May 6, 2006
T11.8 Reality and Redemption
Good evening. And welcome to everyone who’s joining us on the Internet.
I am—as I think you’re all well aware—making a point of bringing what we find in the Course into and relative to everyone’s daily experience; getting it out of the realm of theory and platitudes and wonderful, blissful thoughts. We talked last week about the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness. And so we’re going to consider self-righteousness a little bit further tonight.
Usually when you think of self-righteousness or a self-righteous person, you think of someone with their nose stuck up in the air, haughty, self-assured, behaving as though he or she is superior to everyone else, and letting everyone else know. It is arrogance personified. It is the orphan attempting to behave as though he or she is not an orphan, with gusto.
But there’s another kind of self-righteousness. And I will say, first of all, that maybe none of you walk around with your nose up in the air all the time, but there are many moments when your nose suddenly comes to attention and struts itself. And so you can relate to what I’m talking about. There’s another kind of self-righteousness that you might not associate with the word “self-righteous” and it’s depression.
Depression doesn’t seem to be arrogant. It doesn’t parade itself like the first examples. It feels like a lack of energy. And buoyant or active or aggressive actions don’t come forth from you when you’re feeling depressed. Sometimes you don’t even identify it as depression. You just say, “I’m having a down day,” and you don’t give it a name. Or you’re going through your day and suddenly it’s like all the wind goes out of your sails and something just came over you; the blues hit you. And you just sort of flow with it without identifying it. But the fact is that it is depression. And also the fact is that it is self-righteousness in action. Just be with that for a minute.
You are never blue for no reason. You’re never depressed for no reason. In one way or another, you are depressed because things aren’t working out the way you want them to work out and you are pissed. Always accompanying depression is anger. Always.
Now you can be depressed, or you can become depressed, if you’ve been trying to get touch with your Guide and you haven’t been able to. You can be sorry, you can be sad, you can be depressed, because something that I’ve been telling you, you need to do and that all of you have the capacity to do, you aren’t finding the truth of. You aren’t having the experience. And you are frustrated. Frustration is a lesser form of anger, a more delicate form of anger, but it is anger nevertheless.
And when you become depressed, what happens? Well, because depression/anger is a form of defense, you become more private, don’t you? You are willing to extend almost nothing to anyone or anything. “Well, I’m feeling so blue I just don’t have the gumption to extend. Nothing seems worth it.” And there you are embodying pure orphanhood. What you don’t see is that this is arrogance also, because you are aggressively defensive by being ultra-passive, by not being available to extend, by not being available to participate.
You make a statement of privacy that everyone can feel. And so a statement has been made. An act has been expressed. In what way is it self-righteous? It is self-righteous because it is perhaps one of the purest forms of separation, not just from God, but from your world and from your fellowman. It is an almost pure act of independence. Again, it is almost a pure act of independence.
What happens when you’re depressed? Nothing looks good; not even a tree or a bird singing registers with you and makes your heart sing. You might even want the bird to shut up. The sun shining depresses you further, because you can’t relate to it. Someone calls on the phone. “Oh, I don’t want to talk to anybody right now. I’m not going to let them disturb my misery. I refuse to be distracted from my devotion to my suffering.” You see? You see how private, how independent it is? And how aggressive it is, because it takes every single stimulus from your world and rejects it; flat out rejects it? And it’s not sloppy about the manner in which it rejects it; it rejects it all. That is far from passive.
When you are depressed, there is something that goes out of the window in you, and that something is generosity. There is not only an unwillingness to be generous, the word doesn’t even come to your mind. You are not willing to be generous in the sense of extending the benefit of the doubt to a Brother or Sister. You’re not willing to be generous and to acknowledge what a beautiful day it is. You are not willing to be generous enough to appreciate the generosity of a Brother or a Sister. In fact, if while you’re in this frame of mind somebody close to you is busy being magnanimously generous, it depresses you even more. It actually angers you more, because the contrast is sitting there staring you in the face, emphasizing the awfulness of where you are.
Now, I’m not going to ask you to answer this question out loud, but I want you to think for a moment and think of one word that epitomizes the word “generous,” other than the word “generous.” I will say I want you to think of a word that maximally, totally epitomizes the meaning of the word “generous.” It’s probably a word you’ve never thought to associate with the word “generous.” [pause] Okay, the word is “God.”
What do you think Creation is? An act of generosity. An extension of what God is, infinitely, without reservation. An act of generosity that is eternal, and asks for nothing in return, because the making of the extension is the fullness of the fulfillment of Being. Creation is generosity embodied. “God being” is generosity moving. So now let’s bring it home. If God is generosity moving and if you are the expression of God, then the fulfillment of your Being is found in your generosity.
For … I was going to say months. For years we’ve been reading this book, and the word “extension” comes up, like I will extend it to you, I will extend it to you, extension, extension. You know what? You can pass a glass of water to somebody and extend a thirst-quencher to them without being generous.
Ah, but you’re with someone and you notice them clearing their throat or behaving in a manner that indicates that perhaps a glass of water would be helpful. Generosity has already been expressed, because you’ve been willing to pay attention to them and notice the need, before you even walk to the tap and fill a glass of water and bring it to them. You have engaged in the act of caring. That’s a generous act. And then you’ve noticed a need and then you’ve said, “Would you like a glass of water?” as you get up to go get one and bring one. Generosity has occurred because Love has been embodied in the caring that caused you to notice the need before they even asked.
On the other hand, if you haven’t noticed and they do ask for a glass of water, you can get it for them and give it to them generously. Or you can think, “Can’t he see that I’m busy doing something right now? He could get it himself. But I’ll go get it.” And you get it for him and there’s nothing generous about any of it.
Generosity embodies Love. Generosity involves getting outside of your self. Generosity means getting out of self-righteousness.
You see, self-righteous says, “He can get it himself. Can’t he see he’s disturbing me. Important me doing important things, and him having an unimportant need that he could take care of himself.” You see? Well, there’s depression for you. Whether it’s recognized or not, there’s depression and self-righteousness.
Now as you think back over the past weeks and months, we have been talking about shifting your attention outside of your present sense of yourself; the present boundaries that you think identify you. We’ve talked about stepping outside, reaching beyond those boundaries, and inviting something else in. This is the beginning of generosity, because it’s the willingness to abandon your privacy, your autonomy. It expresses your willingness to be inclusive. And in the willingness to be inclusive, you are extending an invitation to be joined by something else. And that extension is an act of generosity. It is a generous, rather than a selfish, thing to do.
And so I want you to give some attention this week to the word “generous.” And now when you go to bed at night, instead of asking whether virtue has gone out from you, I want you to ask, “Has generosity characterized my day? Have I engaged in being truly generous? Have I let someone else be on my mind? Have I extended care, caring? And have I responded when a need was recognized?”
Sounds like work, huh? It’s going to require more attention than you’re used to giving, because it’s so easy just to be private and sort of go through your day on automatic with appropriate responses that don’t really require you to come out of your privacy; certainly not to the degree where when you are present with others, you are actively engaged in recognizing their presence, recognizing what’s going on with them, seeing if there is a need, and fulfilling it to the best of your ability. You’re not used to doing that. You are all much more self-centered. And I promise you that it is to the degree that you are self-centered that you are miserable. It’s very simple.
“Oh, but look at what’s happened in my life. Look at the circumstances I’m in. I have reason to be miserable. I have reason to be depressed.” Oh, well, there you are, acting out self-centeredness, aren’t you? “I, I, I.” But what you’re overlooking is the fact that your misery is inseparable from your preoccupation with yourself, and your circumstances and how unfair everything is. And you, in your private silence, are going to hold the world and everyone in it hostage by not joining with them, by not being with them, by not participating with them. The epitome of orphanhood.
If you want to be happy, find that in you which is generous whether you feel like it or not. Because I promise you, you will not feel like being generous until you abandon your devotion to your self-righteous privacy.
This is all we’ve been talking about as we’ve gone through the Course. Where are we? We’re in a chapter called, “God’s Plan For Salvation.” Whose salvation? Your salvation. And what is God’s Plan for your salvation? God’s Plan for your salvation is that you say, “Father, help!” Simple. Invite something in that is beyond your best reasoning, your best judgments, your pet theories, and your favorite definitions of everything. God’s Plan for your salvation is that you reach out to the Holy Spirit, which is nothing more than your right Mind, and let in the “more of you” than you have been allowing to register with you; the infiniteness of you that you have been ignoring in favor of your very tiny well-developed definitions of yourselves that you have created. That’s God’s Plan for salvation.
God’s Plan for salvation is for you to open up to the generosity of Being, the generosity of God, and claim God to be your Father, your Source, so that you might, in letting Him in, find the Truth about you, which is your generousness that you find yourself infilled with and that you can’t hold on to, that will overflow and be extended because Love is alive in you.
You see, each week I’m turning your attention to your fellowman, I’m turning your attention to the Father, and I’m saying bring the Father and your fellowman into the picture, and let the Father infill you with that which He would reveal to you about Himself as it relates to you, which is totally, so that you might thereby have a spontaneous unwithholdable gift to extend to your Brother in the acknowledgment of what’s True about him to him. We’re breaking the isolation, but it’s got to happen right where you are, with the people you’re dealing with. They are your workspace, you might say, or, in happier terms, they are your playground in which to play divinity, in which to play what is True, so that it might register with you and illuminate you so that your illumination illuminates things for others. Breaking the isolation is what it’s all about.
So this week, the word is “generous.” Not generosity. You can talk about generosity, but you must be generous. You get it? Don’t waste a moment contemplating and thinking about generosity. That’s thinking about “what it means” to be generous. It doesn’t “mean” anything to be generous because the focus there is on the meaning. “What does it mean?” “Mmm. Well, let me see here. I think it means this, or I think it means that.” And you’re off the beam. You’ve lost the point.
I want you to be with the word “generous” relative to you. “Am I being generous? Do I feel generous right now?”
And if you don’t, you may know that you are engaged in something that is causing you to be depressed. You are engaged in something that is at odds with your nature. And you need to get out of it, because you need to shift into being generous, feeling generous, and engaging in—not generosity—in being, engaging in being generous. And if you simply find it too difficult to do—which means if you find that it is much more satisfying to be pissed off and therefore depressed than to let in the littlest bit of generosity—ask the Holy Spirit for help, ask the Father for help to get you over the hump, to illuminate in you some little point of light of generosity so that you may take hold of it and let it be in you and find expression.
Don’t go through your days being unable to be generous. Generous doesn’t mean handing out money. Generous means acknowledging the person that is in front of you or the person that is next to you. Be aware they are there. You can walk through a grocery store or a checkout line, where people are all around you, and you don’t have the faintest idea who is next to you, whether they’re male or female, because your blinders are on. And you are thinking about what you’ve got to do after you leave the store, and you’re watching the cashier, and maybe you’re watching the person ahead of you to see if they’re delaying you, but that’s about it.
To be truly generous means to be experiencing what I’m going to call “full open consciousness”—not closed-down consciousness—full open, letting it all register with you. Letting yourself be present with it all. That’s being generous.
Being generous is giving the benefit of the doubt. Being generous is noticing when it is sunny and bright, and a beautiful spring day with all of the flowers blossoming, and all of the leaves coming out on the trees, and all of the wonderful subtle shades of green that are there in fresh spring colors. And letting your heart respond. That’s being generous.
Let’s go to the book.
Reality and Redemption1
It’s a good choice of words. Reality and redemption are inseparable from each other.
When something is redeemed, it’s brought back to its original state, its original perfect state. Your willingness to see Reality as it is, means that you are being generous enough to be undefended against the experience of what Reality is. You are extending an invitation to experience it “as it is,” in spite of what you have believed it was.
Reality and redemption are inseparable. Not just your redemption, but the redemption of everything in your experience. Why is it redeemed? Because it had to go through a redemptive process? No. It is redeemed because you are allowing “what it has always been” to register with you.
Do you REALLY believe that you can kill the Son of God?
More of these stark terms.
Do you really believe that you can be an orphan? If you do, then, in effect, you are snuffing out the Son of God by saying, “I’m no Son of God. I’m an orphan.” And apparently then, the Son of God has been killed because you’re so damned determined to be an orphan, and to be it better and better and better.
Do you really believe that you can do away with or kill the Son of God?
The Father has hidden His Son safely within Himself and kept him far away from your destructive thoughts…
… your determination to be the best damned orphan there ever was …
… but YOU know neither the Father nor the Son …
… that you really Are …
… because of them.
Now let me read that again.
The Father has hidden His Son safely within Himself and kept him far away from your destructive thoughts, but YOU know neither the Father nor the Son because of them.
Because of your determination to see things your way, you’ve lost your awareness of Who your Father is, and you’ve lost the awareness of what you truly Are. And so the Father and the Son are unknown to you, because you are going to be the best damned orphan there ever was.
You attack the real world every day and every hour and every minute, and yet you are surprised that you cannot see it.
Well, how do you attack the world? You know. By providing your own definitions of it, and believing your definitions, and choosing to ignore what it really is. It’s that simple. And yet you are surprised that you cannot see the real world. “Oh, well. In the sweet bye and bye after you die, you’ll see it.” Bullshit! You won’t see it until you’re willing to see it whether it’s now or after you die. You won’t see it until you are willing to see it.
If you seek love in order to attack it you will NEVER find it. For if love is sharing…
… oh, generousness …
… if love is sharing…
… how can you find it except through ITSELF?
You can’t find it until you’re being it, in other words. You can’t find love until you’re embodying love. You can’t find love until you are willing to be generous.
Offer it and it will come to you because it is drawn to itself. But offer attack and it will remain hidden, for it can live only in peace.
Meaning it can live only in an unconflicted mind. It can live only in a mind which is not insisting on introducing a secondary plan to stand in its own right along with the Father’s Plan; side by side; equal but different. That’s the introduction of conflict. That’s the introduction of polarity. That’s the introduction of difference. You see? Twoness. Duality. Which is impossible.
God’s Son …
… the one that you really Are …
… is as safe as his Father, for the Son …
… the one that you really Are …
… knows his Father’s protection and CANNOT fear.
Why does he know his Father’s protection? Because he’s not engaging in behaving in a way that causes him to seem to be separate from the Father, and therefore unavailable to the perfect order of Being that his Father is embodying right where the Son is.
His Father’s Love holds him in perfect peace, and needing nothing, he ASKS for nothing. Yet he is far from you whose Self he is…
… in other words:
Yet he …
The one that you truly Are, the Christ …
… is far from you …
… the orphan that you think you are …
… whose Self …
… the Real You is. You may be acting like an orphan and you may be ignoring everything that makes you not an orphan, but you don’t ever stop being what you really Are. And so what you really Are is the Self, the Real Self of the orphan. Right now in your sense of separateness and lostness, you are absolutely divine. And this divine one that you Are is the only Self there is. And so it is the Self—which we’re going to capitalize to identify the Real You—it is the Self of the you, you think you are. In other words, you are the Christ, each one of you, behaving as though you are not the Christ and believing your behavior.
Yet he …
… God’s Son …
… is far from you whose Self he is, for you chose to attack him…
… you chose to dispute him by taking on another character, and giving preference to the character you took on.
… he is far from you whose Self he is, for you chose to attack him, and he disappeared from your sight into his Father.
The Real You disappeared from your sight into your Father.
… the Real You …
… did not change, but YOU …
… the orphan mentality that you’re so damned sure of and so proud of.
The Real You did not change, but you did.
For a split mind and all its works were not created by the Father, and could not live in the knowledge of Him.
You see, you have to disown your Father, you have to divorce your Father in order to have a sense of yourself that is original and different from your Father, different from your Father’s Son. And so if you’re going to maintain this state of orphanhood, it (the orphan) cannot live in the knowledge of his Father, in the awareness that he has a Father, because if he lived in that awareness, he would know that he wasn’t an orphan. They’re mutually exclusive.
When you made what is NOT true visible, what IS true became invisible.
When you became devoted to a lie, Truth became invisible, because if you let any of the Truth in, it would undo the lie that you’re committed to. And so you cannot let the Truth in and still maintain the lie; which is another way of saying, “and still maintain the façade.”
When you made what is NOT true visible, what IS true became invisible. Yet it cannot be invisible in ITSELF…
… what God has made cannot be rendered null and void. It can’t become invisible. It can’t actually disappear.
… for the Holy Spirit sees it with perfect clarity.
Your right Mind sees it with perfect clarity, because your right Mind is It, held in trust while you’re having this little drama, this little playacting episode, pretending to be an orphan.
It is invisible to you …
… as an orphan …
… because you are looking at something ELSE.
And what are you looking at? You’re looking at your definitions, or you’re looking at the definitions others have provided to you and you’re not questioning them at all.
Yet it is no more up to you to decide what is visible and what is invisible than it is up to you to decide what reality is. What can be seen is what the HOLY SPIRIT sees. The definition of reality is God’s, not yours. HE created it, and HE knows what it is. You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourselves to oblivion.
You see, you thought you were just having a little fun; got together with one of your Brother Christs and you said, “Hey, what d’ya say we call this embodiment of living Love, ‘a tree’? And what d’ya say we say that its defenseless relationship with what it’s standing on is really a dependent relationship, and that it gets its life not from the Love that it is, but from what we’ll call ‘soil’? And let’s say that in order for the soil to be nurturing, it must be watered. And let’s say that in order for there to be water, there must be large bodies of water which will evaporate and float in the air over the land (the soil) and fall. Let’s make it fall. Let’s call it ‘precipitation.’ And it will water the soil, which will nurture the tree that is dependent upon what’s in the soil. What d’ya say—shall we do that? Shall we create this definition and believe it? To hell with what the Father said. To hell with what it really is. Let’s do this thing.”
So you did it, and two of you were duped. Two of you joined together in an illusion. And what you didn’t realize was that this “playing with Reality” would cause you to become disoriented and separated from your Source, because you separated yourself from the Real Meaning of that which you gave definitions to, and therefore obscured its Source, and you lost God. God disappeared. And the living embodiment of Love that what came to be called “a tree” and “the soil” is, was lost to you. You see?
You—who knew that it was a living, moving, embodiment of Love—have forgotten.
… and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourselves to oblivion.
Why? Because the pride of creation is self-righteousness. The pride of personal private creation is self-righteousness. And self-righteousness is mesmerizing. And you become addicted to it. And there would be no way out if God had not given you a way to remember.
[But] Because of your Father’s Love you can NEVER forget Him, for no-one can forget what God Himself placed in his memory.
Now another way of looking at this—these words “placed in his memory”—is that the Holy Spirit, which is your right Mind, can’t go anywhere. And if you are not paying any attention to it, it is, in effect, held in trust while you dally with your orphanhood. And in that sense, Who You Are is placed in your memory. A better way of putting it is that it’s placed in your Being, which can’t ever actually change.
You can DENY it, but you cannot LOSE it.
And of course, as long as you’re giving preference to the meanings you’re giving to everything, you are denying What Everything Is, and you are denying Who You Are, together with your already-present capacity to experience everything As It Truly Is. A capacity you do not have to work hard to gain. A capacity you do not have to refine yourself into having available to you.
A Voice will answer every question you ask, and a Vision will correct the perception of everything you see. For what you have made invisible is the ONLY truth, and what you have not heard is the ONLY answer. God would reunite you with yourself, and did not abandon you in your seeming distress. You are waiting only for Him and do not know it. Yet His memory shines in your minds and cannot BE obliterated. It is no more past than future, being forever always.
His memory shines in your minds. And like the sunshine and the beautiful day that you can’t appreciate because you’re in a blue funk—you, in your prestigious sense of yourself as an independent agent, cannot see His memory that shines in you; the Truth of you that abides in you shining.
You have but to ask for this memory and you WILL remember. Yet the memory of God cannot shine in a mind which has MADE it invisible and wants to KEEP it so.
If you love your depression and you hold on to it, everything is going to look like shit. Everything is going to be colored by your devotion. And yet “Reality perceived Truly” is present to be experienced, just as surely as the beautiful spring day is available to you to be experienced, but which you’re not experiencing because, at the moment, you’re feeling depressed and totally feeling totally incapable of being generous enough to let yourself have any other experience but the satisfaction of the self-righteousness that says, “I am pissed off because I can’t have things the way I want them, and therefore I will give nothing.” And with all of the power of the Christ that you Are, your word stands. And yet all that happens is that you continue to not see what’s right in front of your face. That’s all.
Yet the memory of God cannot shine in a mind which has MADE it invisible and wants to KEEP it so. For the memory of God can dawn only in a mind that wills to remember, and that has relinquished the insane desire to …
… what? (Key words here.)
… control reality. You who cannot even control yourselves should hardly aspire to control the universe. But look upon what you have made of it, and rejoice that it is not so. Son of God…
… I’m talking to you. These words are talking to you right now.
Son of God, be not content with nothing! What is not real cannot BE seen and HAS no value. God could not offer His Son what has no value…
… why? Because what He gave you was Love, generously extended.
God could not offer His Son what has no value, nor could His Son receive it. You were redeemed the instant you thought you had deserted Him.
You were redeemed the moment you thought you had deserted Him. “Father, I’d rather see it my own way. I want a bill of divorcement—signed, sealed, delivered bill of divorcement. Final. I’m me in my own right.” Well, now it’s not the same “me” that said, “I want a bill of divorcement.” Now it’s “an orphan.” But only in an insane imagination, and the Christ that you Are has been held intact, untouched, unchanged. It’s called the Holy Spirit now, held in trust while you dally with the ego. So you were redeemed the moment you made this insane decision to be on your own.
And again, you do not have to do anything to become worthy of being the Christ that you Are. You do not have to refine your soul. You do not have to go through any process. You simply have to do what? You have to abandon introducing or attempting to introduce something into Creation that the Father never made, which is your own determination to see things in your own way, or your own definitions that you apply to everything. All you have to do is stop doing that.
And how do you stop doing that? By agreeing with God’s Plan for salvation. Reaching out to something beyond your best orphan capacities and saying, “Father, help! Father, I’m inviting You in.”
How do you do it? You do it the same way you do if you’re depressed. You notice that you’re depressed, and now you have no excuse for just not naming it and saying, “I’m having a real blue funk of a day. Ho hum. I’ll just wait for it to lift. And in the meantime, don’t depend upon me for anything ‘cause I just can’t get the energy behind doing anything. And I don’t give a shit whether I do anything or not. That’s how bad it is.” You won’t be able to say those words or feel those words without knowing the Truth that I’ve shared with you; that this is really a self-righteous and arrogant position to take, that is geared to creating a nearly pure state of orphanhood or isolation, and that it is what is causing your misery.
And it isn’t enough to know that. You have to say, “I want out of the funk. And so in spite of the fact that I have no energy for getting out of it, I am going to find ways to be generous. I am going to exert the effort it takes to pay attention to where I am, and to acknowledge who I’m with, and be sensitive to their needs.” Does the plant need to be watered? Does the garbage need to be taken out? Pay attention to the need and be willing to supply the need. That is the way you get out of the funk.
And it is that same sort of joining with the Father, because you’re putting forth the effort necessary to not be immobilized in your depression or in your orphan state. And make the connection. Invite the connection and let it happen, and acknowledge it and own it and claim it, and be willing to indulge in it more and more frequently.
Being an orphan is basically a lazy activity, because it is so private that it does not require you to relate to anything at all. That’s not called being alive, much less being awake.
So, this week when you go to bed at night, contemplate your day and find the places where you were being generous. And if there weren’t a lot of times that you were being generous, because it hasn’t been your habit to, then just acknowledge that tomorrow you will be a little bit more disciplined and make more occasions for being generous, by paying more attention, with the attitude of care. For what purpose? To meet needs. What a simple and wonderful activity to engage in. I promise you that if you engage in it consciously, your experience of your world will change dramatically before the end of the first day, before your first bedtime where you would ask yourself whether you have been generous. Cultivate being generous.
Yes, it will require you to pay attention. I will tell you that paying attention is Life. And not paying attention is death. Your inevitable path is redemption. There really is no other choice. You can create misery up the kazoo, but you cannot actually accomplish death. Even if you appear to pass on, you will find yourself still being. You cannot accomplish death. So give your attention to accomplishing Life, to letting Life be what it already is, without any of what it is being obscured from you.
So instead of this being your homework, this is your homeplay. Go play this week with “intent to be generous” carried out.
I love you. And I look forward to being with you next week. I look forward to being with “new you’s” next week.
T11.8 Reality and Redemption ↩︎