Friday, July 17, 2015

Prose and Poetry in A Course in Miracles

Since James Twyman is reading the Lesson of the day in his mellifluous voice, emphasizing the rhythm of the iambic pentameter, I want to bring to your attention the extent of the iambic pentameter in the Course.

In Lesson 97, I am Spirit, the first three paragraphs are the last prose in the Lessons.  

Today's idea identifies you with your one Self. It accepts no split identity, nor tries to weave opposing factors into unity. It simply states the truth. Practice this truth today as often as you can, for it will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace. No chill of fear can enter, for your mind has been absolved from madness, letting go illusions of a split identity.

We state again the truth about your Self, the holy Son of God Who rests in you; Whose mind has been restored to sanity. You are the spirit lovingly endowed with all your Father's Love and peace and joy. You are the spirit which completes Himself, and shares His function as
Creator. He is with you always, as you are with Him.

Today we try to bring reality still closer to your mind. Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved. The minutes which you give are multiplied over and over, for the miracle makes use of time, but is not
ruled by it. Salvation is a miracle, the first and last; the first that is the last, for it is one.

The next stanza begins the iambic pentameter for the rest of the Lessons.

You ARE/ the SPIR/ it IN/ whose MIND/ a BIDES/
the miracle in which all time stands still;
the miracle in which a minute spent
in using these ideas becomes a time
that has no limit and that has no end.
Give, then, these minutes willingly, and count
on Him Who promised to lay timelessness
beside them. He will offer all His strength
to every little effort that you make.
Give Him the minutes which He needs today,
to help you understand with Him you are
the spirit that abides in Him, and that
calls through His Voice to every living thing;
offers His sight to everyone who asks;
replaces error with the simple truth.

In the Text, in Chapter 26, TheTransition, is primarily in iambic pentameter, but the last two prose paragraphs in the Text occur in Chapter 27, The Healing of the Dream, in the Section, Beyond all Symbols:

Power cannot oppose. For opposition would weaken it, and weakened power is a contradiction in ideas. Weak strength is meaningless, and power used to weaken is employed to limit. And therefore it must be limited and weak, because that is its purpose. Power is unopposed, to be itself. No weakness can intrude on it without changing it into something it is not. To weaken is to limit, and impose an opposite that contradicts the concept that it attacks. And by this does it join to the idea a something it is not, and make it unintelligible. Who can understand a double concept, such as "weakened-power" or "hateful-love"?

You have decided that your brother is a symbol for a "hateful-love," a "weakened-power," and above all, a "living-death." And so he has no meaning to you, for he stands for what is meaningless. He represents a double thought, where half is cancelled out by the remaining
half. Yet even this is quickly contradicted by the half it cancelled out, and so they both are gone. And now he stands for nothing. Symbols which but represent ideas that cannot be must stand for empty space and nothingness. Yet nothingness and empty space can not be interference. What can interfere with the awareness of reality is the belief that there is something there.

Here is the poetic stanza that begins the rest of the Text in iambic pentameter.

The PIC/ ture OF/ your BROTH/ her THAT/ you SEE/
or to deny; to love or hate, or to
kndow with power or to see as weak.
The picture has been wholly cancelled out,
because it symbolized a contradiction
that cancelled out the thought it represents.
And thus the picture has no cause at all.
Who can perceive effect without a cause?
What can the causeless be but nothingness?
The picture of your brother that you see
is wholly absent and has never been.
Let, then, the empty space it occupies
be recognized as vacant, and the time
devoted to its seeing be perceived
as idly spent, a time unoccupied.

Michael Russell was the first to bring this to the attention of the world in his magnificent book, “Rhythm and Reason:  Prose and Poetry in A Course in Miracles.”