31. Tension and Release
We live in a universe of tension and release. This is the nature of duality and is reflected in the world we see. In the natural world we see volcanoes where the pressure builds, the tension, and then explodes, the release. A lion on the African plain is hungry. The tension builds. He finds, stalks and then chases down his prey. Then finally he kills and eats it, the release. He can now spend the rest of his day comfortably lounging under a great shade tree in the hot savanna sun without a care in the world. Then the cycle starts again. Tension and release. 20th century economist Ludwig Von Mises noted in his study of human action that all human action is motivated by a man’s perceived uneasiness. He is uneasy, sensing lack and the tension builds. After visioning and believing in a plan for release, he takes action in hopes of release. If he succeeds, release, if not the continued building of tension.
Our whole human existence is a series of tensions and releases dressed up in different forms. Tension builds up and then we chase our preferred release mechanism. Eating, sleeping, sex, relationships, watching tv, drinking, raging and attack and the list goes on. This tension and release drama, that we participate in daily, finds its origin in the Course’s story of the making of the false universe. The very first tension and release occurred when we asked God if we could have the experience of being separate and special. God could not grant our wish because He could not make us what we weren’t. By definition we were whole and perfect and one with Him. Our wish, however fleeting, caused tension. Not having our wish granted, we released the tension by falling asleep and dreaming we were separate and special.
Every division after that was based on the tension and release principle. In the final division we found ourselves in the wrong mind. Having forgotten God and Heaven, the one Christ mind and even the choice we had between the right mind and the wrong mind, we seemed to be trapped. We, as the wrong mind, had accepted the idea that somehow we had sinned by making the separation real and attacking God. The guilt and shame and fear built and built and built until the hell of it became unbearable. We needed a release. The ego suggested that we make a universe and project all of our guilt, shame and fear onto it . Thinking we had no other option (now remember this is what happened IN THE DREAM), we agreed. This projection or release is known as the Big Bang and was so explosive that it seemed to propel us and our guilt, shame, and fear right out of our mind. All of the forms in our universe are symbols reflecting the initial tension and release. We are nothing but robots acting out that initial thought of tension and release that we accepted as real.
Our “lives” and all of the stories the mind made up are, at their core, symbols of tension and release. They are not real. There is nothing happening. Just a tired tale being retold ad nauseum which at its most benign can look like being hungry and eating a sandwich or at its most vicious, feeling threatened and engaging in nuclear holocaust. We continue to participate in this insipid, droning, uninspired dead farce because we have forgotten who we are, where we live and who our Father is. How do we remember? What can we do?
There is an option. There is a way out. God would not leave us comfortless even in our self-imposed exile. He gave us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, and His plan of Atonement. We can get home by practicing, learning and mastering the Holy Spirit substitution for release, true forgiveness. When the tension builds, and it will because that is the nature of the universe, instead of taking the ego’s coaching and releasing in an ego fashion, forgive. Get off the tension and release roller coaster and forgive. The solution is simple but not easy. We are used to dealing with our tension and release in a certain way. Like an alcoholic who experiences tension and reaches for the bottle, you could say we are all addicted to our methods of release. But just as an alcoholic can reach for a meeting instead of the bottle, we can reach for forgiveness instead of our method of release.
Just like our method of release at the fourth division was projecting our guilt outward causing the Big Bang and the making of the level of form, our methods of release focus on an external solution to an internal problem. Conversely, forgiveness has us turn inward to the light within where we are forever joined with our brothers, the Holy Spirit, and God.
As Course students our job is to identify those instants of dis-ease where we experience a loss of peace. These instants, no matter how small, are indications that the tension is rising. If we do not apply forgiveness, the default program of the ego, what the ego has chosen for release, will kick in. The cycle of tension and release will continue as long as the universe of duality appears to exist. Our challenge is to use as many such moments as possible to forgive, paving the super highway home to God. When construction is complete God will bring us all home, together, super fast and super easy. Until then we keep paving the superhighway of forgiveness one day at a time.
The illusory universe is a place of tension and release. That’s duality…Now with the Course the tension is released by forgiveness, but until someone is very proficient at it they shouldn’t be expected to give up most earthly desires. That’s something that comes naturally with the maturity of a mind that is advanced in the ways of true forgiveness. (DU p.360)
Grace (acceptance of the love of God) is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace (acceptance of the love of God), he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain (tension), because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him (no matter how much imagined release, there will always be tension). There is no point in trying. A Son of God is happy (no strain, no tension) only when he knows he is with God. (only when he knows him Self). (T7.XI.5.2:1-6)
*Side note: therefore to be happy = to know your Self. How does a Son of God learn to know him Self and be happy? Forgiveness. That’s the only environment (knowing him Self and God) in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs.