Feb 13, 2003
Good Evening. Before we begin, I just want to remind all of you of something. It’s easy to forget when times seem to be stressful, or situations on the home front seem to be stressful, and you get up in the morning and you are instantly on guard, or prepared for what may come, you’re inclined, because of the spiritual path you’re on, to do your best to look at everything with a balanced eye and to cope with everything to the best of your ability, forgetting that any anxiety you’re feeling is a choice. And what will help you to remember that it’s a choice rather than a given circumstance is that if you will choose to become still and meditate, you will find yourself moving into a Place of Peace. And having moved into the Place of Peace, you say, “Wow! I forgot that my peace is independent of any situation or circumstance.” It’s so easy to forget it because circumstances seem to grab your attention before you think to choose for your peace.
Once having chosen for your peace, you are in a position to look at the circumstances with innocent eyes, with an ability to respond to the circumstances with a “Yes” or a “No” from a centered place of real balance. And at this time, it’s essential to remember this, so that you make the choice for your peace before you look at and attempt to deal with the situations or circumstances.
I just wanted to remind you of that. It is so easy to access your peace, but it’s easier to forget to.
So we access our peace. We’re in this centered place and we’re looking at this problem that concerns us, from this Place of Peace are there times when war is justified or even necessary?1
There are times when the word “No” must be used and embodied, used and actualized, used and expressed into manifestation. It doesn’t become a war unless somebody objects to the assertion of the meaning of the word “No.”
When we wake up and we choose for our peace, at what point does, I’m going to say the past, prior to asking for our peace, prior to waking up, the circumstances of “No” being said, the circumstances of being in relationship during a difficult time, will the claiming of peace, choosing for peace change the circumstances as we had left them? Meaning that someone’s not understanding the word “No,” or someone … there is dispute. What is the change from the state of peace that changes the circumstance as it was left prior to claiming your peace the night before, the day before, the months before?
So we wake up, we choose for peace, but the circumstances may not have changed, but the way we see it may have changed. Could you clarify what will be different? If I’m being clear.
I’m going to ask you to try to rephrase the question. It is confusing to Paul and it, the confusion, has his attention.
Making it very simple. We go to bed in either … in some level of dispute, whether it’s internationally, or in conflict with self, or with relationship one-on-one. We wake up in the morning, maybe with chatter of and the fear of waking up to this same difficult situation. As you’ve said, we choose then for peace, and walk into the circumstance again. What has changed? What will be different? Or is it just the way we see it? Will we have changed our minds? Will we …
Well, simply, the thing that will have changed from the night before is that where the night before, you were not in your peace, now in the morning after having arisen, you have chosen for your peace and you are in it. That’s the fundamental change. Now comes “the work,” if you will, because in your peace you are primed for experiencing balance in your perspective. What causes fear is the busyness of your imagination coupled with your thinking. In the silence of peace, your imagination and your thinking are not introducing distraction and confusion.
In the silence of your peace, your capacity to know what needs to be known is increased. And, literally, you are able to see what is called for, which means what you are called upon to be in the circumstance. If you are called to say “No,” if you are called to withdraw support for unintelligent, unloving, unprincipled, unkind behavior, then you must get off the fence and cast your vote. Embody your part to play. When you do that, it will call for agreement, but it may get disagreement. If it gets disagreement, you cannot afford to let this have any effect on the vote you have cast. You cannot let it dissuade you from standing on the side of humanity as opposed to inhumanity—globally, nationally, or in your one-on-one relationships.
Depending upon the intensity of the disagreement you receive, certain responses will be appropriate. If the disagreement is violent, if the disagreement constitutes an intent to harm, then your saying “No” must be firm enough, must be felt by you strongly enough from the tips of your toes to let it be an absolute “No” that does not allow for negotiation, but calls for obedience. That does not call for discussion but requires obedience, because the harmful behavior cannot be justified any further. It cannot be allowed any further. The power of “No” is what we’re talking about here.
If you say “No” and it doesn’t come from the tips of your toes, if you are not feeling it fully, if commitment to it, if identification with it is not total, the egos of those around you will recognize it and know that you are open for negotiation, and they will not respect the “No” and but will engage you in negotiation while continuing to behave inappropriately. You must learn to say “No” and “Yes” with your Whole Being. Anything less and you are playing a game. And those you say “Yes” or “No” to weakly (w-e-a-k-l-y) will know that you have opened the door for argument, negotiation, discussion, anything but resolve because your “Yes” and your “No” didn’t call for resolve.
You all get yourselves into ongoing, strenuous, negotiative—if that is a word—relationships by being neither hot nor cold, being neither “Yes” or “No.”
And you know what? Most of you find that to be an interesting and vigorous form of existing, as though the vigor of the negotiation is what constitutes the fullness of life, as though you’re really doing something, when all along you’re avoiding doing something, and ultimately suffering the results of being neither hot nor cold.
It is dangerous to your experience of Divine Life, of Life full of the Integrity of God, when you use your spirituality as a way of doing nothing. It is very dangerous to say, “Oh, it’s all a perception anyway. Therefore, there’s no reason for me to make any requirement on my Brother or my Sister to be humane, to be principled, to be loving, because it’s all a matter of perception.”
You know what? The Course is a course in mind-training. What do you think mind-training is? It’s learning to use discipline with and in your mind. Using discipline means you say “No” and you say “Yes” to certain things. And I’ve made it clear that without that discipline, you are unavailable to me to help in the process of awakening.
Discipline: Learning when to say “Yes” and when to say “No.” Learning what to say “Yes” to and what to say “No” to.
If you have a horse that has been trained, or a dog like a seeing-eye dog that has been trained, these animals have learned how to not do what is irrelevant to their function. And so, in an emergency the guide dog doesn’t go wild in the excitement of the commotion. It says “No” to its inclination to react and says “Yes” to giving its full attention to its owner to see that its owner is gotten out of the situation quickly and safely.
Do not let irrational metaphysical or spiritual logic cause you to become lukewarm and immobilize you when action is called for. How foolish you will feel if after the situation that called for your clarity is over, you discover that if you hadn’t moved into this safety zone of being non-committal, you participated in a result that could have been avoided—a negative result. Now if you are going to have to let your mind be trained to distinguish between essential and non-essential things in order to wake up, then grasp the transfer value of it so that you do not remain mute, immobile, immobilized and ineffective, where the call had been for you to be hot or cold, to be the Presence of God that says “No” to that which is unlike God and to say “Yes” to that which supports fundamental quality of life, fundamental humanity, fundamental—I’ll use the catch phrase—human rights, and honors them enough to bring them into fuller view.
If your mind is going to need to be trained, the minds of others are going to need to be trained. And someone is going to have to have enough guts to provide the training, which means standing in the face of objection to your “No” and saying “Yes” and here is why … “Yes” and the reason is … and continuing to provide the clarifying and transformational perspective as I do over and over and over again until the one objecting to it grasps it, until the light bulb goes on.
But let’s not be spiritually … no, let us not be spiritual imbeciles and not restrain the willful expression of hate and harm by anyone, whether it’s an abusive husband, or an abusive wife, or an abusive child, or an abusive parent, or an abusive head of state. You say “No” and obedience must come into play to the extent that acts of hate, acts of harm, and the development of better and better ways to harm others is obediently stopped without negotiation, discussion, or argument.
There is no intelligence and there is no Love in allowing harm to be engaged in. If the individual is not in a frame of mind to learn something new and insists on continuing to act hatefully, you stop the actions in whatever way works. Once you have their attention and they are distracted from engaging in acts of harm, reason with them, reason with them, reason with them from your peace and re-educate. Re-educate by presenting intelligence in such a wonderfully desirable way that it’s hard to object to.
Now, you might say, “Well, that would mean I’m acting as their friend.” Yes, that’s true. You act as their friend by forcibly stopping acts of harm. In other words, going completely against their will, which would make you seem not to be a friend because you’re not considering all the reasons and justifications they’re using to back up their behavior.
But, once having stopped it, you do not treat them as though they are hateful; you treat them as though they are one who is capable of recognizing the value of humaneness, and you educate them over, and over, and over, and over again; not as a form of brainwashing, but as an act of Love coming from Love, so that the light bulbs can come on in their mind and they finally say, “Oh. I see. I’m sorry. And I won’t ever do it again.” And transformation occurs because the full spectrum of Love has been provided—the “No” and the “Yes.”
But, again, don’t be immobilized into a lukewarm space of noncommittal un-involvement. Because you are here for a reason. It’s to glorify God which means to embody God. Not just sort of list in the bliss of wonderful thoughts that never get brought out into manifestation and embodied in the world with such love by you, the one embodying it, that others cannot help to find it of interest and express their curiosity, and want to know more about it, and thereby be changed by it.
Does that answer your question?
Yes, and if I may, at what point does the perceived attack become an issue of … when I feel attacked, it is my issue, but when I need to take a stand against an attack or an aggression or a type of behavior, at what point will I know that it is not an illusion—it is an attack to which I must say “No”?
The moment you get into your peace. The next morning when you get up and you make the choice for your peace, you will know that it’s not an attack. It’s a call for Love awkwardly and inappropriately embodied. You will recognize that the inappropriate and awkward embodiment of Love being called for needs to be contained, but not because it’s attack, but because that’s what Love does when an inappropriate call for Love is sent out.
So the inappropriate call for Love, if not seen clearly …
By me, or one who is perceiving it …
As a call for Love.
As a call for Love, will perceive it as an attack.
That is correct.
And that is why attacks are our own issues because we’re not able to see it as a call for Love.
And the reason you cannot see it as a call for Love is because you are not in your peace, and when you are not in your peace, you yourself are in an ongoing state of defense. And so you will see behavior as an attack.
Yes, even good behavior, apparently good behavior, will be seen as something to be suspicious of. What’s behind their niceness? What are they really wanting? There is a lack of trust about friendly behavior as well.
When we are not in our peace.
That is correct. Which is all the time. You were not here last week, but you are always in fear until you turn back to the Altar and give your commitment there, because the moment you have chosen not to see with the Father, and you have chosen to see on your own, you are inevitably and unalterably and unequivocally in a state of fear, and therefore, a constant readiness for defense.
You are welcome.
I’m wondering about illness. I just found out that a very close friend is also undergoing cancer problems. It seems to me a lot of what we’re seeing relates to illness.
Then this, in my mind, to say “No” to this, “You are an idea of God. You are absolutely perfect, and this is a call for Love, not fear.”
That is correct.
Because I know my friend would like to have been here tonight. This is her second bout with cancer, so, so scary. Thank you.
It is scary until you are able to feel your peace so that the true perspective may be available to you felt to the tips of your toes, so that you might see the absurdity of the suggestion that you can be subject to something called cancer that somehow is real and can pose a real threat. In your peace and with the Father’s Perspective, you will see that it is just a suggestion; the same sort as any hypnotist who says, “You have an apple stuck to your nose.”
It is a suggestion. And when it is seen as a suggestion, it then becomes easy to say “No” to your inclination to react in fear and abandon your peace and your capacity to be the Presence of Love that dissolves any tiny bit of manifestation that suggests that the threat is real.
You see, the healing doesn’t come, and the resolution in a conflict with another doesn’t come until the meaning of the word “No” is embodied fully. Not as a defense, but as a realization that the seeming substance of the harmful or hateful behavior is unreal, and doesn’t require strength, but does require you to be unequivocally pure in your expression of the meaning of “No” so that there are no weak spots for the ego to engage.
When you say “No” and mean it from the tips of your toes, it doesn’t come out as an act of aggression. In other words, it doesn’t come out as an act of opposition. It just comes out, even when spoken softly and with peace, as an undeniable declaration of total inner unity, even humanly speaking.
But you know what? When you encounter someone who says “No” with complete integrity, you know that you’re in touch with someone who’s in touch with the universe. You know that you’re in touch with someone who’s grounded in something greater than some personal strength.
So the “No” you say from your peace is not a counter-attack. This is important to understand. It’s an expression of pure integrity that is undeniable.
May I add a clarification? When a call for Love is perceived, I can’t see …
I say that because …
… it is attack that is perceived.
The Truth you can recognize.
When would I be saying “No” or “Yes” to the call for Love as opposed to our war situation which is, “No, you can’t do these things or we will enforce our ‘No’”?
Taking it from the global or the international to the individual, one-on-one, what would you be saying “No” to if it is recognized as a call for Love? I’m having trouble …
The moment you recognize it as a call for Love, you will respond.
But as a “Yes” or “No.”
You will respond with what addresses the need and sometimes it will be a “No.”
No, I will not participate in a game of … I will not engage in a pissing contest. I will not engage in argument. I will not engage in negotiating what degree of hurt is going to be acceptable. I will not negotiate whether I deserve to be hurt. I will not participate, you see, but here’s what I will do.
If you will cease to act in hateful or harmful ways, I will sit down with you, and we can discuss without argument how to be together, whether we want to be together, in a friendly manner.
You are welcome.
Swear not by the mountain. Swear not by the temple. Swear not by the Course in Miracles. Let your yays be yays, and your nays be nays. Cut the crap. Put your ass on the line. The discipline and the commitment bring me to this Place of Peace, and then my “Yes” and my “No” is the Atonement.
Exactly. Next week we will switch places. [audience laughter]
You know, you’re just so good at that, lovingly expressing it so that it invites you in. You’re just really good at that.
And you are all being invited to do the same thing. Circumstances make the invitation a little more pointed. [slight audience laughter] Circumstances in the world are calling for you to be the Presence of Love; not in nice flowery thoughts, but in practical expression, practical embodiment. There is NO healing without the world being transformed whether you want to call the world an illusion or not.
Transformation and healing is NOT a head trip. Transformation and healing is going to be evidenced in the ever-improving ways you relate with your Brother, and in the embodiment of your intent to leave no stone unturned in the process of uncovering joy in existing and in existing with each other, and where all of you are agents, you might say, for the contribution of the uncovering of the Kingdom of Heaven right where you thought “the world” was.
I’ve said before, and it’s important to know, until you can say “No,” you can’t really say “Yes.” Until you find your authority to say “No,” your “Yes” means nothing. When you can’t say “No,” you become the subject of terrorism, the subject of dictatorship, because all you’re allowed to do is to say “Yes.” And so your “Yes” makes you a mealy-mouthed wimp—a nothing. It causes you to behave as though you are not the Presence of God embodied, because you’re not glorifying God. You are covering up the fact that you exist for a reason, a divine reason, an utterly valuable reason, a reason that reeks with dignity, a reason that has as its purpose the glorification of all that is ultimately meaningful and good.
Until you can say “No,” your “Yes” is meaningless because there’s no integrity to it. And there’s no integrity to it because you don’t feel your very own Presence. One who can only say “Yes” is never expressing himself or herself, but is always expressing the will of the one who gave you the direction or the order to which you said “Yes.” Do you get that? Not being able to say “No” is a sure way to keep yourself in the dream, and it will constitute an absolute block to waking up, because it means that you haven’t arrived at a point of using any self-discipline yet.
Of course, one who doesn’t have a right to say “No” obviously doesn’t have enough substance to bring about a decisiveness, or enough decisiveness, to make a commitment to “Yes” or “No.” When you don’t know you have the right to say “No,” and you never use the word and you never mean the word, you are confirming, confirming, confirming, confirming the dream.
So I say it’s time to get some guts. And I say it’s time to get some guts to announce to you that you have guts, that you have what it takes to become decisive in determining the difference between Truth and what is untrue, between a call for Love and what is not a call for Love.
Again it is very dangerous to say, “It’s all a matter of opinion, or it’s all a matter of perception.”
Of course, if you’re going to engage your guts and become decisive, you’re obviously going to have gotten off a fence that you were on, and you’re going to be involved. You’re going to let your voice be heard. Not so that you can express power, but so that in doing it you disengage from the very elements that keep the dream going, that keep everyone sleeping. Sleeping is an indecisive place, isn’t it? You don’t accomplish anything in your sleep. You don’t get anything done. Nothing becomes embodied. Sleeping is being zoned out.
A Course in Miracles is not about being zoned out. Waking up is not about being zoned out. It’s about being more conscious. Conscious of more than your limited ego perceptions have been including. More than your habit of relying on memory and your past concepts have allowed you to experience. So, it’s time to put your shoulder to the wheel, get your ass in gear. It’s time to stop playing metaphysical ego games, or spiritual ego games, and get down to the business of your connection with the Father. Why? So that you can do the scary thing of discovering What Is Real and What Is True so that you might stand behind it with every fiber of your being and embody it so that it shows up in the world.
Now, this can be a most enjoyable experience. It can be done at any time. And the enjoyableness of the expansiveness will be yours. But you’re at a point where there’s a very strong call for Love going on in the world. It looks like an expression of hate that needs to be dealt with, and so you find yourself uncomfortable. Well, I will happily use this situation as an opportunity to light a fire under your derrières so that you might go ahead and do this enjoyable thing. I’m about finished talking about this subject and so I want to bring in the fact that what we’re talking about is supposed to be an enjoyable thing. But, you have a current stress going on in the world that is a good enough reason for giving the focus and the discipline to your mind, so that you do get off the fence and you do find out What Is True, and you do dare to embody it. There’s a need for it to be embodied, but remember what I’m inviting you to engage in is simply what has been your function all along. And if the stressful situation weren’t here, we would be talking about it as though it were a totally enjoyable thing.
So, remember, using discipline, training your mind so that you can distinguish between Truth and illusion, so that you can withdraw your support from illusion and lend yourself fully and committedly to What Is The Truth so that you are not in the limbo of indecision and confusion, or the apparent safety of non-commitment. You lay the groundwork for the very transformation that you’re all looking for and that you all find encouragement to believe in when you study the Course.
The Course is all about embodying God. Aren’t you glad you have a wonderful nudge in your experience?
I don’t know if it’s appropriate right now so I’m asking if it is or not, to share a story that keeps coming to me about a time we were traveling and there was a call to say “No” suddenly. So I’m asking Raj if it’s appropriate to share it. It’s about the night we were on our way traveling and we had gotten off the ferry at midnight in Seattle.
It just kept repeating itself in my mind tonight. And it was such a powerful moment and it was certainly unpremeditated. We had left late and we were going down to the airport to stay overnight, and we had caught maybe the midnight ferry into Seattle. And as we got off the ferry, one of us, whoever was driving, had pulled onto the sidewalk to look both ways before we got onto the main road, and as we turned to the left, there had suddenly come a car that had jumped the middle divider and had landed on the sidewalk and was traveling toward our door at about 40 mph, and all of a sudden there was nothing to do. We were like frozen in the moment and suddenly this welled up in me, the windows were up, no one could hear us, but what welled up in me all of sudden was a “NO!” And the moment that that came out, the car jumped off the sidewalk and went … well, it didn’t exactly go straight. It went way over in the other direction, but it altered its course immediately although there was no physical contact or evidence that could have possibly changed the situation. But it was a sudden inner conviction that this was not to be and it did alter it in a split second.
So that was one of the miracles that I’ve encountered when you just know that you have to say “No.”
Yes. The “No” was not an expression of fear like “Oh, no!” It was a declaration of fact. That’s the simplest way it can be put. And when you say “No” from your peace, from the tips of your toes, you are stating a fact, not a topic for negotiation.
When such decisiveness is stated as a fact and not a topic for negotiation, it sounds like it could divide an awful lot of houses where two people are saying “No” to different things and each coming from their integrity. My son and I disagree about this current stressful situation. We each feel strongly and have gotten off the fence to say “No,” but we disagree as to which is the out-of-control and harmful government.
I understand. Mind you, we’re not talking about coming from personal integrity. We’re not talking about clear expressions of each one’s best-expressed ego-orientation. What I’m talking about is coming from your peace and giving expression to the Truth that you find revealed to you there.
So the “No” you are speaking of would change both governments?
The “No” I am speaking of is not actually being addressed to governments. The “No” you will find yourself expressing is an unwillingness, an absolute unwillingness to join in substantiating the illusion.
The “No” isn’t against governments. The “No” isn’t against individuals. The “No” is a statement of refusal to participate and support and thereby substantiate inhumanity, anything less than love, which transforms human relationships and therefore constitutes a blessing for all concerned.
But it doesn’t seem that simple from this perspective because, within our view from the world, the harm and the harmfulness can be done by Saddam Hussein and what he’s doing to his people, and how their human rights are being oppressed, if we believe what our media and government leaders tell us. Some would say that is the harm that needs to be stopped. And others will say, “Well, no. The harm is when we send in our airplanes to bomb those people there living in Iraq. That’s where the harm is.”
And now maybe there’s a path in between those two that works out, but it isn’t looking that way in the world situation. It’s almost like we’re picking between which is the greater harm, or the lesser harm.
There are times when that is the case in the human experience.
Well, that was my original question. Thank you.
You are welcome.
If a seriously disturbed man is holding a family hostage at gunpoint and threatening harm to them, and very likely to harm them because he is so upset, it is appropriate to bring the threat of harm to a stop immediately. If you have a sharpshooter who can disable the man without killing him, you would use the sharpshooter. If you do not have a sharpshooter, but someone that has a clear shot that’s likely to kill the man, you use that man, that man’s gun and his capability. But you do what is necessary to bring the state of harm to an abrupt end. If your police force had an empath who could connect with the deranged fellow with the gun and cause him to forget to want to harm, then you would use that person and no harm would come to anyone.
I think that’s a TV show.
I think I’ve lost my perspective.
My point is this: You do whatever works and you do it with the least amount of harm possible, but you don’t neglect to act and bring the state of harm to a halt.
So make the hard decisions.
Get off the fence. Cast your vote. Not as an ego, not expressing your best opinion, but after having become still, after having turned toward the Altar, after having heard the clearest Word of God you can hear and that you can feel, and then embodying it, embodying it, embodying it.
If a person steps out in the street and a truck is bearing down on them that they don’t see, and you’re standing right on the curb, do you stand there and say, “Oh. Wait a minute now. This is all an illusion. The truck is Spirit. The man is Spirit. No harm can come to him.”? Or do you run out and grab him or push him and yourself out of the path of the oncoming truck, and do what will cause no harm to occur?
If touching a hot iron to your arm will burn you, you don’t do it. You don’t do it until you have arrived at a point in your spiritual growth where touching it to you arm will not hurt you. So in the process of your being ever more perfect in your being the transformational Presence of Love, you always remain practical. And you do not neglect from acting practically, while at the same time you hold yourself open for the increasing transformation of your mind that allows you to be practical with less and less harm, if I may put it that way, being involved in the process.
I’ve talked about this before but I will finish up tonight by pointing out that there has to be a balance between radical idealism and practical realism. And you do not become so radically ideal that you abandon being practically real. You explore and open yourself up expansively into radical idealism while requiring that radical idealism to find expression in a new and ever-improving practical realism. And nothing, nothing will inhibit waking up more than thinking you can move into radical idealism and that’s all there is to it, because you will think you are getting somewhere when you’re getting nowhere. And you will not be a transformational agent for change in the world because you won’t be engaging in the act— that’s the key word “act”—of Love which constitutes the Atonement. The Atonement is not a thought of Love. It’s an act of Love. Nothing like the human experience to bring the Truth to life and to make a difficult book easier to understand.
Well, no one can say we indulged in airy-fairy talk tonight. And yet all of it has been absolutely relevant to the Course and the undisturbable connection between God and His Creation which at the moment you’re calling just the world and the universe and a bunch of egos running around like chickens with their head cut off.
I love you all, but I’ll say “No” to you. And you can Love every Brother on this planet, but you’ve got to be able to say “No.” And avoiding saying “No” will just keep the distress going longer. Enough said. Okay.
Students commenting or asking a question. ↩︎