Ask: Does each animal experience consciousness?

“What I've been wanting to know about is if we can say definitively whether each animal is experiencing consciousness, and does Jesus say definitively or can we say with certainty whether they suffer or do not suffer? And if each animal can experience its reference point in consciousness, does each one need to have enough lifetimes and/or humans praying for them (since it doesn’t seem they are able to pray themselves) to receive enough prayers so that their next reboot will be as a human so they can discover The Course?” – M

I am not aware of anywhere that Jesus says anything about animals in the context of consciousness. But I’m not too familiar with the Bible so there could be something in there about which I do not know.

The understanding to which I have been led (and have come to see for myself) is that the entire universe of form, including all animals and plants, is the projection of one split mind (the “Son of God” in A Course in Miracles). The split mind projects itself only onto one animal, the human animal. So only humans have the kind of consciousness that can choose between Truth and illusion. At the level of form, any animal with a system of pain receptors can experience physical pain and will, when it is extreme, suffer in that sense. But because only humans experience consciousness only humans experience psychological or emotional suffering. Remember, however, that in the human experience pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. One suffers psychologically or emotionally because of the stories they tell themselves about pain. In any case, both the pain and the suffering are only temporary illusions.

No one needs lifetimes or prayers or A Course in Miracles for the Truth to be true. The Truth goes on right now wholly untouched by anything that happens in the universe of form, which is an illusion. Truth and illusion never intersect. No part of the universe of form “goes on” to Truth. What happens in the universe of form is wholly meaningless.


In the story of time (illusion) all stories begin as an expression (effect) of the-idea-of not-Truth. In some stories a dream figure (person) becomes aware of Truth and then their story becomes an expression (effect) of the-undoing-of-the-idea-of-not-Truth. But in either case it is a meaningless effect, not a cause. It does not lead anywhere. So you do not have to worry about anyone or anything finding ACIM or any other spiritual teaching. It does not have any real effect if one does or does not find Truth. The benefits are only temporary. They only matter in the story of time, which is an illusion. And the self which does or does not experience these benefits is only an effect and falls away in the story. Only the Truth is true and eternal.

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Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.

Comments

Christine said…
Liz, I have rescued and/or adopted dogs sometimes directly from families who could no longer keep them. I remember our Basset hound, whom we adopted at age 1 and 1/2 from a family. As soon as he came home with us, he fell into what seem like a deep depression - he missed his family, the only home he had known, and especially the little daughter he had loved. Isn't this emotional/psychological pain? I don't know what he was really going through, though - could have been he had gas, all I know!
ACIM Mentor said…
It is a type of emotional pain, Christine, that has its basis in the physical.
Anonymous said…
Why study ACIM, or any spiritual path if none of it matters? How do we get out of the illusion?
ACIM Mentor said…
Anonymous, remember the self's life is an effect not a cause. The self does not do anything for some future purpose; the self's life is an expression of an idea. The universe of form is just the expression of the instant of the-idea-of-not-God/the-undoing-of-the-idea-of-not-God. In time this seems to take time to unfold. Some selves' lives overtly express the-undoing-of-the-idea-of-not-God. An individual experiences this as being drawn to being aware of Truth. So, to make this much shorter, you embark on a spiritual path because you are motivated or drawn to do so.

You do not have to "get out" of the illusion. You are already out of it. You just have to realize this. That realization is what is unfolding for you. You are in that process as a student of ACIM.
will said…
The sleeping Christ mind made the dream. It is as real and powerful as Truth. All the references to it being an illusion are useless. If you have not had a spiritual experience that will give a baseline or point of reference so that you can see it is an illusion then your stuck. In the end, all the information in ACIM is useless until there is an experience.
will said…
Sometimes you just have to throw the book across the room and get it out of your system.
will said…
Here’s the deal. I just passed the date that I started studying the Course eleven years ago. Frustration and anger. I’m not getting anywhere. Not making any progress. So I’m angry at the Course and Jesus. This morning I step back from the voice in my head and just look at it. That’s when I realize I have been doing the Course for eleven years for ‘this mind’ (Will, the ego). I have been measuring progress by what this mind (Will) sees. I’m seeing this spiritual journey isn’t about this mind (Will). It isn’t about ‘this mind’ becoming spiritual, or whatever. I have been trying to heal ‘this mind,’ the person Will. Everything I have done with the Course has been about ‘this mind.’ That’s an eye opener.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for taking the time to help me through this. These concepts are known by me intellectually, and on a few occasions experienced but the experience doesn't stay and tends to become obscured. Sometimes I feel so in the dark. This can be discouraging. I appreciated the comment that as a student of ACIM the process is unfolding.
Anonymous said…
Wow, that is really helpful. I can relate to that. I can see now that is how I am trying to measure my progress, through my ego self. I need to shift my attention.
nicci said…
thank you will.
endless L, n
will said…
So at this point I see myself as a body in the dream (Will). That’s my experience so far. My experience is Will, the person typing this. Up to this point I have been trying to ‘fix’ Will. To bring spirituality and mental health to Will. Will is trying to fix Will. He is trying to bring Jesus in to help. Will prays and studies in his effort to change Will. But this will never work since the ‘Will I know’ is the effect not the cause. I have to experience, to focus on the source, the cause of the dream. Over the past few days I have a new appreciation on how strong the pull is to remain Will, the guy typing.
Susan B said…
Thank you Will. I am beginning to understand that we are wasting time trying to fix the ego which is nothing anyway. Like you said, my experience of my self seems to be the only reality and it seems like insanity to dismantle the self. I think caterpillars are very trusting to give up their seeming reality and be willing to emerge as butterflies.
laurie said…
Will,

I think most of us are more or less trying to fix 'ourselves'. Thoughts like this come into my mind often, but they don't seem to stay as long. And they are corrected really, really quickly by reminding myself how futile that would be. I figure that if there is anything that I needed to change (any idea that comes from the HS), it will arise in my consciousness as a strong urge that I will feel almost powerless to ignore it. Although I do need to be careful because the ego also exerts it's will by coming through as a strong urge. The difference, as far as I can tell, comes down to a subtle feeling of excitement and an urge to do things quickly. This usually turns out to be a falsely driven idea....oh well, doesn't matter, what's one more poor decision?.....;-)

Back to the comment at hand...

One book that helped me immensely in seeing the futility of trying to build a better 'me' is by david carse (his lowercase, not mine). Perfect, Brilliant Stillness is the title, and it is basically his story of his uninvited (in a sense) awakening in which he saw, REALLY SAW, that 'there's nobody home', meaning that he now knows that we are all just dream figures, and that knowledge has never left him. He explains it so clearly that I find myself turning to it whenever I find myself deep, deep into the belief that I am a shitty, unworthy 'person' who doesn't deserve redemption, i.e. when I am deep into the dream that I am this lousy caricature that I consider myself.

Strangely, at moments like this the last thing I want to do is pick up is the Course. It seems that I am unwilling to see myself through the lofty ideas of Christ, but I am at least willing to suspend my belief that I am this crappy Laurie character.

I have read tons of spiritual books, as most of us on here have, but none of them have helped as much to change my identification with this self than his has. It hasn't led to any great awakening, but as far as undoing a shitload of crappy feelings about myself and how I should change and become a better, holier and less self-destructive human, I couldn't recommend a better read. In my more 'awake' moments I really see that this Laurie character is just one of billions who are following a script that began at the beginning of time. She is going to do what she is going to do and my only purpose (now that I have invited Him into my life), is to simply watch and not judge her, like what I am asked to do with all the other dream figures. They too are only doing what the script dictates and therefore are not guilty of anything (but being good actors lol) and identifying with their own scripts. In this regard it has also helped immensely in letting 'others' off the hook for what they are appearing as and appearing to do.

PS: David does not teach, nor has he written anything since he was inspired/pushed into writing that one book. After taking a few years to fill in his understanding of his newfound awareness (India, books, a guru here and there) because he was NOT on any real/usual spiritual quest before this awakening happened, he went back to his old life of being a carpenter living solo in the Vermont hills. He does not invite others to come to him for advice or teachings. As he puts it, david is not very socially adept and 'he was not born to be a teacher'. He was simply instructed to tell his story in that one book and then go on with his life as before. But he does describe the joy and bliss of living with that brilliant, perfect, stillness. Sat, Chit, Ananda....

PPS: This recommendation is for anyone who can relate to what I wrote about feeling too immersed in identification with your body/self. It really marked a change in my self-perception, which I must have been ready for or else it wouldn't have happened. But that is me, and as Liz states "beware of inspiration from the Holy Spirit that is meant for somebody else"
Anonymous said…
A Short Share from this mind . . . a symbolic night time dream where I was blaming a brother for the loss of innocence. The dream played out with my brother Brian caring for my little innocent dog Pinto and lost him. I went everywhere looking and calling out for my Pinto and then woke from the dream and in another, to find Pinto lying right beside me. As I reached to pet him, I realized, my innocence was never lost. This mind being reminded, Innocence has been here all along, It is never lost so stop looking and forgive your brother. Deb
Anonymous said…
Another share . . . I believe I was led on a short detour away from ACIM to a guru named Mooji and a book from one of his devotees Ananta. This was after coming to the end of the workbook lessons for a second time and an experience of significance at Christmas time that I describe as shedding ego. Christmas eve, day and the next was a period of discomfort as I, as the awareness of mind observed ego, my self hatred being projected on a sister and attempting to reject this sister who symbolized the Love in my mind. In retrospect, it was as though this mind was being made ready for further Awareness of my True Self. In the New Year, I spent a few weeks or so watching Mooji videos and reading the book “Are You Aware Now? . . . which I did not finish as I felt a natural dropping of that and a gentle pull to re-reading the text of the Course. This time I Am not the person, but mind and know the author as Jesus. My Trust being strengthened and the ego weakened, I Am more fully embracing my Self, my sister, my Truth. Deb
Christine said…
I always seem to return to that great Sinefeld quote: "It's a story about nothing!" Except we (the one split mind) believed it was truly 'something'. With Awareness of truth, we interpret the 'nothingness' with the Holy Spirit, though, not with our little self.

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