10/16/2005

The Voice for God
Breath, Word, Thought,Sound:

If you do the lessons of A Course in Miracles with “effort and great willingness” to see an alternative to your present condition, you will experience an alternative. This is a miraculous undertaking with miraculous results. What other text can make such a claim? The question arises, how can such an illumination occur? How can the language, how can the words on a page, effect an illumination of my mind?

There are three ways of looking at this question. The first two have to do with the content and structure of a line, and how they are seamlessly blended. For example, read aloud the title of Lesson 132:

I loose the world from all I thought it was.

First the content. I “loose” means to break up, let go. To “loosen” is the root meaning of dissolve, resolve, solve. I loosen my hold on seeing the world as I habitually “thought” it. “Thought” takes on the meaning of “I thought it was this way or that way,” and simultaneously it means I thought the world into existence. It “all” begins with a thought in my mind.

Read the sentence aloud again. You probably postured your voice like this, stressing the syllables in caps:

i LOOSE the WORLD from ALL i THOUGHT it WAS.

This is the rhythm of iambic pentameter, the perfect blend of sound and sense, the structure of the language. This blend might be taken for granted, unless you realize that you can also have one or the other, for example:

You GET the re SULTS of your THINK ing.

This statement is absolutely true, yet it is prose not poetry, having no regular pattern to the slacks and stresses.

Or you can have a regular pattern of sound without True sense:

Be STILL my BEAT ing HEART.

That there is a heart that beats is a thought that can be loosed.

We looked at only one line from A Course in Miracles:

I loose the world from all I thought it was.

There is no question that the entire Course is written with the perfect blend of content and structure.

After dealing with the illuminative effect of content and structure, we look at the third element, the medium of the Course. The medium is not the text, not the pages. The medium is something we experience moment-to-moment while reading the words on the page. The medium is ever-present. The medium carries the message. The message is conveyed by the medium. The medium is breath.

Words are carried on the breath. Words contain thoughts. The breath and words and thoughts ride on the sound of the voice. The voice is where the illumination occurs. We listen to the Voice for God that replaces our habitual voice. It is an action of the mind. It occurs in the mind.

Those last sentences rode on a gush of passion, but let’s be very exacting when we say that words ride on the breath. Otherwise, it stays just a lovely metaphor.
Read this sentence aloud:

Let me learn to give the past away, realizing that in so doing I am giving up nothing.

Read it aloud again, yet this time place your hand on your chest and begin. What you may discover is that just before reading it, you took a breath, and your chest swelled as you took it in. You may have paused at the first comma, took another breath just before saying “realizing,” and then either completed the sentence or perhaps stopped between “doing” and “I,” a possible caesura, or break in the line. This demonstrates that words are carried on the breath, and it is not just a figure of speech.

Let’s break it down some more. Say the first word of the sentence, “Let.”

Observe exactly what happens in your vocal apparatus as you utter the word.

Your breath vibrates through your vocal cords. The tip of your tongue closes against your upper palate, just behind your teeth. The sound slides around both sides of your tongue, passing the inside of your cheeks, that slightly squeeze in. That is just for the “L” sound. Your tongue releases, the breath flows over the tongue, making the “eh” sound. Your tongue snaps shut just behind your teeth, slightly forward from when it rested before, and forcefully snaps open, forming the “t” sound.

Never again will the word riding on a breath be simply a metaphor.

Every word you speak can be described in a similar manner, yet with a much more precise vocabulary, by an expert in phonetics who uses 44 symbols representing the sounds, or more accurately, phonemes, of American English.

That covers breath and words. Now for the thoughts contained in words. The sentence you read, Let me learn to give ... appears in Lesson 52, a review lesson, relating back to Lesson 8. Remember, we are reading the lessons with “effort and great willingness” to transform our minds. On day 8 we are told, My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts. Now on day 52 our breath carries these words, and we are saying the words of Jesus. Read the sentence again:

Let me learn to give the past away, realizing that in so doing I am giving up nothing.

You might paraphrase it, “I am invoking all the power in my mind to allow myself to give thoughts of the past away.” And when I come to the word “realizing,” I take in a deep, very deep breath, breathing in the literal meaning of making real Real. In that moment, breathing in Reality I give up nothing, because there is only Reality. I am breathing in the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit. The word “spirit” comes from a Latin word meaning, literally, “to breathe.” When I am inspired, I am breathing in the Voice of God.

Of course, words and thoughts have great power. As these ideas were coming into my mind, I came across a “Wizard of Id” cartoon, illustrating the power of the word. We see the Wizard sitting at a desk in his laboratory-study, leafing through a dictionary. In the first six frames of an eight-frame cartoon, he goes through the alphabet in his mind looking for a word in the dictionary. In the seventh frame he finds his word, “Levitation,” and in the last frame he is saying the word, “Levitation” and simultaneously levitating.

And now we come to sound. We use our breath to carry the words of Jesus, and we are comforted. One way to get at sound is to talk about tone. When a phone rings in another room, and someone you know very well answers it, even if you cannot hear the words spoken, you can tell by the tone of voice who your friend is talking to. The tone of voice reveals the attitude of the listener towards the person on the line. If you were to hear passages from the Course read in another room, you would hear Jesus’ tone of voice, which is only love.

Read aloud these passages:

The Holy Spirit has given you love’s messengers to send instead of those you trained through fear. They will be as careful to let no little act of charity, no tiny expression of forgiveness, no little breath of love escape their notice. T-19.IV(A).14:1,4

The little breath of eternity that runs through time like golden light is all the same; nothing before it, nothing afterwards. T-20.v. 5:8

Into this empty space, from which the goal of sin has been removed, is heaven free to be remembered. Here its peace can come, and perfect healing take the place of death. The body can become a sign of life, a promise of redemption, and a breath of immortality to those grown sick of breathing in the fetid scent of death. T-27.I.10:1-3

Lesson 267:
My heart is beating in the peace of God.
Surrounding me is all the life that God created in His Love. It calls to me in every heartbeat and in every breath; In every action and in every thought. Peace fills my heart, and floods my body with the purpose of forgiveness. Now my mind is healed, and all I need to save the world is given me. Each heartbeat brings me peace; each breath infuses me with strength. I am a messenger of God, directed by His Voice, sustained by Him in love, and held forever quiet and at peace within His loving Arms. Each heartbeat calls His Name, and every one is answered by His voice, assuring me I am at home in Him.

And now for the last portion of the title of this Part, “The Voice for God.” During the past several days as I breathed in these ideas, I “by chance” came across Section 11 of “The Voice for God” in Chapter 5, “Healing and Wholeness.” I was astonished at the emphasis in this section on voice and call and the Holy Spirit.

The principle of Atonement and the separation began at the same time. When the ego was made God placed in the mind the call to joy. This call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at its sound. T-5.II.3:1-2

There we are. When I read a line from the Course, my breath carries into my mind the Spirit of God, and my little ego voice loosens and dissolves at the sound of it.

That is why you must choose to hear one of two voices within you. One you made yourself, and that one is not of God. But the other is given you by God, who asks you only to listen to it. The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense. His is the Voice that calls you back to where you were before and will be again. It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn. It is the final lesson that I learned, and God’s Sons are as equal as learners as they are as sons. T-5.II.3:4-11

Now I am so habituated to the voice I made myself that I am not aware of it. The contrast with the Holy Spirit’s Voice brings me into the awareness of my habitual, narratizing voice. How can I possibly loosen it until I know it is there? This process of becoming aware is precisely analogous to the process of becoming aware of how you pronounced the word “let.”

You have been saying words since you were an infant. Until a few minutes ago, were you ever aware of how your mouth moved to make words? Now that you know, say “let.” How can you ever again be innocent of an experience that was so habitual that you were unaware of its existence? After doing even a few lessons of the Course, how can you ever again be innocent of the voice you made that was so habitual? Once you experience how you made a world with your little breath, and experience the Call of the Voice of the Holy Spirit in the next breath, can you ever again be satisfied with your little voice?

The Holy Spirit is the spirit of joy. He is the Call to return with which God blessed the minds of His separated Sons. This is the vocation of the mind. T-5.II.2:1-3
The root meaning of “vocation” is a “calling.” It is our job, our function, to answer the Call. My will is Your Will. It is our duty. It requires our full endeavor. The root
meaning of “endeavor” comes from a Middle English word “to exert oneself” in the sense of doing your “duty.” It is our duty to answer the Call to wake up.

The mind had no calling until the separation, because before that it had only being, and would not have understood the call to right thinking. T-5.II.2:4

The Holy Spirit calls you both to remember and to forget. T-5.II.6:1

Both Heaven and earth are in you, because the call of both is in your mind. T-5.II.8:5

What better vocation could there be for any part of the Kingdom than to restore it to the perfect integration that can make it whole? Hear only this through the Holy Spirit within you, and teach your brothers to listen as I am teaching you. T-5.II.10:9-10

“...to restore…to hear…to listen.” The Holy Voice is within us already, always. “Restore” is a reminder to re-awaken, to re-experience what we already are.

The Voice for God comes from your own altars to him. These altars are not things; they are devotions.T-5.II.8:6-7

Altars are devotions, and “devote” comes from a word meaning “to vow,” to voice our willingness to undo the “little voice,” the one you made yourself.

This mind is unequivocal, because it hears only one Voice and answers in only one way. T-5.II.10:2

The root meaning of “unequivocal” is “voc,” meaning voice. Equivocal means equal voices, a balance between listening to the ego voice, and to the Voice of the Holy Spirit. Jesus goes on to define “unequivocal” as meaning “hearing only one Voice.”

Father, I am so grateful for breathing in these words and thoughts and sounds. I ask only to be an instrument for expressing these ideas. They were received and now they are given. What else is there to do?

Thank you, Father.

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