THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY:
THE WISDOM OF LISTENING TO THE VOICE FOR GOD
“By changing your mind, you can change the world.”
All that is required to demonstrate that this is true is your commitment to shift your awareness, and that is everything. If you choose, by the time you finish reading this paper, you will clearly experience the steps you can take to train your mind, systematically, to a new way of seeing and listening.
This transformation of your mind will change the world.
Let’s begin. Notice that this paper is addressing you. There is only you. Even in reading this sentence you are listening to a voice in your mind. This voice is so familiar, that you may not have noticed it. It is your perceptual mind; a familiar narrator, a story teller, telling you a story.
Now, look up from this paper and look slowly around you. . .
Observe how this story teller says to you, automatically, “table” or “cup” or “hand.” Whatever you see has been given a name. In fact, it is not there without having been named. The objects that appear to make up your world spring from within. They are not imposed from without. There is only your subjective reality. There is not really a world, there is only your world.
A little reflection on what you “see” shows you that you are simply unable to see objects without a flood of associations. Your narrative voice tells you stories about the table, cup, and hand. After doing this simple exercise, you can realize that seeing is completely subjective, that your voice does not really describe any thing as it is, only as you would have it be, based on associations from your past.
So, right now, what are you making of this realization?
“I don’t get it” “How could it be different?” “I’m confused.”
Whatever the judgment, know that your voice is the judge. Your limited awareness, i.e., your awareness limited only to this familiar voice, is pretending that the world “outside” is somehow separate from the world “inside,” when, in fact, what you see is simply a projection of your past experiences based on your gender, age, nationality, family, personality, political persuasion, social class, religion, genetic cellular memory, and so forth.
Once again, listen now to the thoughts in your mind and know that whatever the content, they are your own particular thoughts, and have nothing to do with anything except your own peculiar judgments, relative to your past experiences.
You could easily test this out by asking another person reading this paper, or two people, or five, what they think about it, and you would be off and running in a circle, each one claiming that his projection of an inner, subjective picture is the objective truth, each person thinking he has a corner on truth. Ever watch a dog chasing its tail? Imagine five dogs at once. It’s your image.
If you are committed to learning to see in another way, read on. You have already taken the first step by becoming aware of how you see by listening, habitually, to the wrong voice. With this awareness, you can begin to train your mind to come into the experience of listening to the only Voice, the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit. Commitment is powerful, indeed.
You cannot know what will enter in, until you let go. You cannot both hold on and know. You have to trust the letting go. It is as fearful as stepping off a cliff.
I am reminded of a scene in a movie in which the main character takes the big, fearful step, only by trusting. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones, searching for the Holy Grail outside himself, comes to an abyss. He stands at the edge of this enormous gorge, too wide to leap across; yet he is instructed by a book of wisdom that “only the leap from the Lion’s head will prove his worth.” Standing before the Lion’s head, a rock formation, he says, “It is a leap of faith.” He places his hand over his heart, stands still for a moment, eleven seconds of screen time, gathering himself. Then, he slowly lifts his left leg, balancing on his right foot, and, trusting, steps forward, full weight, his foot landing with a thud on a narrow beam, invisible to his eyes because it is an optical illusion. He is saved by what is invisible to his eyes, but is always, already, present and discovered only by trust.
You need not take this leap alone. You are not alone. The bridge to the hearing the Voice for God is already, always, in place. Letting go of your voice requires only your trust and commitment.
Fortunately, we are walking this planet at a time when a manual—a book of wisdom—has been provided for this great undoing, a step-by-step procedure for training your mind in a new way for listening to the only Voice there is. This manual, of course, is Jesus’ Course in Miracles. His unworldly masterpiece provides us with a text, a manual for teachers, and 365 lessons, one for each day of the year. Any one lesson could serve to undo our habitual thought patterns, but because we are a bit obtuse, and have grown quite lazy listening to and trusting the familiar drone of the ego, we need all 365 lessons. Jesus tells us early on in His text that you are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind’s miscreations. Text.2.VI.4:6 (This re reads: Text, Chapter 2, Section VI, paragraph 4, sentence 6)
Remember, that to become aware of another Voice, you first must turn down the volume of your voice, the one you are using to narrate this sentence. By learning to tune out your incessant, habitual voice, you can become attuned to the Voice for God. Just because your voice seems natural, normal, ordinary, common, familiar, that does not make it Real. In fact, when you tune into the sound of your Real Voice, you will discover that Joy, Love, Serenity, Truth are completely natural, being Your Nature, and that your pitiful voice is unnatural, abnormal, unordinary, uncommon, and unfamiliar. But, I am getting ahead of my story of the wisdom of learning to listen.
Let’s continue this great task of undoing by turning to the Lesson of the 49th day, God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.
It is quite possible to listen to God’s Voice through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not. Lesson 49.1:1,2
Incredible! The still, quiet Voice for God is in your mind speaking right now. Can you hear it? Probably not, simply because you are listening to the other part. This is how Jesus describes that other part.
It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world’s laws. It is this part that is constantly distracted, disorganized and highly uncertain. Lesson 49.1:3,4
This part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind. Lesson 49.2:3
Go past all the raucous shrieks and sick imaginings that cover your real thoughts and obscure your eternal link with God. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world. You do not live here. Lesson 49.4:3-5
Remember when you looked up and saw the objects around you? Continue to entertain the idea that these objects are simply subjective images that started from within your mind and were projected out? That is why it is an insane world. You thought it into existence. You do not live here.
We are trying to reach your real home. We are trying to reach the place where you are truly welcome. We are trying to reach God. Lesson 49.4:6-8
By the time we arrive at Lesson 49, we
have been practicing for 48 lessons over the course of 48 days to undo
the hold of the ego’s raucous shrieks and sick imaginings.
Jesus begins his revolutionary workbook with this uncompromising statement:
Lesson 2: I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me. Your meaning was simply past associations based on your gender, age, nationality, genetic cellular memory and so forth.
Lesson 3: I do not understand anything I see in this room. Look around you now and begin to undo the hold of your pitifully small voice. Your understanding is composed simply of past associations.
You may still be saying, “I don’t get it,” but, perhaps, you are beginning to see that getting it is not the object. Letting go is.
The point of the exercises is to help you clear your mind of all past associations, to see things exactly as they appear to you now, and to realize how little you really understand about them. It is therefore essential that you keep a perfectly open mind, unhampered by judgment, in selecting the things to which the idea for the day is to be applied. For this purpose one thing is like another; equally suitable and therefore equally useful. Lesson 3:2
Look at how the undoing systematically proceeds. Simply read the titles of the next 8 lessons.
4. These thoughts do not mean anything.
Your commitment to let go of past associations is all that is required, saying, “Not this, not this,” to allow something new to enter in. The Holy Spirit will do the rest. Jesus shows you precisely how to let go in this paragraph:
By letting it go—letting it all go,
you are preparing to hear another Voice. You end up giving away your
attachment to your narrative voice, your ego, recognizing that the ego
voice has no source in Reality. That is an action of the mind called
forgiveness. It has nothing to do with the so-called objective world.
Forgiveness has everything to do with changing your mind so that you
can look out and see a bright reflection of your changed mind.
Listen to Jesus’ soft voice in your
mind speak these words to you.
We will try actually to hear God's Voice reminding you of Him and of your Self. We will approach this happiest and holiest of thoughts with confidence, knowing that in doing so we are joining our will with the Will of God. He wants you to hear His Voice. He gave It to you to be heard. Lesson 49.3:2-4
Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind. Lesson 49.4:1,2
This is the wisdom of listening.
One of the great joys of walking this path of peace is the joy of discovery. When you begin to listen to the only Voice there is, you make discoveries because you are seeing in a whole new way, directly experiencing that there is, indeed, a better way. I recently expressed this direct experience in a prose poem.
THERE IS ONLY NOW
Here, in my mind, at this moment, there is only now.
Now is a clean and unmarked slate, (Lesson 192.4:1) the natural condition of the mind. (Lesson 161.2:1)
This state of mind is an open channel for receiving the Voice for God.
This channel is always, already open.
Only now, in this moment, can I choose to turn away from it by tuning into the other channel, my voice, the voice of the false, narrative self, speaking incessantly.
My turning away did not stop the Voice for God from broadcasting, only my awareness shifted.
His channel is always, already open.
I cannot tune into both channels at the same time.
It is always my choice, which voice?
These voices take the form of thoughts.
The thoughts of my false self take the form of stories about what I see, hear, taste, smell and touch.
These stories are thought-images playing across my mind, seeming to be taking place on the stage of the world outside my mind.
There is only inside. There is only now in my mind.
When I am preoccupied with these thought-images, I am unable to hear the Voice for God, speaking to me constantly and lovingly.
By the grace of God, when I have become weary of this preoccupation with thought-images, my mind is now trained sufficiently to ask for help to shift channels.
All that is required is my small willingness to let go of my precious stories, forgiving myself for what I now know I am doing to myself, shifting to the awareness of the Holy Spirit’s Voice.
In this state of mind I experience stillness, the peace of God. Resting in this serenity, I am receptive to the Will of God, Thine not mine.
The other channel continues to broadcast.
That’s just what it does.
That’s just what I do; I am responsible.
But it has lost its hold, its spell.
I ask for help, and it is dispelled.
And for a moment, I am free.
But in the next moment, I am tempted to enter its spell.
Whoops. I remember to ask for help.
And now I am free.
That moment is now.
There is only now.
Part 4: Peace
Now you can read the declaration at the beginning of this paper and realize that it is not so startling after all:
“By changing your mind, you can change the world.”
In fact, this statement can become your
declaration of independence. It is your declaration that you are free
to listen to the Voice for God. You are no longer dependent on your
narrative, false voice of the ego.
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.
Right now, by reading this paper you are beginning to remove the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence. Your primary block is that of listening to the wrong voice. Its familiarity does not make it real. Not to worry. That voice exists only in your mind. It is not real. That recognition is an action of the mind that leads to forgiveness. Now you can be about your true business, not your busyness. You are God’s Holy Son. Thy will be done. Not mine. Thine. As your mind is transformed, your world is transformed. There is only your world.
No matter how practiced you become, it is still a matter of forgetting and remembering. We need reminders to remember. I wrote this poem and committed it to memory to recite to myself when I forget, for a moment, that no matter how raucous my voice, there is only one Voice.
THE WISDOM OF LISTENING TO THE VOICE FOR GOD
I am committed to changing my mind
If I were you, I would run to find Jesus’ Course in Miracles, and eagerly open to Lesson 1 so that I can begin practicing:
Nothing I see means anything.