THE 'self' CONSTRUCT
This transcription is taken from a one-on-one dialogue between David and a student of A Course in Miracles. The topics of discussion are the self concept, victimization and the subject / object split. This conversation also makes a general reference to lesson 80 in the workbook, "Let me recognize my problems have been solved".
ACIM student: For me, there was an opening when I felt that I was really in a pit in my life. Just out of the feeling of desperation there was a willingness to open up to something else. It seems that is often the case with people. As along as things seem to be going along smoothly then the desire to question and to look at what is going on isn't there, there is no motivation for it. But when things have obviously gone amuck, there's a greater readiness and willingness to take a look and see what's possible.
David: In some sense when things have gone amuck in my perception, I've got a perceptual problem. It really isn't sane to project the problems, chaos and conflict of the world onto God. As if God knows about it but chooses not to do anything about it. Any attempt to make a connection between God and the fragmented run- amuck world is still an attempt to evade the responsibility I have in my own mind for my state of mind. Peace is a choice that I can make but when I choose to perceive myself as a victim or as part of a world run amuck, there is a distortion in my perception that needs correction.
ACIM student: The world never has run amuck. My mind has run amuck! Let's talk about the concept of victimizations and all the different forms that that takes and how the concept really is not possible except in a deceived [sleeping] mind.
David: To even have a sense of a victim or a victimizer, you have to have two.
ACIM student: There we go again!
David: You have to have subject / object to have a victim and a victimizer. As you said earlier when you talked a bit about the metaphysics, conveniently for the mind that has two thought systems [ego-fear and Holy Spirit-love] there is such an intolerable condition that the split gets projected out. Therefore the world serves the purpose of reinforcing that the split is in the world. It is on the smoke screen so to speak, it is on the projection - it's on the screen and not in my mind which is where the construct would be seen as a construct. It would literally be seen then that there is no problem. Some of the early experiences of being helpless or victimized are by parents, which are just part of my construct. I've set it up so that I can seem to perceive myself as victimized as a person by other bigger people.
ACIM student: At least dependent upon. I guess dependency is another form of victimization. I set it up so that physically, for instance, I am dependent on my parents to provide food and clothing and shelter as well as emotional needs.
David: The scarcity and the lack of believing in an ego is then projected out onto the world so that the world seems to be a place of scarcity. So now I am a subject [a person] in an objective world outside of me. This is a world of kill or be killed, where you have to fight for what you get and to keep your head above water. The meaning can be read into it may be that I am a dependent little child that will die unless I get food and shelter from mom and dad.
ACIM student: I am helpless, of myself. I have to count on there adults in my world to take care of me.
David: That's a construct. We're back to it being a construct. Then you might have other children, siblings, as part of that construct. My older brother, my younger sister. There's a competition going on there and I seem to be victimized. At some point I seem to be victimized and at some points I seem to be playing the victimizer role, the teaser and the tormenter. Then you go to school and there are teachers. The teachers have rules. Now I have to sit in a particular seat in a seating pattern perhaps or do things, start and stop activities. This can be perceived as a battle for control. Or church with ministers and Sunday school teachers. This construct of victim and victimizer of otherness come in many different forms. If the person seems to be an adult, which is a construct, or a child which is also a construct.
ACIM student: The mind is always wanting to see inequality, essentially. So whenever there is inequality, somebody is always going to be dependent and the victim.
David: The deceived mind always needs the split in the world to be a distraction from the split in the mind. It doesn't want to see that. It is just a decision. You have military and IRS and police departments and officers. Literally we could bring it back to talking about the authority problem. There are authority issues all the way through with any of these and basically there is an authority issue with God in the sense that the true self, the true spirit is one, is whole and complete. It is abstract. To believe that I am a person in a world [the subject / object split] is to literally deny my reality and to make up something that isn't real. The pain of that belief that I could separate from God then gets covered over by this construct and these concepts of the self that's now a substitute. It's another kingdom that's been made up. The kingdom of time and space and form.
ACIM student: The idea of victimization really depends on the belief in separation and the whole authority problem. And worked in through all that is this idea of wanting to or needing to be in control.
David: The belief that one can actually be unfairly treated, by another person, by the world or by society. It has been setup [the world] to see that split and to emphasize that difference between the subject and object, which is literally a choice in the mind.
ACIM student: Okay, so lets bring this into what feels like a practical kind of realm. Address the issue of being abused as a child by a parent.
David: Okay, well first of all, from what we've been talking about this can be perceived as a problem. There can be a lot of pain or upset associated with it. The pain is coming from that sense of being victimized.
ACIM student: The belief that that was the was it was… that particular interpretation of being victimized is where the pain stems from.
David: Yes. That's a construct. Before you can have a belief that you were victimized by a parent we'll say, first comes the subject / object split. You have to believe that you are a person, that you are a body or in a body in the world. That the circumstance took place and it wasn't your choice. There was no decision or choice involved in this. That it happened to you as a person.
ACIM student: And that something outside my mind could bring me hurt or distress or upset of any kind.
David: If I believe I'm a body and I set up certain boundaries such as psychological and physical boundaries I can even say I have certain inalienable rights as a person, and I believe that there are other persons out there who can violate those rights then I have set up that construct too. I believe that there are things that can invade my personal space that are violations of my personhood and that are against my will.
ACIM student: So you're saying that if I think that I have any personal rights related to this body and how it is used in relationship to other bodies, that this is nothing more than a construct.
David: Exactly. It's made up, fictitious. So, one can have the illusion of being violated. It could be something one might say as traumatic as being physically or verbally or sexually abused to someone frowning at you, or ignoring you or failing to give praise or compliment in a particular situation. These appear to be degrees of rejection or of violation or victimization or however you choose to word it, when in a sense it's all within the construct. The mind has to believe that it is that construct before that can happen. There's an ordering of thoughts. There is a belief that there is something outside of me that can take away my peace. That has to be questioned. The construct has to be questioned, it has to be stepped back from and seen as a construct.
ACIM student: So, the very idea that I have rights about my body feels to me like it rests on my desire to be in control. And that desire to be in control rests on the fear that I'm not in control.
David: You think you're given a little band of time between birth and death to choose and to do and to be as you would like to be. It's kind of like getting a blank canvas and a paint set and saying `okay, it's yours - go to it!'. And then you may be painting along and having a good time and then someone seems to come up and start to throw and smatter paint onto your painting! Or to pull at the canvas and to rip and tear the canvas. Or as you are painting a delicate detail that really is precise that you really want to be a certain way, someone comes up and bumps your hand and the paint smears. These seem to be violations. And this is a metaphor of course for what so called life in this world seems to be for a mind that believes that it's a construct or a concept. It says,"Hey! I've got my uniqueness. I've got my individuality. I'll share some things with you and we may be able to agree on some things, but I'll always be a separate person." In a sense, that's where the control comes in because it is perceived as if there are forces, external situations, and people that are taking away or eroding the `me' that I believe in. And until it is all seen as a made up construct, there can be no peace.
ACIM student: The horror of being out of control is really the horror of no longer having this construct or self concept to cling to.
David: Yes. And what is the alternative if I let go of this construct, then what? There is a voice in the mind, the ego, counseling that you would be obliterated, you will be annihilated. You won't be you, there will be nothing left. You'll be destroyed. The spirit in the mind is reminding that you will be you. You are you. But as you hold yourself as a concept you do not know the magnitude of your own identity and your own reality. So, the spirit is advising, reminding and counseling the mind to let go.
ACIM student: So while the ego is saying, `It's going to be the worst thing that ever could happen', the Holy Spirit is saying, `Ahh! If you only knew how wonderful the experience will be!'.
David: And, what are the implications of this? There is no racism in the world. Oh! What a statement. There is no sexism in the world. Huh! There is no ageism. There is no bigotry.
ACIM student: Where have you been? (laughing)
David: Yes, what place are you talking about? What we're talking about is of course, that all of those perceives inequalities and problems are projected in order, once again, so that the mind will not have to look at the subject / object split in the mind. These two irreconcilable thought systems in the mind is where the problem is. So I can crusade against racism and go out and try to convince other persons, other bodies to start to shape up and think better. To pass laws. All the different controversies and social issues… it seems ludicrous in the world to say that there are no problems. Are we talking pie in the sky when we bring it back to this being all a construct? All these complexities and layers and levels of problems from the inter-psychic levels to global or international problems. With every single level, they were all made to obscure the simplicity that the split is in the mind not in the world, that the problem is in the mind and not in the world, and that the problem has been solved. There is no problem. Once the mind can step back and see the world as nothing more than ideas, as nothing more than it's own construct, then in a sense it sees that it's the dreamer of the dream. It's not in the dream, not a figure in the dream battling against other figures and forces of a wild and crazy dream. Once that's realized then the dream can be let go of. It's a very happy dream for the dreamer when he sees that he is the dreamer of it, that he is the cause of it.
ACIM student: Because then he sees that there's nothing that goes on within the dream that matters.
David: Mmm Hmm. In the ultimate sense we shift into time because having said, "he sees he is the dreamer of the dream or the cause of it" … that more accurately could be said that the dreamer can see that he was the dreamer…
ACIM student: That it's over and done, it's past.
David: That it's over and done. That it only seemed to have an existence in the past. That it has no existence now. That is where we really get into the time thing about the unholy instant and the holy instant.
ACIM student: Because the only thing that can have existence now is what is real. When you recognize that the dream is not real, then it can't be something that's held in the present moment. It has to be something that was of the past.
David. All those lines in the course about `the past is gone' start to click in. Literally the construct is past, literally from that point we talked about when the construct is seen as a construct…the awareness of that involves the awareness that the construct is past.
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