What caused me to think deeper about things was the part of the course that went into the human ego. So what follows are some thoughts on its identity, conditioned appearance and structure in mental and physical phenomena.
Lesson 4 says that everything is born out of the ego. It seems that the whole of the metaphysical course is dependent upon this one factor, which is the one and only cause of our conflict and suffering created by a distortion in our perceptions causing a selfish, individual existence. We are as if asleep in a dream world and as in a dream, we appear through our perceptions as the dream person who is separate from the other dream people, dream objects and events. However, just like in a dream, it is all one movement, projected by the mind through delusional states. It is nothing but mind, we could say that the mind is capable of creating its self with all its delusions, not only in the dream state but in the so called waking state also.
If we analyse the waking state, we find that nothing exists in its own right as a separate entity. A person, a tree, a rock are all made up of other factors and without these other factors they could not appear. Without the sunshine, the rain, the air and so on a tree could not appear as a tree, it only appears as a tree in relation to everything else. This is also the same regarding a person, a person is dependent on physical form, feeling perception, cognition and consciousness to be able to appear to exist and without these factors there could not be a person. Everything depends on countless factors, nothing can be found as a separate entity, so the world as a whole, with all its events is nothing but one inseparable total movement in the now. This is none other than mind itself, created through our projected distortions, it appears as individual events but everything is coming into being and vanishing at the same time in this very moment. The beginning of existence is here and now. The past present and future is contained in the now, the universe did not come into being millions of years ago, it is created by the mind moment to moment in the present .This is the one cause of all problems. Through delusion we see different objects of existence, but we really cannot talk of objects of existence, as from the ultimate level, an object cannot be found. If we look into any object composing the world that we perceive, it dissolves away and only existence can be found .The universe does not prove its own existence, all it can prove is existence.
It is this distorted view point that has caused us to think we are separate individuals in a world alien from eternal reality, resulting in the deluded ego or self thought. Somebody once said that the cross in Christianity is symbolic of the self or the I thought, the example would be cross out the I and I crossed out is none other than the sign of the cross which = no self, leaving only true reality and dissolving the world, which the self has created and all the destruction it has caused, for in reality the world does not exist. Once seen through only God, only eternal reality exists which is limitless truth and love. That is the unconditioned, beyond the delusional mind made world of distorted perception, which only sees individual appearances. The world created by the ego is only the same substance of dreams and has no reality of its own. The ego would like us to think otherwise. Once this dream has come to an end through true insight, if the slightest thought about eternal reality even the thought I am one with this reality arises, it is none other than the limited ego claiming eternal limitless reality for itself.
The ego always wants to lay claim, control and own the whole of creation, this may be what is referred to by the devil in the scriptures. He wants his own power and separation from love and truth which he will not share, for only Gods will of love and truth can be shared. He wants a separate world that he can own for himself and will cause wars, death and destruction to try to get it. This is the cause of our distorted perceptions of the true reality of the universe.
As an example of the ego or I thought is if we look at a candle flame, close our eyes then open them and think of ourselves looking at the flame, close the eyes, then repeat a few times, we will come to see that we or our ego or I thought comes into being and vanishes each time we look. It is none other than a conditioned process and yet it is the cause of all our suffering.
Until we wake up from our dream to the Truth, there will only be conflict, fear and unhappiness caused by our wrong perceptions projected as a world where we play out our own inward conflicts, causing untold suffering to ourselves and others. Until we come to see that this entire world is none other than a reflection of our mind with all its delusions and in reality we cannot own or create anything that is real, we can only create an empty dream like phenomena, for that which is real is only God or reality.
In the first lesson of this wonderful Metaphysics course, it says all we have is freedom of choice and also that Einstein said "we cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that caused it". We have to penetrate with love and compassion through these distorted perceptions which are none other than the world itself to the endless unconditioned love which has no limits and no description. For all description is only a limitation, of that which is beyond all limits which is so limitless that it cannot even be described as limitless. To the silence that just is.
As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.