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#2380- Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

Leo Hartong responds to two questions. This material is taken from the Awakening to the Dream newsletter, published by Leo:   Leo's books are recommended:        

Question: I have major issues with world hunger, mistreatment of people, child abuse, etc. Yet I've been in the presence of people who proclaim it's all an illusion.

If it is an illusion, does that mean that those people are not being harmed, are not hungry or hurting? I tend to take action where I can to make their lives better (even in typing that I realize it sounds like I'm making myself God) and yet I've long believed that "God" does not directly do everything, but gives people the opportunity to rise in His stead and make the world a safer more loving place. And I don't see that changing anytime soon. Rather I find those people who don't get involved as pious and heartless in their safe little minds and do not understand how they can use ACIM etc., as their platform.

Can you address the dichotomy of these two views?

Answer: The two views are not necessarily mutually exclusive, nor does asserting that the world of appearances is an illusion deny the presence of suffering; on the contrary, the belief in its reality is often cited as a major contributor to the appearance of suffering.

There are endless occurrences, including, dancing, thinking, feeling and suffering. There is going to the dentist, doing the shopping, reading books and having opinions. Non-duality has very little to say about all this various happenings, but invites the apparent person to investigate to who or what all this appears.

Non-duality draws attention to the page under the words, to the screen behind the movie and to the Consciousness in which all dancing and suffering appears. It does not argue with any opinion or belief one holds, but investigates the 'I' that is assumed to hold those beliefs and opinions.

When this is looked into, the peace beyond the agitation and the clarity beyond belief may be re-cognized as the true nature of each and all, even of those that seem to suffer a great deal.

This insight does not interfere with natural arising compassion, nor does it solve the perceived problems of the world. It may, however, put it all in its proper perspective. And, even though this perceptiveness is not a 'doing' in the usual sense of the word, it may somehow turn out to be the kindest thing One can 'do' for this good old world of ours.

Question: Hi, I hope you can clarify some thoughts of mine.

Since I (as an individual) do not really exist, how do I go about living in an environment of people who actually don't exist? For what purpose would it serve other than Pure Awareness experiencing its earthly dream of "being" different characters?

If everything around this "me" is the experiences of Pure Awareness, then anything "I" do really doesn't matter, right? If this is so, how do "I" as a conscious being, existing in a dream go about living this dream life with any joy?

I believe what you have said in your book is true. I just don't know how to go forward now that I realize I don't exist....... do I just suck it up, the good along with the bad and accept that my participation is inconsequential?

Answer: Please do not simply believe what I have said in the book, but verify it. Also remember that the words are only pointers to something beyond the reach of words; just like the lake is beyond the signpost that points to it. Obviously, when you want to go for a swim, merely believing, instead of following the direction indicated by the signpost, will not result in a refreshing dip in the water.

If it is actually clear that there is no individual, then who is there to believe what was written? Who needs to go forward, and who needs to participate?

The 'message' in these words may appear bleak from the 'I' perspective. It seems to suggest meaninglessness and helplessness, but this is not to where the signpost points.

When it is seen that all activity is of the One, then it is also seen that this has always been the case. We may say things like "I think." or "I breathe." but on investigation it is clear that every thought, every breath, every act, has never been done by a separate you and yet, here you are. Even the idea of a separate 'you' is 'done' by the One; just like a wave is 'done' by the ocean.

To the apparent character this may seem like losing the initiative, but in reality it never was the possessor of the initiative. You are not simply a limited character, but THAT to -and in which- the idea of such a character appears.

Seeing this is again not done by a 'you' but it is the One Seeing. For the 'person' this adds up to helplessness, and it is the end of who or what we think we are. However, since we are not what we think we are, it is only the end of an illusion. The separate person was never real in the first place, so it is the end of a non existing entity. It all adds up to zero.

When there is a falling back into the Source, it turns out to be liberation rather then obliteration; liberation from doership and authority, from blame and fame. Instantly life is known to be effortlessly living AS you, and no longer as being lived BY you.

Presently, the thoughts appear and disappear, there is breathing in and out, the heart beats and the metabolism does its job. All this is directly seen without a 'someone' making an effort. There is no 'you' who is doing any of this and there never was, yet everything is going on by and of itself.

Participating, as you call it, may or may not happen, but only as a play in Consciousness, as there is no real separation that allows for an independent participator or doer. Perhaps there will be a walk in the woods, a cup of tea, reading the newspaper, a dark mood, a smile, or doing the shopping; again, all happening AS you, rather then by or to you.

In and through all this spontaneous activity there might be the same surprised wonder as expressed by the Zen monk who, on finding out that there is no personal doer, wrote: "Miraculous power and marvelous activity! Drawing water and hewing wood."

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