it. And while you see it you do not doubt that it is real. Yet here is a world, clearly within your mind, that seems to be outside. You do not respond to it as though you made it, nor do you realize that the emotions the dream produces must come from you. It is the figures in the dream and what they do that seem to make the dream. You do not realize that you are making them act out for you. In (sleeping) dreams these features are not obscure. You seem to waken, and the dream is gone. Yet what you fail to recognize is that what caused the dream has not gone with it. Your wish to make another world that is not real remains with you. And what you seem to waken to is but another form of this same world you see in (sleeping) dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality, (This is the key—dreaming is a defense against experiencing the peace of God, your Reality as the truth of what you are). In your waking dreams, the special relationship is your determination to keep your hold on unreality, and to prevent yourself from waking. And while you see more value in sleeping (unreality) than in waking (Reality), you will not let go of it. T-18.5

This description by Jesus of the similarity of sleeping and waking dreams may still not be enough to convince you of the truth. It might be helpful to demonstrate exactly “how” it is that we dream.

Projection makes perception.

The word “projection” comes from the Latin, projectum, meaning “something thrown forward.” We throw an image-thought into the “world,” and then see it there. Perception comes from the Latin percipere, meaning “to seize completely”. So, what we decide to seize from what we “see out there” is that which we threw “out there” in the first place. It’s as if we are playing catch with ourselves. We throw a ball into the air and then we run under it and catch it. Throwing and receiving is like projecting and perceiving, and this happens so rapidly that we forget the connection. We go around and around in a causal loop, forgetting that we are the cause, and what we see is the effect. Our thoughts are the cause, and the "world" is the effect of our thoughts. That is why we can say there is no world, other than the world you see made up of your thought-images.

The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos. T-21.1

When you perceive through the eyes of the ego, you see chaos. When you look through the eyes of truth, you see with vision. That is what it means to change your mind. You can shift from the causal loop of perception to vision, when you ask for help to relinquish your images that are defending you from the peace of God. This vision is your inheritance because you are as God created you, His most Holy Son. And you are not alone. The Holy Spirit’s mission is to help you awaken from your dream.

Correction is for all who cannot see. To open the eyes of the blind is the Holy Spirit's mission, for he knows that they have not lost their vision, but merely sleep. He would awaken them from the sleep of forgetting to the remembering of God. Christ's eyes are open, and he will look upon whatever you see with love if you accept his vision as yours. T-12.V1.4:1-4

To look with vision rather than with ego eyes means to look through appearances since appearances are simply our thought-images projected out. Here is an analogy to convey what it means to say that you can see through and experience a reflection of your peaceful state of mind. Yesterday, on a bright summer morning, I was sitting on our deck reading the Course, and I came across these two sentences:

When the peace in you has been extended to encompass everyone, the Holy Spirit’s function here will be accomplished. What need is there for seeing then?

At that moment, experiencing gratitude and peace, I looked up and saw peace reflected because I was staring at the lush green of the pine boughs and the leaves of the lilac bushes and the trees, and it all appeared blurry, seeing everything as One. I was looking with soft eyes because I was, inadvertently, looking through the thick lenses of my reading glasses. This is what it means to look through appearances because I was not distinguishing one thing from another, naming this and that, thereby experiencing (seeing) the reflection of the peace of God. This is what it means to see with the vision of Christ.

The Holy Spirit keeps the vision of Christ for every Son of God who sleeps. In his sight the Son of God is perfect, and he longs to share his vision with you. He will show you the real world because God gave you Heaven. Through him your Father calls his Son to remember. The awakening of his Son begins with his investment in the real world, and by this he will learn to re-invest in himself. For reality is one with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit blesses the real world in Their Name. T-12.1V.4:5-10

When you have seen this real world, as you will surely do, you will remember Us. Yet you must learn the cost of sleeping, and refuse to pay it. Only then will you decide to awaken. And then the real world will spring to your sight, for Christ has never slept. He is waiting to be seen, for he has never lost sight of you. He looks quietly on the real world, which he would share with you because he knows of the Father's Love for him. And knowing this, he would give you what is yours. In perfect peace he waits for you at his Father's altar, holding out the Father's love to you in the quiet light of the Holy Spirit's blessing. For the Holy Spirit will lead everyone home to his Father, where Christ waits as his Self. T-12.V1. 5

And now with these premises firmly “set in front of our eyes,” we can take a look at Chard’s column with the eyes of Christ, engaging in a Savior’s dialectic. “Dialectic” comes from the Greek dialektike, meaning “the art of investigating truth through discussion.” In the following discussion, we are looking through the falsity of the illusion with the truth of Christ’s Vision.
In the following dialogue, Chard’s column is in italics.


When the ego state of mind seems real, it can be either stressful or peaceful. If it’s stressful, slipping into no-mind seems to be a peaceful alternative. It is, in fact, exchange, a way to reconcile the opposites. It is, in fact, a denial of the role you are playing in the dreaming of the dream.

Connie knows how it feels to mentally disappear.

An advanced student of meditation, she can induce "no-mind," a state of consciousness in which one's sense of self temporarily fades or evaporates. Consequently, she experiences interludes when there is no discernible "me" in her awareness.

The “self” that fades is the ego, and her awareness shifts away from stress to another ego-state, but Connie still remains in her dream because her awareness has not shifted to her only Real state of mind, her Christ Self, where she can see with vision.

In Him you have no cares and no concerns,
no burdens, no anxiety, no pain,
no fear of future and no past regrets.
In timelessness you rest, while time goes by
without its touch upon you, for your rest
can never change in any way at all.
You rest today. And as you close your eyes,
sink into stillness. Let these periods
of rest and respite reassure your mind
that all its frantic fantasies were but
the dreams of fever that has passed away.
Let it be still and thankfully accept
its healing. No more fearful dreams will come,
now that you rest in God. Take time today
to slip away from dreams and into peace.

Resting in God is different than copping a moment of respite in no-mind awareness. For a moment, you seem to be not a victim of a world that seems real, while resting in God, on the other hand, is experiencing timelessness, the holy instant, an unworldly experience.

For many, that's a scary prospect, but non-meditators get a taste of no-mind when they are totally absorbed in an activity. At such moments, self-awareness dissipates, time slows and the boundary between me "in here" and a separate world "out there" blurs.

We have already established that there is no separate world out there.

The images you make cannot prevail
against what God Himself would have you be.
Be never fearful of temptation, then,
but see it as it is; another chance
to choose again, and let Christ's strength prevail
in every circumstance and every place
you raised an image of yourself before.

For what appears to hide the face of Christ
is powerless before His majesty,
and disappears before His holy sight.

No-mind is more than detachment. Imagine your identity as a drop of water and the rest of the universe as an ocean. When you experience no-mind, that drop (self) falls into the sea (all) and merges with an omnipresent unity.

This can be a helpful analogy, if you see that identity refers to the Self, as God created you, and that awareness of your Self is a holy instant, just as seeing with soft eyes shows us an omnipresent unity.

In the holy instant nothing happens that has not always been. Only the veil that has been drawn across reality is lifted. Nothing has changed. Yet the awareness of changelessness comes swiftly as the veil of time is pushed aside. No one who has not yet experienced the lifting of the veil, and felt himself drawn irresistibly into the light behind it, can have faith in love without fear. Yet the Holy Spirit gives you this faith, because He offered it to me (Jesus) and I accepted it. T-15.V1.6:1-6

In quiet listen to your Self today,
and let Him tell you God has never left
His Son, and you have never left your Self.

This state is certainly not no-mind; this is the holy instant.

In addition to furthering spiritual development, no-mind has practical applications, as Connie discovered in dramatic fashion.

Almost a year after breaking up with her boyfriend-turned-stalker, he confronted her in a potentially dangerous altercation. This misogynistic brute assailed her with a torrent of verbal abuse and physical intimidation.

Eyeball-to-eyeball with this bully, she intuitively used her spiritual training to remove her "self" from the confrontation.

"I stood there, got centered and entered a no-mind state," she recalled. "In any ego sense, I mostly disappeared."

This goon screamed at her and brandished his fist, but Connie remained steadfast in no-mind awareness. There was a tense pause until, inexplicably, he backed away, gave her an irritated but bewildered stare and then took off.

As dramatic as this confrontation is, it is crucial to remember that it is a dream sequence. Sinking into no-mind is a substitution for experiencing the Christ Mind, the eternal Self. The difference between the experiences of these mind states is about as subtle as the “b” in subtle because they feel quite similar. However, recognizing the different frames of reference is the key. The reference for the value of no-mind goes to the premises that there is a world, I can be a victim of this world, there are other people out there, and my ego is real. The reference for Christ Mind is that there is no world separate from my projected/perceived thought-images, I am not a victim of this world because I made it up, the other people are figures in my mind, and the ego personality has no source in Reality.

"Guys like him want to hurt your ego," she speculated. "Maybe when mine went away, he lost his target."

Like Connie, meditators sometimes employ no-mind consciousness to address real-world challenges. Because mental dysfunction is often tied to one's sense of self, loosening the ego's control can reduce emotional distress and alter vexatious interpersonal dynamics.

. . . real-world challenges. Real-world is an oxymoron.

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.

We are not born with a defined identity. Instead, through years of interaction and social brainwashing, we acquire one that, while necessary, is largely contrived.

As philosopher Alan Watts pointed out, "Our precious 'self' is just an idea, useful and legitimate enough if seen for what it is, but not our real nature."

. . .useful. Yes, we can learn to utilize our dreams by forgiving them, by relinquishing them. In the moment of letting go, we can come to experience the truth of what we are. This requires open-mind, not no-mind.

How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone.

Recognizing the dream, the illusion, takes away the apparent threat, and in the moment, the awareness of something else can enter in, the peace of God.

No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim, at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough. M-4.X.2

While not easily learned, the ability to enter no-mind awareness reduces one's identification with the ego. Consequently, this skill can be applied to many challenging ego-driven scenarios - interpersonal confrontations, managing stress, defusing anger, etc.

If we simply take “time out” in a no-mind state, we are still making the ego real. However, the practice of no-mind is valuable if it enables you to reduce the identification with your ego-state and replace it with the recognition of your Christ-Mind.

Philosopher Thomas Carlyle said the ego is "the source and summary of all faults and miseries." When that source is put in its proper place, those faults and miseries often diminish accordingly.

When it comes to the ego, less is clearly more.

It is never a matter or more or less; it’s always a matter of Real or unreal.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

An Essay Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of Lindbergh's Flight to Paris, May 20, 1927

Charles Lindbergh’s heroic solo transatlantic flight provides a prototypical example of utilizing the power of purpose to reach a destination. The first part of this essay demonstrates how the power of purpose enabled Lindbergh to reach his destination, defined as a place to which one is journeying. The second part elucidates how the power of single purpose enables you to realize your destiny, defined as your journey to God, awakening to the truth of what you are, the Holy Son of God.

Part 1. Reaching Your Destination

On May 20, 1927, at 7:30 am, Lindbergh, twenty-five years old, settled into the cockpit of his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, to begin his preparations to takeoff down the runway of Roosevelt Field, New York, attempting to be the first man to make a solo transatlantic flight, ending in Paris.

His plane, made of fabric and wood, was small, fragile, and delicate, but heavy, weighing two and a half tons, carrying extra fuel in oversized tanks, its little tires bulging on the wet, clay runway.

His description of his cockpit captures the smallness of his plane as he faces the prospect of flying 3600 miles in 36 hours, alone. This is from his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Spirit of St. Louis.

I relax in my cockpit—this little box with fabric walls, in which I’m to ride across the ocean. Now, if all goes well, I won’t move from it for a day and a half, until I step out on French sod at the airport of Le Bourget. It’s a compact place to live, designed to fit around me so snugly that no ounce of weight or resistance is wasted. I can press both sides of the fuselage with partly outstretched elbows. The instrument board is an easy reach forward for my hand, and a thin rib on the roof is hollowed slightly to leave clearance for my helmet. There’s room enough, no more, no less; my cockpit has been tailored to me like a suit of clothes. The Spirit of St. Louis, 1953, p. 191

But there is no guarantee that the plane will even make it off the ground. These are the early days of aviation. After all, the Wright brothers’ first flight occurred as recently as December 17, 1903. Lindbergh had started flying only five years earlier, barnstorming in Texas, parachuting, wing walking, landing in fields, sleeping under a wing, making his own repairs.

At 7:45, he begins his journey down the runway, men pushing on the struts, as he gains speed one by one the men fall away.

The halfway mark streaks past---seconds now to decide—close the throttle, or will I get off? The wrong decision means a crash—probably in flames---I pull the stick back firmly, and---The wheels leave the ground. Then I’ll get off! The wheels touch again. I ease the stick forward—almost flying speed, and nearly 2000 feet of field ahead---A shallow pool on the runway---water spews up from the tires---A wing drops---lifts as I shove aileron against it—the entire plane trembles from the shock---Off again—I let the wheels touch once more. Spirit, p. 186

The Spirit of St. Louis takes herself off the next time—full flying speed—the controls taut, alive, straining—and still a thousand feet to the web of telephone wires. Now, I have to make it—there’s no alternative. It’ll be close, but the margin has shifted to my side. I keep the nose down, climbing slowly, each second gaining speed. If the engine can hold out for one more minute---five feet---twenty---forty—wires flash by underneath---twenty feet to spare! Spirit, p. 187

In his cramped quarters his survival depends on strict concentration and vigilance every second for thirty-six hours.

But The Spirit of St. Louis refuses to be left unattended for five seconds. As soon as I look down at the charts the plane starts cutting up like a spoiled child piqued at a moment’s neglect. Spirit, p. 345

I reach for the canteen. No, just reaching throws the plane off balance. I don’t need water. It’s more important to keep the needles centered, every time I use an extra muscle they go jumping off. Spirit, p. 380

What sustains Lindbergh for the next 3600 miles is an intangible quality, single purpose. Above all else, he is determined to reach Paris. Single purpose includes more than determination, dedication, and resolution. It requires a goal and the heading that enables you to reach your destination. Keeping track of the play between heading and destination is the function of the chart.

What endless hours I worked over this chart in California, measuring, drawing, rechecking each 100-mile segment of its great-circle route, each theoretical hour of my flight. But only now, do I realize its full significance. A few lines and figures on a strip of paper, a few ounces of weight, this strip is my key to Europe. With it, I can fly the ocean. With it, that black dot at the other end marked “Paris” will turn into a famous French city with an aerodrome where I can land. But without this chart, all my years of training, all that went into preparing for the flight, no matter how perfectly the engine runs or how long the fuel lasts, all would be as directionless as those columns of smoke in the New England valleys behind me. Without this strip, it would be as useless to look for Paris as to hunt for buried treasure without a pirate’s chart. Spirit, p. 196

From New York, the compass course points to 63 degrees east, Paris. But the calculation involved the initial heading of 60 degrees east, taking into consideration the curvature of the earth, wind, weather, power, and load.

Allow for whatever wind is blowing, and in another hour you will be approaching the shore of Nova Scotia. With one more change of course, you will strike land near the mouth of St. Mary Bay—provided the instructions have been interpreted correctly and followed accurately. After the thirty-seventh instruction has been carried out, you will see the city of Paris lying ten miles ahead. Circle a tall tower near the center of the city, take up a course to the northeast, and within ten minutes you will find a great aerodrome called Le Bourget! Spirit, p. 196

Lindbergh encounters storms, fog, icing, heavy winds, and thunderheads. He overcomes these obstacles by sheer determination, constantly calibrating the distance between heading and destination.

But his greatest obstacle is sleep deprivation. He had been awake for twenty-three hours before even settling into his cockpit. By the time he falls asleep in Paris, he had been awake for 63 hours. During his Eighteenth Hour of flight, he reports:

I’ve lost command of my eyelids. When they start to close, I can’t restrain them. They shut, and I shake myself, and lift them with my fingers. I stare at the instruments, wrinkle forehead muscles tense. Lids close again regardless, stick tight as though with glue. My body has revolted from the rule of its mind. Like salt in wounds, the light of day brings back my pains. Every cell of my being is on strike, sulking in protest, claiming that nothing, nothing in the world, could be worth such effort; that man’s tissue was never made for such abuse. My back is stiff; my shoulders ache; my face burns; my eyes smart. It seems impossible to go on longer. All I want in life is to throw myself down flat, stretch out—and sleep. Spirit, p. 354

I must keep my mind from wandering. I’ll take it in hand at once, and watch it each instant from now on. It must be kept on its proper heading as accurately as the compass. Spirit, p. 236

Finally, he enters a stage where he cannot trust his senses. He is determined to trust only his instruments.

My plane is getting out of control! The realization is like an electric shock running through my body. It brings instant mental keenness. In a matter of seconds I have The Spirit of St. Louis back in hand. But even after the needles are in place, the plane seems to be flying on its side. I know what’s happening. It’s the illusion you sometimes get while flying blind, the illusion that your plane is no longer in level flight, that it’s spiraling, stalling, turning, that the instruments are wrong. There’s only one thing to do—shut off feeling from the mind as much as your ability permits. Let a wing stay low as far as bodily senses are concerned. Let the plane seem to maneuver as it will, dive, climb, sideslip, or bank; but keep the needles where they belong. Spirit, p. 374

Then, an extraordinary thing happens during his Twenty-Second Hour.

While I’m staring at the instruments, during an unearthly age of time, both conscious and asleep, the fuselage behind me becomes filled with ghostly presences—vaguely outlined forms, transparent, moving riding weightless with me in the plane. I feel no surprise at their coming. There’s no suddenness to their appearance. Without turning my head, I see them as clearly as though in my normal field of vision. There’s no limit to my sight—my skull is one great eye, seeming everywhere at once. Spirit, p. 389

At another time I’d be startled by these visions; but on this fantastic flight, I’m so far separated from the earthly life I know that I accept whatever circumstance may come. In fact, these emissaries from a spirit world are quite in keeping with the night and day. They’re neither intruders nor strangers. It’ more like a gathering of family and friends after years of separation, as though I’ve known all of them before in some past incarnation. Spirit, p. 390

There it is. Sustained by single purpose, he accepts whatever circumstance may come. This is a miraculous acceptance. When he completely surrenders his reliance on physical cues, he is sustained only by ghostly presences from another realm. He is well sustained, indeed. When he crosses the tip of Ireland during the Twenty-eighth Hour, he is only three miles off course!

And, nearing Paris during his Thirty-third Hour, he sees the airport, Le Bourget, three hours ahead of schedule.

That line of beacons is converging with my course. Where the two lines meet—the beacons and my course—less than a hundred miles ahead—lies Paris. Spirit, p. 485

Lindbergh, staying the course, lands 33 hours, 30 minutes, and 30 seconds after leaving New York, having flown 3614 miles.

Part 2. Realizing Your Destiny

Now that you have firmly in mind, Gentle Reader, the enormous power of purpose in achieving a goal in this world, this essay takes a dramatic turn by asking a “What if” question. What if Lindbergh were to utilize the incredible power of single purpose to achieve, not a destination in worldly terms, but to realize his destiny? Destiny is derived from a Latin word stare, meaning "to stand." We are predetermined to stand firm in our journey to God. Our primary obstacle to our journey is our fixed belief that the body is real.

Even Lindbergh, having had the extraordinary experience of being sustained by the reality of the ghostly presences, falls into the human trap of believing that his body is real, and that the presences from another realm are unreal. To express his sense of bodily reality, he uses the analogy of a stage play.

It’s as though a curtain has fallen behind me, shutting off the stagelike unreality of this transatlantic flight. It’s been like a theater where the play carries you along in time and place until you forget you’re only a spectator. You grow unaware of the walls around you, of the program clasped in your hand, even of your body, its breath, pulse, and being. You live with the actors and the setting in a different age and place.

It’s not until the curtain drops that consciousness and body reunite. Then, you turn your back on the stage, step out into the cool night, under the lights of streets, between the displays of store windows. You feel life surging in the crowd around you, life as it was when you entered the theater, hours before. Life is real. It always was real. The stage, of course, was the dream. All that transpired there is now a memory, shut off by the curtain, by the doors of the theater, by the passing minutes of time. Spirit, p. 465

Although he directly experienced a reality beyond his body, its breath, pulse, and being, he still convinces himself, as perhaps you are convinced, that only the body is real. Life is real. It always was real. But he is whistling in the dark. He now knows that there is something more real, another realm, beyond physical reality. His lack of sureness is signaled by his weak of course in the next sentence: The stage, of course, was the dream.

Just as Lindbergh constantly turned to his chart to stay the course, we can turn to our Chart, Jesus’ Course in Miracles, to maintain our journey to God. Jesus’ unworldly masterpiece, available since 1975, consists of a Text of 31 chapters, a Workbook of 365 lessons, and a Manual for Teachers.

Just as Lindbergh knew that it would be futile to hunt for buried treasure without a pirate’s chart, we know that it is useless to look for the treasure that we are beyond the physical body without following with single purpose Jesus’ Course. Here is Jesus’ Introduction to His Course in Miracles.

This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite. This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

Our primary block to the awareness of love's presence is our rigid, habitual, instinctive belief that we are only bodies, and that what we see, hear, taste, smell and touch is real. Look, again, at how Lindbergh tries to convince himself of his bodily reality.

Striking Ireland was like leaving the doors of a theater—phantoms for actors; cloud islands and temples for settings; the ocean behind me, an empty stage. The flight across is already like a dream. I’m over villages and fields, back to land and wakefulness and a type of flying that I know. I’m myself again, in earthly skies and over earthly ground. My hands and feet and eyelids move, and I can think as I desire. My mind is able to command, and my body follows out its orders with precision. Spirit, p. 466

He stubbornly finds reality only in the body and mind, My mind is able to command, and my body follows out its orders with precision, even though he just experienced being forced to let go of relying on his eyes, ears, and touch, and accept, instead, help from unworldly presences, more real that his body, letting go of the known, trusting the unknown.

By studying Jesus’ chart, we learn a fundamental lesson:

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
Review V1:Intro.3:3-5

Although it is almost impossible to express in words, it is necessary to attempt to express what it means to declare,

For I am still as God created me.

To begin with, just look at that sentence, again: Still, meaning both, “I continue to be,” and “I am the stillness.” What God created is formless—Truth, Light, Tranquility, Peace, Love, Eternal Joy, Wholeness, Perfection, Purity, Infinity, Stillness.

Now, when you ask, “What am I, if I am not a body?” this can be your answer:

I am God's Son, complete and healed and whole,
shining in the reflection of His Love.
In me is His creation sanctified
and guaranteed eternal life. In me
is love perfected, fear impossible,
and joy established without opposite.
I am the holy home of God Himself.
I am the Heaven where His Love resides.
I am His holy Sinlessness Itself,
for in my purity abides His Own.
W-p11.14, What am I? 1

Since this expresses what I am as formless, what is it that I am not?

I am not a body. I am free.

It appears that I am form, a body, existing in time and space, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting, verifying my objective existence, my body tailored to me like a suit of clothes. The ego directs the body, making up an illusory world.

My hands and feet and eyelids move, and I can think as I desire. My mind is able to command, and my body follows out its orders with precision.

It only seems that the body is real. When you realize that there is a Reality beyond the body, it is called healing, and then you are free in this realization. When you come into this experience of freedom, the body is no longer your primary frame of reference, and you are healed.

Now is the body healed, because the source
of sickness has been opened to relief.
And you will recognize you practiced well
by this: The body should not feel at all.
If you have been successful, there will be
no sense of feeling ill or feeling well,
of pain or pleasure. No response at all
is in the mind to what the body does.
its usefulness remains and nothing more.

If you are of single purpose, you will be healed journeying to God.

The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. Truth can only be experienced. It cannot be described and it cannot be explained. T-8.V1.9:6-9

We are predetermined to stand firm in our journey to God because it is a journey without distance, simply being a realization that we are still as God created us.

What God has willed for you is yours. He has given His Will to His treasure, whose treasure it is. Your heart lies where your treasure is, as His does. You who are beloved of God are wholly blessed. T-8.V1.10:1-4

Although Lindbergh did not realize it at the time, when he totally gave up and accepted whatever circumstance may come, he was commending his spirit into the Hands of his Father.

Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his spirit into the Hands of his Father. By doing this the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator. All sense of separation disappears. This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God. T-3.11.5

In spite of his stubbornness to hold onto his body as real, Lindbergh betrays to us his intuition regarding reality by an analogy.

And there’s something else, which seems to become stronger instead of weaker with fatigue, an element of spirit, a directive force that has stepped out from the background and taken control over both mind and body. It seems to guard them as a wise father guards his children; letting them venture to the point of danger, then calling them back, guiding with a firm but tolerant hand. Spirit, p. 361

Listen to the story of the prodigal son, and learn what God's treasure is and yours: This son of a loving father left his home and thought he had squandered everything for nothing of any value, although he had not understood its worthlessness at the time. He was ashamed to return to his father, because he thought he had hurt him. Yet when he came home the father welcomed him with joy, because the son himself was his father's treasure. He wanted nothing else. God wants only His Son because His Son is His only treasure.

Fortunately for us, Jesus has charted a course to enable us to overcome our primary obstacle, the belief in the reality of the physical body and of the world. Obviously, Jesus must begin His Lessons by confronting this belief. Look at His very first lesson of 365 lessons:

(1) Nothing I see means anything.
The reason this is so is that I see nothing, and nothing has no meaning. It is necessary that I recognize this, that I may learn to see. What I think I see now is taking the place of vision. I must let it go by realizing it has no meaning, so that vision may take its place.

Are you beginning to see how it works? You are sitting here, reading these words, and you are being confronted with the proposition that nothing you see means anything! You are, seemingly, being asked to give up everything you learned to trust. Now, perhaps for the first time, you may see the value of single purpose. You are asked to be constantly counter instinctive. You are being asked to trust in something you cannot verify with your senses. Fear not, your instinctive reliance on your senses will be replaced by vision, if you are determined that this be so.

These phantoms speak with human voices—friendly, vapor-like shapes, without substance, able to vanish or appear at will, to pass in and out through the walls of the fuselage as though no walls were there. Now, many are crowded behind me. Now, only a few remain. First one and then another presses forward to my shoulder to speak above the engine’s noise, and then draws back among the group behind. At times, voices come out of the air itself, clear yet far away, traveling through distances that can’t be measured by the scale of human miles; familiar voices, conversing and advising on my flight, discussing problems, of my navigation, treasuring me, giving me messages of importance unattainable in ordinary life. Spirit, p. 389

. . .ordinary life is the life of bodily senses.

That is only Lesson 1, look at Lesson 2.

(2) I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me. I have judged everything I look upon, and it is this and only this I see. This is not vision. It is merely an illusion of reality, because my judgments have been made quite apart from reality. I am willing to recognize the lack of validity in my judgments, because I want to see. My judgments have hurt me, and I do not want to see according to them. W-51.2

First you see something out there, and then you judge it. You see these words, and you are in constant judgment of them. But it is you who gave them all the meaning they have for you. You are caught in an illusion. You are not seeing with vision.

Just look at the titles of the next 5 Lessons:

(3) I do not understand anything I see.

(4) These thoughts do not mean anything.

(5) I am never upset for the reason I think.

(6) I am upset because I see what is not there.

(7) I see only the past.

If you think Lindbergh was of single purpose, look at how you must hold the course by being forced to be counter instinctive to everything you have ever known. Fortunately, the chart is superbly laid out for you to follow. You need do nothing but hold to the single purpose of coming into the experience of the peace of God. You are not sustained by your senses.

Practice the lessons with single purpose, and in 50 days you come to this lesson:

(50) I am sustained by the Love of God.
As I listen to God's Voice, I am sustained by His Love. As I open my eyes, His Love lights up the world for me to see. As I forgive, His Love reminds me that His Son is sinless. And as I look upon the world with the vision He has given me, I remember that I am His Son.

My goodness, the first 50 Lessons of Jesus’ Course are all you need to come into the realization that you are the Holy Son of God as He created you, His treasure.

And yes, you have help, help abides with you always. The Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, as real as Lindbergh’s ghostly presences, guides you always.

The Holy Spirit mediates between
illusions and the truth. Since He must bridge
the gap between reality and dreams,
perception leads to knowledge through the grace
that God has given Him, to be His gift to
everyone who turns to Him for truth.
Across the bridge that He provides are dreams
all carried to the truth, to be dispelled
before the light of knowledge. There are sights
and sounds forever laid aside. And where
they were perceived before, forgiveness has
made possible perception's tranquil end.
W-p11.7. What is the Holy Spirit?

Lindbergh followed his course with dogged determinatiion, crossing the tip of Ireland only three miles off course, arriving in Paris three hours earlier than charted. Your safe passage home is guaranteed, if you follow Jesus’ Course with single purpose.

You are as certain of arriving home
as is the pathway of the sun laid down
before it rises, after it has set,
and in the half-lit hours in between.
Indeed, your pathway is more certain still.
For it can not be possible to change
the course of those whom God has called to Him.
Therefore obey your will, and follow Him
Whom you accepted as your voice, to speak
of what you really want and really need.
His is the Voice for God and also yours.
And thus He speaks of freedom and of truth.