CONVERSATIONS WITH RAJ
It is my Christmas wish for all of you that “peace on earth, good will toward men” become even more meaningful, imperative and relevant than ever before.
I am going to encourage you, during this season of traditional remembrance, to be untraditional in this respect: Remember Easter, too! For without remembering the deathlessness of that which was “born,” one does not fully understand what he is celebrating.
What was it that penetrated the veil of tears? Another ego to join in the struggle of human existence? Another body to grow, mature, age, and die? Neither! It was the Son of God, Who would remember His Identity and live in the world without an ego personality. And a body which, although it appeared to be a normal mortal body—a projection of the ego—was the visibility and tangibility of the expression of God, Who remembered Who He was and took it with Him!
My example demonstrated the Truth of every child, which is “born,” and the Birthright of everyone not to die—including his or her body. I shared the good news that everyone was my Brother and Sister and that wherever these Brothers and Sisters are, there is God. Not God “in the midst of them,” but the Presence of God, Himself. “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” If you have seen each other, you have seen the Father.
This is what penetrated the veil of human existence on that night in Bethlehem, which you all celebrate at this time. This indivisibility and eternality of the Father and His Sons/Daughters is what was “born” in human experience that night.
When I said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” I was saying, “Before Abraham was, you are.” Eternity, not time, is your “context” of being. You are birthless and deathless. And it is the advent of this Truth of being—your being—penetrating the Adam dream, the illusion of an existence separate from God, which you are celebrating this Christmas season, whether you ever thought about it or not.
I want you to remember at this time, two other things that I said: “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch!” And, “Lo, I am with you always. Watch and pray.” What do you think the word “watch” meant? It meant Listen. Be alert to my presence. Let me be born in you, that you may be reborn in your Self—in the remembrance of Who You really are. My “birth” in a manger 1993 years ago was the penetration in your awareness of your true identity—not just a “potential” that you were capable of achieving, but a Fact forevermore established consciously by our joining in that knowledge on that night. It is your re-birth, which the shepherds felt, and it is your star, which the Wise Men followed, and it is you whom they found in the manger, . . . as well as themselves.
Let the joy of Self-realization be a part of this Christmas season. Take your place in it, and let the divine Love that you really Are light your homes and radiate into the world, illuminating the Christ in everyone, and helping them not be afraid of Who they Are.
I love you all.
December 17, 1993
In this issue, we are breaking precedent from all previous issues by having two specific focuses. The first is A Course in Miracles, and the second is that all of the conversations in this issue took place on CompuServe, an international communications network accessed by computer. Everyone is invited to participate in this medium of communication/communion, and you can find and participate in these ongoing dialogues in Section 6, Interfaith Dialogues, in the Religion Forum.
OVERLOOKING FAULTS IN OTHERS
If I may, I will bend your ears for a bit and share with you where I am coming from relative to the concept of overlooking faults in others.
I have difficulty with the concept because I do not understand it. I understand what everyone believes it means, but in the same way that no one is the food he eats, no one is the belief that seems to govern him.
It is true that the belief and the believer are one, but none of us are that one. The belief and the believer are the ego—not you or me or anyone else. We are all the Sons and Daughters of God. Right now we are all the Sons and Daughters of God. Right here we are all the Sons and Daughters of God.
As we all sit around this ecumenical electronic conference table and share with each other, we all enjoy the opportunity to experience our Sonship and Daughtership with greater meaningfulness. We wouldn't be here otherwise. For myself, when I share with you, my purpose is to illuminate Who you really Are, because it is so obvious to me—seeing only my Brothers and Sisters here. And if I hear a belief being expressed which causes one to suffer ignorance of Who (s)he Is, I will speak up and say, “That is a lie! It is not the truth of You.” It might be said more gently or strongly, depending upon the degree to which my Brother is being abused by the belief. But I will do it knowing that that Brother is neither the believer or the belief.
To misperceive something is not a fault. It is an unjust imposition upon a Son of God from which it is His right to be emancipated. And it is the obligation of those who clearly see “there is no fault in him” to facilitate his emancipation, because love is nothing less. This requires shining Light on the belief to uncover the fact that the belief and the believer are one, and our Brother is not that one. Not only that, it is to uncover the fact that the belief and the believer are one and they don't exist!
I said it this way to Helen 1:
“You must look upon your illusions and not keep them hidden, because they do not rest on their own foundation. In concealment they appear to do so, and thus they seem to be self-sustained. This is the fundamental illusion on which the others rest. For beneath them, and concealed as long as they are hidden, is the loving mind that thought it made them in anger. And the pain in this mind is so apparent, when it is uncovered, that its need of healing cannot be denied. Not all the tricks and games you offer it can heal it, for here is the real crucifixion of God's Son.”
“And yet he is not crucified. Here is both his pain and his healing, for the Holy Spirit's vision is merciful and His remedy is quick. Do not hide suffering from His sight, but bring it gladly to Him. Lay before His eternal sanity all your hurt, and let Him heal you. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His Light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.” 2
And the following assures everyone that, together, the careful searching of the mind that made this world and the uncovering of the seeming reasons for the making of it will heal rather than conflict, and therefore is a safe pursuit.
“The real world is attained simply by the complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness. The Great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind that made this world, and uncover to you the seeming reasons for your making it. In the light of the real reason that He brings, as you follow Him, He will show you that there is no reason here at all. Each spot His reason touches grows alive with beauty, and what seemed ugly in the darkness of your lack of reason is suddenly released to loveliness. Not even what the Son of God made in insanity could be without a hidden spark of beauty that gentleness could release.” 3
I would also like to share some thoughts about the idea that there is a proper way to teach the Course. As I observe the world, I find the meaning of the Course being illuminated (taught) in a multitude of ways—some orthodox, and some quite radical—and in spite of the lack of agreed-upon guidelines, redemption is occurring. As for myself, I have not come to be with you to teach the Course. I have come here to be the only thing I can be—the Christ. I will be the Meaning of the Course. I will not relate everything back to the Course, although everyone else is welcome to, and find the confirmation they are looking for which will bring the words alive. I am not here to teach the Course, but to be with all of you in Brotherhood. I will relate everything back to you—the Son or Daughter of God that You Are.
I will end with this: Anyone who may be having difficulty “coping” with me will have less difficulty if they will not insist upon conceptualizing me as an ego. And, of course, everyone will have less difficulty “coping” with life if they will not insist that they are egos, too.
1 Helen Schucman, scribe of A Course in Miracles
A LITTLE KINDNESS
I want to take a moment and share some things with everyone. The Crucifixion of one Son of God was essential, not only to fulfill prophecy, but to “break earth's stupid rest,” as one hymn puts it. However, the resurrection and ascension of every Son of God who is still dreaming is essential to the Atonement.
As the resurrection in each one occurs, I ask you to remember that it will not be appropriate to crucify him to see if he is really the Son of God.
Shortly after I joined you all here, one of the members shared: “By challenging Raj, I expect to have some of my mistaken perceptions exposed. That is the purpose of challenging him. If he has the understanding, patience, tolerance, honesty, defenselessness, faithfulness, generosity, joy, gentleness, trust and open-mindedness (as is taught in the Course) as he says he has, let him share it and increase it in this world. I need to learn about things like that.”
The two things he neglected to add to his list were “the stupidity and lack of integrity to put up with challenges.” I have come here to be with you in comradeship and Brotherhood. But, I will tell you something: I will not engage in challenges. They are not essential to increasing the qualities listed above. To practice unconditional love does not mean willingness to be a doormat, no matter how lofty the intent of the one wiping his feet.
QUESTION: Raj, you seem not to practice the ten characteristics of a teacher of God by adding “the stupidity and lack of integrity to put up with challenges” to the list. Perhaps your patience and tolerance have met their limits? Why are you not able to practice forgiveness or be in possession of the ability to use any situation as an opportunity to witness to God?
RAJ: I will respond to these comments by quoting myself:
“Egos can clash in any situation, but spirit cannot clash at all. If you perceive a teacher as merely 'a larger ego' you will be afraid, because to enlarge an ego would be to increase anxiety about separation. I will teach with you and live with you if you will think with me, but my goal will always be to absolve you finally from the need for a teacher. This is the opposite of the ego-oriented teacher's goal. He is concerned with the effect of his ego on other egos, and I would not be able to devote myself to teaching if I believed this, and you will not be a devoted teacher as long as you believe it. I am constantly being perceived as a teacher either to be exalted or rejected, but I do not accept either perception for myself.” 1
Because I do not accept either perception for myself, I will not accept them from you either, or pose in pseudo conflict to illustrate the truth. Nor does this constitute attack on you. You said, “Do not be alarmed by my propensity for debate. I only challenge egos, not spirit.” You must then see an ego where I am, and I can only say in love to you that like Don Juan, you are expending energy and time to challenge that, which is not there. Again, this is not done to prove you wrong, but to suggest you look again to see what's really there so we might be together in our Brotherhood.
It would be stupid, lack integrity, for us to spar when we could willingly sit down and simply talk. This is the only answer to your challenges that could be right, because they are rhetorical. I will not hesitate to answer any challenge that is felt, nor will I see it as attack. But when the challenge is a style and not reflecting genuine disdain, I must speak up and say, “Let's cut the crap! Let's show a little kindness and be real,” for therein lies the means to illustrate we are the Sons of God, and hate is not a necessary part of its uncovering.
QUESTION: For many of us, the scariest passage in the Course reads, “…if your brothers ask you for something 'outrageous,' do it…” Sort of the ACIM equivalent of “turn the other cheek.” What is the story here? I understand that “turn the other cheek” is not generally a literal guide to behavior. It refers to responding to an apparent attack with unconditional love. One is being most loving as a rule, when one moves one's cheek gently out of smiting range.
So far so good. But how does one become proactively loving? I'm presently in a situation where I'm in the middle of a conflict between our Board of Stewards at work and union members in my department, who don't like what the stewards are doing. I belong to both groups and feel an obligation to be where I am and try to mediate the conflict between them. A lot of the time though, I've been unable to protect my cheeks or anyone else's from smiting. It often seems like I'm doing more to continue the conflict than to resolve it.
As I write this, looking for a formula I can plug in, what comes into my mind is, “Ask what is appropriate for you to do in every specific circumstance.” I'm also getting that I should not make myself responsible if others choose to be in conflict. I want more of an answer though.
I find myself floundering here. I would like to frame a better question but I guess if I could ask a really coherent question about this I wouldn't need to ask it in the first place. Anyway I hope you can speak to it.
RAJ: I understand why this could seem scary. What if your brother says, “I just stole a TV and I need to store it at your house until I can sell it,” or, as in your case, “You had better decide whose side you're on, the Board of Stewards or the union members!” In either case, no matter what you do, you're “at risk.”
Before I share a wonderful example of the meaning of the “scary” passage you quoted, let's take a look at some of the key points in the section which that passage came from:
“I once asked you to sell all you have and give to the poor and follow me. This is what I meant: If you have no investment in anything in this world, you can teach the poor where their treasure is.”
“Because they are in need it is given you to help them, since you are among them. Consider how perfectly your lesson would be learned if you were unwilling to share their poverty [my italics].”
And further down the page:
“You who could help them are surely acting destructively if you accept their poverty as yours [my italics].”
Then the “difficult” part:
“Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something 'outrageous,' do it because it does not matter.”
“He is asking for salvation…”
And then the definition of salvation is given:
“Salvation is for the mind, and it is attained through peace. This is the only thing that can be saved and the only way to save it. Any response other than love arises from a confusion about the 'what' and the 'how' of salvation, and this is the only answer. Never lose sight of this, and never allow yourself to believe, even for an instant that there is another answer.” 2
If you don't know what the it is when you read the words, “do it,” and they follow the word “outrageous,” I am not surprised that it seems scary. But the answer is that the it is love.
Let's take a look at the example I mentioned:
“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” 3
Here is a poor man asking for money, and either Peter or John could have said, “This is outrageous! He may be lame, but he's not incapacitated! Why should we help him when he hasn't done the first thing to help himself?” But the truth is:
“If you insist on refusing and experience a quick response of opposition, you are believing that your salvation lies in not doing it. You, then, are making the same mistake he is, and are making his error real to both of you.” 4
This is not what Peter and John did, however. Nor did they give him money! In other words, they did not do what he thought he was asking for.
“He is asking for salvation” and “any response other than love arises from a confusion about the 'what' and the 'how' of salvation.” 5
Peter and John did not abandon their peace when confronted by what they could have determined to be an outrageous situation and/or an outrageous request. In other words, they did not believe what they heard or what they saw! Both were illegitimate impositions upon the Son of God (the lame man), but neither disturbed the peace of Peter and John. And from their peace they saw what did not matter and did what the Son of God (alias “the beggar”) was really asking for: recognized nothing else there that “mattered” except the Son of God. They loved Him!
As I've mentioned before, Love is the recognition of that which is Real in each and every thing. And it heals! This means that no matter what the apparent details of any situation you are in, the key lies in not abandoning your peace, which is the only place Love can be experienced. Indeed, as you said (with a slight modification), “[Listen for] what is appropriate for you to do in every specific circumstance.”
You don't know what Love will be in any given circumstance until you're confronted by the circumstance and given the opportunity to stay in or get into your peace, listen for the Voice for Truth, and trustingly express It. But doing it—as another member of the Forum did this last week—will allow you also to say, as she did, “I approached the [situation] with love, not expecting or knowing what I would receive in return and when it was love that was returned, I felt and still feel wonder.”
For one who has read the Course from cover to cover, there is another passage that links with this one which seems to confirm its “scariness.” It says:
“I elected, for your sake and mine, to demonstrate that the most outrageous assault, as judged by the ego, does not matter. As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, I was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn, and finally killed.” 6
The key words, however, are: “as judged by the ego” and “as the world judges these things.” I also said:
“You are free to perceive yourself as persecuted if you choose. When you do choose to react that way, however, you might remember that I was persecuted as the world judges, and did not share this evaluation for myself. And because I did not share it, I did not strengthen it.” 7
“You are not asked to be crucified, which was part of my own teaching contribution. You are merely asked to follow my example in the face of much less extreme temptations to misperceive, and not to accept them as false justifications for anger.” 8
The key words here are: “'temptations to misperceive.”
So, what do you do if a brother asks you for something outrageous? You are not tempted to misperceive! You do not share his evaluation of who he is and what he is doing, and thus you do not strengthen it. How do you do this? You recognize, instead, what does not matter—his evaluation—because you recognize in him the Son of God, who is unable to truly believe such an evaluation. And because you always see what you are looking with, you must necessarily be having the experience of being the Son of God, yourself!
I am going to put it another way. If you see him asking an outrageous thing—something only an ego would do—you must necessarily be looking through the lens of the ego, yourself. If you then do what he asks, you will confirm his ignorance and bind yourself to it as well.
And so, the jewel in the center of this “scary passage,” which takes away its scariness, relates not to what is asked or what you do in response, but to What You Are and What He Is and an unwillingness to see anything else that matters. If you are unwilling to be anything less than the Son of God seeing the Son of God, you are engaged in being love, and you are being the message of the crucifixion.
“The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are.” 9
Or, we could say, the meaning of the “temptation to misperceive” is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are. Or gain, the temptation to misperceive is “a call for love.”
And so, when the outrageous call comes you do it! You be the willingness to recognize that which is Real in your Brother.
QUESTION: I hesitate to reply to you just yet because I don't want to interrupt the flow of your wonderful reply. I feel as if I should just enjoy it. I do have a “yes, but” however. To truly accept the gift of your being with me, I need to interrupt you.
In a conversation I had with someone else, I mentioned that a comparison I often use for learning the Course is learning to ride a bicycle. When we begin to learn, it is with the assurance—usually from people we trust a great deal—that if only we get the wheels turning fast enough, the laws of physics will keep us upright.
Hearing this is not enough however. Trusting in the laws of physics is repugnant to the ego because it represents a loss of control. The ego is quite sure that bicycles are only ridden by means of what a 19th-century Parisian ordinance, to ban the infernal machine from the city, described as “a precarious balancing act.” Thus we grab at the brakes, grope for pavement with our toes, and trust in the training wheels.
That we eventually learn to ride is a function of the accidents we have [the unexpected]. We suddenly realize that the best friend, who swore he would not let go, is standing two hundred feet behind us, smiling broadly at our success.
“Removing the blocks to the awareness of Love's presence” is, for me, a matter of leaving accidental gaps in my defenses—however much I may insist that I want to let go of them all right now. Such accidents will happen. My practicing just allows them to happen a bit more frequently.
After all of that, I understand that the call to me is to be the presence of Love. The problem comes in knowing how to be that. If I were more consistent at listening for Guidance, this would not be a problem, I know. But, as I said, I'm still very much at the level of trusting in the training wheels.
Now, at work, when I hand someone the little paper Mobius strip I made, let them run a finger around it and discover that it only has one side—despite its appearance of having two—and I tell them, “that's the truth we need to see in each other,” am I speaking from ego or from Spirit? My ego could certainly set this up for me to be either the hero of the hour, or a martyr for peace—with a big payoff in self-sacrifice points to come out of it in either case.
The Text points out that the partially awakened do not always act appropriately, indeed may often act “quite foolishly.” What worries me is the possibility of acting “quite foolishly.” Is there a way to avoid the foolish part? Does it matter? Does the Holy Spirit teach as well from my stubbed toes as my great leaps and I'm always perfectly safe anyway? My ego has a big “yes, but” about that, but I think my Self would understand it.
RAJ: Your timing is impeccable and your questions are perfect! Or is it the Holy Spirit's? Or is it the ego's?
With so many potential “selves” and “not-selves,” it is confusing, indeed, and obviously we must address this matter of “Identity” next, in practical terms.
In the infinity of eternity, whether you have been experiencing it as “an illusion of time” or not, you have only had one experience of you, because... But we don't have to give an explanation of the “why” of it. Just pay attention to what your actual experience of it has been in what you would call “this life-time.” Whether 3 years, 15 years, 20 or more years old, you have discovered that you are the same you; that you have remained as an unchangeable recognizable presence of that which can only be called “Identity”—recognizable, that is, to you. No matter how much your opinions and definitions of yourself have changed, the recognizable presence of Identity about which you have formed opinions and definitions hasn't changed one bit. It is like your fingerprints. No matter what age, occupation, social position or physical size you have been, your fingerprints have not changed!
It is very important to pay attention to the obvious! And the obvious is that you have never become “unrecognizably” you to yourself. This is not because you have shifted unnoticeably with the changes, but because no change has ever occurred!
Why is this important? Because it will reduce the confusion about “who” it is that is “doing” something. There are not multiple selves. This simplifies things greatly, because at any given moment, there is just you doing or not doing something, feeling or not feeling something, experiencing truth or experiencing illusion, thinking you're an ego or Knowing you're not, thinking you're a body in a universe or Self in which the experience of universe and body are being experienced.
This unchanging forever-recognizable experience of Identity is the Son of God! Right here, right now. It is the Christ! Right here, right now. It is the Alpha and Omega! Right here, right now. It is God, Self-expressed! Right here, right now.
That Which is reading this message is the only experience of Identity you will ever have or there will ever be.
This is not bad news!
This is a call for a shift of perception!
At this very instant, as you read this, you are the Son of God seeing truly or “through a glass darkly.” Whether you are seeing truly or “through a glass darkly,” you, right now, are experiencing being the Son of God. Whether you are seeing truly or in a limited fashion, That which is experiencing reading this message is the Son of God! Whether you are agreeing or disagreeing with what you are reading, it is the Son of God, which is doing it! Whether you are confused or not, it is the Son of God Who is suffering from confusion or not!
No matter whether you are deluded or in your right Mind, you are the Christ, the Son of God. Whether you believe you are a Prodigal Son or not, you are the Son of your Father—something your belief cannot change! And no matter how much a “Prodigal” denies his Father, his birthright, his “lineage,” he cannot become what he is not! Therefore, no matter how much denial he is engaged in, the one who is trying to establish himself in his own right, independent of his Father, is only his Father's Son using his Father's Son's mind unnaturally.
You are incapable of creating or having created a separate mind from God. Therefore, you haven't done it! I do not mean that as a metaphysical statement of truth to undo “a mind” that seems to be real which you somehow have to get beyond. I mean that the mind you are “using” to read this, whether ego-bound or not, is the mind of the Son of God, the mind of the Christ you Are, and your resurrection and ascension will amount to the full-blown realization of this Fact!
Now comes the clincher! This means that the demented, frustrated, impoverished Prodigal Son, exhausted from his attempt to establish himself independently, makes the decision to return Home with the mind which never left Home—which was never anything less or different from the Father's Son's mind!
QUESTION: The Text points out that the partially awakened do not always act appropriately, indeed may often act “quite foolishly.”
RAJ: Of course! But, so what? That is the “human condition.” That is everyone's starting point, and has been for centuries. And before anyone read the Course, no one thought of it as something to feel guilty about or afraid of. They just pursued their spiritual path or some other path with a certain expectation of success.
Do not let your reading of the Course call your very Identity into question. To give more depth to what I said, let's say it this way: The demented, frustrated, impoverished Identity, exhausted from its attempt to establish Itself independently, makes the decision to return Home using the Identity which was never anything less or different from the Father's Son. Layer upon layer of false concepts and definitions may have been overlaid upon your Identity, but it has not turned It into something other than what It truly Is.
So, proceed as you always have, from right where you are, and from the only experience of Identity currently available to you, knowing that everyone else is “in the same boat,” and is therefore deserving of whatever degree of real Love you are able to bring to the situation. In the past, you would have brought the highest degree of intelligence to the situation, whether inspired or not, and if it didn't effect a resolution it wasn't used as justification for guilt. It simply meant you had to look further for the answer, fully expecting to find it sooner or later, like learning to ride the bicycle without training wheels.
As an aside, what if Mr. Schwinn had written a book teaching that the fear of falling down while riding a bicycle was “an attack on God”? Oh-h-h boy! Even though it would be true, what a disastrous difference that could have made to all future generations of children learning how to ride a bike, when their ancestors had only to keep trying until they got the hang of it and had fun doing it.
When the Course says that one's current perception of Reality (since there isn't anything else available to have a perception of) is an attack on God, it simply means “there is another way to look at this.” Become curious as to what it really is! Use the very mind which has creatively fantasized (defined) the Kingdom of Heaven as “a material world and Universe that started with a Big Bang” to look again! That's all! No guilt. No remorse. No self-depreciation. No self-doubt. It is in this way that everyone begins to stop using his Father's Son's mind unnaturally.
You said, “What worries me is the possibility of acting 'quite foolishly.' Is there a way to avoid the foolish part? Does it matter?”
Well, the only way being or looking foolish could be a concern would be if you had an investment in the outcome and an investment in what others thought. Again: The jewel in the center of this “scary passage” relates not to what is asked or what you do in response, but to What You Are and What the one making the request Is, and an unwillingness to see anything else that matters.
In your situation, the outcome matters to everyone—the union members and the Board of Stewards. They are invested in it! Their investment arises out of an agreed-upon definition of who they are as “union members” and a “Board of Stewards” as well as an agreed-upon purpose for existing as those definitions—which they would call “functions.” On the basis of these definitions, they have preconceptions as to what the outcome must be in order not to lose the “strength” they have gained as “definitions,” and thus they have lost their humanity—their capacity to love, or meet the human need.
You see, it isn't joining with them in resolving the stated differences in their goals that constitutes the “temptation to misperceive,” but an invitation to join them in an “investment in the outcome” and an investment in “not losing strength as groups with opposing functions.”
Peter and John had no investment in the outcome. Success or failure at “healing” the Son of God (alias “the beggar”) would have been a nonsensical idea. They simply did not have the willingness to give him what he asked for—the recognition of his alias as his true identity—and they gave him what they did have to give.
Now, here is the key point: If the Son of God (alias “the beggar”) had not accepted “the recognition of that which was Real in him,” Peter and John would have gone on into the temple without a second thought! They would not have indulged in wondering whether anyone saw that they had no success in healing the lame man (looked foolish). They would not have wondered if they were poor students of mine and therefore unworthy of being my disciples. Without an investment in “results” or in “what others thought,” they extended the pure Gift of Love—no strings attached. Good or bad results for the lame man or themselves were so much “tinkling brass.” Meaningless thoughts. It simply wasn't where they were coming from.
QUESTION: I understand that the call to me is to be the presence of Love. The problem comes in knowing how to be that. If I were more consistent at listening for Guidance, this would not be a problem, I know.
RAJ: What other choice do you have but to listen now? Your statement is the equivalent of saying, “I know that the call to me is to ride my bike to get around. The problem comes in knowing how to do that. If I had been more consistent at learning when everyone else learned, this would not be a problem, I know.” Well, so what? Start now, with curiosity and expectation. And have no investment in not falling down or succeeding at what you think riding a bike is all about. It's about a feel, but you don't discover that until you discover that. And then you say, “Oh-h-h, it's easy! If I had known what it was all about, I could have done it sooner.”
To conclude: You don't know what Love will be in any given circumstance until you're confronted by the circumstance and given the opportunity to stay in your peace, listen for the Voice for Truth, and trustingly express It. Then, let the chips fall where they may and continue on, listening for the Voice for Truth, and getting the hang of being in your right mind.
3 Acts 3:1-9
COMMENTS ON A COURSE IN MIRACLES
Someone in the group recently said, in effect, “The Course speaks for itself and doesn't need Raj or anyone else to speak for it.” And indeed, this is correct. But at this time I must speak for its “mission,” and ask everyone to consider it.
A Course in Miracles is not a secular work—in principle or practice. It is not a religious work, either, or a philosophy. It is a work which, when studied, is transformational—not just in terms of better human relationships, but in terms of uncovering, as an experience, the underlying divinity of each one's humanity, thus lifting one's experience of existence into a clearer realization of God in every aspect of his daily life. In other words, it is miraculous!
Miracles are not a secular experience! Put another way, holding one's life to secular experiences does not allow for miracles, because they would prove that one's life is not secular. If the ego can succeed in burying the spirit of the Course in a secular context (and I am not just speaking of the New Age Forum on CompuServe, but in the Course community in general by virtue of authoritative definitions provided as to its “real” function or interpretation) the transcendental nature of the Course will be lost. And, as I have said before, another Course will have to be dictated which is not bound by such limitations.
Those who propose that the Course is secular do not realize that the framework being proposed is incapable of embracing the full “mission” of the Course, and that establishing such a framework with the support of active ACIM students would present a public “image” of ACIM through CompuServe as nothing more than an “advanced form of psychology” since nothing beyond an advanced form of psychology fits into an absolutely secular definition of A Course in Miracles.
I see that many of you have indicated that you could live with the proposed “secular” guidelines, and although I am not speaking for anyone, might it not be because you don't expect anything truly miraculous to happen to you which might cause you to express “unsecular” and spiritually transformational ideas that might be perceived as “religious”? If, on the other hand, you do have something truly miraculous happen, and out of the great joy you feel, you simply cannot contain yourselves within those limits, why be in a position where you find yourself necessarily moved to another Section or locked out of the Forum because you're not “on topic”?
It is so very important to remember that God, and Truth, and Love, the Holy Spirit and Reality all existed before the Course and therefore exist aside from the Course. That is why the Holy Instant occurs in a momentary glance between a child and a camp teacher or a moment of hugging or leaning against a tree. And that is why one can have an experience of illumination creeping along a freeway in 5 o'clock traffic where headlights and taillights following the curves of the road ahead become an expression of living, moving Artistry where machines and impatient, tired, frustrated egos at the wheels are lifted into “the design of God” where all is Beauty. And one is left with an unforgettable experience of the fact that nothing means what he thinks it means, and that therefore “what he thought” means nothing!
God is not monitoring anyone's reading habits. In fact, to divide up your world into “things to pay attention to” and “things to ignore” means that a decision has been made to refuse to see God in some places...which, to me, seems slightly reminiscent of the ego.
No one is so delicate and vulnerable that he or she can't dare to embrace the whole world without losing the Atonement, but everyone is obviously free to focus his attention fully on something greatly meaningful to him. The pitiful thing about blinders, though, is that if you can only see what you are doing, you are unable to see that others may be doing the same thing, and therefore you are not all alone, or in a minority.
How wonderful it is to find a friend sharing what he has discovered about forgiveness without ever having read the Course, because it demonstrates that Love is universal, and Its meaning is penetrating human experience spontaneously, just as the Course did.
I am very glad that this conversation has not uncovered in this Section of the Forum a great concern over the authenticity of the Course, or whether I truly am the author, because if everyone is truly honest, he will acknowledge that there is no way to prove my identity, or the divine authenticity of the Course, or the Bible, or any Holy Book. Historians of all persuasions research and argue, validate and invalidate. The Catholic Church makes and unmakes Saints. And all the while “John Q. Public” is inspired and uplifted by whatever inspires and uplifts him. Why? Because there is in him an independent unalterable remembrance of Home and of what he divinely Is. This indelible remembrance guides him to value whatever confirms Truth and facilitates his coming Home.
What I am saying does not devalue the Course or minimize its importance, but it does inhibit the tendency to place authority where it does not exist. Whether the Course is “authentic” and whether I am the author of the Course is so much “tinkling brass” that serves only as a distraction from the immovable Light (the indelible Remembrance) in each individual that needs to be honored and magnified—which, at the bottom line, is the only thing motivating anyone's Homecoming. This Light is each one's inherent capacity to recognize Truth—his Savior.
There are only three references to “right thinking” found in the Text. The first reference is:
“Miracles are examples of right thinking, aligning your perceptions with truth as God created it.” 1
Right thinking must therefore be something different from “thinking” as it is commonly defined. Aligning your perceptions with truth cannot be initiated by “an act of thought,” but rather by an act of “feeling into” what truth is—a paying attention, or what I called Listening.
This is amplified in the second reference:
“As a man and also one of God's creations, my right thinking, which came from the Holy Spirit or the Universal Inspiration, taught me first and foremost that this Inspiration is for all. I could not have It myself without knowing this. The word “know” is proper in this context, because the Holy Spirit is so close to knowledge that He calls it forth; or better, allows it to come. I have spoken before of the higher or “true” perception, which is so near to truth that God Himself can flow across the little gap. Knowledge is always ready to flow everywhere, but it cannot oppose. Therefore you can obstruct it, although you can never lose it.” 2
Right thinking is revealed! It comes from the Holy Spirit or the Universal Inspiration and is more accurately called Knowing. I capitalize the “K” here to distinguish it from the common meaning of knowing, which is: “A definite conclusion based upon thoughts which came not from the Universal Inspiration, or Holy Spirit.” It should be easier now to see that you can never lose knowledge, but you can obstruct it by what is normally called thinking.
The only other reference to right thinking in the Text is the following:
“The Holy Spirit is the spirit of joy. He is the Call to return with which God blessed the minds of His separated Sons. This is the vocation of the mind. The mind had no calling until the separation, because before that it had only being, and would not have understood the call to right thinking. The Holy Spirit is God's Answer to the separation; the means by which the Atonement heals until the whole mind returns to creating.” 3
So, truly speaking, joy is the vocation of the mind. Until the separation it had no other function and none other was available. But in order to separate and exist exclusive of That which was its Meaning, it had to give itself a purpose—a calling—and that calling was thinking!
Now, as a so-called “independent thinker” it is able to comprehend the concept of right thinking and wrong thinking, and the Course is able to lead the mind to desire right thinking. Then, having gotten the mind's attention, the Course can translate “right thinking” into not thinking (Listening) as a means of bringing it “so near to truth that God Himself can flow across the little gap.” This is why the Holy Spirit is God's Answer to the separation and the means by which the Atonement heals until the whole mind returns to creating”—not thinking.
I appreciate your sharing your thoughts on the importance or value of “understanding.” Indeed, understanding, as you have described it, is important. I would simply like to add that there are two kinds of understanding. One is the result of reason, and the other is the result of experience. For instance, the value of the Course is that through reason (and the understanding that results from it) one comes to a place where trust in God is perceived to be reasonable, even though trusting in God means abandoning trust in one's own best judgments. Then, when one does abandon his own best judgments—even his best “understanding”—and leans into God (and who can say what that means to each individual), and experiences the Presence of God, he now understands something, but this kind of understanding has no thoughts or words to it initially, and reason plays no part in it. It is a divine understanding, or what I call Knowing.
At the bottom line, one ultimately has to abandon the “self that understands as a result of reason” in order to be the Self that wordlessly, thoughtlessly understands from the experience of God. Knowing this will not undermine anyone's interest in studying the Course, but it will promote a willingness to allow the miracle of Atonement at any time, since “understanding” is not essential to the miracle.
THEY READ IT WITH INNOCENCE
QUESTION: If the Course is seen as an isolated teaching which is only for, and to be embraced by Course students, then the Course is certainly not being used to encourage “joining” or to helping to “correct” some of the distorted perceptions of 'Jesus' message.”
RAJ: I am going to suggest that those individuals who come across a copy of the Course in a bookstore or a rummage sale, who purchase it and begin reading it, and then longingly wish that there were others with whom they could discuss it, are perhaps in the best position they could be. Why? Because they read it with innocence.
But it is human nature to share and not be alone. And as a result, groups form and give themselves names—”A Course in Miracles Group”—and those in the group give themselves a name—”students” of the Course. Before long these groups make themselves known in Directories of ACIM Groups to facilitate ease of new students finding fellow-students who are already “into” the Course. Centers are established and Conferences are held around the world.
As this happens, students observe each other in all of these settings and a certain mystique begins to develop as to how Course students behave. They may even discuss how Course students “ought” to behave if they are being consistent with the Course. And as all of this transpires, everyone gets further and further away from reading the Course with innocence. “Am I doing it right?” “Should I share that I don't read the Lessons sequentially, or that I sometimes stay on a lesson for a week or two before going on to the next one?”
In everything I have been doing here on CompuServe, I have been insisting on reading the Course with innocence—reading it with that same unbiased freshness with which it was read the first time it was picked up, without any procedural trappings wrapped up in it. Each one started reading it as a simple human being—”an inquiring mind,” you might say—no matter what his educational, social, or religious background.
It is this innocence of structured inquiry, which I wish to remind everyone of so that, indeed, everyone can gather together as “inquiring minds” rather than “students of the Course.” Inquiry and discovery are inseparable from learning, and everyone is engaged in learning. Therefore everyone is already joined in a commonality, whether they are learning about cats, quantum theory, cooking, raising children, or how to be married happily.
You said, “To someone like myself who finds great value in the Course but is not able to embrace all of its teachings, I am glad that there are those like yourself and my other friends here who give me an opportunity to express my views.”
Well, let's try putting it this way: “To someone like myself who finds great value in the Course but is not able to embrace all of its teachings, I am glad that there are those like yourself and my other friends here who do not exclude me from expressing my views because they don't fit some established preconception about what my views ought to be as a result of reading this transformational work called A Course in Miracles.”
Everyone needs to hear the ongoing freshness that arises out of the innocent reading of the Course, and it is my hope that everyone, no matter how new they are to the Course, or “well-established,” will share not only their questions, fears, doubts, but their realizations, even if they seem not to have been mentioned or alluded to by anyone else.
As I have said before, we are all brothers and sisters first, before learning anything, and it is important to remain brothers and sisters first as our learning continues. This will always be inclusive. In fact, it will be a priori inclusiveness, which will invite joining and provide no abiding place for divisiveness. It will be love.
RELINQUISHMENT OF ATTACK
[The following is a commentary by Raj on a section found in A Course in Miracles entitled “The Relinquishment of Attack” on page 91 of the 1st edition and page 99 of the new edition, followed by a discussion.]
This section illuminates a sweet and simple lesson: “Teach only love, for that is what you are,” and that this is the way one relinquishes attack. Interestingly enough, it doesn't say, “Replace attack with love.” It says attack is not really attack, but defense. Therefore, it is defense that must be replaced with love. It is self-protection that must be replaced with Self-extension.
This is why this section, which apparently addresses the issue of “attack,” only uses the word twice, and only once is it the subject of the sentence in which it is used. Attack is not the issue!
In every conflict, only “defenders” are present, and the one who engages in defense first is the unfortunate one who is labeled the “attacker.” Thus, the end of conflict occurs when someone stops teaching defense and begins teaching love.
Do you know what love is? Love is the willingness to recognize that which is Real in each and every thing rather than some lesser definition that you have created and to which you would bind that thing. It is an interesting fact that “concepts” and “definitions” of others are the specific means everyone uses as defense against experiencing Who others truly Are. Concepts and definitions are, therefore, the means by which one “attacks” his brother and keeps himself distracted from recognizing that which is Real in him. It is also true that those concepts and definitions are used as the justification for not seeing him as he Is.
“Okay,” you say, “I see that, but what do I do when I am attacked and have harbored no faulty definition of them?”—(you know, that “innocent victim” line). The answer is: Realize that if you feel attacked, it means that someone else's defense of themselves has uncovered in you the fact that if the circumstances are “just right,” you are willing to become insane—a little whirling ball of defense also. This is a humiliating fact to have uncovered.
You then have the choice of covering that fact from your sight by getting angry at the brother who has been your teacher by illuminating a place within yourself that you need to forgive, or you can relinquish your defense. Whether you are the first to defend or the second, the answer is for you to relinquish defense.
Is this dangerous? Does this make you foolish and vulnerable? No. Because if you don't abandon the willingness to recognize that which is Real in your brother who is “caught” in the act of defense, you can look to see what he is defending and confirm it to him! Why would you want to do that? Because always one is defending his integrity, his worth, his respectability—his essential innocence! And that is not only worthy of confirmation, its confirmation is essential to the lesson being taught.
QUESTIONER #1: I'm confused here. Why would you defend Innocence, that of you which is real? If you must defend it, then it must be something other than Reality, something that perceives itself as needing protection. It's important to confirm the Christ in your brother (and therefore yourself), but its not clear to me that that's what was said.
RAJ: It's simple, really. When you become defensive, it is because you feel your integrity has been attacked, and the purpose of your defense—as in any court of law—is to establish the fact of your innocence. When you realize that an attack on you is another's awkward attempt to establish the fact of his innocence, and is therefore a “call for love,” it becomes easy for you to join him in establishing the fact of his innocence. However, the Course lifts this “joining” beyond the level of courtroom justice (where innocence is always circumstantial) into the divine Fact of Innocence which is unalterable, and your clear vision of his real Innocence becomes an act of Love, making him feel safe—needing no defense—and he is indeed able to withdraw the need to prove it and be at peace in It.
Does that answer your question?
QUESTIONER #1: Uh… bear with me here. It is the ego trying to defend Innocence, and the ego of my brother doing the same, which creates the space for a response to the call for love. A Course in Miracles lifts this space to the realm of Spirit, where I and my brother are seen for what we truly are. All need for defense is seen for what it truly is—illusion.
Did I get the sense of it (I hope)?
RAJ: You must remember that you are not an ego or the ego. The ego is a finite definition of Identity being held in the mind and being treated as though it were the Totality of you.
Put simply, the “human condition” is like a giant Halloween party, where everyone has decided to be “someone other than who they are.” Each assumed identity we could call “an ego.” Let us say that Jane, a local attorney in the community, has come as Sleeping Beauty. And Frank, who is a married acquaintance of Jane's just happened to come as Prince Charming. Let us further say that as the evening progressed, Frank, having gotten caught up in his assumed identity, decided to act it out, sweeping Jane off her feet and planting on her lips a kiss to beat all kisses (to wake her up, of course!). To complete the scenario, let us say that Jane responded by saying to him, “Frank! This is Jane. Snap out of it and get hold of yourself!” [This is not an accidental choice of words.]
Would this be Sleeping Beauty trying to defend her Innocence or preserve Prince Charming's? Or would it be an act arising from a point completely outside the realm of the assumed identities? Wouldn't it be Jane, the attorney, speaking to Frank, the married man, rather than Prince Charming? And wouldn't Jane speaking to Frank—the real speaking to the real rather than the imagined speaking to the imagined—lift the imaginary circumstances to the realm of the real circumstances wherein any furtherance of the fantasy would become a meaningless thing to persist in?
No, the ego never tries to defend Innocence. Its so-called existence depends upon your belief that you are guilty. But, That in you which disagrees with the accusation of guilt when it occurs is the Son of God Who is still unalterably present in spite of any assumed identity and accompanying costume which have been overlaid upon the Son of God that you Are.
This is where it gets interesting. Because That in you which is the Son of God disagrees with the accusation of guilt (feels Its innocence), the ego is in danger of being exposed for the fraud it is (the fact that it isn't your Identity) and it distracts you with its law of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” It says, “Regardless of your innocence, you have been attacked, and the only appropriate response is retaliation.” Silently it panics in the “knowledge” that this is no time for you to realize that your “attacker” has already been misled in the same way the ego is misleading you right now and that love (the recognition of his and your innocence) is what is really called for…and the only important thing.
Now it should be easier for you to understand how it is that when you realize that an attack on you is another's awkward attempt to establish the fact of his innocence and is therefore a “call for love,” it becomes easy for you to join him in establishing the Fact of his innocence. And because the “joining” is occurring from the standpoint of the Sons of God that you both are underneath those costumes, your clear vision of his real Innocence becomes an act of Love, making him feel safe—needing no defense—and he is indeed able to withdraw the need to prove it and be at peace in It.
QUESTIONER #2: When you gave your commentary on Relinquishment of Attack, you spent nearly all of your message on negativity instead of presenting a positive message. For someone who claims to be Jesus, it is unbecoming to leave a message without ending on a very uplifting note.
RAJ: Because very few students of the Course recognize the subtle shift of emphasis from “attack” to “defense” in that section, I elaborated on it, because it is key to understanding that section. In addition, it is not a common idea that the “concepts” and “definitions” which one forms about another are the means by which he establishes or maintains separation, and that it is an act of defense. If this is not understood, the benefit of seeing a relationship between “attack”—as the Course uses that word—and the “concepts” one holds about another is lost, and there is no motivation to be alert to the practice of forming concepts and avoiding it.
So, rather than summing up the section with the sweet and simple lesson: “Teach only love, for that is what you are,” I illuminated the fact that attack is really defense, that defense is the unwillingness to recognize that which is Real in each and every thing (which is accomplished by means of forming concepts and definitions about each and every thing) and that the correction lies in the exact opposite.
I concluded by saying, “Whether you are the first to defend or the second, the answer is for you to relinquish defense. Is this dangerous? Does this make you foolish and vulnerable? No. Because if you don't abandon the willingness to recognize that which is Real in your brother who is 'caught' [trapped] in the act of defense, you can look to see what he is defending and confirm it to him! Why would you want to do that? Because always one is defending his integrity, his worth, his respectability—his essential innocence! And that is not only worthy of confirmation, its confirmation is essential to the lesson being taught.”
The lesson, of course, being love.
That's a pretty up-beat ending. And in the process of commenting on that section a deeper and essential understanding of its meaning was brought out.
NO ROOM AT THE INN
[The Christmas Story repeats itself in 1993. The setting is not a manger with straw and animals, but rather the high-tech world of computers, modems, and an international communication network in which the Christ makes his appearance as “friend.” Nevertheless, the ego exhibits the same characteristics of 2,000 years ago—not wanting the current sense of reality to be confused by Reality, Itself.]
QUESTION: You have made some very off-the-wall judgments, which do not fit the non-judgmental perception many of us have of Jesus.
RAJ: I believe the money changers whom I whipped out of the temple would find consolation in your words. And I believe that the human illnesses and death which people were healed of, if they could speak, would agree with you. That which holds itself apart from the presence of the Christ sees the Christ as judgmental, dangerous, threatening and unkind, when in actuality the Christ is the presence of Love “that wipes away all tears” and lifts mortals beyond the limits of their finite conceptions of themselves. And no judgment is to be found in Him.
You have also made a number of revealing and surprising statements recently. For example:
“It is possible to read [Jesus'] words and benefit from them without accepting him into your life.” 1
And, with reference to my work with Helen Schucman:
“I don't think that Jesus could actually use 'intelligence' from beyond this world, because 'intelligence' is only something which exists in this world (intelligence requires memory of the type used by the body).”
“In short, it is my current view that the Course is a product of Helen's ego under the control of Jesus' inspiration.”
“The only false perception we could have of you is any perception at all. Or to put it in terms of true perception, the only true perception of you is that you share God's One Name (as we all do).”
I do not challenge your right to study A Course in Miracles in whatever way you find valuable and promotive of your growth—spiritual, psychological, or otherwise. But I do challenge your right to authoritatively express the idea that I am dispensable, that I was swallowed up in God and am no longer identifiable as Jesus, and that Jesus is unable to speak directly to those “in this world.” These fundamental premises which you have expressed are absolutely inconsistent with the teachings of the Course.
Now, let's hear the Course:
“I [and remember that the speaker is Jesus] have said already that I can reach up and bring the Holy Spirit down to you, but I can bring Him to you only at your invitation. The Holy Spirit is in your right mind, as He was in mine. The Bible says, 'May the mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus,' and uses this as a blessing. It is the blessing of miracle-mindedness. It asks that you may think as I thought, joining with me in Christ thinking...” 2
“The name of Jesus is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God. The man was an illusion for he seemed to be a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusions do. Yet who can save unless he sees illusions and then identifies them as what they are? Jesus remains [my italics) a Savior because he saw the false without accepting it as true. And Christ needed his form that He might appear to men and save them from their own illusions.” 3
“Is he [Jesus] the Christ? O yes, along with you. His little life on earth was not enough to teach the mighty lesson that he learned for all of you. He [Jesus] will remain with you to lead you from the hell you made to God. And when you join your will with his, your sight will be his vision, for the eyes of Christ are shared. Walking with him [Jesus] is just as natural as walking with a brother whom you knew since you were born, for such indeed he is. Some bitter idols have been made of him who would be only brother to the world. Forgive him your illusions, and behold how dear a brother he would be to you. For he will set your mind at rest at last and carry it with you unto your God.” 4
“Is he God's only Helper? No, indeed. For Christ takes many forms with different names until their oneness can be recognized. But Jesus is [my italics] for you the bearer of Christ's single message of the Love of God. You need no other. It is possible to read his words and benefit from them without accepting him into your life. Yet he would help you yet a little more if you will share your pains and joys with him, and leave them both to find the peace of God. Yet still it is his lesson most of all that he would have you learn…” 5
If I ascended into the bosom of God and “the name of Jesus is only a symbol now,” as you expressed, then what is one to make of my statements in the very first chapter of the Course:
“I am [present tense] in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin” 6...and...”I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now  complete it through others. My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.” 7
Essential to understanding the words of the Course is the acceptance of the fact that Jesus, today, is not only available to everyone “in this world,” but asks everyone to listen for His voice in addition to his [printed] words. If He is dispensable, then an essential contextual thread of A Course in Miracles becomes meaningless. Worse than that, Who is there to join with? Another essential contextual thread of A Course in Miracles—Joining. “The Holy Spirit,” you say? Let's hear the Course:
“Jesus is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, Whom he called down upon the earth after he ascended into Heaven, or became completely identified with the Christ, the Son of God as He created Him. The Holy Spirit, being a creation of the One Creator, creating with Him and in His likeness or spirit, is eternal and has never changed. He was 'called down upon the earth' in the sense that it was now possible to accept Him and to hear His Voice. His is the Voice for God, and has therefore taken form...” 8
And it goes on and on throughout the Course.
You may indeed ignore me, relegate me to the past, and still the Course will promote your growth. But ignoring me is not the stated context of the Course. Your stance is not wrong relative to your study of the Course, but your statements are not representative of A Course in Miracles.
QUESTION: I understand that you feel that you are Jesus Christ. So that when you say such things as, “…he has an ever-present Guide with him, the Holy Spirit. And he has me,” you are acting in a sincere manner.
I must tell you that after a great deal of thought, I am going to request that you immediately move yourself, as to this idea and all aspects of it, to another venue as you might choose.
RAJ: So, there's no room at the inn, huh?
Until I find a “manger” elsewhere in CompuServe, I will refrain from posting messages in this Forum, except to you. And I will ask for the opportunity to consider with you, your reasons for asking me to leave, and whether or not there may be some misunderstandings, which have led you to such a decision.
QUESTION: This Forum is simply not for people who claim to be God to look for people to follow them, or to bring on-line with them people who express that belief.
RAJ: You are correct. At least, I find it to be a reasonable and unrestrictive guideline to establish for a Forum. But I have not claimed to be God and I am not looking for followers. On the contrary, there have been at least two conversations in which we have discussed equality, friendship, and brotherhood as my desire here. Indeed, in the Bible you will read that I said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” but my message today (if I have a message) is, “If you have seen your brother or sister, you have seen the Father.” For whatever it is worth, I will tell you that many Christians believe such a statement to be unchristian and label it as New Age.
In addition, I cannot be responsible for what others say here, but I will tell you that anyone, who expresses a desire to give their power away to me and thus deny their own divinity—their own Christ-hood—will be met with my unwillingness to participate.
QUESTION: Where individuals in other Sections of the New Age Forum have channeled, the channel involved has not set themselves or their entity in contextual relationship to an organized Religion such as Christianity.
RAJ: If you will check my messages, the Newsletters in the Spiritual Growth Library, or any of the materials publishing what I have said over the past ten years, you will find that at no time have I ever set myself in contextual relationship to an organized Religion such as Christianity.
I cannot help the fact that I am the one whom everyone has known as Jesus, the one whose words others based religions upon. And it is an inappropriate assumption for anyone to conclude that I am here representing organizations created in my name, which I had nothing to do with.
Even the Bible, which I have quoted from, is two thirds “a Jewish religious document,” and one-third a religious document reflecting a prophesied event, which was an integral part of the Jewish faith called “the coming of the Messiah,” recorded by Jews, who embraced the event as real and saw it as an extension of Judaism, not a departure from it. That they discovered themselves to be a minority in the Jewish realm and subsequently identified themselves as Christians does not mean that my birth and life was for the purpose of substantiating Judaism or what came to be known as Christianity in an organized sense, even though my life and words were used for the latter purpose. I am not a practicing Jew or a practicing Christian, and never was after John baptized me.
So, who am I?
It is quite clear that your difficulty with me centers around three points: my identity, my purpose here, and the effect of those two things on the other members of the Forum as a whole. Again it is my desire that your decision, whatever it ends up being, be based on facts and not misunderstanding.
You said, “I can certainly understand why, if you think you are Jesus, that would be one overwhelming topic that would flavor all of your messages...” and “...messages involving [your] views as Jesus Christ...would be better suited in the Religion Forum.” But “Raj, if he wishes to remain on-topic here is welcome whenever he does so.”
Obviously whatever I might say on any subject will be flavored by who I am—”my views as Jesus Christ”—just as whatever you might say on any subject will be flavored by who you are—your views as [yourself]. Do you have any idea what you would be able to say on any subject if you were required to see to it that it was not flavored by who you are? Unfortunately your welcoming me to be here if I remain on topic is gratuitous ingenuousness, whether intended or not.
In another message the question was asked, “If you are who you claim to be, then why does [person's name] perceive you differently and why do I perceive you differently, too?” And the answer to this question is very important. It is exactly why I am here, and it is exactly why the Course is a significant document worthy of exploring, discussing, studying and living. The fact is that if I am indeed who I say I am, it must necessarily mean that I am who you think I am, and who you think I am is getting in the way of your seeing me.
For example, when you said, “If you think you are Jesus, that would be one overwhelming topic that would flavor all of your messages,” it was your use of the word “overwhelming.” To you it would be an overwhelming topic. If it weren't, you would underwhelm it in your responses here as a balance if it were needed. On another occasion you referred to my coming on-line and claiming to be God because I was calling myself Jesus. I tried to straighten this out, but you couldn't get past your insistence that Jesus and God are one.
I will try once again. Every single individual who is or ever was present on the face of the globe is God's creation, God's Self-expression, from whom God has withheld nothing of what He is. For this reason, if you have seen anyone, you have seen the Father—you have seen the Father expressed. It is the churches, which have taught that God became Man in the one and only specific instance of my so-called “special” self-hood. But this is not what I was saying to my disciples.
Now, is it important for me to say that for my benefit, for my own self-aggrandizement? No! It is important for me to say it so that every man, woman and child to whom this matters labors no longer under the illusion that they are any less than me and therefore unworthy of their divine birthright right now.
It is also important for me to say it so that the fear of me (which has been microcosmically rampant in this Forum for the past few weeks) can be replaced with welcome because of equality—real brotherhood. Each one's definition of himself colors his perception of his brothers. And if one's definition of himself is colored by a false perception of me because of his education, and that false perception is not corrected, there is no hope for redemption. This is a fundamental thrust of A Course in Miracles.
In another conversation you said, “When people see other people as persons and not as stereotypes, then the stereotypes go away and the persons remain.” And I would modify it slightly: When people see others as they are, and not as stereotypes, then the stereotypes go away and Who They Are remains.
What has happened here in the past few weeks, and especially the last few days, illustrates the manner in which fear, based on past concepts, pushes away the opportunity to have a new experience based in truth, which promotes peace, love, forgiveness, and healing. The tendency to hold one's fellow man to the picture one holds of him when one's fellow man has grown beyond what he was, causes a sense of hopelessness on the part of the one who is being held to that outgrown concept.
I do not inspire fanaticism, nor do I invite personal allegiance. I do not leave a wake of chaos behind me wherever I go. I appeal to the heart of each one I engage with and keep his attention firmly on his self-acceptance as a reasonable, worthwhile, and, yes, sinless brother/sister and Son/Daughter of God.
Now, if I must come here and refrain from being who I am (something I am no more able to do than you), what would be the point? And if you are willing to let me come here and be who I am, you might have a most interesting, peaceful, and meaningful new experience of the Christ that would not be disruptive.
ACIM SECTION CLOSED
QUESTION: I just woke up this morning and discovered that the ACIM Section was closed...and intellectually I can reason that the fear was so great that, because of it, “I” was discarded/invalidated/banished/killed/sent away...seemingly—over and over again. [I know this is my limited self.]
I tried to share the news with my twin on the phone just now and the tears choked me before I could even begin, so she doesn't know. I decided to wait until I was more centered.
Would you help me further to see this with the eyes of Christ...with the Voice for Truth?
RAJ: It was a good idea to wait until you were more centered. From your center it is easier to see that cyberspace is one thing which can be experienced two ways—very much like the “real world” the Course speaks of and the world of illusion.
The very word “cyberspace” is a euphemism—a word created to elicit a sense of being “somewhere” when you are really at home, the office, or a motel room, sitting in front of your computer. All of these euphemisms create what has come to be appropriately called “virtual reality”—an experience that approximates reality, but isn't. All of these Forums and Sections are simply means of “filing” information in an organized manner, like a filing cabinet, and the Sysops and WizOps are the “secretaries” that keep the files neat. WizOps are the “secretaries” that establish “filing cabinet policy.” That's all.
The point is that although we speak about “moving” from one Section to another, or about “being moved,” you are still sitting in front of your computer and nothing has happened, even if the “secretary” says otherwise! “Here” and “there” in “cyberspace” are convenient terms that make computerland “user friendly,” but if you forget that they are euphemisms, you can actually generate emotional reactions, as you said, of invalidation, banishment, if the “secretary” says, “You must go to filing draw “C.” It is like kids playing Dungeons and Dragons or any of a number of video games. The only difference is that you are believing the euphemisms.
What if ACIM was eradicated entirely from CompuServe? Well, you might turn your computer off and go out and smell the flowers, or visit your friends and fellow students of the Course “in person”—horror of horrors! Or wonder of wonders!
In other words, your suffering has been the result of believing an illusion to be real, rather than “virtual,” and of forgetting that you are really at Home. Get it? And the key is to not abandon Home for the “world” of cyberspace while using “cyberspace” to communicate!
I trust that you are smiling, too.
QUESTION: Thank you! Indeed I am smiling. In fact, I am laughing! How silly it is to lose perspective and how wonderful to be helped so lovingly to bring what is Real back into focus.
I feel, since I have begun communicating [communing] with You in this cyberspace, that the inner Space of Communion has become more real for me. I feel You with me all through the day. You help me to make decisions as I pause long enough to see from Your/my Self's perspective. And it is always an answer of Peace.
It's a feeling very much like when I was an adolescent and something new and wonderful had come into my life. I would wake up and have a wonderful feeling behind the day-to-day stuff. It just was there making my whole Being smile. It's there now and it is You, my Brother and Friend, and it is me.
Last night, I had the experience in my hot bath, where I meditate the best, that I AM IT [as Alan Watts once told us]. There is nothing else nor could there be. I reach my brother through the Center of my Being. I live from the Center of my Being. I am one with it all through the Center! And Love is the way I walk in gratitude! Thank you!
RATTLING THE CAGES
[The Course in Miracles Section of the New Age Forum was closed, revised, and reopened so as to exclude Raj. As a result, there were many feelings expressed, including the following exchange.]
QUESTION: There are enough times when I feel angry, but I can't think of another time when I've felt such a lack of control over expressing it. I hope some expansion occurs as a result of all this because it's not a comfortable spot to visit again.
RAJ: I hear you. And I am going to suggest something that may not have occurred to you. Since anger is blocked love—blocked by you—what was the love seeking expression? Or, what was the love seeking EXPRESSION!!!
If there was a great deal of anger, there must have been a great deal of love!
Then, I am going to suggest something else. Love is not always apparently gentle, harmonious, sweet. Love is not “becoming a doormat.” Love is not passive. Love is not wimpy. I am going to suggest that the love which was being blocked was a very firm, strong, definite, substantial, unequivocal and resounding, “No!” welling up from the tips of your toes, from the depths of your being, which did not fit your concept of Christliness, loving kindness, and peace. And since it did not fit your concept—in other words, you could not justify it—you sat on it! Stuffed it! When it needed to be expressed.
The expression of anger was the only remaining means you had to try to create balance. And, of course, it came out as an attack on that which put you in the position of having to face an “unreasonable” demand to express a form of Christliness that you could not conceive of embodying. But, if you had allowed the strength, the power, the soundness of Christliness to find expression, there would have been no anger—just the unequivocal and undeniable expression of Truth without polarity.
I will further suggest that although you felt this giant “No!” you had no proof that it was justified, and this reinforced the “need” to stuff it. Indeed, the ego says, “Do not pay attention to your deep feeling of Truth if you cannot provide logical, reasonable evidence that it is justified.” But, you must realize that you can say, “No,” because you feel it, and that's the alpha and omega of you in that moment!
The Christ does not have to prove Truth. The Holy Spirit does not have to prove Truth. In fact, It cannot. Why? Because the only thing that would demand proof is that which cannot perceive Truth—the ego.
Now, there were concepts of Christliness, concepts of what ACIM is, concepts of love, which were being interposed between the Course and the members of the Forum—a framework which the members were being held to with no disclosure of the existence of that framework—an invisible cage which harmed no one because no one flew far enough...yet...to discover they were not free. Happily ignorant, everyone was nevertheless a prisoner subject to the control of their keepers.
When I came into the picture, I flew far and wide, rattling the cage, which had heretofore been unnoticed. And what happened? The door was finally opened. Everyone was shooed out. The cage was redesigned in a more “pleasing” way, and everyone was invited back in (minus Big Bird, because the door was now too small).
Well, that's the story, and the moral is: Learn to trust your gut and express it in its unpolarized clarity. That is love. If you don't—if you stuff it instead—it will come out polarized and directed toward those who are responsible for making you stuff your Self, and ongoing conflict will be the only result.
A SPECIAL KIND OF MIRROR
QUESTION: The Course is only a special kind of mirror, it is not the truth it reflects.
RAJ: I would call that a “Quotable Quote.” Thank you for that.
QUESTION: When truth has come, the Course will have fulfilled its purpose.
RAJ: I would be inclined to say, “When truth has come, Truth will have fulfilled Its Purpose.” Or, “When truth has come, the purpose of the Course, the Bible, the Koran, and every other holy book will have been fulfilled.” I am a little bit of a stickler about ideas that suggest that a particular book or religion will be responsible for “the coming of Truth.”
This may come as a surprise, but I cannot embrace the concept of “being a Christian,” because I am the Christ. But I can embrace the fact of “being a Brother” to everyone, whether Christian, Jew, agnostic, atheist, etc., because we are all the Sons and Daughters of God. The Christ in you, which the Course promotes the realization of, sees no differently!
You see, there are lots of “special mirrors” but only one Brotherhood. And in the final analysis, all of these mirrors are supposed to lead those who are looking into them to a shift of perception based in love—one which sees the Son/Daughter of God in everyone.
I am going to suggest that the purpose of A Course in Miracles is to facilitate the transcending/overlooking of religions and religious beliefs, politics and political systems, nations and nationalism—indeed everything, which is used to divide the Brotherhood. And how will it facilitate this? Not by its words. Not by its teachings or philosophy. But by arousing and promoting individual commitment to seeing the face of Christ in every face that is seen—including the one you see in the mirror. Will that turn everyone into Christians? No! It will reveal everyone to be the already-unified expression—Son/Daughter—of God!
So, let's use the “special mirror” called the Course to polish the lens of Truth that is within each one of us so that we may see the undistorted image of God in everything we look at. And let us be ever watchful for the subtle emergence of old habits of thought, which might unintentionally promote a sense of “we've got the Truth.” Well, if “we've got it,” someone else doesn't, else we wouldn't try to share it. But if the Course succeeds in promoting the individual commitment to seeing the face of Christ in every face we see, our every act and thought will express, “You've got it! Even if you don't know it, you've got it!”
We are one.
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