One of the major themes that we will be talking about is joining, what it is, and what it is not. The end of workbook lesson #92 discusses this. To the ego joining always means joining with itself. We discussed how in the original ontological instant when the decision maker had to make his choice, he joined with the ego instead of with the Holy Spirit. From that joining, which is really a pseudo-joining, because it is joining with nothing, the whole world is made. We continually join with this limited and separated self that is the ego. In the world, the limited and separated self is no longer in the mind but is in the body, and so joining for us in the world is joining with other people. There is an important line in the text that says “minds are joined; bodies do not” (T-18.VI.3:1). Bodies do not join. When we find ourselves in sympathy and empathizing with people who are in pain, or identifying with a particular group against another group, we are identifying and joining with their bodies. That is not joining, because we are joining with an illusion. We are joining with weakness instead of strength.
In true joining, we change our minds and move away from the ego and back to the Holy Spirit. That is the meeting place that lesson #92 talked about, the meeting place of the little “s” self with the capital “S” Self. The capital “S” Self is represented for us in the dream by the Holy Spirit, Who reminds us of the Self we are as Christ. The little “s” self is the self that believes in separation. When the decision maker moves away from identifying with the ego self and begins to move towards the Holy Spirit, that is the meeting place. The meeting place is within the mind, the decision-making part of the mind that chooses to identify and join with the Holy Spirit. When we join with Him there is no separation. As we said earlier, the ego believes in separation, difference, judgment, and attack, and they all are virtually the same thing. In fact, not only virtually, they are the same thing. When we join with the Holy Spirit we are joining with the unity of God and Christ. We are joining with the love of Heaven that has no division or differentiation to it. Then when we peer out into the dream we no longer experience differences or separation. As I mentioned earlier, whatever is on the film that is running through the projector in the movie theater is exactly and identically what we perceive on the screen. So, too, when we join in the mind with the Holy Spirit, which is joining with the unity of Christ, we experience unity and love on the screen of our lives, in the world. It does not mean the body’s eyes will not perceive differences, but the differences will make no difference. In other words, the Love of God that we are now identifying with is totally unaffected by the seeming differences that the body’s eyes perceive.
That is what Jesus means in the passage at the end of Chapter 15, which was written at New Year’s time as a kind of New Year’s prayer: “Make this year different by making it all the same” (T-15.XI.10:11). In other words, don’t make differences real. Chapter 15 is the first place in the text where Jesus discusses special relationships. And the hallmark of specialness is differences: You are different from me, you have something that I want, and I want to get it from you. When we join with the Holy Spirit or with Jesus in the mind, we no longer experience differences. If we no longer experience a difference between ourselves and the Love of God, it is impossible to experience any real difference out here in the world. We do not see people as separate and different from us, and therefore we make no judgments against them and we don’t attack.
“The Greater Joining”—the title of the section we will look at later—is this joining of Christ with Himself, or the joining of Christ with God. We do that first in the mind, and automatically the vision and unity and experience of love extend through us into the dream, and we no longer experience people as different from us. No matter how mangled their bodies may be, no matter how much in pain they are, no matter how terrible their situations are, we do not experience ourselves as different from them. We will go into all that in more depth later on.