Ladder Separation Led You Down
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Outline of The Myth of the
"Ladder Separation Led You Down"1

An Interpretation of some Metaphysical Principals in
A Course in Miracles©

By Joe Jesseph
based on original formulations by Kenneth Wapnick


The following outlines a myth because it is speaks as though time and space were real, and as though the separation "happened" in stages.  It is helpful to me because it outlines what seemed to happen in the mind and how the Course process of forgiveness leads to acceptance of the Atonement.

The myth proceeds through a series of stages of splitting within the mind until the illusion of a physical cosmos is projected.  While each stage can be discussed at some length, and as though these stages took place over time, my understanding is that the acceptance of the premise of separation leads immediately to all of its illusory consequences in the mind, and these imagined consequences are simultaneously swallowed back up (canceled) by the Atonement principle, so that none of this actually happened.  It does not exist in time.  It is more meaningful to me to say that it happens and is undone in each present moment.  This is to say that it happens and does not happen in the present.  When the mind chooses to believe it happens, time seems real.

Thus, all of the "scripts" of all of the permutations and combinations separation seems to make possible are written and canceled in a moment, which is not a phenomenon of time.

Each script (life situation - relationship) we seem to experience is holographic in nature, containing both the ego and the Holy Spirit's version.  What seems to us to be a choice, is merely the choice of which version of any experience we will choose to review.

We but undertake a journey that is over.  Yet it seems to have a  future still unknown to us." (W-pI.158.3:6-7)

For we but see the journey from the point at which it ended, looking back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by  (W-pI.158.4:5).

"We" as egos are not real.  The myth is helpful because "we" think we're real.  This is to say that the Course itself is a myth  

Outline of the Myth

First Split:   Consciousness -- an awareness of "me" and "not me" -- the idea of separation, that there could be a separate Father and Son -- the idea that choice is possible.

Second Split:  The first split is accepted as truth -- the premise of separation is accepted and the ego thought system is chosen -- the Son essentially becomes the ego -- God is perceived as separate and the belief that Heaven (Oneness) can be destroyed is taken seriously -- the memory of God/Heaven/Oneness remains in the mind, but is forgotten within the ego thought system, hence the mind seems to be split between two thought systems, both of which cannot coexist in awareness since their premises are diametrically opposed and lead to entirely different outcomes.

The ego thought system demands the belief in sin and guilt.  Guilt is the idea that God has been destroyed and the consequent fear is intolerable within the mind.  The alternative to sin (memory of God) has been forgotten, dissociated, repressed, and denied.

                          "Forgetfulness and sleep and even death become the
                          ego's best advice for dealing with the perceived and harsh
                          intrusion of guilt on peace." (T-13.XI:1-1)

Third Split:   The ego thought system invents "God" now seen as separate,
vengeful, and responsible for the separation (The story of the Garden of Eden -- the God of the Bible).  The ego "God" is a projection which serves the defensive function of assigning responsibility (guilt) to God and not the Son.  Still, the fear of God is intolerable so escape is necessary -- escape from the mind.

Fourth Split:  The big bang -- the illusory universe is projected as an escape from God ("where God can enter not") -- this is a world of continuing fragmentation which the premise of its thought system demands, driven by guilt and fear.  It is a world where differences are perceived as real and become quite important, lending themselves to analysis as well as the assigning of guilt through projection.  It is a world of victims and victimizers.  It is at this level that the scripts implicit in the first split seem to be experienced by us as separate individuals.  Each fragment of this shattered, and shattering, universe remain holographic.

The sense of identity of the Son of God can be thought of as shifting with each level of split.  At the second level the Son identifies as separate and without a mind that has the power to choose.  Guilt and fear are implicit.  At this level, though, the ego thought system has not yet fragmented into multiplying numbers of separate ego identities.  The Son seems to be one, but now in a relationship (i.e.: with God).

At the third level of split the Son identifies as victim and projects a frightening "God" who must be appeased or escaped.  Projecting responsibility for the separation onto God, the Son identifies as an innocent victim.  (God exiled him from Heaven -- from the Garden of Eden -- guilt is denied.)

At the fourth level the Son appears to be hopelessly fragmented, believing he is us living in a fearful world which requires still further defensive strategies since fear and guilt have not really been escaped, but remain hidden in the unconscious mind of the Son.

The identity of the Son of God, then goes from Oneness to separation, from mind to mindlessness, from being a decision maker having the power to choose, to being a victim of circumstances beyond his control.  At this level, where the Course addresses us (especially early in the Text) it seems meaningful to talk as though each fragment has a mind, and each fragment can be invited to remember that he has a mind, can choose, and can remember God.  These seemingly separated minds remain holographic containing both the ego thought system and the memory of God -- the Holy Spirit -- which is still available in a world that sought to escape Him.  Those who undertake to learn their lessons of forgiveness can become "teachers of God" as they learn to listen to the Holy Spirit in their minds and to manifest him to the world which seems lost in "sin" (separation and the motivations of the ego).

Everyone who follows the world's curriculum, and everyone here does follow it until he changes his mind, teaches solely to convince himself that he is what he is not.  Herein is the purpose of the world.  What else, then, would its curriculum be?  Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers.  And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete.

Except for God's teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real.  The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception.  And what else is hell? This is a manual for the teachers of God.  They are not perfect, or they would not be here."  (M-IN.4:4-8; 5:1-5)

Now the process of undoing seems necessary -- of unlearning the ego thought system.  The concept of forgiveness is relevant and can be understood by the brain which processes word symbols.  The concept of miracles applies.  Using these concepts the Course can serve as a guide as we begin our gradual ascent (forgiveness lesson by forgiveness lesson) back up the ladder separation led us down.  The end of this process is the "real world".  The process is characterized by not allowing perceived differences to make a difference, which requires perception informed by the Holy Spirit or the "right mind."  Relationships are transformed by forgiveness from victimization, blame and attack to the perception of brotherhood.

A miracle is a correction.  It does not create, nor really change at all.  It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false.  It undoes error, but does not attempt to go beyond perception, nor exceed the function of forgiveness.  Thus it stays within time's limits.  Yet it paves the way for the return of timelessness and love's awakening, for fear must slip away under the gentle remedy it brings ( W-pII.13.1).

In order for the process of forgiveness to proceed, each of us fragmented sons must accept responsibility for the scripts we experience.  That is, we must accept the power of decision and the responsibility for having believed in separation and chosen the ego thought system -- having identified as ego ("Me and mine"). Otherwise, we continue to identify as victims and we appeal to magic.  We remain with a sense of separate identity which includes believing that the Holy Spirit brings us lessons, rather than discovering that we are the Son of God; that these illusory bodies can become the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.

All that the ego is, is an idea that it is possible that things could happen to the Son of God without his will; and thus without the Will of his Creator, Whose Will cannot be separate from his own (T-21.II. 6:4).


See original material in The Message of A Course in Miracles®: Volume One, All Are Called by Kenneth Wapnick, copyright  1997 by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles®, Temecula, CA.  Paraphrased here with permission.

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