I have had some requests for Mary Anne’s exercise, so I will include it here, and then below that I will have the summary of the class.
Mary Anne’s exercise
Start by seeing yourself as you usually do as you go about your daily life; that is, as a body in a physical world. See yourself with worries, cares, concerns, and fears about yourself: your body and health, your relationships, your work, your finances. [Pause] See yourself with political, social, and environmental concerns and fears about the world in which you see yourself living. [Pause] Note anything that is a particular concern for you at this time. [Pause]
How do you feel in this place, from the perspective of yourself as this body in this world? Do you not feel fear? [As Robert says in his handout for today’s lesson (274, “Today belongs to Love. Let me not fear”), fear is the human condition. As long as we see ourselves from the perspective of ourselves as bodies, we will live in “a chronic state of fear.”]
Notice how real and important all your concerns seem and what little effect the fact that you are a spiritual being, a holy Son of God, has on your perception of yourself. [Pause]
Recognizing the suffering this picture brings to you, remind yourself that there is an alternative––a real alternative. Tell yourself that, no matter how real all this seems, it is only an illusion. It is not real. Deep in your mind is the remembrance of reality, of the truth about yourself and where you really reside. This truth is what you want. It is your one goal. Be willing to let go of, to release, your current perspective and belief in its reality and be shown a different perspective, the true perspective.
You see yourself as contained in a seemingly big closed circle, fenced in by the body in the world, but you are spirit… a holy Son of God. No body can contain your spirit, nor impose on you a limit God created not (Lesson 114.1(97). You are safe in the big open circle of God and in His mind, in His heart of love. Call upon the Holy Spirit to bring you the miracle that will replace your current perspective with this new perspective. Say,
Holy Spirit, I ask You for the miracle that will shift my perception of myself from this false, physical perspective to the true, spiritual perspective.
Ask sincerely and with confidence, and trust that He will answer your request.
Now, feel His action in your mind…
Feel yourself, your mind, being gently pulled out of this limiting, painful, fearful perspective of reality and drawn into the freedom and joy of the true perspective of reality. [Pause]
Feel yourself being gently pulled, as by a magnet, out of that seemingly big circle of the world and into the big circle of God, into His mind, into His heart of love. [Pause]
This is where your true Identity resides; this is where you really belong. This is home.
This is all that is real; all that is important; all that is meaningful. All else is illusion.
Rest now in this place… feel yourself enveloped in God, surrounded by His love.
Rest here in peace, sure of your safety, certain of His care, and happily aware you are His Son. (Lesson 232.1:5) [Pause]
Now take a moment and look back on that picture of yourself as a body in the world, with all those worries and concerns.
See how, from this true perspective, all of that is small and meaningless, having no effect at all on you as you live and move in the big circle of God.
Know that from this perspective, you can live in the awareness of reality. From this place where you really are, where you are God’s Son, at peace and filled with joy in His heart of love, you can deal with the concerns of the world with grace and with ease.
Summary of the class
In yesterday’s class, I taught the first half, in which I presented a basic conceptual understanding of level confusion. This is found, I believe, in various passages in the original dictation of Chapter 1 of the Text, many of which were edited out, and others of which have lost their original context.
What we see in these passages is that the levels are spirit and body, or the spiritual and the physical. And we see that confusion mainly means assigning the attributes of one to the other. Primarily it means assigning the attributes of the spiritual to the physical. These attributes include communion, importance, truth, creation, identity, happiness, centrality, and communication.
In other words, all these attributes belong to the spiritual level. That’s where they are really found. Therefore, it’s on the spiritual level that we can find communion. That level is what is truly important. That level is what is true. That is where real creation takes place. That is where our identity really resides. That is where happiness is found. That is what is truly central. And that is where we can genuinely communicate.
However, we mistakenly apply all these attributes to the physical. So now we assume that the physical is what is true, important, and central. We think the physical is where our identity lies. We think the physical is where creation happens. And we think the physical is where we can find happiness, communication, and communion.
That is level confusion, and that confusion, you could say, is the foundation on which normal life rests. It is no small issue, no minor theoretical point; it is everywhere.
Mary Anne was kind enough to teach the second half of the class, which began with her leading us through an explanation of the diagram:
On the left side we have the physical level, the level of what we see with our senses. On the right, we have the spiritual level. Then on the top half, we have our current perspective on those two levels. And beneath that, on the bottom half, we have the new perspective the Course is guiding us into.
In our current perspective, what looms largest in our daily experience? It’s obviously the physical level. That big circle on the upper left is where we normally emotionally reside. That’s what we experience as our mental home. What we see and what we’re dealing with is that list inside the big circle. We are faced with difficult situations, hurtful events, problems, people mistreating us, as well as our own flaws, mistakes, and “sins.”
While we’re immersed in all that, how large does the spiritual level usually loom for us? Usually it’s either a tiny circle or a microscopic one. The spiritual level seems somewhere between barely relevant and nonexistent. Its effect on our emotional state is typically very small. That’s why the arrow is labeled “little effect.” It’s as if we are in a room full of problems, while the spiritual level is outside, like a fly bouncing off the window.
What the Course is telling us is that we have it exactly backward. The spiritual level is what really looms largest. It is actually endless, infinite, while the physical level is really both tiny and powerless. It can be our mental home. It can be our where we emotionally reside. And while we reside there, all those things that weighed on us in the physical level seem trivial and without effect. That’s why the arrow there is labeled “no effect.”
Finally, the miracle is what shifts us from the top perspective to the bottom perspective.
And to that end, Mary Anne finished by leading us through an exercise in which we first got in touch with our current perspective, which stems from level confusion, to the new perspective, in which we reside in the circle of God’s Love.
I hope you enjoyed the class, and a huge thanks to Mary Anne for leading us through the diagram and the exercise, and for having the idea for the class in the first place.