Many legitimate - and apocryphal - stories have been bandied about the famed Albert Einstein. I’m not sure into which category the following fits, although it certainly seems like the old chap.
During one of his many travels the esteemed physicist was deep in thought as the train rhythmically rumbled on its rails. The conductor approached collecting tickets. Einstein checked his jacket pocket and found it empty. A glance at the seat beside revealed no ticket. And a search of his carry bag likewise came up blank.
“Dr. Einstein,” the conductor replied, “I know who you are. I’m certain you purchased a ticket.” The conductor then continued down the aisle validating other passengers.
Turning around a few minutes later, the conductor saw Einstein on his hands-and-knees searching under his seat. Rushing back he reiterated, “Dr. Einstein. It’s all right. We all know who you are. You don’t need to produce your ticket.”
To which the sardonic Einstein replied, “My good man … I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”
Humor aside, this vignette provides a perfect portraiture of life. We seem to know who we are, yet have lost awareness of where we are going.
In the parlance of A Course in Miracles, the train conductor initially symbolizes the voice of spirit, nudging us to retrieve from mind authorization of our purpose. The “ticket” representing both confirmation and destination of all that matters.
More specifically, an encouragement to remove the blockages we’ve placed between ourselves and awareness of the ticket. The earnest searching as our noblest function.
On the other hand, Einstein’s conductor also illustrates the duplicitousness of the ego, pleading we pay no bother to the ticket, a substantive identity serving sufficiency.
And so we embark on what the course calls “an endless and unrewarding chain” of experiences, each with a concealed intention to strengthen the sense of self. Yet, to Einstein’s quip, we must eschew self-identity and focus attention on the journey’s end.
If you but recognized how little stands between you and your awareness of your [purpose] … the loveliness that you will see. How happy you will be. The gates of Heaven open. (T-22.V.5, T-22.IV.4)
Grievances blot out perception of peace. By gently looking at each one, without judgment, we fulfill our purpose and experience exquisite happiness. The ticket home secure in mind.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll explore methods for dispersing the impediments we’ve placed between us and the realization of blissful joy. I look forward to seeing you then.