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Switch to Forum Live View Specialness as a substitute for Love
7 years ago  ::  Apr 09, 2008 - 2:33PM #1
Inthisholyinstant
Posts: 35
Namaste,

T-24.I.5.  "Specialness is the great dictator of the wrong decisions. 2 Here is the grand illusion of what you are and what your brother is. 3 And here is what must make the body dear and worth preserving. 4 Specialness must be defended. 5 Illusions can attack it, and they do. 6 For what your brother must become to keep your specialness an illusion. 7 He who is "worse" than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat. 8 For specialness is triumph, and its victory is his defeat and shame.  How can he live, with all your sins upon him? 10 And who must be his conqueror but you?"


Wow.  The whole section on specialness to which the above passage is a caption from really hits home.  In order to be special, different and of my own "self", I must consequently see my brothers and sisters as either lesser or greater than myself.  In doing this I am perpetuating the whole defense/attack cycle which continues to support the delusional foundation of the ego's thought system.


T-24.I.6.    "Would it be possible for you to hate your brother if you were like him? 2 Could you attack him if you realized you journey with him, to a goal that is the same? 3 Would you not help him reach it in every way you could, if his attainment of it were perceived as yours? 4 You are his enemy in specialness; his friend in a shared purpose. 5 Specialness can never share, for it depends on goals that you alone can reach. 6 And he must never reach them, or your goal is jeopardized. 7 Can love have meaning where the goal is triumph? 8 And what decision can be made for this that will not hurt you?"

In order to be special I must triumph over or under another as a goal and means of reinforcing my belief in the separation.  In this way I only hurt myself and cloud the truth of our reality in Christ from my mind and thus offer only this delusion as my "gift" in the instant in which I share this moment with you.


T-24.I.7.    "Your brother is your friend because his Father created him like you. 2 There is no difference. 3 You have been given to your brother that love might be extended, not cut off from him. 4 What you keep is lost to you. 5 God gave you and your brother Himself, and to remember this is now the only purpose that you share. 6 And so it is the only one you have. 7 Could you attack your brother if you chose to see no specialness of any kind between you and him? 8 Look fairly at whatever makes you give your brother only partial welcome, or would let you think that you are better off apart. 9 Is it not always your belief your specialness is limited by your relationship? 10 And is not this the "enemy" that makes you and your brother illusions to each other?"

I'm learning how difficult it is for me alone to see my brother as my friend, together and as one with me in the holiness of our Father.  Yet over and over I am noticing how I so often shut out the awareness of the Presence of His Spirit within me so that I can deceive myself about having a clear understanding for the decisions I make and the consequences that they engender.  I deceive myself into believing I understand something but have hid from myself the fact that I am not meeting my choices with the Holy Spirit.


T-24.I.8.  "The fear of God and of your brother comes from each unrecognized belief in specialness. 2 For you demand your brother bow to it against his will. 3 And God Himself must honor it or suffer vengeance."

Not such an appealing thought system when looked at from this perspective (as I laugh at my own deep investment in specialness).


T-24.I.9.    "Those who are special must defend illusions against the truth. 2 For what is specialness but an attack upon the Will of God? 3 You love your brother not while it is this you would defend against him. 4 This is what he attacks, and you protect. 5 Here is the ground of battle which you wage against him.  6 Here must he be your enemy and not your friend. 7 Never can there be peace among the different. 8 He is your friend you are the same."

Jesus sums it up and clarifies the point quite clearly as best as I am able to perceive it at this point in my journey: specialness is totally meaningless because we are all totally and entirely the same.  This is what the ego fears with the threat of extinction screamed into the forefront of my mind yet it is this very thing that is my mind's salvation.


Peace Is With Us

Ru'el
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 09, 2008 - 5:22PM #2
jjesseph
Posts: 178
I just want to thank you, Ru'el, for your ongoing contributions which teach by example what is the essence of forgiveness as taught in ACIM. That is, forgiveness is about undoing the ego thought system -- i.e., the thought system of specialness -- and that requires first of all learning to look at it objectively and without judgment as it plays out in one's own mind, seen both in thoughts and behavior within the illusion of bodies and their special relationships.

To look without judgment in this way means to look right-mindedly or to look with Jesus who represents our right mind and is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit whose Atonement principle forms the basis for the right-minded thought system.

Regarding specialness and special relationships, I would just add that special relationships involve not only our relationships with other people (other dream figures) but with substances. In other words, chemical dependency involves a special relationship with a substance, which means that we attempt to replace the Love of God with a chemical of some sort, just as we attempt to replace the Love of God in our special love relationships with other people. Further, special love always involves special hate since special love is basically dependency and dependency always carries with it resentment.

And specialness can be invested in anything, including social status, political power, sex, money, etc. One prominent form of specialness seeking one can observe in oneself and others in spiritual and religious circles is the seeking to be spiritually special by posing as an enlightened being who deings to bestow his or her judgment, wisdom and advice upon others perceived to be of lesser spiritual status.

And, as you suggest in your remarks, the ego does not care how it attains special status. It is just as satisfied to be especially miserable and unworthy as it is to posture as superior and especially worthy. The ego's goals involve establishing a special individuality no matter how, and in doing so reinforcing the sense of guilt which always accompanies separation. In fact, speaking in ACIM terms, specialness can be equated with separation and separation can be equated with sin which always produces guilt and fear.

Separation (sin), guilt and fear are the fundamental elements in the ego thought system.

The Atonement principle which is the fundamental premise of the Holy Spirit's right-minded thought system is that separation is not possible in truth; therefore sin, guilt and fear are unreal as is everything else produced by the ego.

Again, thanks to you and others who are willing to share your Course-based processing with us here. I think such sharing helps to accurately convey the essence of what ACIM teaches about forgiveness -- teachings which are easily misunderstood as some kind of doing rather than undoing.

Joe
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 09, 2008 - 9:33PM #3
Inthisholyinstant
Posts: 35
Namaste,

jjesseph: "Regarding specialness and special relationships, I would just add that special relationships involve not only our relationships with other people (other dream figures) but with substances. In other words, chemical dependency involves a special relationship with a substance, which means that we attempt to replace the Love of God with a chemical of some sort, just as we attempt to replace the Love of God in our special love relationships with other people. Further, special love always involves special hate since special love is basically dependency and dependency always carries with it resentment."

I'm glad you brought this point up again Joe.  I don't recall where or when but I had heard this correlation between human interpersonal relationships and the relationships one may have with a substance(a job, a social circle, etc) and indeed this perspective has helped me view my challenges with addiction in such a way that I am more apt to turn to the Holy Spirit for clarification regarding the special relationship of my substance abuse.  Yes I have been learning (albeit with some long drawn out difficulty) that it is about a change in mind first and foremost rather than just flat out behavioral modification.  I recently read either in one of your posts Joe or on the FCIM Q & A site that it is not so much what you do as it is with who or Whom you do it.  I'm still seeking further clarification on how that works out in my relationship with the Holy Spirit and the process in which I think about the challenges I face and how I can more effectively bring them to the light of His interpretation.


jjesseph: "And, as you suggest in your remarks, the ego does not care how it attains special status. It is just as satisfied to be especially miserable and unworthy as it is to posture as superior and especially worthy. The ego's goals involve establishing a special individuality no matter how, and in doing so reinforcing the sense of guilt which always accompanies separation. In fact, speaking in ACIM terms, specialness can be equated with separation and separation can be equated with sin which always produces guilt and fear."

Most definitely.  I first learned about this reverse specialness ego ploy from Eckhart Tolle in one of his talks at the Findhorn retreat in Scottland.  That made total sense because, being identified with my ego, I have been most adept and marking out a special place of unworthiness in the construct of my self image.  It's just as much a defense against God as believing I am superior to others, which I have also done.  And I personally have learned to be especially attentive to the spiritual arrogance of specialness to which you referred.  I have had some very sobering moments of clarity regarding this kind of mindset that I am much more quick these days to recognize when I am slipping into a perspective of false holiness and intellectual superiority.

In the Course it says that only the ego can be humbled as spirit is at perfect peace with its glory for it is a grandeur that is an extension of the beauty of God rather than the grandiosity of the ego which is the result of its attempt to cover over its inherent weaknesses.

My issues with addiction may not be perfectly resolved according to the standards my ego would demand of me for my past efforts and desires to be free of substance dependancy of all kinds; but my increased motivation for and actual turning to the Holy Spirit in relation to this challenge have deepened and enriched my awareness of the presence of His Spirit in my life.  I am learning how to turn to Him more often and more deeply at the same time I am gaining a greater appreciation for His perspective on the world I see over my ego based view with the distortions that have led me to such states of misery for so long that it is a refreshing release to invite a new vision into my mind.

jjesseph: "That is, forgiveness is about undoing the ego thought system -- i.e., the thought system of specialness -- and that requires first of all learning to look at it objectively and without judgment as it plays out in one's own mind, seen both in thoughts and behavior within the illusion of bodies and their special relationships.

To look without judgment in this way means to look right-mindedly or to look with Jesus who represents our right mind and is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit whose Atonement principle forms the basis for the right-minded thought system."

This is a wonderful point on judgment and forgiveness.  A few years ago on a Yahoo group for Course students I asked if refraining from making a judgment was the same thing as forgiveness.  The answer I got was yest it was.  This was very helpful for me at the time because of where I was at in my understanding of forgiveness and the nature of projection in the whole dynamic of judgment and condemnation.  Refraining from making a judgment on another became an initial step in my seeing how I could then see that it was my own "sins" that I was judging my brother for.  Of course after much time and much observation and just looking at how I chose to view others I gradually began to see that to release another from my judgment was to begin the process of undoing guilt in my own mind.

I still have so much to learn and I am grateful to all who participate in these forums.  Sometimes I find myself frustrated because my family and friends are so very unfamiliar with the metaphysics of the Course and I have to be careful not to slip into the need to proselytize for the Course in an attempt to justify that spiritual arrogance which arises when my ego is given authority and dominion over my identity as a student of A Course in Miracles.  So I am ever most grateful that I can speak of the principles of the Course here free of the need to convince and overcome varying viewpoints (though I have done this anyway as I have noticed here in there in my posts LoL).  My attachment to the dream is thick indeed and I am just grateful as all get out that God is infinitely patient for He has nothing to lose for nothing that is real could ever be lost.  In this I am comforted and reminded that ultimately I need do nothing except not to interfere.


Peace Is With Us


Ru'el
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 09, 2008 - 9:33PM #4
Inthisholyinstant
Posts: 35
Namaste,

jjesseph: "Regarding specialness and special relationships, I would just add that special relationships involve not only our relationships with other people (other dream figures) but with substances. In other words, chemical dependency involves a special relationship with a substance, which means that we attempt to replace the Love of God with a chemical of some sort, just as we attempt to replace the Love of God in our special love relationships with other people. Further, special love always involves special hate since special love is basically dependency and dependency always carries with it resentment."

I'm glad you brought this point up again Joe.  I don't recall where or when but I had heard this correlation between human interpersonal relationships and the relationships one may have with a substance(a job, a social circle, etc) and indeed this perspective has helped me view my challenges with addiction in such a way that I am more apt to turn to the Holy Spirit for clarification regarding the special relationship of my substance abuse.  Yes I have been learning (albeit with some long drawn out difficulty) that it is about a change in mind first and foremost rather than just flat out behavioral modification.  I recently read either in one of your posts Joe or on the FCIM Q & A site that it is not so much what you do as it is with who or Whom you do it.  I'm still seeking further clarification on how that works out in my relationship with the Holy Spirit and the process in which I think about the challenges I face and how I can more effectively bring them to the light of His interpretation.


jjesseph: "And, as you suggest in your remarks, the ego does not care how it attains special status. It is just as satisfied to be especially miserable and unworthy as it is to posture as superior and especially worthy. The ego's goals involve establishing a special individuality no matter how, and in doing so reinforcing the sense of guilt which always accompanies separation. In fact, speaking in ACIM terms, specialness can be equated with separation and separation can be equated with sin which always produces guilt and fear."

Most definitely.  I first learned about this reverse specialness ego ploy from Eckhart Tolle in one of his talks at the Findhorn retreat in Scottland.  That made total sense because, being identified with my ego, I have been most adept and marking out a special place of unworthiness in the construct of my self image.  It's just as much a defense against God as believing I am superior to others, which I have also done.  And I personally have learned to be especially attentive to the spiritual arrogance of specialness to which you referred.  I have had some very sobering moments of clarity regarding this kind of mindset that I am much more quick these days to recognize when I am slipping into a perspective of false holiness and intellectual superiority.

In the Course it says that only the ego can be humbled as spirit is at perfect peace with its glory for it is a grandeur that is an extension of the beauty of God rather than the grandiosity of the ego which is the result of its attempt to cover over its inherent weaknesses.

My issues with addiction may not be perfectly resolved according to the standards my ego would demand of me for my past efforts and desires to be free of substance dependancy of all kinds; but my increased motivation for and actual turning to the Holy Spirit in relation to this challenge have deepened and enriched my awareness of the presence of His Spirit in my life.  I am learning how to turn to Him more often and more deeply at the same time I am gaining a greater appreciation for His perspective on the world I see over my ego based view with the distortions that have led me to such states of misery for so long that it is a refreshing release to invite a new vision into my mind.

jjesseph: "That is, forgiveness is about undoing the ego thought system -- i.e., the thought system of specialness -- and that requires first of all learning to look at it objectively and without judgment as it plays out in one's own mind, seen both in thoughts and behavior within the illusion of bodies and their special relationships.

To look without judgment in this way means to look right-mindedly or to look with Jesus who represents our right mind and is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit whose Atonement principle forms the basis for the right-minded thought system."

This is a wonderful point on judgment and forgiveness.  A few years ago on a Yahoo group for Course students I asked if refraining from making a judgment was the same thing as forgiveness.  The answer I got was yest it was.  This was very helpful for me at the time because of where I was at in my understanding of forgiveness and the nature of projection in the whole dynamic of judgment and condemnation.  Refraining from making a judgment on another became an initial step in my seeing how I could then see that it was my own "sins" that I was judging my brother for.  Of course after much time and much observation and just looking at how I chose to view others I gradually began to see that to release another from my judgment was to begin the process of undoing guilt in my own mind.

I still have so much to learn and I am grateful to all who participate in these forums.  Sometimes I find myself frustrated because my family and friends are so very unfamiliar with the metaphysics of the Course and I have to be careful not to slip into the need to proselytize for the Course in an attempt to justify that spiritual arrogance which arises when my ego is given authority and dominion over my identity as a student of A Course in Miracles.  So I am ever most grateful that I can speak of the principles of the Course here free of the need to convince and overcome varying viewpoints (though I have done this anyway as I have noticed here in there in my posts LoL).  My attachment to the dream is thick indeed and I am just grateful as all get out that God is infinitely patient for He has nothing to lose for nothing that is real could ever be lost.  In this I am comforted and reminded that ultimately I need do nothing except not to interfere.


Peace Is With Us


Ru'el
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2008 - 4:04PM #5
jjesseph
Posts: 178
> I recently read either in one of your posts Joe or on the
>  FACIM Q & A site that it is not so much what you do as it is
> with who or Whom you do it. I'm still seeking further
> clarification on how that works out in my relationship
> with the Holy Spirit and the process in which I think about the
> challenges I face and how I can more effectively bring them
> to the light of His interpretation.

I'm not sure I understand the clarification you're seeking, Ru'el. Looks to me like you're pretty clear on the basics of looking. Maybe it's the asking for help and accepting it part that is unclear. What complicates that is that deep within ourselves we don't want the very help we ask for because we know that it ultimately means the dissolution of this ego self that we think we are. We want help on our terms -- on the ego's terms. We want to be right rather than happy (T-29.VII.1). We want a solution to the problem the way we have set it up and defined it (T-27.VII.2), which is to say that we want to solve problems at the level of the body as well as keep our self identity, but have it be a happier, more satisfied one. We want a better ego. Deeply, inwardly where we embrace the ego and cling to guilt, we want nothing to do with Jesus and the Self of Christ he holds out to us.

The point of that comment about who or Whom we do things with (which sounds like it came from the FACIM Q-A Web site) is that we as mind always have a choice whether to take Jesus or the ego as our teacher and guide. In other words, the comment is about the miracle which involves changing our mind from thinking with the ego thought system to thinking with the Holy Spirit thought system. The thought system we choose to accept at the level of mind determines how we will perceive in the illusory world and how we perceive determines how we will behave within the illusion. It's not the behavior that is important, but how we perceive. And we only have two choices in that: 1) perceive separation and seek specialness with the ego, or 2) perceive oneness, brotherhood, and allow forgiveness with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

The process of changing our mind -- changing our teacher and guide -- involves first of all honestly observing the choices we continually make for the ego -- choices for specialness in one form or another. I think you expressed the essence of it when you commented: "I personally have learned to be especially attentive to the spiritual arrogance of specialness to which you referred. I have had some very sobering moments of clarity regarding this kind of mindset that I am much more quick these days to recognize when I am slipping into a perspective of false holiness and intellectual superiority."

Once we recognize that we have chosen the ego as our guide we're in a position to step back and ask Jesus or the Holy Spirit to help us see things differently. Then the question has to do with our willingness to accept the help we've asked for.

The rest of your remarks indicate to me that you're really quite familiar with the vigilance against the ego that the ongoing process of forgiveness requires.

Even so, many times we may see that we've chosen the ego's pursuit of specialness yet be unwilling to ask for help, or if we ask, really unwilling to accept the help that is there. In those cases I think it's useful to just acknowledge that we're pushing Jesus (love, the Holy Spirit) away and whether we openly acknowledge it or not, are basically saying: "I'm going to do this my way. I'm going to do what I think will make me happy. I choose specialness. To hell with holiness!"

- Joe
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