Dot AND Circle, by Ivor Sowton

Early in the Dialogues of A Course of Love (ACOL), Jesus gives us a very powerful exercise to practice:
“Expand your reach! Step outside of the dot of the separated self and into the circle of unity where all you desire is already accomplished in the fullness and wholeness of the undivided Self.” (D: 8.11)

For me and many I’ve come in contact with, the spiritual search has been the primary aim in life–precisely because the limitations of the tiny separated self have become far too painful. That is, we long to expand our reach beyond the monad or separated self. A monad is an existentially isolated being. But thankfully, the idea is not to completely jettison or discard or kill the monad in us, but to elevate it.

There is a tradition is esoteric spirituality that there actually is no monad or separated self–that it is an illusory construct only and needs to be outgrown and discarded at best and vigorously excised at worst. As when Adam and Eve in the Bible disastrously step outside the proscribed limitations of the Garden of Eden and exercise self-will. In that version of the creation story the choice for self-will is a completely negative thing and the family of humans have to struggle from then on merely to continue to survive at all.

Luckily for us in our lives as individuals, Jesus in A Course of Love tells us that we should have Self-will–just not destructive small-self will, which is from ego and is illusory. Right near the end of this wonderful new dispensation Jesus has given us in A Course of Love, Jesus gives us the denouement here, saying that we needed to individuate from undifferentiated Godhead because that completed God. God needed or wanted to be known, and hence both subject and object became needed, because for there to be a created in turn means that there is perforce a Creator, and that God Himself has become fulfilled in His own creation. He is thus fulfilled through us, as we are fulfilled through Him. How beautiful!

The original mistake or misstep came when we got afraid of assuming that role of being a tremendously powerful Child of God, and in our fear made an ego in order to define our turf in much smaller terms. So the ego is the monad, and it’s not who we are, but at the same time it doesn’t need to be attacked and killed. Jesus says in ACOL that “You are called to peace, a peace that begins and ends by ceasing to do battle with the ego.” (2nd Treatise, 11.4)

Luminary current new thinker Ken Wilber has given us a useful model that has helped me understand the growth Jesus is recommending so strongly to us now: transcend and include (see his early, exuberant book A Brief History of Everything, currently in print.) So the dot goes beyond its little boundaries by transcending them, thereby becoming identified with the Container, the Eternal, the All– however we might conceptualize the One Source of all dots. The dot is then INCLUDED in the All, but does not thereby become obliterated, but fulfilled.

So we get to be both the dot and the Circle!

Now of course the dot is changed markedly by its new relationship with the circle, or the great expanse of Unity in which it is now included. Jesus calls this new dot, so to speak, the true Self in observable form, or just the true Self. Having re-established our identity and relationship with the Great Circle, we are now fulfilling our true purpose at last:
“You are a beautiful representation of the truth and cannot be otherwise. You may bring this beauty to any number of walks of life, to what you currently do or something you have always dreamt of doing. Wherever you go, whatever you do, the truth will go with you.” (3rd Treatise, 22.3)

And so we see that we don’t have to do self-damage to re-establish our sense of connection with God. What we do have to do is to open up to the vision of ourselves as not only dot and not only Circle, but BOTH. This is the inheritance Jesus says is ours and everyone’s–now and always. Thus Jesus tells us repeatedly “fear not.” We can’t lose, for we are all contained within the embrace of that Circle, always. Thus he says (Ibid., Ch. 13, title) that there can be for us now:

“No loss, but only gain (!)”

3 thoughts on “Dot AND Circle, by Ivor Sowton

  1. Kilaya

    Beautiful! Yes, thank you. The Dot and the circle, that’s the challenge, the fulfillment.

    Your phrase, “we don’t have to do self-damage to re-establish our sense of connection to God,” made me wonder, however, what type of thing are you referring to?

    If by “damage” you mean “self-criticism” I would disagree with you. If we cannot accept that self-criticism is a natural part of our infinite coming-into-full-awareness/being then we are not truly humble.
    If by “damage” you mean the self-flagellation type thinking or behavior I would agree, if only because that type of behavior is also a sign of arrogance and even rebellious towards God. We have to think highly mighty of ourselves if we are to engage in this type of protest towards Creation expressed through self-destructive thinking or behavior.

    Thanks again for your sharing.

  2. Jan Schaper

    A wonderfully unifying message, Celia. A reminder that the Divine pervades all and is closer than our own breath. I also find the dot and circle to be a great reminder to cultivate service at the heart — at the very center — of our circles of influence, whether that be family , business, community etc.


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