(I invite you, Dear Reader, to listen a moment to your narrative voice to become personally aware of its commentary on what you are reading right now.)
Look at the word, personally. It comes from the Latin per, meaning “through,” and son, meaning “sound.” The ancient Greek dramas took place in coliseums, and the actors wore wooden mask through which their voices were amplified, so that they could be heard. Our personal narrator projects our personality into what it sees.
What I took for granted to be real a moment ago, looking out the window, was simply a series of images seen through my false self, my personality, a mask I wear over my True Self. Of course, I realize now that, ironically, I looked up from the Course and immediately forgot what Jesus is constantly teaching us—what I am seeing is a world of my own making, and I need to train my mind to recognize what I am making. My forgetting of His lessons shows me just how difficult it is to train my mind to see in a different way.
Yesterday, I read an article in the newspaper about Eckhart Tolle. When he experienced in his mind at the age of 29 that there were two of him, a false self and a True Self, it was an awakening experience.
Born Ulrich Tolle in a small town in Germany, he spent his teen years with his father in Spain, then moved on to prepare for an academic career. By the time he was 29 and studying philosophy in London, he says, he was so miserable "I couldn't live with myself any longer." Suddenly he realized, "If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the 'I' and the 'self' that 'I' cannot live with. Maybe, I thought, only one of them is real." As he tells the story in his first book, The Power of Now, he was so stunned by the idea that "my mind stopped. I was conscious, but there were no more thoughts." ("Now is the time for Tolle," USA Today, April 15, 2010, Section D, p. 1,2)
This demonstrates to us what we are up against. It is so difficult to break out of our habitual pattern of taking for granted that what we see is real. But when we do, it is an awakening. Our familiar narrative voice has been telling us these stories since we acquired language in our infancy.
Children are born into the world through pain and in pain. Their growth is attended by suffering, and they learn of sorrow and separation and death. Their minds seem to be trapped in their brain. T-13.Intro.2:5-7
This world is a picture of the crucifixion of God's Son. And until you realize that God's Son cannot be crucified, this is the world you will see. T-13.Intro.4:1,2
Of course, Jesus is well aware of our tendency to crucify ourselves, and He frequently reminds us that this is simply a mistake, not a sin, and to get on with learning to forgive.
When you fail to comply with the requirements of this course, you have merely made a mistake. This calls for correction, and for nothing else. To allow a mistake to continue is to make additional mistakes, based on the first and reinforcing it. It is this process that must be laid aside, for it is but another way in which you would defend illusions against the truth. W-p1.95.7
One of the things I do to meet the requirements of the Course is to remind myself to be vigilant about the exact reference to each pronoun. For example, look again at the pronouns in the first sentence of the above passage.
When you fail to comply with the requirements of this course, you have merely made a mistake.
In this sentence, both "you's" refer to our consciousness, our awareness, our mind that is the decision-maker. I am using the notation of regular font, you, to help me remember the referent, the decision-maker.
However, you, the decision-maker, are often tempted to fall into the trap of making an alliance with the false self. An italicized, smaller font, you represents this alliance.
The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal, and nothing more than that. It does not battle with the Son of God. It does not hurt him, nor attack his peace. It has not changed creation, nor reduced eternal sinlessness to sin, and love to hate. What power can this self you made possess, when it would contradict the Will of God? W-p1.93.5
What we want is for the decision-maker to dissociate from the false self and unite with the True Self, indicated by bold you.
You are one Self, in perfect harmony with all there is, and all that there will be. You are one Self, the holy Son of God, united with your brothers in that Self; united with your Father in His Will. Feel this one Self in you, and let It shine away all your illusions and your doubts. This is your Self, the Son of God Himself, sinless as Its Creator, with His strength within you and His Love forever yours. You are one Self, and it is given you to feel this Self within you, and to cast all your illusions out of the one Mind that is this Self, the holy truth in you. W-p1.95.13
This bold you blends in with, unites with, everything around it.
In summary, I want to be vigilant to pronoun references:
the false self
the false self
You, the mind, the consciousness, the decision-maker. Spirit makes use of mind as means to find its Self expression. W-p1.96.4:1
You, an alliance with the false self. Yet mind can also see itself divorced from spirit, and perceive itself within a body it confuses with itself. W-p1.96.4:4
You, united with the True Self. And the mind which serves the spirit is at peace and filled with joy. Its power comes from spirit, and it is fulfilling happily its function here. W-p1.96.4:2,3
Jesus gave us His Workbook, knowing full well the training necessary for us to learn to shift our alliance with our false self to unity with our True Self. Already in Lesson 3, we can see the referents shift for the pronoun “I.”
Here is Lesson 3, These thoughts do not mean anything,
in its Review form. W-p1.51.4(4)
The thoughts of which i am aware do not mean anything because i am trying to think without God.
Once again, the notation, i, (lower case, italicized) is an attempt to convey that the conscious mind, the decision-maker, is totally allied with the false self, the wavy italics, wavering, uncertain.
What I call "my" thoughts are not my real thoughts.
In this state of mind, the decision-maker, I, in regular font, stands in the dim recognition that somewhere beyond its current awareness are real thoughts, blocked by the unreal thoughts it experiences in its unholy alliance. For Tolle, this was a profound recognition.
My real thoughts are the thoughts I think with God.
The decision-maker, I, bold, unites with real thoughts, God, its True Self. This sentence is an assertion of truth.
I am not aware of them because i have made my thoughts to take their place.
The decision-maker, I, recognizes its alliance with its illusory thoughts, i, thereby blocking its awareness of God's thoughts.
I am willing to recognize that my thoughts do not mean anything, and to let them go.
This is a very bold willingness that will lead to forgiveness of the false self and a healing union with the True Self.
I choose to have them be replaced by what they were intended to replace.
Here we are, only in Lesson 3, and we are learning that I have choice; the familiar, natural, normal, ordinary is not so. There is, indeed, something else that can dawn on my awareness, and for Tolle the awareness of Now.
My thoughts are meaningless, but all creation lies in the thoughts I think with God.
This I is, indeed bold, in its union with God.
This shift from alliance with the false self, sin, or separation, to union is acquired by forgiveness.
Forgiveness is acquired. It is not
inherent in a mind, which cannot sin.
As sin was an idea you taught yourself,
forgiveness must be learned by you as well,
but from a Teacher other than yourself,
Who represents the other Self in you.
Through Him you learn how to forgive the self
you think you made, and let it disappear.
Thus you return your mind as one to Him
who is your Self, and who can never sin.
* * *
Again, I, the decision-maker, am sitting on the couch, looking out the window, seeing the bird feeders, the lawn. . . Stop! I close your eyes. Breathe in and breathe out. Help. I want to unite with God, remembering that I have choice, that I am responsible.
I am responsible for what I, or i, see.
I choose the feelings I,or i, experience, and I decide upon the goal I, or i, would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked. T-21.II.2:3-5
Now, I breathe in, breathe out, and open my eyes; I see a reflection mirroring my peaceful mind, actually it’s not so much seeing as feeling. . .
Your foot has reached the lawns that welcome you
to Heaven’s gate; the quiet place of peace. W-p1. 194.1:3