Contributed by Alan Reid Q.C
A question on choice of housing form, addressed from A Course In Miracles perspective. Given that an individual has financial resources to "allow for a choice of lifestyle" how best can one build his/her "dream home" without causing separation among other community members?
The issue is not the house, or the perceptions others may have in relationship with it. Our concerns about perceptions we think others may have about us are invariably reflections of our own self- perception. They affirm our belief in separation, not thoughts of unity. On a positive note, they remind us to check our consciousness. If we are in a state of Christ-consciousness we will not have these concerns, because we are in a conflict-free state of love and holiness. We are called to choose that consciousness.
A person can build the "dream home" or not. It doesn't matter. What matters is the attachment to it. That is the breeding ground of concerns about the perceptions of others.
The question highlights a sense of discomfort latent in projects such as Mandala Village, which hold such promise and attraction for a better and holier experience in the world. On the one hand, the vision is attractive and tempting. On the other, reminded by the "Course" teaching, that if we live our lives in the Presence of God, we don't need a Mandala Village to find peace within. If we feel we need a Mandala Village to find the peace of God, then we're looking for a solution outside ourselves while affirming our present separation from God and from our brothers and sisters.
A couple sold their cottage in New Brunswick, which had been their haven from the world for twenty years. It was painful for them driving away for the last time. They had often thought of it as a retirement home, a retreat, and refuge from the world. Right-mindedness, of course, would have them realize the error of that thinking, and choose to give up that attachment to find their refuge in Christ-consciousness. We all still go in and out of that state of consciousness, and, like everyone else, feel the pain of the illusion of loss, and are tempted to find another refuge from the world, within the world.
Consider, that to make a place like Mandala Village work, the nurturing of Christ-consciousness is essential. That is the essence of the message of "Community". And yet, a community of Christ-consciousness is one that is free of the needs that we aspire to fulfill us through the physical amenities of a project like Mandala Village. In Christ-consciousness we abandon our attachment to Mandala Village and the amenities it offers. The paradox, dilemma or irony is that as long as we are attached to the amenities offered by Mandala Village, we are not in the state of consciousness that is required for the community to meet our spiritual ideals. Conflict threatens to destroy the harmony we had hoped to find, and the dream begins to unravel. We must remember though, in the paradox, is the potential for healing. (editor)
The challenge is to build Mandala Village without being attached to it. Is that even possible?
A practical illustration of this is Jesus' admonition to us to "be in the world but not of it." Living in the world without attachment to a vision of a better world is not easy. And yet, as I read it, the Course teaches that the world (wrong perception) is a place we have made to hide from God, and that any vision of a "better world" is in truth a quest for a better hiding place from God. It does not free us from our belief in separation nor makes us more loving children of God.