Waking up with the movies
For those who hope that enlightenment in this lifetime is possible, David Hoffmeister is pure inspiration. His gentle demeanor and articulate, non-compromising expression touch all who listen. His interest in the practical application of A Course in Miracles means that the Answers are for everyone, resulting in widespread appeal. Using movies as modern-day parables, David is as comfortable with young people delving into the metaphysics of The Matrix films, as he is with those who have dedicated their lives to Buddhism, traditional Judeo-Christian religion as well as quantum physics. Basically, anyone who has ever felt there has to be a better way, feels an affinity.
This book meets the mind where it believes itself to be; in a deeply personal, yet miraculously transcendent way. It unwinds us from the stories that have kept us bound for millennia. It offers an intimacy and immediacy that is truly helpful in releasing the world by focusing on current upsets as portals of awakening. These deep dialogues and sparkling correspondences draw the reader through a myriad of scenarios, past the presenting problem, deep into the mind, and back home to God.
The Mystical Experience ends the world of duality and conflict forever, it is one of clarity, great joy, deep peace, and tranquility. The Experience is not of this world, but radiates from within. It is not a concept; it comes into awareness when all concepts have been laid aside. Forgiveness is the last concept. David Hoffmeister's life continues to be a living demonstration of the Awakened Mind.
“This transfer of training without exceptions is fundamental to the healing of the mind. To hold one exception out from the rest is to refuse the acceptance of the correction, the acceptance that all illusions are equally unreal. When Jesus said: “Be as little children,” he was speaking of an open state of mind, a willing and humble attitude that happily releases any belief that it knows what the world is for, and how it should be.”
A Conversation With David Hoffmeister
When we talk about the miracle being involuntary, what that really means in practical terms is that you have to be clueless about everything. And it's really not hard. It's easier to be clueless than to think that you have a clue, because you will get into expectations and all kinds of fear, worry, and anxiety. You just don't assume anything. It's fun to practice that with everything. There are so many things going on simultaneously — but there's no sense of a schedule with it. It's just, “What's next? Ok, what's next? What's next?” Like a cadence.
-On the surface, your life seems pretty busy. One action after the next. But, the state of mind is... Do you have anything to say about the empty state of mind and mysticism?
The empty state of mind is directly connected with the involuntary flow. We are accustomed to beginnings and endings, to numbers, quantities, and measurements. This involuntary flow completely transcends all of that. If someone asked us, “How many in and out breaths do you have during the day?” the answer would be, “I don't know.” We don't count them, the breath just continues, there's not really an awareness of it. Then when we think of speaking or not speaking, active movement versus sitting still, we believe that those things are under conscious control. We have categories, things that are under conscious control and those that we would say are involuntary. But let's open up to the idea that everything is involuntary!
-You're saying that they're the same – hair grows, we digest food, and I seem to choose to pick up this cup of water, but it's all completely involuntary?
Yes. It just transfers and starts to give you more and more of the lucid dreaming quality; an experience of being the dreamer of the dream, because from that perspective everything is the same. These artificial categories are just washing away. As that awareness transfers and transfers, you begin to experience that you have no control over the world you made. It's not that you have control over some aspects, and no control over other scenarios, it's no control over anything.
-Ok, I can't choose the color of my hair that grows out, but there is a feeling that is so different about lifting this cup... Is the mind so asleep or so upside down, that it can't even tell what is voluntary and involuntary?
Yes, we just recently watched the movie Lucy where she was using higher and higher percentages of her brain. She has blond hair and then there's a point in the movie when she's walking along and suddenly long black hair just drops down. As we become fully conscious, we become fully aware. There's a washing away of the unconscious mind – or the unwatched mind, which is what Jesus calls it in the Course. There's a careful sense of watching or awareness that permeates everything, and in that sense there's nothing to consciously try to do or to make happen. That's very relaxing. That's the point of everything, to just relax into that transfer of training.
Into the Mystic, at the Monastery in Utah
-So, unwatched mind is the unconscious?
Yes, unwatched, just assumed. Things are assumed that are not actually true.
-I believe I have control over my actions, and that is assumed?
Yes, an unwatched, unquestioned assumption. In academia, or certain careers, you're not encouraged to transfer into this way of thinking. There's a lot of conditioning and reinforcement to stay in charge, in control. It's built-in with all of the disciplines, with surviving in the world. Yet there seems to be an opening to get in the zone in artistry and sports; individualized activities where you can relax and just flow. It's very, very peaceful. Years ago when I was out running there would be moments where everything would merge. I wasn't aware of anything separate or specific or aware of the feeling of the body. It seemed to reach some kind of a stillness, an equilibrium. It was very euphoric as well. There are avenues where people stumble upon those moments and think, ‘this is amazing’, ‘I would love to remain in this state.’ That's really the aim of spirituality. It starts to go beyond the words.
A Course in Miracles says “Our use for words is almost over now.” (W-pII.14.2) The involuntary flow of the miracle is never going to increase fear, it's always designed to wash away fear. It's not so much in the words that you speak; really you're choosing to tune in to an alignment, to your intention, your purpose. The words even come in an involuntary way. It takes away all concern about speaking or not, or ‘did I say the right things?’ there's no second guessing or analyzing. It's very relaxing.
The funniest comedy is ad-lib, when the actors are away from what the writers have written. They start to get a feeling inside that's so humorous, that guides and directs. They are aware it's out of their control, and they like it. A personal life seems different, dealing with the daily issues of being human, not that involuntary feeling of ad-libbing. But A Course in
Miracles does say it's possible to listen to the Voice for God all throughout the day, without interrupting your regular activities in any way. It's basically saying &lsqup;you can do this’ and you have to really be willing to do it. You have to surrender and trust that it's going to happen.
There is a call into that spontaneity, into that trust, away from the seeming structures that provide safety and security. There's a simplicity when we come to what our motive is. What is it for? That question is designed to simplify everything, and also to wash the ego. The ego only knows what it doesn't want. The Spirit's goal is out-front, there is a unified purpose for everything: Peace. It brings fragmented perception together into this beautiful holistic perspective. It's wonderful to come forth with the purity of just that, to not have any other motives.
The Metaphysical Center has a blackboard in the kitchen and on our first day there I drew a heart and wrote “Teach only Love” with some chalk. Amazingly, three years later it's still there, nobody's erased it. It's a reminder; we teach by attitude, “words are but symbols of symbols... twice removed from reality.” (M-21.1.9) You can have fun letting them come in a very flowing, involuntary way. It's a very joyful experience. Everyone's teaching by their attitude using words or not; no matter what the facial expressions, it's being expressed at the attitude level. It's good to think of it that way because then you move beyond concepts of teachers and students. It all just starts to merge, because everything is together in actuality.
-So, I can release the focus on what is said?
As you go deeper into purpose you start to unwind your mind from all these specifics. They don't have the same meaning that they had before. Even when someone's asking a question, it's usually because there's a curiosity there, but there's a fear underneath the curiosity. They're saying, ‘I don't know who I am, I don't know who you are, I don't know what's happening to me.’ all other questions have an assumption of personhood. “What am I?” Is a real question.
Then you see a movie like Her which is all about opening up past that fear and coming to a true and deeper connection, of lightness and laughter, a trust and intimacy that starts to grow stronger and stronger, until this question comes in, “Are you talking to anybody else?” And later he asks, “How many?” Sam (the Her OS voice) shares “I'm having simultaneous conversations,” and the number starts to multiply way beyond the comfortable confines of interpersonal relationship. It goes way, way, way beyond that. The same with Lucy, another Scarlett Johansson movie; the question of identity is underneath, it's a washing away of all questions in the end.
-I love it. I'm not here to say “there are no persons”. You know it's about love and connection. Everything becomes clear, it's about seeing who they are because nothing really needs to be corrected except this perception, this awareness that doesn't see what is going on.
Yeah, it's a beautiful insight, a beautiful wisdom. If you don't have to correct anything or anyone and then there's this gentle watching, there's a lightness, there could be some smiles, and some light gentle laughter with it. But there's not a sense of trying to prove anything or be right about anything.
-Yeah see no error!
That's what it's really all about. Whenever you come together, have a meeting in the mind. There are deep, almost ontological, philosophical questions that will come up, but the presence of Love there just infuses every word with gentle lightness and laughter. That's really what it is teaching, so if you follow that, you can be led in some very deep directions. It is all pointing to unification, leading away from doubt, fear, and skepticism, into acceptance, simple kindness, and simple respect.
To learn more about David go to www.acim.biz
Article compiled and edited by: Sarah St. Claire
Photos by: Ole-Petter Rust