Trick or Treat?

By Anthony Gold

I was Casper the Ghost.

I’m not even sure if anyone remembers Casper, but when I was a kid, he was a very popular cartoon character. And one year for Halloween, I was dressed as Casper, going door-to-door uttering those three magic words which precluded the expected payoff: “trick or treat!”

Yet I had this strange sense of disingenuousness – assuming a character role just to get what I wanted: candy. Even stranger, I knew that my candy-giving neighbors knew that I wasn’t really Casper. But thankfully the deception was (and still is) fully condoned as children and dentists everywhere go joyfully rewarded.

Just like professional actors, each moment we inhabit various roles – some of them bestowed upon us (e.g. employee, citizen, neighbor, colleague, sibling, outcast, popular) and others we choose (e.g. spouse, parent, friend, enemy). And just like dressing as Casper, we want the desired payoff: to be paid well, appreciated, respected, comforted, and loved. Life candy if you will.

But deep down, we all know the “real” us isn’t any of these characters. While we might seemingly inhabit these bizarre, transient forms comprised of arms, legs, torso, and a head – this certainly isn’t the real us.

The body is the symbol of the ego, as the ego is the symbol of separation. And both are nothing more than attempts to limit communication. (T-15.IV.2)

When we see others as bodies – which we do whenever we react to their actions or words – then we are devaluing their true essence and completely ignoring ours.

Nothing so blinding as perception of form. For sight of form means understanding has been obscured. (T-22.III.6)

We see what we want to see. And all too often, what we opt for is a severe limitation.

Choose, then, [your brother’s] body or his holiness as what you want to see, and which you choose is yours to look upon. (T-24.VI.7)

When we see a brother’s body, our eyes rest on what Yeats described as “a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick”. We can instead make the choice to see beyond the roles – the capricious characters and costumes adorning our trifling toils. We then see the divinity within; the oneness uniting us all.

Join us in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the nature of the body and the purpose behind all its acting and schemings – from which we’ll dig into the essence of true seeing; rising above the ghostly characters of what we call life. I look forward to seeing you then.

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