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Question: How does one know when they are thinking with their brain or thinking with their mind that is dreaming?

Within the context of the Course, the brain (which is part of the physical body) is as much an illusion as the world is.   So your brain is not really thinking at all.  It seems that way because we believe we are in a body and that everything that we do, think and feel comes from it.  We really think with the mind that is dreaming that it has a brain.

The answer is simple, but not always easy.

Fundamentally the ego mind is deliberative, and focused around subject and  object and roles in the world. It is very active. Hence some traditions  call it "monkey mind," and such terms. When we really withdraw above the  battle field and invite the Holy Spirit in to look with us, it is quiet,  and answers are more gentle though spontaneous, less labored.

On the whole if you're "doing" too much of the work, that's a fair  indication that your ego is running overtime, even if it is donning a  pseudo-spiritual flourish here and there...

-- Rogier F. van Vlissingen  

Simply put, "we" (Son of God -- dreaming mind) are never thinking with our brain. It would have been better if I had talked about confusing the ego with the Holy Spirit. I myself still fall into the trap of believing that the brain really thinks. :-)

The brain doesn't really think at all. What seems to be thinking with the brain is actually a <reflection>, or a translation into form (words), of what is going on in the mind, which is outside of time and space. And in our <dreaming> mind there are only two sources of thought: ego or Holy Spirit. When we [Son of God] think with the thought system of the ego, we are mistaken right from the get go, because the ego's thought system has its foundation in a mistaken idea (the belief in separation), so everything that follows from it (basically various forms of guilt and fear) is also mistaken; fundamentally not real. That's why we're told in some of the early Workbook lessons that what we believe is thinking is not really thinking at all.

But the ego cleverly deceives us [the dreaming Son of God] into believing that we're thinking on our own apart from our Source (God), and that our intellect is a marvelous source of wisdom. The ego's goal is to keep us from ever realizing that we are mind (Son of God). It tries to convince us that we are a body with a brain that thinks.

The brain is just a senseless part of a lifeless puppet: "the body neither lives nor dies, because it cannot contain you [Son of God] who are life" (T-6.V(A).1:4).

The ego uses the brain, but so can the Holy Spirit. One way to identify ego thinking (which is almost all of the thinking that we are aware of) is that it chatters in our awareness constantly. It is never still, and it is always disturbed somehow -- "raucous screams and shrieks," the Course calls it.

So, what we call "intellectualizing" involves the ego deceiving us into believing that the brain thinks; and that deception is designed to keep us away from any awareness of our true identity as mind -- our identity as the Son of God. It can also deceive us into thinking that we are accessing mind, when in fact we're just listening to the ego's chattering and imaginings. But the Holy Spirit and Jesus can use even those "mind wanderings," so it does not hurt to try to imagine a conversation with Jesus, even though it may not really be such a conversation.

You [as mind - Son of God] cannot perceive mind, but you perceive <with> mind. And to make matters more difficult for our limited ability to understand, even the mind that contains the two thought systems is itself an illusion. Perception is an illusion -- both perceiver and perceived are illusory, which means that the entire wold of form is an illusion. But Jesus tells us in the Course that even though we as the Son of God -- mind and "decision maker in the mind -- can believe in a separated mind split between thought system, we "...cannot...make the totally lifeless out of the life-given" (T-4.I.2:14). And:

"...mind is mind, awake or sleeping. It is not its opposite in anything created, nor in what it seems to make when it believes it sleeps.

"God creates only mind awake. He does not sleep, and His creations cannot share what He gives not, nor make conditions which He does not share with them....

"What seems to be the opposite of life [the entire universe as well as bodies and brains] is merely sleeping. When the mind elects to be what it is not, and to assume an alien power which it does not have, a foreign state it cannot enter, or a false condition not within its Source [God], it merely *seems* to go to sleep a while. It dreams of time; an interval in which what seems to happen never has occurred, the changes wrought are substanceless, and all events are nowhere. When the mind awakes, it but continues as it always was" (W-pI.167.7:4-5; 8:1-2; 9; brackets and asterisks mine]

Basically, what we need to concern ourselves with is discovering how to access the power of mind to decide between the thought system of the ego and that of the Holy Spirit. That really equates to beginning to awaken to our true identity as the Son of God, but at first it seems to be a "Sonship" with different, individual parts.

As a practical matter, Holy Spirit thinking never shows up right away. "The ego always speaks first" (T-5.VI.3:5), and it is wrong. And the ego easily masquerades as Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the <Answer> to the ego, so He shows up later on, <if> one has a "little willingness" to "hear." But when we "hear" the Holy Spirit or Jesus, we hardly ever experience words, which are the province of the ego. Instead, what we get is a changed way of looking at things and of understanding them. And that change of perception may not show up for quite a while, which is why it's always a good idea to "sleep on it" if you can. When it does show up, there is always a sense of resolution, of understanding, and especially of peace. There may also be, at least for an instant, a sense of all-embracing love.

Well, that's enough. For further discussion see the following excerpts from Gloria and Ken Wapnick's "Most Commonly Asked Questions about A Course in Miracles:"

17. Can the ego mind be equated with the human brain?

18.  Where is the mind?

19.  How can one access the mind so that the mind can be changed?

43.  How does one tell the difference between Holy Spirit and ego?

Joe Jesseph

"What has been given you? The knowledge that you are a mind, in Mind and purely mind, sinless forever, wholly unafraid, because you were created out of Love. Nor have you left your Source, remaining as you were created" (W-pI.158.1:1-3).

First of all, as Joe and others have pointed out, the brain does not think.  But, when determining whether your thinking is informed through the ego or the Holy Spirit, ego perceptions will always have an inherent aspect in them of either attachment or resistance.  One or the other will always be present.  Thinking or perceiving through the eyes of the ego will leave you with a sense of wanting to cling to or not lose whatever is arising or there will be a sense of aversion and resistance to whatever is arising.  And anytime there is either attachment or resistance, there is no peace.  So perceptions informed through the Holy Spirit will have you at peace, regardless of the circumstances.


   "You are just a bit of meat that thinks it's
   thinking. Some dancing dust and ashes with
   delusions of grandeur." Daniel Winterstein

I hope that quote is wrong. I am as yet unwilling to accept
the Atonement, but I never could resonate with a god that
would make us into a frail sinful body with three pounds of
gray thinking matter. This sad god being the invention of
the ego. When I read in the Course: "I am not a body." "I
am free." "For I am still as God created me." my heart is
able to sail beyond this world to a experience that
reflects our true grandeur. The Course tells us: "Grandeur
is of God, and only of Him." "Therefore it is in you
(T-9.VIII.1:1-2)."  This is the experience we cannot
define, but Know. We are Creation One with God! It is truly
crazy that we resist, first, that we are mind dreaming and,
ultimately, that we are Christ, a Perfect Thought of God. 

   Grandiosity is always a cover for despair. It is
   without hope because it is not real.  It is an
   attempt to counteract your littleness, based on
   the belief that the littleness is real. T-9.VIII.2:1-3


Rogier referred to the phrase, "meat that thinks." Just for
fun I found where it was used -- no disrespect to the ego's

Lord Ego


A dialogue by Terry Bisson
From "Alien/Nation" in the April 1991 issue of Omni Magazine.

"They're made out of meat."


"Meat. They're made out of meat."


"There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars."

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I 'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."

"Maybe they're like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?"

"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

"No brain?"

"Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

"So... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

"So what does the meat have in mind."

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual."

"We're supposed to talk to meat?"

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?' That sort of thing."

"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

"I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"


"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

"I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say?" `Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

"So we just pretend there's no one home in the universe."

"That's it."

"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we can marked this sector unoccupied."

"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotation ago, wants to be friendly again."

"They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone."

   11. What Is Creation?

   Creation is the sum of all God's Thoughts, in number
   infinite, and everywhere without all limit.  Only
   love creates, and only like itself.  There was no
   time when all that it created was not there.  Nor
   will there be a time when anything that it created
   suffers any loss.  Forever and forever are God's
   Thoughts exactly as they were and as they are,
   unchanged through time and after time is done.

   We are creation; we the Sons of God.  We seem to
   be discrete, and unaware of our eternal unity with
   Him.  Yet back of all our doubts, past all our fears,
   there still is certainty.  For love remains with all
   its Thoughts, its sureness being theirs.  God's
   memory is in our holy minds, which know their oneness
   and their unity with their Creator.  Let our function
   be only to let this memory return, only to let God's
   Will be done on earth, only to be restored to sanity,
   and to be but as God created us. (W-pII.11.1;4)

According to the Course, God did not make the body. 
What God creates is abstract, invulnerable spirit. 
The body is a manifestation of the ego.



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