I was reading in Chapter 24 this morning, about specialness, and it just brought home to me the unparalleled depth, originality, and brilliance I see in the Course and how much I love it.
In these sections on specialness, the Course does what is so characteristic of it: It takes something that is universally accepted as an unambiguous, core positive in life (being special) and lays out a bold, sophisticated, and compelling vision of why it is the essence of the ego and a pure source of suffering, with no redeeming features whatsoever.
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard anyone else do that, at least that I can recall. Instead, I see nearly every living person, including most spiritual masters, treating specialness as a pure positive, to be striven for and touted (even if only subtly and by innuendo). The only thing in the ballpark of the Course’s perspective that I can remember is that I once heard Ram Dass question if being special was such a good thing. Yes, each of us is unique, he said, but maybe special is not so good.
That, of course, immediately reminds one of the Course’s approach, yet at the same time it is miles away. To merely question the goodness of a universal value is not the same as to paint a masterful 100-foot-tall mural that graphically depicts it in the darkest terms imaginable, a mural which at the same time is a detailed diagram of its internal psychology and its experiential results, which is also a prescription for its undoing (give to your brother the inheritance you have taken from him and given to your specialness).
Who else has done that? Who but the Course has painted a Guernica depicting the horrors of specialness? (OK, yes, I am saying the Course is special, but it’s a specialness we want. We don’t want to say one person is more special than another. But we do want to seek for and value preeminent sources of wisdom.)
What I love about the Course is just this ability to take the universally-coveted and virtually unquestioned, and persuasively turn it completely upside-down. So that before we read the words on that page, our mind was in an entirely different place. That one page has led us through a complete and cogent revisioning of one of our core values in life. And this radical change in perspective lays the groundwork for a radical change in experience. That kind of change only comes when our conventional assumption A is taken all the way to the other side and becomes new conviction Z. And I don’t know anything that does that remotely like the Course.
I just wanted to share that with you. Today I’m practicing “What I gave specialness belongs to you.”