CONVERSATIONS WITH RAJ
VOL. 8, NO. 10
WHAT DO WE MOST NEED TO KNOW FOR 1995?
The foremost thing you will need to know is that there is a God—omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient! Why? Because you cannot afford to forget that there is an unalterable Cause of Existence, a forever knowable Movement of Creation which nothing other than God is responsible for
You will increasingly hear prognostications of the “end times,” of “earth changes,” radical shifts of “evolutionary perception.” Indeed, in the name of New Age thinking and latter-day revelations, stimulating ideas will come forth—ideas promoting an abandonment of all that “has been.” These ideas will suggest that the real meaning of “faith,” if practiced, will cause some kind of “burp” in history, an interruption of continuity in which release/escape from the world can occur.
Expressed intelligently by educated individuals and shared in the name of Enlightenment, these radical ideas may seem temporarily attractive, or at least worthy of consideration. One specific element of these ideas, which will be quite ego-satisfying, is the suggestion that as one truly expresses the real meaning of “faith,” he will become a co-creator of the future, and that the realization of this fact constitutes a step of spiritual maturity which everyone is destined to take.
You will not be misled, however, if you remember that separate and apart from human will, there is a God, a forever knowable Movement of Creation which nothing other than God is responsible for. I have said before, and I remind you again, that Awakening is simpler than anything you are expecting. It does not involve greater and greater radical departure from existence as you know it, but rather the peeling away of layer upon layer of concepts and definitions which have been deposited between you and the experience of Existence, Itself.
The future is not the way Home, nor the Answer to “the dream”! The moment you are now experiencing is the way Home because the experience of existence you are having at this instant (the dream) is the experience of Existence “seen through a glass darkly.” You could say, “The onion you are seeing, with the skins, is the onion you will eat when the skins are peeled off!”
Indeed, spiritual maturity is the abandonment of the radical creation of more “skins,” more layers of concepts and definitions, and the willingness to be present with whatever the Meaning of everything is underneath what you think you are experiencing. If God alone is responsible for Creation, then the withdrawal from and abandonment of “creative perceptions” of Creation will necessarily mean that what you are experiencing will be experienced as more real, manifesting more harmony, reflecting more intelligence, exhibiting more benignness, and confirming the same characteristics in you.
In other words, do not, in the name of Awakening or Spirituality, embrace or be frightened by radical stimulating ideas. They are only tinkling brass, while Awakening is fraught with Peace, Love, and simplicity.
EXPERIENCING THE PRESENCE OF GOD
QUESTION: For many years now, I've had a serious life-threatening illness that has come in and out of my life, and in the last couple of years it has been particularly intense. I've been a student of the Course for a good many years, and I understand pretty much what the material in the Course says about this. And although I've tried to work with it, and although I know that it's purely my own thoughts and my own mind, and that I'm in total control of it, for some reason or another I have not been able to let go of it. And I need some help in being able to let go of it.
RAJ: Are you aware that you're not in control of your health?
QUESTION: In what way?
RAJ: In any way.
QUESTION: Who is?
RAJ: So, what is it you are in control of?
QUESTION: I'm in control of my thoughts, which affect my health...
RAJ: ...which block your experience of your health and seem to “create” blocks to the experience of your health.
Your health is a birthright. Your perfection is a birthright. I do not mean “the process of birth.” I would put it this way: It is your inheritance. If you are the son of a king, you have an inheritance. It is in that sense that I am using the word “birthright.” It is your birthright to experience what you Are as God's expression in Its absolute perfection.
Now, all of you do seem to be in control of not your health, but your illnesses. You are in control of the blocks to your experience of your perfection. But none of you can control your body into health. Why? Because its perfection is beyond your control. You have nothing to do with its perfection. God does! You have no more control over its perfection than you have over your Individuality or your existence, because God does. But, by virtue of your thoughts, you can make your existence miserable. That is the only thing you can do by means of your thoughts—create disturbances, causing you to have distorted perceptions of the one and only thing going on, which is the Kingdom of Heaven and the Sons and Daughters of God.
Why is this important? Why am I bringing this out? Because what you are not responsible for—in other words, what God is responsible for—has ascendancy over anything you think. It has authority over anything you think. Therefore, because God's Self-expression is an expression of God's Will, then your perfection, right here and right now, is constantly insisting upon being what you experience.
It is very easy, from the metaphysics of the Course, or the metaphysics of any other metaphysical systems that are present, to begin to say, “I'm creating my experience.” Well, no, you aren't creating all of it. You're only creating a distorted perception of something, a distorted perception of your experience. Your experience, God is in charge of. Your body, God is in charge of. Your world, God is responsible for. That means that what God has made insists on being recognized for what It is.
Why is this important? Because, first of all, it relieves you of any personal sense of responsibility for your health. Secondly, it helps you to see that your ideas can create tensions and tightnesses and blockages that distort the actually undistortable presence of God—they distort your perception of the undistortable presence of God. So, the only thing you have control over is whether or not you are going to employ the thoughts, the judgments, the conclusions that haven't arisen from a connectedness with God.
Now, you did not create your body. None of you created your body. None of you, in other words, created the visibility and tangibility of the presence of your Individuality. God unidentified is God nonexistent. God and God's expression—God's extension—constitute the Wholeness of God. God identified constitutes God. You are that which identifies God.
Conscious human Individuality is the visibility and tangibility, the experienceable presence of God. God individualized, but not separated into many, constitutes your Individuality, and It cannot be invisible! It cannot be unexperienceable! And so there is that which you call “body” which is the visibility and tangibility of the presence of your Individuality, which is the presence of God expressed. Therefore, your body and everything you see, if seen truly, would be recognized as the presence of God, incapable of functioning in Its infinity in a conflicted way.
What you can choose to do is to not engage in any of the justifications you are employing for the ongoingness of this physical “problem.” You are not responsible for your health. You are not responsible for the existence of your body. You are responsible for any judgments you have toward your body, any misperceptions you have about your body. You are responsible for any negative thoughts about your body. You are responsible for any line of reasoning that causes you to say, “I deserve this because...,” followed by a long list of reasons.
All of these things, which you and everyone else are responsible for, create disturbance because they are conflicted. And that disturbance stands between you and your experience of the perfection of God which is the only thing going on. It seems to distort the Presence of That which is really dominant, which really insists on being all there is because It really is All There Is.
Therefore—and here is the reason I am spending this time bringing this out—the moment any of you begin to reduce your investment in your problem, reduce your investment in the thinking that seems to justify the problem and causes you to say, “I deserve it,” to the degree that you release the thinking that says, “I have no choice about this because my body is just a physical organism which arose out of the primordial ooze, which has nothing to do with God, and therefore I've just got to 'go with the program,’” as you release, as you abandon, as you refuse to indulge in practicing these thoughts, you will experience healing. Why? Because you are reducing the resistance you are bringing to experiencing what is truly dominant. You are reducing the resistance to seeing what is Really going on right here as the visibility and tangibility or expression of God, which is absolutely indivisible and therefore expresses utter harmony, not conflict.
What I want you to walk away from this Gathering being aware of is that what is Real right there where you see a body—the presence of God that is there—is insisting upon being your conscious experience. That means you are not responsible for creating health as though you are going against the tide of a physical body which doesn’t want to cooperate with the divine You. I want you to leave here, aware in very simple terms that your body is your ally. Why? Because it's there to identify the presence of your Individuality perfectly! It is intent upon it, and has no other function. And that function is divine!
The moment you really begin to invalidate your judgments and your concepts about your body which leave it outside the presence of God, you will find your body identifying your perfection, because its divine purpose is to express nothing else, and the Will of the Father lies underneath that insistence. The Will of the Father is the motivation of that insistence. That insistence of what? Of that body which is sitting right there!
It is really very dangerous to your Sanity to believe that your body is an illusion. It is also dangerous to Your Sanity to believe that your body is real but it has nothing to do with God. What is unreal about your body are all of the conclusions you have come to about it which have not held it in the context of the Allness of God—all the fears you have about it, all of the distrust you have about it, coupled with the ego's ongoing insistence that you don’t deserve unreasonable good, and that you do, for one reason or another, deserve what you're experiencing. These things are, as it says on the pack of cigarettes, “dangerous to your health!”
You are here at this very moment with a divine ally, rather than “a hunk of flesh that really has no inclination whatsoever to cooperate with the divine Individuality you are because it's really a physical evolutionary process that has nothing to do with God.” Your false beliefs are the illusory aspect of your experience of your body.
If you truly want to experience your health, I encourage you to walk out of here at the end of the Gathering rejoicing that you are experiencing the presence of God, Whose Will it is to be expressed perfectly, flawlessly, without conflict—that your body means something divine.
The Course states that all it takes is a little willingness. Not a strong conviction, just a little willingness to be open to the possibility that everything exists in the context of God. And that anything about the world you are seeing, or the body you are seeing, which seems not to reflect the perfection of God, is necessarily a distorted perception caused by thinking, reasoning, and coming to conclusions, all of which is based upon the belief that none of this has anything to do with God. When you are denying God where God is, you will experience dissonance. It's that simple.
Do you know what? Because God is omnipotent, any denial of God that you engage in means that God will win...and you will win! You are bound to get well. You are bound to experience your perfection...here or hereafter...because what is Real is the only thing that can endure. And because one way or the other you are going to win with God, you might as well begin to win today by not denying God right where God is, and becoming curious to see God where you didn’t think God was. If your body isn't real, how can you really expect healing? Why would you heal or make better something that doesn’t exist anyway? It becomes confusing. If the man with the withered arm...Well, let me put it this way: If his withered arm was an illusion, why would I make it look like the other one? Why not make both of them disappear so there was no suggestion of an illusion there? Why not make him disappear? Indeed, this line of thinking becomes very much like the earlier question, where the ego eventually proves you don’t exist!
If you want to know what the truth is, and if you want to experience your health, and if you want to experience harmony, and if you have any shred of hope whatsoever for experiencing peace on earth, all of you had better begin to acknowledge that the earth is God expressed—not that it and the universe are just some chance result of some physical interactions and that somehow, speckled throughout the universe, are these souls, little bright divine lights, sort of embedded in bits and pieces of the “material world.”
It may not look like God. It might look like earthquakes, and it might look like horrendous fires, and it might look like floods, and on and on and on. What do you think healing is if it isn’t transformed vision of everything you're already aware of, so that you can begin to see God there because you have abandoned your investment in all of the definitions you have given everything, including your body?
You didn’t create your body. You can’t create your health. You didn’t create the world. And you can’t create the infinite perfection of it. But you can stop creating the arguments against it and the convictions you have as to the “fact” that the Kingdom of Heaven is not here to be perceived, and the convictions, for whatever reason you have decided, that you cannot experience your health, or you don’t deserve to experience it. You can abandon those things, and in abandoning them watch the assertion of God, watch the Intent of everything, of every visibility and tangibility, to register with you, so that the wholeness of it is there—not just the perfection not seen because everyone is too busy having a different perspective and gaining a sense of being “the creator.”
So, you have an ally which has a divine intent to register with you as it truly is, so that you come back into your right Mind about your body in this instance, about your mind in your instance [indicating an earlier questioner], about your relationships, et cetera. In other words, you have a powerful ally, not passive or wimpy. You could almost say it cares that you recognize it.
In order for you to be whole and experience your wholeness, you must recognize it. And so, that is its Intent—for you to recognize it. Your body is not misfunctioning because it has a will of its own. It doesn’t. It has an Intent. That Intent was set into motion by the movement of God called Creation—Creation of Himself expressed and looking like you. But how on earth can you ever arrive at the experience of what you really look like if you are saying that God can’t be in the “look”—that the ego created the “look”? No. The ego created the misperception of the visibility and tangibility of God. And when one is caught up in one's misperceptions and ignoring what's really there, one is...what? Mentally unbalanced, insane, experiencing a form of insanity.
It's the valuing of the misperception, which is the insanity. And the thing that's being misperceived remains forever the presence of God perfectly expressed and intent upon being recognized for what It is. And that Intent is asserted with utter Love. It cannot force itself upon you, but the moment you dare to begin to let It in by conceiving that It possibly exists, It most gently and lovingly fills you up. And It fills you up because it expresses a Will—the Will of the Father, which is Love.
I want you, if you leave here with nothing else in your mind, to be aware that you have a powerful ally, and the power of it is God's Love and perfection. Feel yourself being companioned with in the most intimate way as the very presence of your body and its Intent to identify your presence flawlessly, immaculately.
And, boy, the ego is a bastard, isn’t it? It says, [as though it were your voice] “Well, its only supposed to take a little willingness. Boy! I must not even have that! And I, therefore, haven’t much hope.” Well, when that suggests itself to you, I want you to remember the degree to which I have gone to share with you that you companion with a powerful Presence. And I said it wasn’t wimpy.
Do you know what? The suggestion that you don’t have what it takes, that you can’t even muster up the little bit of willingness that the Course says is all it takes...well, I'm going to tell you that there's a wonderful lesson in failure—failing to have even the little willingness, failing to be a success. Do you want to know why? It's the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom, and you don’t have to deserve it! Trying is willful.
“A little willingness” really means embracing failure at being a successful ego, or even a successful Son or Daughter of God, because your successes as the Sons and Daughters of God are not experienced by virtue of anything you do as Sons or Daughters of God. Your successes at being the Sons and Daughters of God are a result of being the expression of God, which God is responsible for.
So, I have not set up a challenge here for you to have a little bit of willingness so that you might experience the powerful Presence of That which you companion with. I haven’t set up a challenge at all. If you are not responsible for your health, if you cannot create your health, then you cannot fail at creating it, can you? It was never in your hands to do anything about. So, what I have been describing here in your abandoning the exercise of false perceptions and false conclusions and judgments and doubts, et cetera, really does constitute “becoming a failure as an ego.”
Do you see what I am saying? I’m saying that absolutely nothing is called for on your part except failing. That's how little is called for from you. And when, as a result of negligence, you succeed at failing at being an ego—in other words, when you really let go—this powerful Presence, this ally that you're companioning with, which is Actually what is present and called the “visibility and tangibility” of you which is your body—this will assert Itself. It will, you might say, emerge. That's not the best word. It sounds like it came from somewhere. But, transformation will be experienced. And it will be experienced because something Real is right there where you say your body is.
Willingness to see it is Love. Willingness to see what is Real in your world is Love. It's a willingness to see beyond your present sense of sight and acknowledge the Presence of God. And mind you, again, all of you, what blocks you from perceiving the Presence of God in Its absolutely unconflicted Wholeness are the thoughts, the reasonings, the judgments, the conclusions that have been arrived at without feeling into the Presence of God first!
Maharishi says, “Doing less and accomplishing more.” And I am saying, “Do nothing and be all.” Discover your wholeness.
We can pursue this further as we go into the next two days. But let's let that jell for now. And I want to say to everyone, do not hesitate to challenge if you experience a great disbelief about something that I say. What I mean is, be willing to ask for further clarification and express what your perception is which doesn’t allow you to embrace what I'm saying. And when you are listening for Guidance within, do the same thing until you can come to a place where it makes sense and you can let go of the last little bit of resistance to experiencing the truth, or experiencing your healing. Thank you for your question.
QUESTION: Thank you. May I ask something in relevance to something you just said?
QUESTION: You mentioned something about God creating the body. I'm confused on this point. My understanding was that we created the body as an illusion.
RAJ: Indeed that is one of the reasons that I am speaking at some length here. You are the expression of God. God expressed is not intangible, invisible, unrecognizable, unexperienceable. Therefore, your Individuality has visibility and tangibility. My words are somewhat of an accommodation, but they say what needs to be said so that you will treat the body as though it is Real.
You, your essential Individuality is recognizable. It is recognizable! I could say: “That, there [motioning to the questioner's body], is its recognizableness. This, here [motioning to Paul's body], is Paul's recognizableness.” It is Mind's ability to recognize Paul. Now, all that I just said lies in the context of the Allness of God. But, if Paul makes a decision to think for himself and says, “Father, I'd rather do it myself,” “I'd rather perceive everything with my own quirky bias,” “I'd like to add a little bit of something that You didn’t include, but since its inviolable, the only thing I can really add is a quirky way of perceiving it, so I'm going to perceive it a little bit differently, Father,” this “creates” what the Course calls perception, and from the “vantage point” of perception, Paul says, “Oh. This is my body and...Let's see. If it isn’t what it was the way God made it...well, wait a minute now...uh, I'm feeling uncomfortable here. I don’t exactly know what it is, but the Peace I experienced when I was with my Father's point of view is absent, and I'm feeling uncomfortable. Oh-h...um-m...where can I hide? I've got to protect myself.”
Well, what is happening right there? The first stages of identifying the body as “vulnerable” and as “something that needs to be protected”…and the definitions keep flowing.
Now, the visibility and tangibility of Paul as the Son of God, as the expression of God, was there before Paul had a sense of it as being “himself that he must protect and hide.” And it's still the body there—the visibility and tangibility—after he begins to have this distorted sense of what it is and what its purpose is. That sense of it—as something to protect and as something that can be perceived separate and apart from what the Father is being right there—that is the illusion which you create, which you all create. But it is a delusion about Something. You cannot have a delusion about nothing.
You have created, conceptualized, you have literally conceived your body in a manner, which is totally inconsistent with the visibility and tangibility of what the Father is being right there where you are, right there where everyone experiences you. But the Father is still the only thing there, even though you describe it as a body which is experiencing a disease that is life-threatening. Tain’t so. The only thing that is there is the Presence of God and, maybe, an imaginative misperception of It which you are believing and reinforcing. And the latter is what I am talking about abandoning.
Remember that I said God unexpressed is nonexistent God. Or, in Course terminology, God not extended is nonexistent God.
The only world and body you have created is an independent assessment of the Kingdom of Heaven. Do you get that? The only illusory body and world that you have created has been a false assessment of the Kingdom of Heaven. But the Kingdom of Heaven continues uninterruptedly to be the only thing going on. And the Sons of God that you are, and the Daughters of God that you are, continue to be the only thing present.
So, you create a false perception, and all of you get together and you agree on your misperceptions and you develop codes of behavior and agreements as to how things work. And by virtue of your agreements with each other about how all of your definitions work, you seem to function with some harmony. But all of this has happened after that point where you said, “Father, I want to add a little of my own ‘english’ to Your creation, a little of my own bias or...well...slightly different creative perception of it.” And in doing that, you stepped into your sense of separation and vulnerability and all of the definitions of everything, which are colored by that separation and vulnerability. That doesn’t cause another world to come into existence, but it causes you to see the Kingdom of Heaven whacko! Insanely!
So, indeed, when you look, what you are seeing for the most part is illusion, in the sense that what you are seeing is what you are convinced is there rather than what is Really there. Love is the willingness to recognize that which is Really there, and the abandonment of your convictions about what you think is there, and the abandonment of the mutual agreements you have with each other about what you think is there.
You see, this is important, because if you really remain convinced that you have created your body, then it must be an illusion, and ultimately “healing” would have to mean that your body would disappear—the illusion would no longer even be presenting itself. That's insanity. And that is not Love. And it is not appropriate to indulge in it. As the Course says, there is a different way to look at this.
Do you know what? Looking out here [motioning to the view of Kauai through the glass walls of the meeting room] and saying, “There is a different way to look at this,” and meaning, “It doesn’t exist at all. Wow! What a different way to look at it! My goodness, it doesn't even exist!”—that's not a different way of looking at it. That's engaging in or indulging in a very wild, imaginative idea, and thinking that having that idea constitutes a different way of looking. It's not a “way of looking.” It's just a different thought bias.
But, if you're willing to look out here and say, “There is another way to look at this,” or if you look at your body and say, “There is another way to look at this,” and you mean, “There is another vantage point from which I can look at it [motioning to the view],” “There is another vantage point from which I can look at this [motioning to the body], I can look at it from a place of having no confidence about what it is, there is a place where I can go in the Silence and in my peace and ask God what's Really going on,” then you are available for having God or the Holy Spirit share with you God's point of view, so that you look at it from a different place, and you see it in a different way—not as a result of a different way of conceptualizing it, but of a different vantage point entirely. A different way of seeing it.
I will share with you that at the end of the last workshop which was held here on Kauai, Paul was very much with me, and I was thanking everyone for their presence and their participation. And as I did that, Paul opened his eyes because, in effect, that expressed what was happening. I was looking. And he had a new experience of “seeing.” He's used to looking with his eyes to gather information. But he experienced me seeing for the purpose of giving acknowledgment. It was for the purpose of embracing, extending, acknowledging, instead of gathering data, which one really does for the purpose of self-protection. That gives you an idea of what it means: There is another way to look at this. Not a different way to conceptualize it, no. There's a different place from which you can look. Instead of being from your tiny, limited viewpoint, you can look with God through God's eyes. You see?
Waking up is not a head trip. The Course is not a head trip, even though many people intellectualize it.
QUESTION: Would it be fair to say, then, that one should love one's body?
RAJ: Amen! What is your alternative? If Love is the willingness to recognize that which is Real in each and every thing, and if Love illuminates what is Real, then actively loving your body is going to uncover what is Real. If there really isn't anything Real about your body, it will disappear and that will constitute a revelation and a healing. However, it will not disappear.
What I am meaning to say is that to love anything will cause it to be seen more truly as it is. And it will cause that which is not true about it to fade from sight. You want what is illusory to fade from sight, and if indeed your body is an illusion, then it will fade from sight, and that will be good news. So, yes! Love your body, because you really only have one alternative, and that is to hate it. In other words, either you are embracing it with a desire to experience what is divinely Real right there, or you are actively engaged in denying that there is anything there.
Denial, especially if you are denying something which is Real, is an act of aggression. It's an attack. Do you see? Love is never an attack, and it's always healing. Hate, or denial, is an attack, and it is never loving. It is therefore never healing. So, you tell me what occasion there might legitimately be to ever do anything but love everything?
Understand that I am not saying “Love an illusion.” I'm saying, “Withdraw the judgment, or the assessment, that what you're looking at is an illusion, and be willing to love whatever is there that might be Real.” It is that act of faith that there is something Real there, divinely Real and therefore unconflicted, which allows for, in Biblical terms, the scales to fall from your eyes—from your eyes, not from the thing you are looking at—so that you can see what is true and Real there, so that you can see whatever of God is there.
Now, just as an interesting point, if God is infinite, if God is omnipresent, then, as the saying goes, “There is no spot where God is not.” Even physically speaking, since probes have been sent out into space where it was assumed that there was probably a perfect vacuum, they have found no perfect vacuum, no place where absolutely nothing is. Of course that's what they found, because they are exploring the Kingdom of Heaven, and there is no spot where something Real doesn’t exist!
THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL
QUESTION: I would like to know if we are successfully searching for our fulfillment without bias?
RAJ: Both of you are learning how to yield wonderfully, even though it has felt awkward and strenuous at times.
You see, whenever you seem to get to the bottom of the barrel...What I mean by that is: Whenever you have abandoned trying to get to the top of the barrel or the top of the pit that you're in, and you yield, and you let yourself down to the bottom of the barrel, and fulfillment begins to occur, you think, “Oh-h-h, I'm getting it! I understand.” And then, when you aren’t noticing it, the bottom of the barrel drops about ten feet, and you discover at some point that the bottom has fallen out again.
“Well,” you say, “I thought I learned what 'yielding' meant. You mean there's more?” Yes, there is! You yield to the max and you become comfortable, finally, with that place of less control. And then you find that there's opportunity to yield to the max more. It is a wonderful process. You will begin to recognize it as the wonderful process it is each successive time, and you will let go more gracefully, more willingly. You will desire to yield to the max because the fulfillment you have experienced in the past from doing so has been so great.
So, you are both yielding to the max at the moment. Where the bottoms of your barrels are with respect to each other is irrelevant. You are both yielding and gaining experience at the meaning of that significantly, and I am pleased with you. I do not mean this to sound like you are being graded. I am pleased because it is always a joy when we observe you, any of you, daring to go beyond what feels reasonable to you, and it is pleasing to watch you discover, with delight, that it was such a valuable thing to do.
QUESTION: I have one more quick one, if that's okay. My fulfillment, as you shared with me last week, is to value my peace over anything else in every circumstance always, and all the time to choose for my peace, to choose for God, to pray. And I've seen another level of breakthrough on this venture, and I've felt like that's my job right now.
RAJ: You've got it!
QUESTION: Not that it isn’t everyone's job all the time in whatever everyone is doing for their fulfillment, but, in other words, I finally settled into it being my actual employment for now. And that's correct, yes?
RAJ: That is your employment, yes. And that will be your employment even when you have a job. It is the context in which you embrace life in all of its aspects, yes.
QUESTION: Being open constantly to waking up is really important.
RAJ: And as long as you remember—as long as you all remember—that giving your attention to waking up means giving your attention to your needs, or to whatever it is that's in your face here, and being present with it, with the attitude “There is another way to look at this,” there is the way God is seeing it and then being curious about the need, then you will have your attention where the fulfillment is awaiting you. That is why I said to you last week that part of this involves the discovery of what your simple needs are, because the ego concocts complicated structures of needs, and the dawning of Wisdom involves the rediscovery of what really are needs, because they're really very simple. And there are really very few. And the more congruent you become with attending to your needs by abiding with them and letting them be the reason you are using as the justification for love...
QUESTION: ...but at the same time being willing to allow the feeling that there are no needs at all to emerge and grow.
RAJ: This is how you allow for it! You see, you don’t get stuck in just abiding with your needs with those needs ongoing! By virtue of bringing your attention to what counts and no longer being distracted by what doesn't count, that, in itself, is part of the process of yielding to the flow of the movement of Life which is a movement of fulfillment, not a movement of need.
QUESTION: Is waking up kind of like, well, today I really feel alive and like I'm waking up, and the next day it crumbles apart, until you get the hang of it so much that you “stick there”? Basically, the question is one of the “process.” Does it even help to understand the process, or do you just say, “Well, the bottom of the barrel just dropped out and it's time to let go more,” and not get caught up in the processes or even think about it?
RAJ: Well, I'm going to put it this way: Until you're Awake, the bottom of the barrel will continue to drop. In dropping, it discloses to you, at an experiential level, the depth of your capacity to be love. And this is a great gift. But, this gift of “capacity” to love is being given to one who has been bound by a sense of limitation about himself or herself And so, from the standpoint of whatever the current limitation is, this greater capacity to love appears to be an obligation—work! “Oh! You mean I have to be that conscious? Oof! Why, I'm going to have to be paying attention all the time!” But, you see, “being conscious” equals “paying attention.” It isn’t something you do, it's something you let!
So, from a limited frame of reference in which the work ethic is the number one essential element, any greater capacity of any sort is going to be at odds with the limit and is going to be seen as more work to do, until you realize there's a different way to look at that each time it comes to your attention. And you begin to realize the gift in it—that what is being disclosed is a capacity that is already yours, which, if you will allow it, will become familiar and normal to you, and not a demand at all. Then you will begin to welcome the bottom of the barrel dropping out again...or the demand to pay more attention.
Again, it isn’t really a demand to pay more attention. It's just perceived that way by the limits of your present frame of reference, the one you are currently employing. So, yes, that is going to continue.
You see, if you are presently in a state of Self-denial, a state of denying the Self that you Are, then any uncovering of the more of you, which is present where you are is going to seem to be a demand to stand taller, to be more than you presently are. And your ego will say, “This waking up shit is work!”
But, there is always present with you the remembering of Who You Are, and it does support you. And it will inspire you. And it will help further your resolve, your commitment to waking up. You will persist. And, as you do, the process will become more joyful. And one of the most significant reasons that it will become more joyful is because you will begin to notice that you have been living with less fear. Generally speaking, on a day-in-day-out basis, without your having to try to handle or deal with fear, you will discover that it has been less and less present. And when you realize the significance of that fact in your experience, joy will fill you and spur you on. And then when your ego says, “This is too much work,” those words will be more and more nonsensical! Ridiculous! And you will begin to wonder how they ever hooked you in the past and discouraged you.
QUESTION: Thank you verymuch
THE INVESTMENT IN DEFINITIONS
QUESTION: Well, I think I had to have a whole week of realizing how much I really wasn’t seeing what I was seeing or hearing what I was hearing. I would see something and then file it away, like “Oh, that's a cup,” “Oh, there's a blue sky,” “Oh, there's a green tree,” or “Oh, that's so-and-so,” and not really experiencing what was there.
So, I made an attempt to practice what we had talked about last week, and said, “Well, what if I was not able to employ memory here, and had never seen any of this before, and it was all new to me?” And what I found was that even sitting on the chair...I felt sitting on the chair in a new way, and I saw the colors in a new way. And the thing that surprised me about it was that it wasn’t just that I was seeing them in a new way, but it felt very “involving.” I mean, it felt like something. It wouldn’t even be right to say I was “part of it,” because that wasn’t it either. It was not passive. It was very experientially involving.
RAJ: Again, an experience of union. Ultimately you might say that the very last definition that you will give to an experience before waking up will be the thought, “Oh, it's just like me!” Meaning that there is absolutely nothing foreign about any aspect of the experience of it all. No more separation of any kind.
I liked your word “involving,” because it is meaningful—not meaningful out-there as an objective experience. It's involving because it is the You that You Are, which is the Observing that equals God seeing everything that He has made and recognizing Himself in it—”It's just like Me!” Absolute unity. Nothing incongruent. Nothing at odds. Nothing dissonant. And this experience is available at this moment with absolutely everything that you observe and are currently providing the definitions for.
I say that not to point out a lack in you, but rather to encourage you that all of this is not afar off. It's in your face! You don't even have to move a muscle to get closer to it. So, it's easier than anything you are expecting. Just knowing this facilitates the ease with which the spontaneous experience can occur. Just knowing it. Just knowing that it's in your face.
QUESTION: May I say something?
QUESTION: When I see babies and children, it's just so easy. It flows, and I don't have to do my dance that I've done for so long. And it's like a baby step toward a different mode of experience. So, when you said you want to experience it, I'm sure you have in certain situations. And now we just have to expand that.
RAJ: Indeed, none of you are totally defended. And any time any of you have this kind of experience, there's going to be no sense of weirdness to it. It's like that which you had always thought was normal is even more normal than you had thought, because its essential meaning will be experienced by you more deeply. And so, it will be a fuller experience of the Meaning of that thing.
Ultimately the fullest experience of it is the experience of what God is Meaning by that thing in the moment you are looking at it. And since you are observing it with God, from God's point of view, it is your Meaning—it is the Meaning of You. And so it becomes an ultimate experience of an utterly normal thing that is sublime beyond imagination, because, really, all of the elements and all of the character and all of the Meaning of that thing is absolutely divine—it's God-in-action, which, in the experience of it, is inseparable from You, and it being just like You.
QUESTION: I worked in a group in Honolulu for quite a few years. We had a self-mastery school, and we had several schools in Australia that I was in charge of. When I was doing that, the experience for me was a tremendous leap from anything that I had ever done before, and every phase of it was brand new. It was like a child walking into Disneyland. Everything was a tremendous amount of love and support.
When I returned to Hawaii, the leader of the group that I had worked with was going through some stuff of her own, and shared a lot of personal information that she had withheld about her own life—basically that there had been a lot of untruths involved in her personal history. The work was valid on its own, but it all got rolled up into a big ball, and the group reacted and ceased to function.
I have an overactive “integrity button,” so I took on, as the definition of this whole thing, that if I was to be my true self, my best self with my life purpose, that there was this enormous responsibility to make sure that I stayed in my highest integrity at all times, which became an impossible and burdensome task.
RAJ: Because you can only really stay in your integrity by being in the place of trust, which is the “not-knowing” place.
RAJ: Which is where you were when you were feeling the wholeness and the fullness of existing.
QUESTION: Yes. And virtually what happened for me was that the trust issue came up big-time and was shattered. But I realize, listening tonight, that the main thing that I did was, I placed a lot of definitions on myself. Before I would be able to do “my work” again, I would have to take care of this and take care of this and take care of that, and basically figure out some totally fail-safe environment—which was beyond me in the format of “no trust,” in the format of not trusting myself to be different from the person that I had modeled myself after, who turned out to have feet of clay.
So, without being able to trust myself—that I was not her—I have avoided my work for several years now. And I'm just now coming back up to the point where the universe is saying, “This is where you're at again. You need to break through this now and go back into doing this.”
RAJ: What I want you to realize is that you are coming back to innocence. You see, every single one of you lost your innocence with your first definition. And when you manage to get into your innocence, which is where you are when you let yourself be in the not-knowing place with trust, that's when the miracles happen. That's when the new experience occurs. That's when the joy is felt without threat accompanying it. Innocence is also effortless. And always along with innocence there is the element of “delight with life!” And that is what you want to get back to.
Very often getting back to that point is felt to be failure. Every one of you, at one time or another, has probably said or had an equivalent feeling: “Oh, god. Back to square one.” Well, at one point, Paul thought that very thought, and immediately I said to him, “Yes. Innocence, purity.” That is square one. It isn't failure. It's success. It's that point of giving up the investment in definitions that I was speaking about last week. It's back to square one—innocence, purity.
What is purity? A pure glass of water is a glass of water, which has nothing extraneous to water in it. Your purity is when nothing extraneous to what you Are is seeming to present itself right where you are. Innocence and purity are what spontaneously come into play when you let yourself into the not-knowing place. Not knowing what? Well, you don't know, because you're not employing memory. You see? You're not bothering to engage it in order to comprehend what you're experiencing. And so you experience it with innocence, from your purity and joy. Involving joy, involving inseparableness is your experience. And it doesn't mean that you do nothing. But everything you do is for entirely different reasons. Not even reasons. They are being done because there simply isn't anything else more appropriate to be doing, and there isn't the slightest notion anywhere in the background of your mind about options.
So, in one way or another these experiences are not totally foreign to any of you. And this is good to understand because you can see that it is not an unreachable experience. And it can happen again, and again, and again, and again and again, until there are no interruptions in it and it becomes You riding the Movement endlessly because it feels so good.
Thank you for your sharing.
QUESTION: Raj, as you've been talking here, I was just thinking about looking at a really good friend without any definitions—your best friend, you know? Your lover. Whatever. Look at them without definitions and then you can have no expectations. And without expectations, you can never be disappointed.
RAJ: And because there are no expectations, there's no “net” that you are throwing over that one to entrap him. And he feels safe in your presence, because you are a benign presence. And all that is truly Real about him can be expressed by him because he feels the fact that there is no threat. You see?
QUESTION: You set them free.
RAJ: And yourself. You see, the one who holds hostages has the responsibility of taking care of them. And so he becomes hostage to his position, his role as the “keeper of hostages.”
QUESTION: It occurred to me tonight that here I've been practicing all week to see how I would see other things and other people and situations if I were unable to employ memory. And then it occurred to me, “Well, what if I could experience myself without memory. I wouldn't have definitions about, 'I'm this kind of person,' or 'I'm that kind of person,' or 'I'm good at this.'“ I mean, all of that stuff just wouldn't even be there.
QUESTION: You said that we hold other people captive when we keep seeing them as they used to be, and that we become hostages, too, by not allowing that person the possibility of having changed from yesterday to today to tomorrow, because there's a constant shift going on anyway. So that really gave me a new way of being with people, especially with friends and people that I've known for a long time—to give myself the opportunity to see them fresh, which is, in a way, also forgetting how I pictured them.
It was just really an amazing opening and a sense of freedom that I experienced within myself. And there were a lot of these people that I had held in a certain framework. And I let the framework change, and they were different—really!—which made me feel different, myself, because something shifted in me, too. And I wasn't the same person, because I chose to view them as different. So that was very refreshing for me. And I keep practicing that, especially when somebody's name comes up and I hold some judgment on the past. That has really helped me a lot.
RAJ: It refreshes the world as well, because not a single one of you ever does anything alone. When you withdraw from a definition that you have held someone or some thing to, the whole world is freed up from some degree of control being exercised over it. And what all of you are in the process of discovering is that any exercise of control over anything is actually best described as an attack on that thing. You might think that's too strong a word, but when something is not being embraced for what it Really is, when it is not being embraced minus a concept of it which is overlaid upon it, it is being rejected. It really is as simple as that. And so, if we are going to speak in stark terms for purposes of clarity, any definition you hold in your mind about a thing is an act of hate, because it is not an act of love.
Remember, I said love is the willingness to recognize that which is Real in each and every thing. And, indeed, the willingness amounts to your intent or decision to see everything without employing memory. That is love.
QUESTION: It takes practice, though.
RAJ: Of course. But remember that this intent which gets carried out and is called a “practice,” is what is utterly natural to you. It feels like work because the opposite of that is what you have come to believe is natural to you. But it really is harder for all of you to hold everything to a concept than it is to let go of the effort it takes and just be “present with” that thing or that one. That is less effort.
You could say the “work” of it is in disengaging from the habit. But what you're doing is easier than the habit you have been engaged in. The habit has taken effort because it's not natural, but you're all familiar with it. You have “psyched” yourself up for it, and so you accept its conditions of strenuousness as normal, and it doesn't feel like work. But, looking at a thing without employing memory to define it is an effortless thing. It's just paying attention. Love is effortless. Thank you for your sharing.
QUESTION: Yes. When I was thinking about what you were asking us to do—the practice for the week—I felt kind of dumb-founded. It was like, “How do I do that, without memory?” And I feel I've been applying it to the question I asked last week with regard to the printers that I've been dealing with. And I had more difficulty doing it in their presence than when I was away from them.
RAJ: It is easier to see what you believe when you have something to look at. Mind you, that doesn't mean you are seeing what is there.
QUESTION: I felt that it was easier to expand, to see these people as brothers and sisters in the larger family as I would look without memory. And when I would look that way, I had a very difficult time holding anything against anybody. Those just didn't come up.
QUESTION: Someone said, “it takes practice.” I was thinking of an event that happened this week. Someone called me, who I have a lot of history with and a lot of pain…
RAJ: A lot of memory of!
QUESTION: ...and we had just a very warm, wonderful conversation. And he said at one point, “I love you.” He's never said that to me before. And it just stopped me, completely. I realized that I loved him, too, and I said that. And at that point I did it without memory, and it felt really beautiful. But as soon as I hung up the telephone, all of this stuff started stirring up—”Oh my god, what did he mean?” “What does this mean now?” And I was telling this to a friend, and he said, “Well, what would it look like if you just let it be what it is, and stayed in the moment with it?”
“Oh, yeah. That's what I'm supposed to be doing this week.”
RAJ: You see through that, that your definition, your memorized concept of another, is used for purposes of control. The reason you said, “Oh, my god, what does this mean?” is because obviously something was happening that you weren't in control of. You see?
RAJ: And so, you think, “Quick, I must get the definitions,” so that control can be exercised and you can be safe. But what you have made yourself safe from is the opportunity to be loved and loving. That is really the truth.
“Oh-h, if you just let it be what it is, well, God only knows what will happen!”
Now, do you want to know what “God only knows?”
RAJ: Then you must make a choice. You must make a choice for whether or not you're going to reassert memory, whether you're going to reassert your very definite concept about that person and hold that person hostage to your concept and, as was said earlier, also hold yourself hostage to that concept? Are you going to do that, or are you going to release yourselves, both, so that you might have the real, actual experience of being loved and feeling love, even though you can't control what will happen?
If you allow “God only knows what will happen” to happen, you will not ever be a victim. All of you are only ever victims of your definitions and their results. That's all! I know this sounds ridiculously simple, and it is, and that's why everyone misses it! “It's got to be harder than that.” “It's not a very meaningful answer if it isn't difficult to grasp.” So, everybody goes for some grand spiritual goal, instead of the simple down-to-earth very natural experience of love which occurs when you don't employ memory.
When you don't employ definitions and hold everyone and everything to those definitions, life becomes divinely Real right here! “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It doesn't say, “God, lift me up to heaven so I don't have to have this experience.” What it really means is, “I wish for the Kingdom of Heaven that has to be right here—else I couldn't even have a false perception of It—to register with me right here. I wish no longer to defend myself against the experience of the Kingdom of Heaven right here by means of my memory, or my preconceptions, or my historical definitions of anyone or anything.” That is the way you unlock yourself from misperception.
It's not somewhere else in Heaven. It's not some other time in Heaven, like after you die. It's “as in Heaven, so on earth” in this moment! And so we have been talking about learning to open your eyes to see the Kingdom of Heaven right where you are, because Reality is the only thing confronting you, no matter how you are interpreting It. It's releasing everything from interpretations which allows you to have what's called insight, and see everything with new eyes.
QUESTION: The wonderful thing that happened for me, was that I was really entrenched in a project that I loved doing. And the more I opened my heart to what I was doing, the more energy I had. And it was just amazing how much energy I was experiencing, because I was waking up at 5:30-6:00 a.m. and going until 11 o'clock at night and feeling really good.
RAJ: Defense is always enervating. It always depletes you. When you abandon it, you become energized and truly alive to the good that's happening, rather than preoccupied with the little bit of “bad” that you are using for the purpose of “getting justice.”
QUESTION: Well, you hit the nail on the head.
RAJ: Of course!
QUESTION: Quite a hammer! Yeah. So it was a wonderful experience, because the more I opened up, the more came in, and it was amazing, because I was like an observer watching the whole thing happen, and that became very fulfilling.
RAJ: Yes, exactly! And this is what everyone will find. Instead of being the “actor,” the “authorizer” of things, you become the observer. You become the observer of the Movement of God. You become the observer of Reality in motion. By abandoning an artificial stance of authorizer of everything, you have the opportunity to observe the only Author there is—God—in action. And it is as though you stand with God in the experience of Creation happening. And it is only in this sense that you ever become co-creators.
You see, an author, or an authorizer of something, stands supposedly in a position of being a creator alongside God—a second, third, fourth, thousandth, millionth “creator.” But in actuality, the only thing you are creating is a misperception. Nevertheless, as you abandon the creation of definitions and of holding everything to those definitions, you are able to slip into that experience of being the observer of the Movement of God. And what did I say the Movement of God was? It's Mind in the act of observing Itself observing Itself! And that Act is Creation. And so, of course you were observing, because that is the action of the infinite Mind that God is—observing Itself.
I will be very frank with you. The reason so few have Awakened while incarnated is because everyone is geared to “accomplishing” things, and one who simply observes the Movement of God is not accomplishing anything. So that can't possibly be your Purpose for being. And yet it is!
There's no ego satisfaction in it, but there is this immovably grounded experience of being inseparable from what is Happening, and it's the feeling of being at Home—you could say, “in your right Mind.” You are experiencing your Sanity.
When one truly dares to let go of control, one's greatest fear is that chaos of such magnitude will be the result that no one in his right mind would allow for it. But if one feels within himself the courage to abide, without having control, without panicking, one finds that order beyond his present sense of order occurs and everyone says it's a miracle! And, indeed, it is a miracle in the sense that what is happening is God being the only thing going on.
I understand that it's not an easy thing to do, but I also know that it's the only valid thing to do, because it is what allows you to regain your Sanity, come back into your right Mind, fulfilling your Purpose right here, without going anywhere.
You all are having wonderful experiences here, and sharing them with each other is very valuable.
Another point I want to share is that definitions are the means of distancing yourself from a thing. There is a difference between “meaning” and “definition.” Each one of you is Meaning expressed. Any definition you give to each other is something entirely different. Any definition you give to yourself is like drawing an outline around you. It keeps you small. And it keeps the Meaning obscured from you. When you abandon the definition, the Meaning can register with you and there is no size to it. It is all. It is unlimited. And you are not separate from it. It fills your vision. It fills you. And yet you don't disappear. This is unity.
Definitions keep you from experiencing the Meaning of what you are observing, and the Meaning has no size. It is not three-dimensional. It does not occupy space. The closest you could come to using words like “space” is that it fills all space without detracting in the slightest from any other Meaning that fills all space.
Whether you are distant from the furthest star you can see or standing on its surface, its Meaning is not distanced from you. It's only when you define it as a star that is 23 quadrillion miles away from you that you block the experience of its Meaning, which you can experience fully from here and which you can experience fully while standing on its surface. But the definition absolutely blocks you from experiencing the Meaning that fills all space, including the space where you are, or the space that you Are by virtue of being Awareness, Consciousness, the Observer.
Please know that when you are having this experience, the love that you are feeling has been extended because you are being in that one's presence defenselessly, definitionlessly—new word! They mean the same thing—defenselessly and definitionlessly. And when you're being with someone that way, that is Love, and it has been expressed.
QUESTION: This experience that we're talking about seems to be obviously beyond the realm of normal experience, in that the only time I've experienced anything close to what I'm hearing is when I've just forgotten for one reason or another, like in amnesia. This is almost like transcending...in other words, you make the suggestion, “I'd like to be able to experience this,” and then when you're not thinking about it any more, it just comes up. It just happens to you, because any control you bring to it is self-defeating, in that now I'm defining “being definitionlessly.”
RAJ: If you have the slightest idea that your definitions do not serve your best interest…then, although you cannot make your definitions disappear, your lack of valuing them as much allows for more of these spontaneous experiences.
QUESTION: So you're withdrawing your investment in them because they no longer serve you and you don't have belief in them any longer. Is that it?
RAJ: That is correct.
QUESTION: Isn't it always spontaneous, though? In other words, the mind automatically tries to redefine or put something in that void, in that space. That's the mechanism, isn't it?
RAJ: That is the mechanism. That is why the first lesson of the Course is so valuable: “Nothing that I see means anything.” It is just a way to have a momentary devaluation of any definitions you have been giving anything. In the awareness that maybe what you believe a thing is may not be what it is, in just that little bit of willingness there is the opportunity for the penetration of what I'm going to call “insight”—the spontaneous experience of new eyes. But, you see, until the simple idea has occurred to you that maybe the way you're seeing things isn't as absolutely dependable as you think it is, or as important as you think it is, until that thought has occurred to you, you will continue to have this sacred investment in your definitions which will not allow you to have anything but the most intense valuation of your definitions. And so your definitions are constantly reinforced.
When, however, that simple idea finally occurs to you—that maybe the way you're seeing something isn't the way it really is—then, in that very recognition of that possibility, your religious addiction to your definitions has become weaker. Your investment has stopped being absolute. And then the experience can occur.
QUESTION: I think I've put my finger on a core problem that I've been having throughout this lifetime. And I think it is that I have a real problem relating with authority figures. And I'm wondering if you can teach me a better way?
RAJ: Don't want to be an authority, yourself! You see, the reason you have trouble with an authority figure is because you can't stand up to that authority figure—you haven't found your ability to be as “authoritative” as he is. And as long as you are wanting to be as authoritative as he is, in the belief that that will bring about balance and the problem will stop, you will not become free of the game, and the contest will continue interminably.
In War Games, the movie, the computer finally “realized” that the only way to win the game was not to play the game at all. And so, you can get up from the table where the game of “Authority and Being Authoritative Successfully” is going on—a game that no one can ever win—and you can abandon caring about the issue of authority and simply be present in the world and let the chips fall where they may.
You will find that when you actually abandon the desire to be equal to those with authority, they will abandon their attempts to exercise authority over you. It is like a cat, which unmercifully chases and pounces on and mauls a mouse until the mouse backs out of the game—in this case, dies. And then the cat may play a little longer, but the “fun” has gone out of it because the mouse doesn't care any more! You see what I mean? The point is that the conflict ends when someone leaves the arena. Then you will have the joy of being, because you're not trying to account for yourself to anybody. It's such a simple thing.
If you have been a chess player for years, and loved the complexity and the logic and all of the elements of grasping the next 42 possible moves with three variations—if you have become that involved, and playing chess has become an intense thing with great meaning to you, so that you engage in it with compulsive competitiveness—and you are sitting there in the middle of a game and you realize, “Wow! I could actually get up right in the middle of this tournament and walk out of here, and it wouldn't make any difference anywhere, except to those others who think that this tournament is meaningful.” Wow! What a freedom—to realize that it can mean nothing!
What a freedom! Especially if it's “meaning nothing” allows you to experience peace rather than compulsion, and you can get up and walk to the door, and leave the room, and enter a world in which no one gives a damn about what had been so important to you a moment before. Authority is exactly like that. And the only ones who are involved in authority issues—whether it is the one expressing authority or whether it is the “victim” of authority—the only ones involved in either side of the game are those for whom authority means something, and who have commitment to be involved in “this most meaningful thing,” which is actually meaningless. You see?
So, the solution is simple. The solution is the abandonment of any effort put in this direction ever again, and just being, and letting the chips fall where they may. It is a wonderful issue that you brought up, because the answer is so significant and so freeing, and puts you and everyone else who understands the answer in the position of experiencing your birthright of freedom from compulsive attention to something that means nothing, and yet exhausts you and deprives you of the vitality it takes to engage with life happily.
You don't have to be around people being authoritative, and you do not have to play the role of victim.
QUESTION: My question concerns focus for my life. I would love to pursue something that I love with abandon, essentially, feeling like I was doing the right thing. As a child I had authorities in my life that I trusted—both my church and my family—and for a long time could do what others suggested with real feelings of confidence and trust, in a sense that was easy and felt good. I'm no longer in that place. I'm no longer a believer and I've lost trust.
In my prayers and meditation, I don't hear answers with clarity. And when I hear an answer, I look at it and analyze it and suspect that I'm just talking to myself And so, I experiment with talking to myself in a different way, giving myself a different answer, and see if that's some way I can distinguish if now I'm talking to myself as opposed to when I'm not sure. Is there a difference?
RAJ: When you speak of “talking to myself,” do you mean “my capital 'S' Self”?
QUESTION: I suspect I mean my “small 's' self.” So, if I hear an answer, I'll then give myself another answer and see if there's a difference—to see if that can tell me that there was something true about one of the answers.
In any case, I'm still without trust and feel immobilized by it—like, I don't want to make a choice that's wrong, and so I make no choice at all. So, am I supposed to become a strong and independent person? I mean, that's part of what I've learned that I'm supposed to be, strong and independent. And yet, relying on Guidance doesn't feel strong and independent. Am I to make choices and 100 of them would be good and pursuing any one of them would be wonderful for me? Or am I supposed to find the right thing to do with spiritual guidance? And how do I tell the difference? Or should I just go sit on a beach and enjoy each sunset?
RAJ: The key here is learning to relax enough to be able to be “present with” whatever is going on—to be “present with” without a goal. Listening is being present without the distraction of the busy-ness of your mind. And in the absence of distractions of the busy-ness of your mind, you can notice what is going on. And so, when you say, “or should I go sit on the beach and enjoy the sunset,” that might likely be your best first step, because you would not approach it with a concept of something that was “supposed” to happen. In the absence of that preconception, you would just let in the sunset, the ocean, the beach, and you might very likely learn something of great value from what you noticed.
There is a comedian at the present time who has rather dry humor. When he was asked whether he slept well, he said, “I don't think I made any mistakes.”
To learn how to Listen, you must allow for mistakes. You must be entirely goal-less, else you are not entirely available to what is there. And if you say, “I will only Listen if I am going to hear unalterable accurate Truth,” you will be defended against inaccurate answers—you will be self-protective—and the only thing YOU could possibly hear would be your own answers.
What you have to do is put yourself in the position of being able to have the experience, just like a child learning to ride a bicycle. He keeps climbing on and putting himself in the position of having the experience of balance, and once having had it, remembering a little bit better how to get back to that point of balance. Then he finally rides without falling down. But if he said, “I refuse to learn unless I can be guaranteed that I will not fall down,” it would take a very long time for him to learn.
“Well, if it's Guidance, it has to be accurate!” But, the Listening might not be. And so, you, who are taking the first fumbling steps of Listening for Guidance and hearing it, will have no confidence in what happens. And because it's going on in the same place where all of your fumbling thoughts occur, you will assume that these are just more of them, and you will not have a clear sense of dependability around those words. You must not care about it. You must just continue to put yourself in that position where it can happen so that you may have the experience, and, by virtue of the continued experience, begin to have clarity, begin to be able to discern the difference between your thinking and the Guidance you are experiencing.
Because of this, I suggest that people not sit down to Listen for the first time when they are trying to make a major life change. Start with inconsequential things. Start with simple things. Start, most of all, with questions that can be answered “yes” or “no,” because then you know there are only two possible options which can't be hard for you to distinguish the difference between.
Also, don't forget this: It isn't just the answers. It's the relationship! There is a feeling that accompanies the relationship between you and your Guide, or you and the Holy Spirit. It feels like something. It is a feeling that is not present when you are listening to your self (with a small “s”). That Presence is one of the first things that begins to help you discern the difference between your self talking to yourself and you communicating with your Guide. Don't try to be perfect at this. Let yourself stumble. Let yourself fall down. Pick yourself up. Try again!
QUESTION: Does it matter if I think of communicating with my higher self that's really a part of me, or should I be thinking of “other” than me—Holy Spirit or Guide?
RAJ: If I could have arranged for you to ask that question, I would have done it. The whole dream, the whole experience of illusion, is a result of having separated yourself from the Father. This is why the act of Joining is so essential to Awakening. And I encourage every single one of you not to let your first choice of “Friends” to communicate with be your higher self. Let it be someone other than you. Let it be the Holy Spirit. Let it be me. Let it be whoever your Guide is.
I will inform anyone here who doesn't know it yet that at the moment of conception a Guide was assigned to you. One Who was and is totally Awake. That One stands with you on your behalf ready to help you discern the illusion so you can let it go the moment you care not to be alone any longer and reach out.
“But, Father, I'd rather see it my way.” “I'd rather do it myself.” “I'd rather do it my way.” These acts of independence must be relinquished. And that's why I encourage all of you to reach out to someone other than that which you would normally identify as yourself—other than even your higher self. The reason I say this is because very few of you have any nonconceptual sense of what your higher self is. As a result, when you reach out to it, you will tend to conceptualize it as being a more divine form of the self you are already experiencing. And whether you know it fully or not, your present sense of yourself is not unlimited. Therefore, your sense of your higher self is that it will not be unlimited, either.
“No,” you say, “that's not true. I can conceive that.” But let me ask you this: If you were to think in terms of your higher self and your neighbor's higher self, and perhaps Paul's higher self, would any of them be better or worse? Of all of these people, whose higher self would you prefer to connect with? You would find that there was a preference. There would be an expectation, because of what you know of one person, that his or her higher self would be the one you would prefer to connect with through that person.
So, let your desire be to connect with One Who is totally Awake. Why? Because you have no preconceptions about it, except that you know there would be no way for you to put any limitations on Him or Her. In this way you let in something that you will not block the total presence of by virtue of some concept you are holding.
The reason I'm glad you asked this is because there is beginning to be sort of a rumor spreading around that says: “Being in touch with your Guide is becoming passe. The new 'in' thing is to be in touch with your higher self” Well, [chuckle] in the 1992 Vermont Gathering someone asked Paul to channel his higher self, to speak from his higher self, which Paul did. Paul had the very interesting experience of finding that there was something sorely missing from the experience—the experience of being in relationship. And so he said he would not do that any more.
The fact is that as a result of being in touch with your Guide, you will have undone the act of independence that moved you into your ignorance. And you will have a small taste of what really amounts to an infinite relationship with all of the Brotherhood—and please don't get hung up on sexist terminology—all the Sons and Daughters, all the Family of God, whatever! In connecting with your Guide and having the experience of relationship which is incapable of becoming a truly “special relationship” and is susceptible of becoming a wholly Holy relationship, you have the opportunity to begin to experience Who You Are.
So, when I speak about Who You truly Are, I am really speaking about what is normally referred to as the higher self, except there's no confusion about It, because now when I use the words “Your real Self,” you know I am speaking of the Self of You which is claiming no other characteristics or abilities than those of the Father's, which are embodied in His Self-expression called you. This Self that You truly Are is also inseparable from the whole Brotherhood.
Someone was saying this morning that it was mind-boggling to think that I could speak with everyone everywhere at the same time, or whenever everyone might reach out to me. Well, it happens that everyone you know of on the face of your globe is not all of the Brotherhood. And when you are Awake, you are in constant total communion with everyone simultaneously. That's why I suggested to you that you let the top off the kettle, because you are ultimately—when you realize that you don't have to capture it all—going to be that “space” which is capable of entirely embracing eternity, infinity, and the infinite Self-expression of God with total intimacy.
So, the problem is that if, starting from your present sense of yourself, you try to get in touch with your higher self, you will not engage in the joining that is necessary for the real Meaning of your “higher self” to be disclosed to you. And you will find yourself still caught in what you might call another level of the dream.
It is not going to become passe to yield to God, to surrender to God, to surrender to your Brother or Sister Who is totally Awake and is, therefore, the Presence of God unobstructed. There is never going to be another way.
It is bothersome to those who do not embrace Christianity to hear that “the only way to God is through me.” But the “me” that said it was not a person, not a personality, but the unobstructed Presence of God. The only way to God is through the Christ. And if you cannot comprehend of your Christ-hood, or if you can comprehend of it but not believe it, then there is present with you One Who is awake, One Who is, as you might put it, fully Christed—which really means, one Who has discovered that there is nothing to him but what God is being, and has stopped fighting for a private, personal slant on the Kingdom of Heaven. And that One is the One by means of whom you connect with the Father.
There is no way to get to the Father except by means of a Joining with One Who is claiming no other Presence than God right where he or she is, because that act of Joining is the undoing of the act of independence which created the illusion of separation.
So, to say that, “the only way to the Father is by me” is not a religious thing. It's just the way it is! And one does not have to become a Christian to connect with the Father. I've said this before, but I'll say it again: I am the Christ, but I am not a Christian. Christians are one of those “groups” who have mutual agreements about what I meant when I said, “I and my Father are one,” and who have misunderstood when I said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” What has been misunderstood is that my disciples understood that that meant, “if anybody sees them, they have seen the Father,” because I was teaching them the same thing I am teaching you. You are the Christ because you are the presence of the Father expressed. And if I have seen you, I have seen the Christ—I have seen the Father. But this “group,” with its mutual agreement as to meanings, is not a group I am a member of. So, it's not an arrogant statement. It's not even a personal statement. It's just a way of saying that the only way to break or undo an act of independence is to do the opposite—Join. Let someone in! And let in someone who is Awake. That's all. It's simple, and it's beautiful.
QUESTION: So, when you said to pray to the Father in your name, it was not code words to “get one in,” but rather a state of being to be with God?
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Have I been following Guidance?
RAJ: Have you?
QUESTION: I guess so. I try not to think about it. I'm trying just to feel through it.
ANSWER. Let me put it this way. You have not objected to or acted contrary to guidance. But the unsureness that you have felt will disappear when you choose for your peace first. Any energetic undercurrents which seem to be in the air will not distract you from your connectedness, or suggest to you that your connectedness is less strong than it ought to be and create in you a concern or worry. And so you need your peace so that you may feel, without distraction, the significance of the connection that actually exists.
What you really want to know is if you have gotten off the track. And the answer is, no. But you do need to feel the connection better and peace is the only thing that will allow you to feel its substance better.
I would encourage all of you at the present time—and remember that some weeks back, I mentioned that “the heat is on”—to remember that the pressure of actual growing, which is occurring, is being felt. And always when there is expansion occurring—a moving into territory that extends beyond what you are familiar with—there is the tendency to become nervous and to begin to engage in self-doubt. The reason for engaging in self-doubt is a very conscious and reasonable one: If you can create enough feeling of insecurity, it can justify retreat—a moving back into your comfort zone, into that with which you have been familiar and comfortable. But that defeats and moves in opposition to a movement of growth that you cannot reverse.
So, if you are feeling self-doubt, get into your peace and Listen. And I encourage you to Listen with an anticipation of getting confirmation of the fact that growth is occurring—something constructive. Because it is growth, it is something that is enlarging your borders and allowing more of Who and What you Are to be consciously available to you. That means that indeed you will have to abandon some of your cherished ideas which were only “true” because they fit into your current limited sense of your self.
This abandoning of your cherished ideas is sometimes very disconcerting, almost always very uncomfortable, because those cherished ideas have had something to do with your sense of your self-worth. Now a new experience of worth and integrity is emerging, something you have no choice about, and it does cause you to have to abandon some of the old things that you used for giving yourself a sense of self-worth.
I encourage all of you to be alert, so that when self-doubt in any form presents itself to you, you will not believe it unquestioningly and use it as justification for pulling back into “the pair of shoes that are getting too small for you because you're getting too big for them.” It can only hurt, because it's not in the flow of the movement of the growth, which is occurring.
To challenge the suggestion that you somehow have lost worth is not an arrogant thing to do. I am not saying that you should say, “I am great! I am perfect! I am in need of nothing because I am so self-complete.” I am not saying to engage in any such practice. What I am saying is, you can challenge or invalidate the suggestions of self-doubt without making any claims. And you can, by virtue of what I am sharing with you, doubt the suggestion of self-doubt and dare to conceive that the reason it is presenting itself to you is because growth is actually occurring. Even though you do not yet know what it is, cannot put your finger on it, and cannot share with anyone else intelligently what it is that is happening, you can dare to conceive that it [growth] is happening, and quietly, in your peace, abide with whatever it is so that it can emerge into your conscious level of awareness with grace—gracefully. And then, at that point, you will be able to share.
You see, you must be willing to be with your growth innocently. “Innocent of preconceptions” means innocent of requirements upon what it must be. To be present with it innocently means to be unconditionally present with it, even though you know nothing about what it is. This does take trust. On the other hand, if you are unwilling to do that, and you take the suggestion of self-doubt, energize it and pull back, you will not find safety. You will find increased discomfort, increased distress.
And so, I guess you could say that when you are growing and you get too big for your shoes, and it hurts to have them on, you say, “Okay, I'll take them off. I don't know where my next pair of shoes is going to come from. I don't know what style they're going to be. I don't even know if I'm going to need a pair of shoes at this next level of my experience, but I am not going to insist upon conforming myself to a point that is being outgrown.” That is innocence. That is embracing your growth innocently. It has nothing to do with stupidity. What is stupid or unintelligent is to resist growth just because you can't know ahead of time what wonderful part of You is coming forth to be available to you to experience.
QUESTION: I do feel as if I'm following my Guidance, and continuing to expand my trust level...and it's unknown territory. In the unknown territory, I really feel uncomfortable.
RAJ: I'm going to say something before you continue. What I want you to remember is that not all of the disclosure of clarity is going to come in terms of words and ideas provided by your Guidance. Your whole world conforms around you to confirm to you your Fulfillment. So do not carry such a private, tiny sense of responsibility here. And do not think that the only place to pay attention for your clarity to present itself is in the Silence of your communion.
Express the desire in the Silence of your communion, and Listen also. But understand that when you are not in such a focused state of Listening in communion, and you are engaged in activities in the world, and you are dealing with things where it appears that the world responds to you or engagements have to be made, or arrangements must be dealt with, and so on, be aware that the peace of communion and the meaningfulness of communion and the revelation that occurs in communion is not tiny, but is an experience of Knowing which is universally occurring. And therefore the specific revealings of fulfillment of Purpose can come from any part of infinity, any part of your universe.
Now, this could be misleading. Someone could say, “Oh, well, that's what I've been doing anyway! I've been watching my world for confirmation.” That is not what I'm saying. You do not give your power away to the world out-there and say, “It must give me confirmation.” But, do you know what I am saying? I am saying: Don't block the world from being able to identify confirmation of fulfillment of Purpose. Don't abandon communion and the clarity that comes from it, by looking to your world for the evidence of fulfillment, but don't exclude your world, either, because it is all one infinite Kingdom of Heaven.
QUESTION: Thank you for that part. It feels, again, like being in the ocean floating around. And I feel I have some course direction and I'm not locked onto it. It seems like “shift.” I feel like I've been shifting.
RAJ: You have been yielding to the Movement, yes, even though it seems as though the Movement is not taking you where you think you are supposed to end up.
QUESTION: This is true. So, I guess there's that remnant of “crash and burn” that comes up. That's probably the fear remnant—that if I do this, that's what happens.
RAJ: The less complicated by fear and doubt your connection with Guidance is, the more perfect, the more flawless, and the more nurturing of you every aspect of your experience will be. Now, as your Self is more clearly revealed to you as You, your ego is going to crash and burn many times. And, it will tend to say to you that it is you who is crashing and burning, not it. If it said it was crashing and burning, you would say, “Glory! Hallelujah!” Not the response it wants.
Because you are not your ego, there is Something right there where you are which is forever inviolable and unchangeable. As you align yourself with It...(listen carefully)...as you—as you presently recognize yourself—yield to the You that you Are by finding your peace and entrusting yourself to the experience of Knowing, which is available to you in your peace, you will find the definitions you had used for your security failing. They never did provide you with your security, because the You that you align yourself with in this process was always inviolable, always secure.
If any of you continue, out of habit, to identify with the definitions that are clearly not working for you any more, you may feel as though you are crashing and burning. But! The inviolable You, Who has been the only one present, will stand less covered. I am availing myself of the words “crash and burn” that you used, and identifying them with the story that all of you are familiar with of the Phoenix. You crash and burn—the ego crashes and burns—and, as I said, the You that you Are remains less covered, like a light, tall in the fire. Like the Phoenix, emerging out of failure.
Now, the only time that crashing and burning will seem to be your experience is if you are holding onto the identity which has been defined by limited perceptions and elements which no longer function well to identify some approximation of fulfillment for you. So, growth itself, Awakening itself, could seem to be—if it was being resisted continually—an experience of crashing and burning interminably. And maybe that's the definition of hell! Or, maybe you will do it gracefully most of the time, but now and then some cherished sense of yourself, or meanings which are highly cherished by you, will cause you to be reluctant to let go of them. And so, instead of having an interminable experience of “burning” and strife, you have occasional experiences which you call “crashing and burning, and coming out of it one way or another.”
What I am driving at here is that you cannot afford to let the fear of crashing and burning justify abandoning Listening, abandoning a partnership that is Real, which you could say was set into place by the Father and therefore is divinely authorized and eternally valuable for you. There is nothing that can happen that can justify abandoning it—even what the ego calls “crashing and burning,” or even what the ego calls “making a fool out of yourself.”
So, the call here is really for a willingness to more deeply commit to a partnership, an alliance that was set in place in Heaven, if you will, even though the suggestion is that if you do it [commit], you will crash and burn. Why? Because you will not find out that there will not be a crashing and burning that means anything until you do it. I will tell you, though, that if the willingness is there, that willingness will be greatly supported by the One Who stands with you—your Guide, and those who work with your Guide on your behalf. So, there will be a strength that you will feel which seems unreasonable, according to your ego's old perceptions.
Does that answer your question?
QUESTION: This helps. Thank you.
QUESTION: Raj, in the last couple of days something a little different is happening to me. On three occasions friends, acquaintances, have suggested that I get a job. I might be missing something here, so, I ask you.
RAJ: Seemingly unasked for? Just out of the blue?
QUESTION: Well, no, it wasn't just out of the blue. I've recently incurred a sizable liability and was thinking how to retire it. And that was the response.
RAJ: And what are you moved to do?
QUESTION: I seem to be experiencing a lot of confusion lately. The way it came about was, I was moved to read Graduation again. When it first came out, I read it two or three times and thought it was nice. This time I read it and it really struck home. It just really went in. It was like I was in Paul's place. So, as a result of reading that, the message I got from it was to constantly check in to see if my Guide was there.
Well, several things happened. One was, when I asked who was there, I got a different name for the Guide than I've had before—kind of a variation. The second thing is, I noticed it was coming from a seemingly different place. And the third thing that happened, I started getting headaches, which I'd never gotten before.
The information that I got seemed to be sometimes misleading, sometimes confusing. So it was almost like out of the blue I was starting from scratch with Guidance. At least that was the seemingness of it. And it was like maybe I was trying too hard. Maybe that's what the headaches were from. But then I thought, well, maybe something's letting go. It was just confusion.
So, I wouldn't know where to go to look for a job, let me put it that way, because I thought I already had one. Obviously I've missed things before, so I'm always open to that possibility. So that's why I figured I'd bring it to you and put all the cards on the table.
RAJ: This willingness on your part to check in frequently has been a source of great joy, I will tell you that. What is giving you the headaches is that there is something you are wanting from the communion. There is a certain agenda, although it is not well formed in your mind. And what I encourage you to do here is to enjoy the communion just for its own sake. Not for the purpose of resolving this debt. Not for the purpose of accomplishing anything in the world.
A friendship, a brother-to-brother connection is occurring, and so, do not make demands upon the relationship while you are in the process of getting acquainted. I want you to allow yourself to enjoy getting to know each other. Enjoy the experience of not being alone, because the experience is an experience of undying oneness, interminable eternal oneness. It is an alliance, which has been since the beginning. When I say, that, I mean since the beginning of the experience of time.
In these initial stages do not make demands upon the relationship. You will find that as you abandon having an agenda as the reason for the communion, a relaxing will occur, the headaches will disappear, and you will find your Guide sharing more in the course of dialoguing and addressing things that you have not necessarily brought up. And because you didn't bring them up with a goal behind bringing them up, you will not be braced for them. You will be at peace, and that will allow the communication to occur with grace.
In this process, you will discover from experience that the quickest way to have an answer is to almost not ask the question. And if you ask a question, you let it be very gentle. You express it without fervor. You express it in a whisper, perhaps, and then leave the question so that you are just “being with” your Guide with nothing coercive present at all. A strong desire to have an answer is an expression of willfulness, and that will block it—the answer.
This one [who answered you] is your same Guide, but you have approached him with a greater commitment, a greater openness. And so you are hearing and experiencing and feeling it differently. Much more is capable of being exchanged between you than in the past. What is really happening is the nurturing of and the development of a deeper level of trust, which means a lesser degree of control which is brought into the communion. And this is beautiful. Let it happen. Let it grow.
“Infinite patience brings immediate results.” This statement applies very specifically here because to the degree that you are agendaless, the more quickly and the more easily anything that is humanly on your agenda will be addressed. So, ask any question, express any desire, with a whisper in your mind, as quietly as you can, so that the least amount of force and fervor is brought to the positing of the question. And then leave the question and Listen.
I will give you a helpful hint here. When you ask the question softly and then leave it and Listen, you might let the awareness flit past your mind that the response may address something different from what you have asked. And if you will let that flit past your mind and let that be a possibility, there will be even less direction being given to your Guide, more receptivity, and greater ease of hearing. Your Guide will never leave unaddressed something that needs to be addressed. But in the process of your communion, it is not only unnecessary to provide guidelines for your Guide, it is important for there to be an absence of them, because it makes it so much easier for you to hear.
Now, maybe your friends have said you ought to get a job. But I want you to wait for your Guide to say it before you pursue anything in that direction. And before you pursue anything in that direction, I would ask a few more questions of your Guide, if I were you, so that you don't jump to conclusions that might not be part of the meaning which was expressed.
Remember that most everyone who is not listening to Guidance responds to life's circumstances on the basis of past experience and what has worked for them, rather than a real awareness of what will work and what is appropriate. So, you can appreciate their motives and the friendship that those motives embody. But as long as you have this communion available to you as an actual experience, I encourage you to lean on it more than the best judgment of others. And I promise you, you will have things to share with everyone as a result of doing this—good news that you will be able to share with everyone.
This has been a big step for you. And I do not mean necessarily in size. The quality of this step and the meaningfulness of this step is significant in terms of your forward movement, in terms of your Awakening. And, as I said, it has been a source of great joy to many of us who are watching the stirrings out of dreaming occurring where you are.
QUESTION: Thank you for sharing that with me.
RAJ: You are welcome. Just remember that as this happens, you do not have to “get the hang of it,” you do not have to be able to have something to report. It isn't something you will grasp. But, do you know what? It is like the bar of soap. If you grasp it and your hand is wet, it will shoot out. As you don't grasp anything, you will have everything. That is the paradox—the perfectly sensible paradox.
SPIRITUALITY, SEX, BODY & WORLD
Sometimes we don't step back far enough from a thing to get a clear perspective, and we deal with specifics without asking, “What is the context in which these specifics exist?”
We could assume that the context is A Course in Miracles, and refer all specifics back to it. Yet, we would not be stepping back far enough yet, since the Course is just one aspect of all that fills our lives.
Indeed, the context of all of this discussion of spirituality, sex, body and world is “the inquiring mind” which prompted each one of us to come together to “consider things” in the first place. And so, the first question needs to be, “Is this inquiring mind real or unreal?” The possibility is, of course, that the act of inquiry itself is what creates illusion.
Another important question is: Does it matter whether this inquiring mind is real, if (A) it is “running” and there's no way to turn the darned thing off, and if (B) no one has experienced an alternative?
Since this message has not ended abruptly in mid-sentence, and you are reading it, you may correctly assume what my answers to those questions are.
So, the fact is that before, after, and aside from A Course in Miracles, each one is curious about spirituality, sex, body, world ... and on and on and on. Having found ACIM, one now needs to ask whether the inquiring mind is to refer/defer everything to ACIM or whether ACIM is to refer/defer everything to the inquiring mind! And if we can't say the latter, then not only has perspective been lost, but the integrity of the act of inquiry—the inquiring mind!
In other words, no matter how many readers of the Course adopt it as their Bible, measuring everything against its words, no one is required to forget that the value of the Course, if it has any, lies in its ability to be measured against the deepest inner knowing of the inquiring mind, and that if such measuring doesn't succeed in broadening and deepening the inquiring mind, satisfying its curiosity, it is valueless.
If the context (the inquiring mind) in which the specifics (the Course) exist does not remain the focal point, the specifics will not only be meaningless, they will become cruel. Why? Because when the innate divinity of the inquiring mind is abandoned in favor of anything, even Truth, a state of Self-denial has been introduced which lacks humanity.
It is in this context, then, that I wish to participate in this dialogue on spirituality, sex, body, and world.
To put it simply, the idea that the world is an illusion was not introduced by A Course in Miracles. It is an ancient idea, embraced in one way or another by all spiritual and religious traditions. In other words, the concept of the polarity of existence has never been challenged by any of them.
It is natural, then, for the words of the Course to be read and interpreted from that standpoint. In fact, it is inevitable for each one who reads it to approach it from whatever his current viewpoint is. Those, whose background includes a humanistic approach, valuing and honoring greater openness and genuineness in relationships and of being in touch with their feelings, find substantiation of it in the Course. Those, whose background includes ascendancy over the body and emotions, likewise find themselves at home with the Course. Those, whose background involved strict obediences for escaping the illusion, are not challenged by the Course. And those who are discovering that the concept of duality is illusory, but not the world, are likewise finding the Course meaningful.
And the Course meets everyone where they are!
Now, I am not going to challenge what anyone has said. I am just going to say, “Let's take another look.” And I'm going to suggest that the Course is the first document that has ever challenged the concept of the “polarity of existence.”
Remembering that the inquiring mind is what justifies the consideration of anything, and that Truth is meaningless outside the satisfying of that curiosity by means of real inner transformation, I would start with the consideration of the following:
“The world as you perceive it cannot have been created by the Father, for the world is not as you see it. God created only the eternal, and everything you see is perishable. Therefore, there must be another world that you do not see.”
The key words are “as you perceive it.” And the Course will be clearer to everyone if those words are inserted immediately following the words “world” and “body” throughout the Course. It is not the world that is an illusion, but the world “as you perceive it” that is an illusion. Why? Because “the world is not as you see it.” What world? The one you're looking at every day!
“The Bible speaks of a new Heaven and a new earth, yet this cannot be literally true, for the eternal are not re-created. To perceive anew is merely to perceive again, implying that before, or in the interval between, you were not perceiving at all. What then, is the world that awaits your perception when you see it?”
What world, indeed? The one you're looking at every day!
“The real world can actually be perceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else.”
The real world where? Where you're seeing the world every day. All that is necessary is a willingness to abandon the meanings you have given it (“made”) and see only what is left!
Now, the Course refers to that which gives preference to perceptions as the ego. And it says:
“The ego may see some good, but never only good. That is why its perceptions are so variable.”
And the word “variable” relates to the word “perishable” above. What makes the perceived world perishable is the unreliability of the perception, not of what is perceived.
“It does not reject goodness entirely, for that you could not accept. But it always adds something that is not real to the real, thus confusing illusion and reality.”
This last sentence is the most significant sentence in the Course relative to challenging the “polarity of existence.” The ego “always adds something that is not real to the real, thus confusing illusion and reality.” If this is not understood, one will look beyond the world he is seeing every day, not realizing that the illusion is inseparable from the Real, and therefore the Real is to be found right where the illusion seems to be! Indeed, if one does look beyond the world he is seeing every day, his attention has been successfully distracted from the point where the Real awaits his discovery...and the dream goes on.
“You have made many ideas that you have placed between yourself and your Creator, and these beliefs are the world as you perceive it. Truth is not absent here, but it is obscure.”
And, like a mist hovering between you and the world you see every day, beliefs obscure what is seen, “creating” a perception of it. This leaves what is seen unchanged (“Truth is not absent here”), but it leaves you subject to a world you “made” by virtue of giving preference to a perception. As a result...
“You do not know the difference between what you have made and what God created…
In other words, you do not know the difference between the added “something that is not real” and the Real—God's creation. However...
“The real world is all that the Holy Spirit has saved for you out of what you made, and to perceive only this is salvation, because it is the recognition that reality is only what is true.”
In the willingness to acknowledge that the world which is seen every day is Real, with a “pinch” of “something that is not real” added to the pot for confusion, one knows where to look for Reality, and why the passage Home is a “journey without distance.” I have shared before that everyone is sitting smack dab in the middle of the Kingdom of Heaven with their eyes all squinched up, saying, “I cannot see the perfection.” Indeed, it is the Kingdom which you see every day...imperfectly.
“Perceiving only the real world will lead you to the real Heaven, because it will make you capable of understanding it.”
When denial of the Kingdom ceases because it is known that the illusion does not exist separate from the Real, and the illusion is squarely looked upon with love for That which the ego did not make out of the Real, the “polarity of existence” will cease and the Real world will appear. And you will open your eyes and realize that the Real world is Heaven.
In other words:
“For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven.” [My underlining.]
What then, about spirituality, sex, and body? What does it mean not to have the excuse that “it's all an illusion”? What does it mean that the “polarity of existence” no longer applies to these things?
Well, you don't know what it means! In fact, on the basis of the nonpolarity of existence everyone is truly back to the first lesson: Nothing that I see means what I thought it meant! On the basis of the nonpolarity of existence all of the lessons are likely to surprise everyone who is going through them again. On the basis of the nonpolarity of existence there is nowhere to go, and nothing to do except be curious to see what is Real right here.
It appears to me that this brings us right back to the “inquiring mind.” It's integrity has not only been honored in the process of exploring what the Course has to say, it's function has been sanctified! Your function has been honored and sanctified. You, as the presence of curiosity, have found yourself validated far beyond the scope of being a merely scientific or personal investigator, since the object of your curiosity is the discovery of that which is Real—divinely and eternally Real. And, the curiosity which promoted this discovery—in other words, the curiosity which preexisted your contact with these ideas in the Course—has neither been invalidated nor diminished in the process! You, as you sit there, have even more substance than you initially thought. The Course has referred/deferred everything back to the inquiring mind, only more broadly and more deeply.
So, what does one do with spirituality that has no opposite and therefore no degrees by which he can gauge “progress”? What is its use in a world that is Real—equally spiritual—a world which needs not to be changed, but acknowledged for what it is?
You see? Nothing to do, and nowhere to go, except to be curious to see what is Real right here.
Did God create the world? No. God created Heaven, Reality, and the ego added just a dash of “something that is not real”—an independent bias—and, looking upon its biased perception of Heaven and all that is therein, it called Heaven “the world.”
On the basis of the nonpolarity of existence there is no way to escape to anything different and no justification for not being “present with” where you are—the world you see every day. Does that mean everyone is stuck? It does, indeed. One must face his illusions so that he might become disillusioned, returned to his right mind, wherein his perceptions (the world he “made”) are withdrawn and the world (Heaven) is forgiven for something it never did and for something it never was. Without a spiritual world opposed to a material world one is left with just “the world”—a situation in which there is no excuse for anything less than abandoning whatever dishonors it and all that is therein. In the absence of Heaven and earth one is left with just “the world,” and the opportunity to discover it is Heaven.
So, what about the body? Well, whatever it is, it is Real, regardless of what the ego has thrown in to confuse the issue. “Truth is not absent here, but it is obscure.” And so, the task at hand is to abandon the meanings you have given it, abide with it unconditionally, and desire to know what it really is in the context of its being divinely Real—be curious. In the absence of the assertions of the meanings you have given it, the inherent instability of your perceptions will cease to obstruct your experience of the natural unconflicted harmony of God's creation. Indeed, you are not a body, but you are not minus the fulfillment of God's purpose, which is identified and called “the body”—whatever that is.
In the context of the nonpolarity of existence, inquiring minds will look anew at sex, eating, indeed everything that had been associated unfavorably with the idea that the world you see every day—rather than the world you made out of the world you see every day—is illusion. And with humility inquiring minds will constantly engage in Love—the willingness to recognize that which is Real in each and every thing. This is the way the tares are separated from the wheat. This is the way the Real is separated from the “something that is not real” which has been added to it.
As the saying goes, you don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water, and you don't want to throw out, sidestep, or rise above the illusion if it is inseparable from the Real. If you do, the Real goes with it and remains hidden!
All paragraphs in italics are from 'The Condition of Reality,” in A Course in Miracles: Chapter 11, Section 7, Paragraphs 1 through 5, and Section 8, Paragraph 1, published by the Foundation for Inner Peace.
CONSENSUS & ACIM
There is a phenomenon well known amongst crab fishermen. It is this: There is no need to put a lid on a barrel of crabs, even if it is full, because if one of the crabs attempts to climb out, the others will pull it back in. And whether or not one likes to think of it this way, that is the practical definition of “consensus.”
Consensus is seldom reached voluntarily. More often than not, it is enforced! In fact, it is the tendency of the ego to look for consensus-enforcing relationships, although it puts it more nicely: “I would like to find a group of like- minded people,” or “I wish I could find a man/ woman who was interested in the things I'm interested in, especially when it comes to the things of the Spirit.” This creates a situation, which is appropriately called “double jeopardy,” since one looks for agreement from those who insist upon agreement!
But, do you know what? When it comes to being real, when it comes to an honest connection with one's Sanity, when it comes down to brass tacks, one always abandons consensus in favor of reaching beyond it to God. One not only abandons like-minded perspectives, but his own perspective, and in the utterly original language of his essential being he says, “Not my will, but thine be done.” When he really means it, His Will is clearly revealed and transformation occurs.
This is the grand lesson illustrated in the life of Helen Schucman, and the result was A Course in Miracles.
Or was it? Is it possible that the result was the experience of transformational clarity for Helen, which she could either embrace or reject? Indeed. Is it possible that the “grand lesson” illustrated in Helen's life is embodied in the statement, “Man's extremity is God's opportunity” rather than the book, A Course in Miracles? Indeed.
Does this demean the Course? Not at all. It simply places it in perspective—a perspective of Sanity. The transformational clarity known as the Course is transformational because Helen climbed out of the barrel successfully. She abandoned consensus, and “agreement” had nothing to do with the result.
It is very important to be clear on this point, else one is likely to study the Course and “wish he could find other like-minded people with whom to associate,” thus starting anew a process of consensus which is actually antithetical to the origin of the Course as well as its function, since its function is to promote climbing out of the barrel of consensus! Its function is to trigger one's willingness to forever abide in the Meaning of “Thy will, not mine be done,” to forever abide in the effortless transformational originality of the Father's Will.
Does this mean that relationships are passe? No. But rather than continuing the old Double Jeopardy Game one needs to “wish he could find other Spirit-filled people with whom he can stand in wonder at the forever original transformational clarity of His Will.”
WHY ARE WE IN KINGSTON?
We are in Kingston because the movement of God, irrespective of circumstances, continues to fulfill Itself. Unfettered by human frailty, mistakes—even unintelligent willfulness which puts another at a loss—His Purpose continues to configure in recognizable form. His Love continues to be extended without the slightest variation.
We are in Kingston because God could not be interrupted, and because we were not distracted from His Purpose. In other words, no evaluation of the human condition, no evaluation of the circumstances, took precedence over “staying on the beam.” Allegiance to His Will, to His perspective, insured a graceful continuity, humanly speaking, of Love expressed.
When one joins with His Will, miracles happen. As long as the miracles do not become a distraction from the joining, one continues on the beam. Humanly speaking, this sometimes appears manifest in radically unreasonable marvelous events which occur so swiftly and precisely, right in the face of their impossibility, that it boggles the rational mind—such as an unexpected move to Kingston. But, then, the rational mind, seeing only effects, and governing itself according to the laws which it thinks governs those effects, does not see that effects give evidence of the uninterruptible Movement of God which is governed by Love.
God sees no relationships between effects, as the rational mind does, and therefore no rules by which those effects relate to each other. Thus, time and space sometimes behave radically, unreasonably, serving not the rules which the rational mind believed were governing them. This apparent “setting aside” of the laws of time and space, which the rational mind thought were governing, is called a miracle or a curse, depending upon how much the rational mind had been invested in their dependability. But the fact is that the laws were not set aside. They weren't ever really there!
Indeed, as the move to Kingston was occurring, I was asked why it was so “unfairly” sudden and unexpected. My answer was:
Although there will be learning here, this is not a teaching situation. My Guidance is with respect to specific steps identifying Purpose at a point where there is not time to learn and understand. Indeed, it will greatly contribute to your grace if you will desire to Know rather than understand. Learning always takes time. Knowing does not. Knowing therefore saves time.
I also want you to understand that at the bottom line, the desire to understand creates time, which distances you from your experience of Wholeness. It is therefore the ego's means of denying God and insuring its temporary existence a little longer.
If you want to constructively doubt something, doubt the suggestion that you need to understand. In the absence of interest in understanding, the desire to Know will remain and be fulfilled without delay. “To understand” is a cognitive process which is the opposite of the Silence in which Knowing occurs. It is a form of thinking. And, again, it creates time.
Where the rational mind sees “time” and “space,” God sees eternity and infinity—the context of Himself. When one joins with the Father's Will only, not distracted by circumstances or miracles, one experiences infinity and eternity configuring always in identification of the Movement of God.
This means that the Movement of God is never attempting to conform to the “laws” of time and space, nor the outcomes which the rational mind has conceived to be inevitable based upon those laws. Thus, from the standpoint of the rational mind, the movement of God sometimes lacks integrity, because justice hasn't occurred—the balance between loss and gain, right and wrong, good and evil hasn't been reached.
Justice is not God's reason for Being. Love is. Loss of the experience of God's reason for Being and preoccupation with the misconception of infinity and eternity as “time” and “space,” introduces a resistance to God, since time and space and the effects therein become the gods which have replaced God, just as time and space have replaced infinity and eternity.
I know the rational mind would like to hear that we are in Kingston because there will be hurricanes on Kauai next summer, or recovery from the last hurricane will drive the cost of living so high that it would be unreasonable to remain there…or even that because “it is better to forgive than to sue,” we have not sought recourse to the loss of the down payment on the property the Foundation was purchasing. But the answer doesn't lie at the level of effects, nor does it lie in practiced spiritual principles, which negate the effect of effects. This is what the Course calls “level confusion,” and the answer to this confusion lies in not forgetting God's reason for Being and not indulging in whatever distracts one from God's reason for Being.
We are in Kingston because we did not become distracted, and the uninterruptible Gift of Love continues.
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Volume 8, Number 10 / March 1995
Conversations with Raj, copyright 1995 by Paul Norman Tuttle, is published monthly by the Northwest Foundation for “A Course in Miracles,” P.O. box 1490, Kingston, WA 98346-1490, a non-profit tax-exempt corporation. Phone: 360-297-4877, FAX: 360-297-7222.
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