Friday, November 20, 2009

Of Sleeping Beauty...

In the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty it is the Moon, the earth satellite who rules the repeating dynamic of the world of time and space, offering us only a reflection of reality in its dreamscape of the night, who makes us sleep an endless sleep, living out our adventures on the stage of this world with other actors who we ourselves projected from the unconscious:

The Fairy of the Moon determines that girls become women, and boys men. Henceforth their life is like a “dream,” in which the figures, whom they themselves have created, call them up. And that dream, in essence, prevents them from dedicating their life force to the things for which they do not yet have the maturity. That is the force that protects us, which makes our eyes blind and our ears deaf for spiritual things we cannot yet handle. That is the Work of the Moon, and every girl and boy experiences the greatness of that Force, with which she regulates the functions that have just developed.
They sleep and dream, and their life force goes moderately or immeasurably down those paths. The higher gates remain closed. (J. W. Kaiser, Wisdom of Fairy Tales, from the Dutch, Sprokenwijsheid).
6 Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up. 7 The world has not yet experienced any comprehensive reawakening or rebirth. 8 Such a rebirth is impossible as long as you continue to project or miscreate. 9 It still remains within you, however, to extend as God extended His Spirit to you. 10 In reality this is your only choice, because your free will was given you for your joy in creating the perfect.
    All fear is ultimately reducible to the basic misperception that you have the ability to usurp the power of God. 2 Of course, you neither can nor have been able to do this. 3 Here is the real basis for your escape from fear. 4 The escape is brought about by your acceptance of the Atonement, which enables you to realize that your errors never really occurred. 5 Only after the deep sleep fell upon Adam could he experience nightmares. 6 If a light is suddenly turned on while someone is dreaming a fearful dream, he may initially interpret the light itself as part of his dream and be afraid of it. 7 However, when he awakens, the light is correctly perceived as the release from the dream, which is then no longer accorded reality. 8 This release does not depend on illusions. 9 The knowledge that illuminates not only sets you free, but also shows you clearly that you are free. (ACIM:T-2.I.3:6 - T-2.I.4:9)
Thus in myth and fairy tale, as well as in the Bible, there is a reflection of the awareness of the fact that this life in the world of time and space, as an independent individual, who is born and dies is in fact a dream-life, in which we have forgotten who we truly are. The essence of Jesus's ministry on this earth, then in Palestine and in current terms a.o. through A Course in Miracles, is to help us awaken from the dream, by following him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, towards the Resurrection, in which we shall know again who we truly are as God's son, just like happens in the Fairy Tale of Sleeping Beauty, whose prince, who kisses our soul awake of course is none other than Jesus, as reflected in this passage of the Course:
The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see. 2 Freedom and peace and joy stand there, beside the bier on which they sleep, and call them to come forth and waken from their dream of death. 3 Yet they hear nothing. 4 They are lost in dreams of specialness. 5 They hate the call that would awaken them, and they curse God because He did not make their dream reality. 6 Curse God and die, but not by Him Who made not death; but only in the dream. 7 Open your eyes a little; see the savior God gave to you that you might look on him, and give him back his birthright. 8 It is yours. (ACIM:T-24.III.7)
And typical of the Course, it puts us in touch with the psychological dynamic of why we do not want to be woken up, which it would serve us well to remember when our moment arrives, for all the pain we experience at such times is nothing but the ego trying to still make the body real, and convince us that we are surely going to die if we do one step further at the hand of Jesus, when in truth the only thing that will happen is that the ego loses its grip on us and we would be happy, happier than we could ever imagine, by letting our Savior awaken us, who has come for us to lead us home. The choice is up to us. And in choosing him, we choose our true Self, and happily go home with him.
In the Thomas Gospel it is perhaps Logion 108 which gives expression to this kiss from Jesus in which we truly become like unto him, so that in turn his light can shine through us into this world. The theme of being asleep in quite those terms does not occur in the Thomas collection, but clearly, when he speaks of us being "drunk" in Logion 28 he is speaking of the same dynamic, of our being impaired with the dreams of this world of time and space, so we no longer know our immortal reality. The Course as a path helps us to release this resistance to our freedom, like hostage victims who are caught up in the Stockholm Syndrome, and who have to learn gradually to let it go.
In the Biblical context it is the moment of the baptism in the River Jordan, under John the Baptist, when Jesus experiences God's voice, saying: "You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." That is the moment of the awakening, the resurrection, at the outset of Jesus's ministry in Gallilee, which is the symbol for this world of time and space. Thus the awakening naturally preceded his ministry, and the resurrection came indeed before the crucifixion, so that he did not suffer or die on the cross, and was later able to appear to the apostles, as he promises indeed he always will if we attune our eyes and ears to him, not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense.
Kaiser summarizes the point of the fairy tale as follows:
  And no one “finds” us until the times have been fulfilled. Until a young “prince” discerns the castle and, like the knight Perceval,1 comes to question, wanting to know the cause; and, passing through the “valley” of pain, he knows to penetrate through woods and thorny bushes to the gates of the castle and then, when he kisses the “maiden” with the fire of his love, “awakens her from the dead” and rouses all from their sleep.
Whoever leaves the sleep of death this way, because he has found himself, enters the “hall of mirrors” and becomes satiated with an indescribable feast, while heavenly music resounds.
He marries his other Self.
The children of spirit from this marriage are called Dawn and Day, for they are “children of light.”
But never does a soul reach Peace and undivided Happiness until the “mother”— “she who is what we were before,” a monster of cruel envy—has died. Until this angry “mother” has tried in vain to make Dawn and Day her prey, and finally even the young “Queen,” but then perishes because of her own anger.
1The name of this savior/knight of Arthurian legend means “through this valley.” See "Perceval" in this book. (Tr.)
(J.W. Kaiser, The Wisdom of Fairy Tales, from the Dutch, Sprokenwijsheid)

Thus does the ego fade into the "nothingness from which it came," (ACIM:M-13.1:2) which assures the happy ending, for "The outcome is as certain as God." (ACIM:T-2.III.3:10, and T-4.II.5:8) 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Skipping Stones on the Pond

This blog has grown as concentric circles around the 70/71 sayings of Thomas, and their treatment in my book "Closing the Circle," and so far had developed roughly in two layers:

  • Layer one contains directly supporting materials to the book.
  • Layer two was an expanded discussion of the sayings.
  • In between there were some more loosely related explorations.
I now sense that the third layer will become a more fluid stage wherein I'll write occasionally about themes related to A Course in Miracles, and Jesus, and simply connect to the Thomas materials from that vantage point. I sense that this will be another way that the Jesus material which is contained in the Thomas Gospel will be seen as highly coherent when seen in the tradition of the Course. In that context, the sayings of the Thomas Gospel will increasingly reveal themselves as a sort of kernel, which may not contain a great elaboration of the teaching, but which still hang together very strongly, and are totally consistent with the inner Jesus tradition of which ACIM is merely the modern manifestation.

The whole thing in this evolution is about making this material more an more practical, and connecting it to day to day living, which increasingly will reflect the integration with the practical focus of A Course in Miracles, aiming at day to day living of the teachings of Jesus, more so than theological speculation, even though the Course of course is theologically very profound, if you want to look at it from that angle. But the daily practice of living the teachings is where the rubber meets the road.