Choosing to Exist

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Course Ideas / Creative

I think we should begin with a bit of Rumi.  This is like stretching out briefly before we tear ass across a back yard still slick with a morning dew.  It’s a best practice, and it just might prevent us from ripping ligaments or pulling hamstrings in the recklessness that follows.  It’s a safe beginning.

Sort of.

“We tremble, thinking we’re about to dissolve into non-existence, but non-existence fears even more that it might be given human form!”  Rumi

This post is about unity and about a rightminded view of our humanness, in light of our divinity.  Let me throw a hand up here and be the first to cop to experiencing fear about what unity might mean for me.  Rumi is right on: the threat of non-existence flashes across my mind and gives me pause.  This fear is as old as the separation.  We believe that when we surrender completely to Love we’ll be swallowed whole and be gone forever.  We’ll go from awareness to nothingness.  We’ll go from being something to being nothing at all.  We’ll go from being known by at least some people, to being completely and utterly unknown and forgotten- like we never happened.

(On the other side of the coin, we’re afraid we’ll be stuck with people, right?!  It’s hard enough to hang around certain  people for a half an hour.  How’s this supposed to work when we’re indissolubly united roommates for Eternity?  The separation and its coterie of courtesans and advisors are not exactly squeaky clean on the whole logical integrity piece.)

So, this is fear of being rendered null and void for all time is worth looking at, because letting it drive us makes about as much sense as thinking Heaven was sold out because God didn’t print enough tickets.  Jesus had this to say on the topic of fearing union in A Course of Love, “How silly is it to be afraid of the truth?  Fear of the truth is like a fear of the impossible being possible.  Like the fear of death, it is the product of upside-down thinking.” (CoL 31.3)  He goes on to say, “You do not understand that something can be inseparable and still not be the same… What is inseparable cannot be different but this does not mean it must be the same.” (CoL 31.4)

Say what…?  The unlearning discussed in the Course includes the English language, by the way.  Did you discover that already?  I’ve come to the conclusion lately that reading Truth with a separated Mind is kind of like reading the FDA warning labels on an herb sent by God to produce on-the-spot salvation.  I know, I know, but just imagine with me…  Warning: this plant contains substances known by the Good People of Death Valley to cause bouts of Innocence, uncontrollable fits of Happiness, and in some cases, sudden and irreversible acceptance of Eternal Life.  Proceed with extreme caution.

Point being, this fear is worth rooting out, aside from the fact that it’s totally unfounded, because it is one of the principal obstacles to salvation.  “Give up this notion of losing your Self to God, and you will be done for all time with resisting God.  Only in God can you find your Self.” (CoL 31.10)

My heart took this to heart, so, here’s what we did: I turned around to face this madness, rather than pretending I didn’t know it was following me around all day, and I smacked that fear of annihilation hard across the face.   I’m talking about I set all standards of caution and prudence aside and I elicited a wanton cataclysm of knuckles and cheekbones in the space in front of me.  I challenged that fear to a duel at high noon.  I then, in a right and proper way, declared the weapon of choice: full disclosure.

(Here’s something to consider: when you’re playing poker with your fears, bet on Love and push all your chips right into the center of the table.  Then start smiling like you can’t help it.  There’s no possible outcome in which you lose.)

We met at the appointed hour, and as Rumi made plain, I trembled with the fear of annihilation.  Then we began.  My fears rose up massive against the sky, casting long shadows, and said, “Look at yourself.  You’re petrified of non-existence.”

To which I replied, “Who is petrified…?”

And it was done.

Why do we insist on complications?  It is not more complicated than this.  Remember that “fear is the stranger here.”  (W-160)  “If you are real, then fear must be illusion.  And if fear is real, then you do not exist at all.” (W-160.4:7-8)

Our separated minds are so baffled by this simplicity, they think there is actually a decision to be made here.  They’ve taken head-scratching to a whole new level.  They think, well, how do I know?  Maybe I don’t exist…  Maybe I thought I was real and I was mistaken.  How could I really know?  Maybe when I finally accept what is true, rather than fighting it, I’ll dissolve into non-existence and be gone.  Maybe that is just how it is.  Maybe I need to grow up and face reality.

Yes, to facing Reality…

The second half of Rumi’s passage is beautiful because it turns the absurdity right around, and says, “non-existence fears even more that it might be given human form!”  This only makes sense if we accept that there is something Real about being human, and that banishes the threat of non-existence altogether.  Rumi’s rhetorical table-flipping implies that we are Real, that the true human is an expression of the divine, and that the heart has been right all along when it has whispered, “Listen to me.  We exist.  I know it.”

Unity can only be understood after we accept that we are Real.  Then it will make sense.  This is the precipice on which we are poised.  Somebody please, push me…


  1. Love this Rumi quote! I have often heard it said that if you can make it through the sh*t hot training ground of Earth school without wanting to kill yourself (or anyone else!), you can do anything in the universe. -x.M


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