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On Being and Becoming

Becoming is the opposite of being, it is literally an opposition to Truth, to what is. Being is a fact, a law in a way, and becoming is an opinion about the fact. It is a gloss.

When our attention is given to becoming – whose premise is uninformed judgment and the scarcity that judgment always begets – it is necessarily distracted from being. This is not complicated. We profess to long for the light but insist on holding blinders against it. Drop the blinders and the light is there.

Thus, as people generally concerned with awakening to as pure a state of clarity and awareness as we can manage, and as students specifically using A Course in Miracles to attain this state (as far as possible), it behooves us to look closely at this particular duality, this split between the reality of being and the illusion of becoming.

Here is your one reality kept safe, completely unaware of all the world that worships idols, and that knows not God. In perfect sureness of its changelessness and of its rest in its eternal home, the Thought God holds of you has never left the Mind of it Creator Whom it knows, as its Creator knows that it is there (T-30.III.10:4-5).

What we are in Truth is not subject to our perception of worldly material laws. It both transcends and contains that perception, effectively rendering it superfluous.

The mind of Heaven’s Son in Heaven is, for there the Mind of the Father and of Son joined in creation which can have no end. You have not two realities, but one. Nor can you be aware of more than one (T-30.III.11:4-6).

A Course in Miracles the first thought system to rest on this premise, as its author is not the first to address it.

Becoming, said Sri Aurobindo in The Life Divine, is subsumed by – contained in by virtue of a resonant and all-encompassing Yes – divine (absolute) being.

The silent and the active Brahman are not different, opposite and irreconcilable entities, the one denying, the other affirming a cosmic illusion; they are one Brahman in two aspects . . . It is an eternal passivity that makes possible the perfect freedom and omnipotence of an eternal divine activity in innumerable cosmic systems. For the becomings of that activity derive their energies and their illimitable potency of variation and harmony from the impartial support of the immutable Being, its consent to this infinite fecundity of its own dynamic Nature (30-31).

In 1853, the Rev. Frederick W. Robertson, told his Brighton flock that “the infinite nature of God is infinite repose.”

The “I am” of God is contrasted with the “I am become” of all other things. Everything else is in a state of becoming, God is in a state of Being. The acorn has become the plant, and the plant has become the oak. The child has become the man, and the man has become good, or wise, or whatever else it may be. God ever is . . .

And – to swing perhaps to the far other side of the spectrum – Albert Einstein noted in a late essay The Laws of Science and the Laws of Ethics that for the scientist “there is only ‘being,’ but no wishing, no valuing, no good, no evil, no goal.”

These diverse views – each approaching, approximating, amplifying – the thesis make clear that we are not talking about a mystery that is unsolvable to all but a few elite disciples, nor a complex problem whose resolution is inaccessible to most of us.

Rather, we are talking about a gift that is perennially given, forever available and immeasurable in its capacity to bring us peace. It is simply a question of our relationship to thought and perception.

As Tara Singh said – over and over in his lucid and beautiful teaching – all that is required is “our wanting to remain honest, our wanting to turn to the internal (Dialogues on A Course in Miracles 38).

No one can come to forgiveness in its true sense, nor to self-reliance in its true sense, nor to God’s Plan for Salvation in its true sense, unless he sees the perfection of creation that exists right before his eyes . . . There is nothing opposite to God’s Will (Dialogues 44).

It is critical to see – to really impress upon ourselves – that we are talking about a habit of thinking, of seeing, that can be changed – by us, with our resources, right now. Leave time out of it! And leave the body out of it, too. We need to make sustained contact with our authentic longing to remember God for it is in that state that our ultimate state of union is revealed, in a very simple and practical way.

Being is a state without alternative, in which choice is meaningless. It is choiceless awareness. In it, one realizes that the external comes and goes without consequence or effect. All that matters is repose in the mind that holds only what it thinks with God (WpI.rIV.In.2:2). There is nothing else.

The level of opinion, which is the level of becoming, is always shallow and unsatisfactory. Opinion is nothing one alternative after another, each as valuable as the next, rendering all value nugatory. At the level of opinion, certainty is impossible, and thus peace is impossible, which alone testifies that it is not of God.

Becoming is the condition of scarcity, wherein we judge ourselves, our environment, our social, cultural and economic circumstances, and every other thing in terms of what it can do or does do for and to us. The apparent flux of the world owes to this greediness, this grim insistence that the external serve me according to my will. In this respect, the egoic self is not unlike Lucifer, who preferred to reign in darkness rather than serve in light.

Of course, Lucifer’s real problem – long since forgiven – was his perception that there were two states (darkness and light) from which to choose. In reality, no such choice exists. In this sense, Lucifer merely represents our own confused idea that there are many options and outcomes, all with differing effects, and it is up to us to select amongst them. God is not conditional; all God’s gifts are given to all creation equally (T-7.XI.5:5).

We cannot judge (WpI.151.4:3) and so opinion is an illusion. Reality is already defined – our contribution is merely assent, the unqualified yes to which Aurobindo alluded. When we leave becoming behind, we enter the calm and unchanging state of Being, in which there are no needs and no wants, only  the Love of which we are naturally composed and – by dint of that Love – compose.

So what do we do? We give – we don’t pay, we give – attention to what is. We turn inward, devoting ourselves not to symbols or images but to the content that informs them. This is the work to which A Course in Miracles call us, and which its lessons (and a few of its professed teachers) see us to the end of. We are not becoming better students or better people. Rather, we are saying yes to that gift which is given, was given, and will forever be given because its giving is all there is: life itself: Being.

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