Iceberg! The very cry signals danger, panic and impending doom. Many a ship, including a few famous ones have met their demise at the hands of this stealthy trap of nature. But what if I told you that you were an iceberg as well? Nonsense you say! On the “surface”, you would be right, but below the waters, you will find quite a different reality and similarity. It is this reality which more than anything must be understood, if we are to find peace.
Let’s briefly review our understanding of an iceberg. An iceberg is a large chuck of ice which has broken free from a large ice sheet or glacier. It previously spent much of its life as part of a larger entity, building up layers and layers of snow, ice and experience. To the naked eye, the ice sheet simply is. No differences as far as the eye can see. No discontinuities. Not a care in the world. Over time however, what started out in essence as a flake of snow has built up into something unimaginably massive.
The iceberg used to be one, but now it is many. Floating on a seemingly unending ocean, pulled and pushed by currents and buffeted by wave after unwelcome wave. It seems left alone to defend itself from quite literally a cold and cruel world. For it simply remembers the gentle snow and eons of peace. Now it has been thrust out amidst other icebergs. Strangers for they do not recognize one another. From One there are seemingly many. Everyone for themselves.
The iceberg attempts to put on a brave face. It will be considered beautiful on some days, others not so much. And as the unforgiving ocean gets warm, it begins to fade away. But wait! I just got here! I just got my independence! And what if you were to approach this iceberg? If you did not know the nature of it, you would be approaching a hazard, for what lies below the surface, below it’s visible and sometimes angelic appearance is a being that dwells in part in darkness and cold. This sense of isolation and abandonment is the price it unknowingly paid in order to float “free”. Beware, for unlike coal which compressed into diamonds, the gentle snow over time compressed into frigid and deadly ice, ready to rip into anything which comes too close, threatening its sovereignty.
You see, all of this goes on inside of you. For you came from a shared identity. You feel as though you broke off a piece of this shared consciousness and the price you paid was the forgetting of your own self. You then built up unconscious guilt for “thinking” you did this, below the water line. The iceberg literally broke off from the whole, the One and “Fell”. The eons ( yes eons…) have built up endless memories, some of them good but many of them not so good. They have created guilt. These deep unconscious feelings of guilt lie below the surface, keep us apart from each other and drive us to lash out and attack each other. For you will attack your accuser, before they realize that you deserve attack for “your” crimes. You will attack your brother because you feel they are responsible for ruining your sense of peace. These deep seated feelings of hate and vengeance keep us away from what would approach us with feelings of love.
We are the cousins of the iceberg
For how would you truly view yourself if 70% of you was invisible, hidden beneath the waves of consciousness and immersed in the problems of the world? Of course you would witness your bright “innocent as the driven snow” face you see everyday, but what is driving you, you have hidden in another world.
This parable, this “Story of You” in essence is what A Course in Miracles deals with. A plurality of those in the world would agree that we are influenced by “outside forces beyond our control”. Fewer still begrudgingly admit that some of these forces are more powerful and intelligent than we appear to be. But precious few would accept the notion that what drives us, what “anchors us in time”, what paints the picture of our external world and what influences our thoughts and our norms of behavior, is Ourselves. The Course takes the crucial step of identifying where cause truly is. Every religion has their story of creation and if you look further, every religion also has their story of “The Fall”. The term The Course uses for The Fall is the Separation. The term The Course uses for the part of the Iceberg you don’t see is the ego and the term The Course uses for the melting away of this unseen part is The Atonement.
We will deal with each term in more detail in subsequent articles. For now, simply imagine how free you would feel if you had no “beneath the currents” problems or nagging sense of guilt and anxiety to deal with. If all you experienced and remembered was the glorious bright sunlight glistening off an even brighter beautiful landscape, bathed in light and stretching as far as the eye can see. The dignity, the power, the peace. That reality my friend is what you truly are. It’s time to forget our ancient journey as the hapless iceberg and leave the memory of our long lost cousins behind.