So far this seems to be the winter of dreaming myself closer to waking awareness that I am actually living a dream of my own making, and not even a very entertaining one at that. In the most recent sleeping version now available on DVD, I found myself in a movie multiplex along with thousands of fellow film buffs apparently attending some kind of marathon festival. Aware that I had already seen four disappointing flicks back-to-back, I had just entered another theatre hoping the fifth might prove the charm and was searching for a seat when I spied a good friend sitting toward the front with a couple other people. She invited me to join them and began describing in animated detail several other films I absolutely shouldn’t miss for their certain, perfect, “ je ne sais quoi sensibilities,” (I am directly quoting here). A familiar, competitive jolt of adrenaline beckoned me to critique the films I had viewed, too, but I couldn’t seem to muster my usual energy before other people chimed in, supporting or arguing the various films’ merits with alternating enthusiasm and agitation. I listened politely, overcome with a heavy sense of exhaustion at the very thought of attending all these additional movies.

Finally, the lights dimmed; squelching conversation. The featured film’s credits had just begun to roll when the sound and video abruptly died. The audience sat grumbling a few moments before the lights came up and a theatre employee hurried down the long aisle to announce that the projector had failed and they would instead show the movie in the theatre next door. Swept up in my friend and her entourage’s rush to push ahead of the crowd milling toward the exit door my feet grew heavy. My quads ached and I could barely keep my eyes open. How could I possibly watch another one of these movies, I wondered; when they all seemed the same?

Lately, here in the “waking dream,” I have been watching yet another, all-too-familiar movie in which Susan, overwhelmed by the seemingly ceaseless demands of lesser mortals, struggles to create a perfect holiday, a perfect family, a perfect career, a perfect little life for herself, despite overwhelming odds perpetuated by imaginary external forces hell-bent on thwarting her most noble efforts. And really noticing—as I ask for help observing what A Course in Miracles refers to as the “hero of the dream” I think I am while largely forgetting I am, in truth, the “dreamer of the dream”—how terribly anxious it makes me feel to recognize (even momentarily) that I am indeed that dreamer. How ironically helpless I feel when presented with the opportunity to take responsibility for all I experience by claiming authorship for yet another version of the same fictitious script and production that has only brought me pain and isolation from true Love and has begun to feel so painfully clichéd.

“A meaningless world engenders fear,” A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 13 tells us. “Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones. It represents a situation in which God and the ego “challenge” each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides. The ego rushes in frantically to establish its own ideas there, fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own impotence and unreality. And on this alone it is correct.”

While this should theoretically spell good news for the decision maker I think I am–extinguishing a genre I believe I have outgrown–it doesn’t. Because the decision maker that originally sided with the ego in taking the tiny mad idea of separation from our source seriously while ignoring the right mind’s assertion of indivisible oneness, recognizes on some level that it, like the ego, disappears in the light of that same blank page and screen. And it still can’t remember a life beyond that choice for a tiny, mad, but thankfully impossible idea. Or a story that does not involve its puny differentiated existence.

It all comes down to this. Without the latest release in the epic story of Susan’s victimization and periodic histrionic triumph over ultimately insurmountable odds, who am I? The truth is, as A Course in Miracles teaches, I can’t see beyond the meaninglessness of the blank screen or page except in the holy instant in which I choose to absolve you from all responsibility for my suffering wherein my vision merges with the right mind’s invincible, eternally loved and loving viewpoint and all meaningless questions made to replace real, coherent, all-inclusive meaning cease.

Our fear and amnesia notwithstanding, in truth we have not destroyed God who could never be in competition with us since he cannot recognize illusion. We remain one dreamer dreaming of hideous dissection; which is why the thought of that final fade out to eternally uninterrupted invulnerability still scares the hell out of me. Believing as I do that I must continue to fill the screen with my story, a script that grows harder each day to believe in, articulate, and defend as I observe it in the company of our loving inner teacher whose presence in the theatre of my mind I find harder and harder to ignore.

So here’s another story, the story Jesus whispers to us from outside the dream. I am awake in God, dreaming of exile. And if I trust Jesus—our symbolic scout in the vast unknown of the awakened–as I at least claim to want to, and if he tells me it’s a great place, then maybe he’s right and I have been happily wrong about everything. Just maybe, regardless of the unfair, perilous, elusive details of the film; the conflict and resolution really are always the same. I have written, directed, produced, and projected the entire thing simply to convince myself that the problem lies on the screen instead of in the mind of the one decision maker that believed it had something to gain from impersonating an individual as well as something enormous to lose.

Or, maybe—the ego has just bent my fingers back and implored me to add—not. :)

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dugan is a writer, student, and teacher of A Course in Miracles practicing extraordinary forgiveness in an ordinary life in Denver, Colorado. She blogs weekly about her practice at A book of her personal forgiveness essays is being released in March 2011 by O-Books.