Friday, May 13, 2016

Form, Content and the Holy Spirit

I was, again, reminded of just how much life there is in a creek. There are microscopic, few-celled, and larger (but still very small) organisms there. There are also tadpoles, frogs, crayfish and ducks that make this their home. There is organic muck that feeds small-celled plant life and algae. The few-celled live off the microscopic plant life and single celled organisms. Larger insects live off the few-celled. Tadpoles live of the larvae of the larger insects. Frogs live off the insects and some of the tadpoles. Ducks and crows eat the smaller frogs. It’s a natural cycle.
Life (with a capital “L”) was revered by all indigenous cultures. All Life, including human, was respected. There was no hierarchy of valued Life. Life was Life. Most called Life some form of “Spirit.” Regardless, Life was eternal, revered, and respected. These “primitive” people understood the natural cycle of Life and lived within that cycle. They understood that Life was eternal, simply changing its form as it migrated from death to rebirth to death again: Insects to tadpoles to frogs to poop and carcass to plants and algae to insects.…..
Life itself hadn’t gone anywhere. Only its form had changed. I recognized that Truth all over again as I was in the creek. A Course in Miracles (ACIM) considers this to be a significant learning exercise for each of us – namely, to begin understanding the difference between form and content.
As Robert Perry describes in the Glossary of Terms from A Course in Miracles [Circle Publishing, 2005]: Form and Content – “Two aspects possessed by things in this world; the shape (form) something takes – the words, images, or behavior it is clothed in – and the essential meaning (content) which that form is meant to communicate. The ego disregards content, believing that the form is the content, the form is the meaning…. It thinks that problems are matters of form and that the solution lies in changing the form. The Holy Spirit sees the form as neutral, as inherently meaningless and content-free. Because His only concern is the content, He will adapt form to suit the need…. We must realize that what will save us is not a change in form but a change in content – a change in the meaning we see in things.”
To change the meaning I see in things, events, situations, or people, I need the Holy Spirit. It is beyond my capability to forcefully will myself – by myself – to see things with the meaning seen by the Holy Spirit. As I wrote in my book, How the Bible became the Bible [Infinity Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-007414-2993-3], much of the biblical writings are attempts by people as they tried to describe the power of God or their transformation via Jesus using very inadequate human words. Many now believe the Truth of only the words, themselves, rather than identifying with the transformations that have occurred in their own lives – which is beyond description or explanation. In short, biblical literalists are relying on the written form [words] of scripture rather than the content [their own and the writers’ transformations].
From the Text of ACIM [14.X.7-8]: 7. The only judgment involved is the … division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love. [This requires the Holy Spirit because] You cannot safely make this division, for you are much too confused either to recognize love, or to believe that everything else is nothing but a call for love. You are too bound to form, and not to content. What you consider content is not content at all. It is merely form, and nothing else. For you do not respond to what a brother really offers you, but only to [your] particular perception of his offering by which the ego judges it.
8. The ego is incapable of understanding content, and is totally unconcerned with it. To the ego, if the form is acceptable the content must be. Otherwise it will attack the form. If you believe you understand something of the "dynamics" of the ego, let me assure you that you understand nothing of it. For of yourself you could not understand it. The study of the ego is not the study of the mind. In fact, the ego enjoys studying itself, and thoroughly approves the undertakings of students who would "analyze" it, thus approving its importance. Yet they but study form with meaningless content.…
The cycle of Life: Dead insects and plant life to soil to vegetation to deer to me and, eventually, back to soil again. Life doesn’t stop. Its content is eternal. It simply changes its form. I need this constant reminder from nature to help me stay on track. Perhaps, some day, I will be able to discern my reliance on form rather than content without the prodding of natural cycles. Perhaps I will be able to routinely ask the Holy Spirit to help me see things as either an act of Love or a call for Love.
As I stated last week, “I have to understand, on a visceral level, who the “Me” or “I” really is when I am speaking or thinking. The “I” that says to myself, “I really need a newer, more reliable car” is a different “I” than the one that says to my Holy Spirit, “I can’t do this anymore. Help me perceive things the way You see them.”
#3 May 2016

Copyright 2016

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