Jul 11, 2004
Discussion

Good afternoon. And welcome to everyone who’s joining us on the Internet.

Before I give you the page numbers, I want to take a moment to backtrack a little. It’s very easy to become confused about the ego. And last week we read that you create an ego for yourself, and you create an ego for everyone else. Mm. So does that mean that when someone else behaves badly, it is as though you are behaving them badly because you are the one who created their ego? Are you responsible for their bad behavior? And if they are exhibiting bad behavior, are you responsible for correcting it? And if you don’t correct it, are you guilty for not correcting it? If you don’t pay attention to the obvious, if you get too much into your head, it becomes very sticky and complex and complicated. So let’s back way up.

We’re going to back up to the place where you said, “Father, I’d rather see things my way.” We’re going to back up to the place where you got your divorce from your Father, at that point where you said in so many words, “I want to give the definition to this and to that and to everything else. And I’m not going to pay any attention to the Meanings, You, Father, have embodied in everything that I’m now going to give a new definition to.” As I said, in that act of separation, you lost your clear experience of your Identity. You became an orphan, so to speak. And the way in which that was experienced was that as you gave definitions to everything, you realized, “Mm. Something is here giving these definitions. I must be someone in my own right. Well, who in the heck am I?”

And of course, you’re still asking that question, aren’t you? “Who am I?” As you began to formulate a definition of who you were, who were as the author of new definitions of everything, you began formulating an ego, a definition of yourself. Each of you as you did this, you might say, gave definitions to things in different orders from each other. Each of you moved away from the Conscious Experience of Creation as God Is Being It in unique ways. And as a result, the body of definitions and the meanings you were giving them and how they related to each other became a unique complex of mental constructs of ways of looking at things and what things meant relative to each other. And so your formulation of your ego, your sense of yourself, is very, very individual; different from each other.

Waking up, as I’ve said before, is a matter of retracing these steps that each of you took and undoing the definitions that you gave to everything, as well as the meanings, and as well as how all of these things that you gave definition to explain life in a larger context. The only ego that you have created is the one you developed as a result of your bill of divorcement from your Father and your becoming an orphan. This is the only ego you can be responsible for undoing. You can only let go of, undo, dissolve, that which you have created in your imagination.

But now, we read that you also create an ego for everyone else. This is where it’s helpful to be clear. Anyone else who is caught in an ego experience of being, is caught in their own set of self-definitions that they created as a result of their bill of divorcement from the Father. Just as, we’ll say, when you were born you brought your baggage with you into this life experience, each of you have brought your own well-formed baggage with you into this experience. And no other one in this experience is responsible for the suitcase and its contents that you have brought with you with tight fists.

Now, if you have forgotten that you’re connected to the Father, to God, if you have forgotten that you are Divine Being and you think you are the definition you have of yourself in which God and your Divinity has been entirely forgotten, you are going to make a spontaneous assumption that what you believe about yourself is true about everyone else. And so you will form a picture about them in your mind and a definition of them. And it will be absolutely colored by your own definition of yourself. In effect, you will in your mind create an ego for them which, mind you, has very little to do with the ego they’ve created for themselves. It’s purely your own creation, this ego that you see out there and that you talk about and that has characteristics that you’re so sure of.

And the fact is that you approach everyone on the basis of your definition of them, the picture you have of them. You approach them on that basis and you respond to what they say on the basis of how that fits in with the picture you have of them. And so you’re never responding to them. You’re always responding to them coupled with the picture you have of them. And you think you’re having communication. And actually, they’re doing the same thing with you. So you’re not even connecting with their egos. Do you see what I’m saying? You’re not connecting with Who They Divinely Are, but you’re also not connecting with them as an ego, the ego they see themselves to be. That’s how complete the separation is.

Now loving people, I’m going to put it that way, people with whom it’s easy to be, people with whom it’s easy to grow, and I’m saying this humanly speaking, are people who are willing to sidestep the picture they have because they want to get to know you. And this happens in most semi-permanent and permanent relationships. In other words, there is a desire to connect with the ego that’s there, rather than the ego that you have pictured about them. And you all experience this kind of attention as pleasing and satisfying and fulfilling. You learn how to be vulnerable with each other, you say, how to be real, how to be together in an undefended way. But mind you, this is still you as an ego attempting to lower the barriers between you and another ego and find some harmony, and some joy, some pleasure. But always at the bottom line you are on guard because consciously, or unconsciously, you know that your position as an orphan isn’t true, and therefore everything you’re doing at the bottom line isn’t trustworthy. And therefore, no one that you’re trying to get to know and be undefended with is trustworthy either at the bottom line. And so, no matter how close you get, you still remain on guard and there isn’t really unity.

There is a trap, you might say, there is a danger that you must watch for when you are studying the Course, especially the Course, because it is your natural habit to take whatever you bring into your experience and incorporate it into your present sense of yourself. And so you try to incorporate it into your present ego sense of yourself, your private separated sense of self, so that you might become a better private, separated sense of self. You don’t realize that the function of the Course is to entirely invalidate your separated sense of self, not improve it. You don’t realize that its function is to invalidate it so that you abandon it. Why? Or for what? In order to connect once again with the Divine One That You Are, with your right Mind, with your … with the Mind That You Are that claims no separation from Its Source.

The dangerous trap here is that it’s very easy to begin to think that because quote “you create an ego for another” unquote that everything another is doing is a reflection of something you’re doing. And this is not true. It’s no more true of you than it is of me. Your ignorant behavior, I am not responsible for. Your decision to give definitions to things by yourself, I am not responsible for. And I’ll tell you something else. Correcting you is not a responsibility of mine which I’ve failed at for at least 2,000 years. It is not my responsibility to straighten you out because I have a poor perception of you. I am not creating you having a poor perception of yourself.

But you know what? I am your Brother and that means you are my Brother. It’s not a one-way street. I am your Brother and you are my Brother or Sister. We’re Siblings. We’re Family. And so, I speak up if you’re willing to listen. And those are key words. I speak up if you are willing to listen. Because I want you to experience your Birthright as Family. Because I don’t want you to be suffering and hurting. I don’t do it because I’m responsible for your suffering. And I don’t do it because I’m responsible for seeing to it that you don’t suffer any longer. I did not make your decision to get a divorce from the Father. And I can’t undo that decision. You must. And you must do it because something in you wants to, not because someone has told you to, or told you to so well that you were so inspired that you couldn’t help yourself. So that you couldn’t help yourself.

Now, each one of you, like me, is responsible for abandoning the pictures you have created in your mind about each other. You do have the responsibility if you want to wake up, if you want to experience more fulfillment in your life. You must undo and abandon the convictions you have in your mind about your Brothers and Sisters, about your fellowman, so that they do not stand in the way of your opportunity to recognize What They Divinely Are. And also so that you have a better opportunity for communication, even at the level of egos.

I’ll tell you something. Kindness is kindness whether it’s expressed by One Who’s Awake or one who sees himself as an ego. You can’t alter what Love is. You can’t alter what kindness is. And so it is valuable to abandon the picture you have created about another that you hold between you and them like a sieve that only lets through that of them which matches the picture you have of them. It’s well to abandon that. And it’s well, humanly speaking, to practice kindness more, and to be loving more. But that isn’t the answer, that isn’t the ultimate answer.

The ultimate answer lies in everything that I’ve been saying since we started going through the Course, everything I’ve been saying about you. That you are absolutely Divine. That you aren’t behind the Point of Perfection, you’re not moving toward it; you are there right now. And that’s where you need to comprehend yourself from–at that Point.

I am reminding you that you are more than you thought you were so that it might really begin to register with you. Why? Because until it registers with you, you will not be able to conceive that it’s true about your Brother either, and you will not have the justification for being open to a fuller experience of the Divinity of your Brother. And you will not be able to recognize that your Brother’s flaws aren’t real; [that they are] not actual. They’re imagined and believed. And until you can see that, you will not … you will not be able to be an agent for change.

“Oh! Oh!” Now your ego grabs hold of that. “Oh! So I am supposed to be an agent for change. I am supposed to help my Brother. I am supposed to heal my Brother. I am responsible for my Brother. And I will be guilty if I don’t, because I’m supposed to be an agent for change.” No. You’re supposed to be, what I’m going to call, an agent for confirmation, an agent for confirmation of What Is True.

An agent for confirmation of What Is True is one who is no longer joining in confirming what isn’t true. An agent for confirmation is one who doesn’t confirm a Brother’s ego that that Brother thinks he has, and is, to him. You see? Because when you withdraw from participating in that kind of confirmation, you weaken the ego’s game. And you weaken the ego’s game, we’re going to say, socially with each other as you disregard it, because you are giving preference to What Is True about them.

Now I mentioned that I respond to you when you’re ready to listen. The fact is that when you’re not ready to listen, you don’t listen and so you don’t hear. It’s different in human relationships. And you must listen, you must learn to listen carefully. You must learn to observe carefully. And you must be willing not to abide in what you wish. I mean by that, don’t abide in a picture you have of how you would like things to be.

You must pay attention to recognize the signs of whether when you’re confronted by a call for help from a Brother that Brother is really wanting to change, or whether the call for help is the first move in a competitive game of “who’s best,” in a competitive game of struggle because they like the experience of struggle. Especially if that other one knows that you … it’s your nature to give the benefit of the doubt, that it’s your nature to want to see the best in them, that it’s your nature to not doubt them, that you are wanting to practice these things, because then they can just wind you around their finger and yank and make you uncomfortable, and ask for more … ask for more help so that they can resist it even more and increase the dynamic. And your spirituality must not be so airy-fairy that you don’t want to look squarely at the behavior and the motive behind this other one’s behavior.

To try to be an agent for change for someone who does not want to change is foolish. And you know what? Your ego, and perhaps the ego of the other, says, “Oh! Well, you’re not practicing what you preach. Oh! You’re not being very Christian because you should be willing to hang in here with me. I know at least that much about the way you see things and what’s important about you. And you’re not being consistent with your very own standards.” And they put the screw to you a little bit more and get you to feeling guilty and defensive, and then you really feel bad, if you’re not clear about what the ego is.

Each one of you has to retrace your very own steps that you took away from your clear Mind, your right Mind. I can’t do it for you. I don’t try to do it for you. I don’t imply that I will or can do it for you. I make it clear to you that this is something you have to do. And you have to do it for your own reasons. I don’t chase after you and say, “You need to change your mind.” And although that’s not very satisfying to those who think they know what a real helper is and how a real helper ought to be, I am telling you that from moment one with you, I am telling you that the power is in your hands and your hands alone. And you have the capacity to retrace your steps. And that’s empowering, because at all times I am acknowledging that the power lies with you to undo what you did.

And let me tell you something else. You always have the capacity to undo what you did because it’s something you did. You can’t be overwhelmed by a task that’s bigger than you’re capable of dealing with because you’re just undoing a step that you already took.

Now anyone who, for their own reasons, wants to remember What They Divinely Are and wants to wake up, I will speak to and I will companion with consciously. And we will, you might say, go Home together, or become more conscious of Reality right … together. But those who want to play games and tug-of-wars and battles in the name of waking up, I leave alone, because there’s nothing I can do until their own willingness comes into play. Okay. So far, so good.

Now what if this someone whom you’re willing to not engage with in a tug-of-war, or a battle, or a power play, won’t leave you alone? What if they cry “Help!” louder and louder and more and more obnoxiously. Not for the purpose of hearing the answer that would stop their suffering, but for the dynamic of conflict and the sense of power that they get from it and to which they are addicted.

Well I’ll tell you, here’s where you have to really be … really be unchristian. What do I mean by that? I mean it in this sense. Being a Christian is an idea. It’s a definition. It’s a way of behaving that’s been formulated through the development of ideas that aren’t any more real about you than any of the other definitions you’ve come up with. When someone aggressively says, “I am an ego. I am what I believe I am. And I insist upon your acknowledging me for the ego I am. I require you to join me in understanding me this way and accepting me this way. And I will not give you any rest until you do so.”, well, you’re going to have to find a way to say “No.” That’s what I mean by being unchristian. You have to find a way to bring that style of relationship to an end.

And you know what? It isn’t really that hard because there’s only one element that will keep it from being broken off, and that’s guilt. If you feel guilty in any way for saying “No,” it will feed the other’s fire. But when you come to that place in you where you are saying “No” without reservation in the slightest, when the “No” expresses a Singularity in you, the absence of guilt will be immediately recognized. And the one looking for conflict will have lost a mark. In other words, that one will recognize that you truly are no longer available to play the game. And that other one will not waste their time with you one more moment. They will go off looking for another mark; someone else who can be bamboozled.

That’s why I said that there’s a trap, a danger, in the way the ego would tend to use or tempt you to use the Course. Because if you can be fooled into thinking that you are actually yourself creating another’s bad behavior, and that you are creating an ego there where they are, it will mean that you’re responsible for the problem you see, or the problem that is being presented to you. And you will not be in a position to correct the dilemma because you will not place the responsibility where it is–in them–and call for them to correct their addiction to their ego sense of their self, their ego sense of themselves. And you will have taken the bait.

And it will be almost impossible to become free of it until perhaps you have arrived at a point where you are so miserable that you’re willing to be unchristian and say “No” for the sake of your sanity, without reservation and without guilt. Until you say “No” to the games, the games will not stop. And until the games stop, there will be no opportunity for real change, real correction to occur.

Now, until you withdraw, until you abandon, in your own mind the ego you have created for another by having developed definitions of them, until you do that and until you have arrived at a point where you’re willing to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, you’re an absolutely, utterly Divine Being that needs a clearer and fuller experience of his Divinity, you will not be in a position to recognize that that Divinity is there in your Brother as well, in spite of his or her bad behavior. And you therefore will not understand that that one has the capacity in his or her own right, just as you do, to retrace his or her steps, which is what is called for, which is the only thing that will constitute correction. And until that happens in you, you’re liable, you’re vulnerable, to being sucked into the games of manipulation. And you’re unable to be in any way an agent for change.

Does any of this not make sense? I’m asking. Are you making your Brother behave badly? At the bottom line, no. Are you aggravating his bad behavior? All the time. And the reason you’re aggravating his bad behavior is because you’re looking from an ego frame of reference and you are seeing an ego out there, and you are not therefore responding to him, whether it’s his actual ego, if I may use those words, or to the Divine One That He Really Is. And so your perceptions of him cause you to behave in a way that doesn’t involve real communication, and will therefore always misrepresent you and misrepresent them and confound the dilemma even further. Does that make sense?

But, saying “No” to the game seems to meet with the same response as aggravating the bad behavior, because when you say “No,” you’re withdrawing from the game. You’re not available for the game any longer. You’re not in the game any longer. The other one who is into game playing says, “Foul! Foul! Foul play! You’re not playing by the rules! You are bad. You are guilty of something.” When that happens, you have to understand that your behavior, that this behavior, is not the behavior that aggravates and increases the ego sense of your Brother. Saying “No” is a disengagement from the game and it constitutes an act on your part that lessens the weakening effect that joining with a Brother in an ego game magnifies. And you must say “No” and disengage and remain disengaged, knowing that whatever wailing and crying and foul play is hurled at you, that nevertheless the act you have engaged in is the only sane thing you can do and is truly the only thing that will contribute anything to that other’s opportunity to wake up. Is there anything unclear about that?

Now, if you’re not responsible for your Brother, let me ask you this. Are you responsible to him? Do you have any responsibility to your Brother? Yes, you do. You have the responsibility not to weaken him. You have the responsibility not to behave in a way that nurtures increasing ignorance. You have a responsibility, you might say, to provide an environment in which he or she feels safe enough to let down his or her defenses and let something new in. From where? From you? No. From that Source that that one got a divorce from.

I am an agent for change. And I am a good agent for change to the degree that I make you feel comfortable enough to let go of control and explore the Experience of Peace and to dare to let yourself be guided by the Father, That Which Is Being You. But that’s all I can do is to provide a sense, and perhaps an experience, of enough safety and security in your mind that you’re willing to experiment with abandoning the ways in which you control so as to feel safe. So that you might have the opportunity to have the experience of safety that is not the result of what you’ve done. So that you might find that safety is the State of Being itself, just plain old Being, which means that nothing that you do has to be done out of defense or for self-protection.

All the ego is, is the particular ideas, concepts, and interpretations you have gathered together and used as the definition of you in the absence of your clear and direct experience of your Identity which is God-derived. In other words, it is what you experience when you are ignoring God.

This past week Susan’s guidance shared the clarity with her that the Holy Spirit is God Being You, and the ego is you being god. God Being You is not you being anything. God being you, God initiating you, God authorizing your existence, God being your existence is what you have to yield to. Being out of control is what is needed in order to have the experience of the fullness of what it means that God Is Being You, so that the Wholeness of God is your Conscious Experience Of Being, and All of Creation that God Is Being is your Conscious Experience of Being. So that in the absence of conflict of any kind, you feel and experience the Joy, the Harmony, the Fulfillment of no lack anywhere in you, in your Conscious Experience.

When you attend college, there are some courses that you take that have prerequisites, which means there’s another course or two that have to be taken first before you can take this course. There are certain prerequisites that one must fulfill in order to get help. There’s actually only one prerequisite, and that prerequisite is that you have to be willing to receive it. Simple. If the asking for help has any other purpose, if there is any other goal attached to the request for help, don’t take the bait. And the moment you find out that there is some other motive behind the request for help, the call for help, disengage from the dynamic of the helping relationship. Be wise. Be clear. And don’t let guilt creep in to the embodiment of your clarity, the actions that result from your clarity, when you say “No” and mean it. Nothing will promote the end of illusion faster than withdrawal from participating in it. Nothing will dispel illusion faster than withdrawal from participating in it.

Now I hope that what we’ve been reading in the Course has been made more relevant, practically speaking, in your lives, so that you know what is your responsibility and what is not, what can be done and what can’t be done. So that you don’t try to do what’s impossible, and then feel guilty if you’re not able to accomplish it.

There are those who will use your spirituality, your devotion to the Truth, for their own unscrupulous purposes so as to make you uncomfortable. Actually they’ll use anything available to them that you offer for their unscrupulous purposes, whether it is your spiritual values or your love of Truth, or whether it’s just your simple gullibility. And you must learn to recognize when this is happening and disengage.

Don’t be so airy-fairy that you think that the idea that there’s someone who will use the good about you for their unscrupulous reasons, don’t believe that that thought creates it out there and that you’re guilty of that creation. And also don’t think that to be truly spiritual you must not see anything like that in your Brother or Sister. Because your Brothers and Sisters to one degree or another are not awake, and everything they do will be self-serving to their present sense of themselves.

And you must understand that so that you are grounded and not able to be fooled, and not be spiritually gullible, so that you can address the issue which really needs to be addressed. And the issue that needs to be addressed when another, for unscrupulous reasons, is asking for help is to provide “No” as a response and be unavailable. Because until their game playing has become so unfulfilling to them that they’re willing to really look for a new way to be, there is no purpose whatsoever in your engaging with them in response to a call for help, because the call for help is a ploy, is not what it appears to be. You must be able to be grounded enough to recognize that, and sane enough to do what needs to be done. Until no one is willing to play that game with that person, they will not seek for something new to do with their time and their mind. When they are truly looking for something new to do with their time and their mind, then you respond. I can’t be any more black-and-white, simple, straightforward, and helpful on this issue than that.

I love you all. And I look forward to being with you next week. And I look forward to all of you being able to be perhaps more sober this week, unafraid to look at things straight. If you do, there will be more peace and less of an experience of vulnerability, which you all deserve. Everyone deserves it.

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