Aug 31, 2008
T14.5 The Shift to Miracles

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

Well, we’ve been talking about order, we’ve been talking about ordering one’s thoughts, and we’ve been talking about the miracle. And if it isn’t clear yet, ordering your thoughts and miracles are not one and the same thing. They don’t even blend, they don’t fit together. The miracle happens in the absence of ordering your thoughts.

There’s a saying, “We’re creatures of habit.” Habits are orderlinesses that have been put into place through mutually agreed-upon definitions that allow everyone to work together with a certain degree of harmony.

You don’t realize how completely you are governed by these habits—by these structures. But one example is, that if, on the freeway you change the distance between an exit sign and the actual exit, those driving on the freeway will become confused. This is experienced very often by people who go from the United States to Canada. The distance between the exit sign and the actual exit is different. And so, the expectation that exists by virtue of the habit of having constantly driven in one’s own country can’t come to fruition. “Did I pass it? Have I gone too far? Have I not gone far enough?” The comfort and the ease has disappeared and you may not even know why.

We’re going to go into the Book and I’m going to back up a couple of sentences.

The power of God is limitless. And being always maximal, it offers EVERYTHING to EVERY call from ANYONE. There IS no order of difficulty here. A call for help is given help.1

Well, this means something different from the responses you all give to each other automatically. A call for help, if you respond with help, in all likelihood is going to be a response based on some mental structure that is pre-existing in your mind and the mind of the one you are helping.

As I said last week, that doesn’t constitute a real connection with the one you’re with. You have a concept. A concept is a structure of thoughts—a collection of thoughts that make a definition. You have a concept of what constitutes a respectable, dependable person worthy of your attention. The definition is that, that person tends to think intelligently, which means, thinks in a particularly orderly way similar to the orderly way in which you think.

If that person doesn’t think in the particularly orderly way that you do, it makes it very difficult for you to communicate. And you are likely to judge that person and attribute his problems to the fact that he’s not thinking clearly. And if he did think clearly like you did, he wouldn’t or she wouldn’t be having the problem and wouldn’t need attention from you.

Most of you think that love—a loving response to another—amounts to helping that other one find his or her way back to the orderly thinking of the sort that you use and that maybe the majority have agreed upon using, so that they wouldn’t be running into the problem they’re running into. And you think that’s love. But it’s not. It’s just finding a way to abide by a structure of ideas that may or may not have anything to do with the situation at hand that requires attention. And this is very important.

A call for help is given help.

“Well, I help all the time. Every day if I have an opportunity to help somebody, I help them.” But I’m going to ask you again … I’m going to ask you: Are you helping them really meet the actual circumstantial need—whether it’s the circumstance in their mind or the circumstance in their environment—or are you helping them attain a certain conceptual structure or set of conceptual structures that aren’t a response to an actual need at all?

“Oh-h, I’m having so much trouble, I’m experiencing a great deal of fear.”

“Well my dear, what you need to do is to realize that God is All … God is All… God is in His holy place, couldn’t ever be anywhere else, and therefore, all is well.”

You see, here’s a set of sentences, a string of ideas strung together as though this person, adopting that string of ideas, is going to find her peace or his peace. And you don’t even know why they’re upset. You just know that there’s an answer by rote. And if you teach them the answer by rote, somehow a miracle will occur. And yet, no connection actually between you and that person has occurred, and no awareness on your part of what the need actually is, has occurred.

So the response has been to something not actual. And you all think this is love. You all think this is help. And what we’re reading about here is clarifying what is and what is not help, so that you stop engaging in what isn’t help.

You’re at the airport. You’re in the waiting area for your flight. And there’s a lady or a gentleman sitting over a ways away from you obviously frustrated, upset, uneasy, his behavior or her behavior and talk is making it clear that there is fear or upset. And you say, “Oh God, I hope he doesn’t end up sitting next to me. I hope she doesn’t … I hope I don’t end up sitting next to her. I have so much work to do between the time I leave here and we arrive in Detroit. I’ve got a meeting to go to.”

You see—Ah-h! You have your mind ordered. It’s very orderly. It’s very structured. And you are going to insist upon going on that flight and carrying out the orderliness that you have set up because you believe you know what is required—what is genuinely called for, what is really needed. And at the bottom line, what’s really needed for you is, to end up being able to please the people at the meeting you’re going to and in the process you’re not going to allow yourself to be present on the plane. And if that person ends up sitting next to you, you’re not going to allow yourself to be present with that person.

And you know what? No miracle will occur.

No real experience will occur, because no matter whether that person is sitting next to you or not, you’re not going to be present on the flight. You’re going to be present in your head and you’re going to be present with the computer in your lap that you’re preparing your notes for your meeting upon. You’re not going to be present at all. And that’s not what being Awake means. That’s not the result of enlightenment. That is what you need to release yourself from.

Now, you know one of the reasons you don’t like to be around people who don’t have their “act” together, who haven’t managed to get hold of their mind and order their thoughts so that they can be at peace, because when you’re with someone who hasn’t done that, your typical structured responses won’t meet the need and that means it’s going to take a lot more from you to be involved with that one because, what? You’re going to have to feel your way through whatever the heck it is that’s happening. You’re actually going to have to allow yourself to be present with that one, present without preconceptions and present without a conceptual agenda for him or her. Because if you can’t manage to be present with that one, you’re not going to be in any position to respond to what’s really going on. And you will not be in any position to be an agent for change or to facilitate a miracle.

You see, miracles can be messy! Because they will not function under the domination of whatever rules or mental orderlinesses you try to insert and assert in a situation.

A miracle is like raw life itself unfolding, that you need to be willing to be present with, so that you can catch up with it, stay with it, be present with it, be with the movement, you see.

A miracle is when something you didn’t plan happens. A miracle is what happens when you have not ordered your mind, when you are not binding yourself to some concepts—mental structures—that you are using in order to have harmony without actually having to be conscious, without having to be fluidly, flexibly present with a brother.

You have rules to save you time and to keep you from hurting while you’re unconscious. And you use them because in order to be conscious, things will get messy. You use them because in order for a miracle to occur, you have to be undefended against it—unprotected against it.

And you don’t want that. You want to be in charge. You want to be in control. You want to be able to present yourself well.

What does that mean? It means that you manage to present yourself in a way that expresses structures that you hold in your mind that you abide by so well, that there’s harmony. But it’s not harmony because you are in the movement with God, in the movement of Creation, in the movement of actually being able to recognize that you’re in the middle of the Kingdom of Heaven, right here, right now.

Now …

The power of God is limitless, and being always maximal, it offers EVERYTHING to EVERY call from ANYONE.

It offers everything. Not a “canned” response, not a nice little packaged orderliness which if that person will embrace it, will relieve them of their distress. No. It offers everything, wholeness, full attention, full presence on your part, in this case, on God’s part.

… being always maximal, it offers EVERYTHING to EVERY call from ANYONE.

… whether they seem to be a potentially hysterical passenger on a flight.

There IS no order of difficulty here. A call for help is given help.

And I’ll tell you something: God never gives you a canned response. God gives you an experience.

A person has a fear of flying. There seems to be nothing he or she can do about it. But he or she has to go someplace and fly to get there. How are you going to deal with that? Well, I’ll tell you something: No degree of intellectual coercion is going to make that person feel comfort.

And you know what? In the absence of your trying to dish out a canned response, in your willingness to be fully present with that one without being pissed off because you’re not being able to get the work done that you had planned to do and would have allowed your flight and your arrival at your destination to be orderly. Instead of that, your willingness to be present might cause you to simply hold this person’s hand for a moment or rest your hand on his or her arm and say something seemingly inconsequential with a gentle warm smile on your face, that, because of the particular muscular structure of your face, causes a little curl to occur at the end of your lip when your smiling that, for an unknown reason, triggers release for that person.

No logic to it, no orderliness to it, no structure to it, but just exactly the appropriate thing that would cut through the fear, happened, because you weren’t busy being pissed off because of the intrusion on your time, and because you were willing in spite of all the orderliness you were going to apply to your trip, you were willing to abandon it. You were willing to not find value in ordering your thoughts and abiding by the orderliness of them, so that you were able to be innocently present with this person.

A call for help is given help.

But what the help is, you’re not going to know until you’re willing to be It, to let It move through you.

Now, what we’re saying is, that the miracle happens when no judgment is present, when you’re not mad at yourself for taking time away from your orderliness and when you’re not judging the other for having a problem that’s intruding on your time. It’s a moment where judgment is absent.

Now when …

A call for help is given help.

The only judgment involved at all is the Holy Spirit’s ONE division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love.

Not a division into love and a lack of love, which that person wouldn’t be expressing if they handled themselves a little better or they followed the rules better or they had better control over their thoughts. After all, the one you can respect is the one who’ll get on the plane looking perhaps, half-way decent, half-way pleasant to look at, that would be nice, not necessary, but it would be nice and would count a point here or there on their behalf, in their favor … or somebody who will sit down, go through the flight, perhaps with never talking to you, perhaps without ever talking to you, but certainly if they talked to you, not imposing too much on your space or your time or your mind.

Or, maybe you’re a real talker yourself and you hope you sit down next to someone who’s not going to be silent the whole trip, where you just sit there when you would love to be sharing ideas and learning about and meeting the person next to you. So there’s judgment there that you’re going to be ready to give out because you ended up with somebody who you couldn’t enjoy being with.

All of this amounts to orderlinesses in your mind that you apply to the situation and you use them as a means of judging the one you’re with or near. And you have this whole experience of them [chuckle] without ever having met them, without ever having been present with them, without being willing to be present with them in whatever way they’re being.

So, the tendency is to see people as loving or unloving. But …

… the Holy Spirit’s ONE division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love.

… is the only judgment that’s allowable, workable or healing.

YOU cannot safely make this division, for you are much too confused either to recognize love, or to believe that everything else is nothing but a need for love.

When a need for love is expressed or confronts you, it can very often be construed by you to be an inconvenient imposition upon your time which isn’t fair to you. Ah-h, but …

A call for help is given help.

… without fail.

A call for help is given help.

And again, I want to make it perfectly clear that what keeps you from giving help are the structural orderlinesses or the orderly structures that you use in your mind to stay out of trouble and which, if you’re able to practice very well, and experience the benefit of, you fully expect others to be willing to employ as well and enjoy the same benefit you do and thereby, not have occasion to impose upon you by having a need that requires you to be present with them in the unclear ambiguous, messy place in which a miracle occurs.

You are too bound to form, and not to content.

Now this really isn’t applying to form [tapping table] you know, skin, fingers, tables, wood, carpets. You’re bound to form. You’re bound to patterns. Patterns: How far away is the exit sign from the actual exit? Do you walk down the left side of the hall and go through the left of two double doors? Do you drive on the left side of the street or the opposite? That’s not being bound to form, that’s being bound to a mental training, a mental habit, a mental structure.

You know it’s a habit, because if you go from the United States to England or Australia, you automatically drive on the right side of the street, but not for long without scaring yourself to death—or you go through the wrong door or you walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk. You do it, what? Out of habit. Not because you’re conscious. If you were consciously present you would immediately see where the people walking in your direction are walking, and where the people walking in the opposite direction are walking and you would accommodate it, because that’s what obviously works. You see? And you wouldn’t be startled into being conscious. You wouldn’t be imposed upon in order to be conscious. You see, the structures, the patterns are mental.

You are too bound to form…

… structures …

… and not to content.

In other words, you’re not present with your brother, you’re not present with what they’re experiencing or what particular form of love is being called for.

What you consider content is not content at all. It is merely form, and nothing else.

Well, what does that mean? Well, you look at somebody in the public eye. And this person has a lot of respect and you say, “He has a lot of respect,” or “she has a lot of respect because their behavior exemplifies intelligence.” In other words, they are functioning quite well according to the structures present in their mind, which are very similar to the structures present in your mind. And so you recognize them.

Ah-h … What you’re doing is recognizing patterns. You don’t know who you are cause you’re just a collection of patterns and you’re recognizing them by their collection of patterns and you’re in a fantasy world the whole way. You look at them and you respect them, you see, and you say you’re respecting the person, you’re respecting the content. But you’re not! All you’re doing is respecting the form that they are embodying, which is nothing more than mental habits, structures, concepts that they are applying to their way of being in the world. That’s all.

Content is being totally missed. The only way content won’t be missed is when you are willing to step out of your structures and be with another who is out of their structures and be in that messy nebulous place where actual connection can occur, and the holiness of both of you can register and where healing or a miracle can occur.

So …

What you consider content is not content at all. It is merely form, and nothing else. For you do not respond to what a brother REALLY offers you, but only to the particular perception of his offering by which the ego judges it.

Let’s be clear here.

For you do not respond to what a brother REALLY offers you, but only to the particular perception …

… Whose particular perception? Yours!

… but only to the particular perception of his offering by which the ego judges it.

Well, whose ego? Yours! You see. This is all totally private, but it’s called relating. You see the insanity, the silliness, the ridiculousness of it? The whole thing is going on in your head without any actual connection being allowed, because it’s essential to keep yourself and to help this other one become better aligned with the mental structures that allow harmony to exist without either one of you being conscious.

I bet this isn’t what you thought the Course was about. But if you’re going to wake up, this is what the Course has to be about, because you have to abandon the orderlinesses that you apply to yourself and then try to apply to your world, and the orderliness which you feel impelled to compel your brother to abide by because that is what you deem real help, which as I said, will allow harmony to exist with both of you with neither one of you being conscious.

Continuing …

The ego is incapable of understanding content, and is totally unconcerned with it.

What is the ego? The ego is a collection of habits, a collection of patterns, a collection of concepts, a collection of mutually agreed upon definitions. It’s not actually conscious, it’s not actually a presence. It’s a collection of rules. It’s that simple. And it’s incapable of understanding content and is totally unconcerned with it. It’s completely unconcerned with content until content intrudes upon it, and then the total flexibility that’s called for, the total spontaneity that is called for, becomes of great concern to the ego because total spontaneity means complete absence of structure, complete disregard for rules. And it’s collection of rules that constitutes the ego.

So, on its own, it’s incapable of understanding content and on its own it’s totally unconcerned with it until it’s confronted with content and until content requires, by circumstances, understanding. Well, if the ego’s incapable of understanding it but understanding it is called for, then you who are not an ego, find yourself having an experience that you call, being thrown out into the deep blue sea with nothing solid to stand on and with currents moving you at will and you’re having an experience of being tossed to and fro without any sanctuary of safety. And you don’t like that. And you think that something is wrong when that happens. But what you’re learning here is that this is desirable and it is in this environment that the miracle can occur. It’s in this environment, that you in your right Mind, can be the experience that gives new definition to you and transforms your awareness of yourself, you might say, at a new level or in a new way—transformed.

To the ego, if the form is acceptable …

… you know, if the one that you’re looking at meets all the criteria set up by the structures in your mind.

To the ego, if the form is acceptable the content MUST be.

“He’s a great guy! Wow, everyone loves her and should love her, you know.” And yet you’ve not connected in anyway with him or her, but because the form is acceptable the content is. And you’re willing to lavish praise and support on this one who manages to behave according to the structures that are so similar to yours and does it so exceptionally well. How could you not extend your appreciation. And yet, you’re not conscious.

To the ego, if the form is acceptable the content MUST be. Otherwise, it will attack the form.

What does that mean? Well, we’ll take our fearful person in the airport waiting room and maybe actually in the seat next to you. The form, meaning the structures, the mental structures … the content, meaning the Real one sitting there feeling fear, either next to you or across the room in the waiting room, the content, if it isn’t acceptable to you, if it is not acceptable to the ego, the content doesn’t get attacked, the form does. And you say, “She needs to get a hold of her mind! Well, obviously no one ever taught her how to access her peace.” You know, “She probably didn’t grow up in a well educated family.” You see, and this story begins to be told in the mind. The form gets attacked. An explanation of why the structure is weak comes forth, you see. The form gets attacked.

If being with this person distracts you from something that you must get done, as a part of your orderliness, they’re imposing upon you and they are creating a situation that is unfair. So you determine that their behavior, that their form is unfair to your form and you’re attacking the form, you’re attacking the weak structures, you’re attacking the undeveloped structures, you’re attacking the ignorance of structures that say, “If you’re on a plane, even if you’re afraid, handle yourself in a way that no one else knows about it, because no one else needs to be unduly alarmed.” You see, more structures.

…if the form is acceptable the content MUST be. Otherwise, it…

… the ego …

… will attack the form. You who believe you understand something of the dynamics of the mind, let me assure you that you know nothing of it at all. For of yourselves you COULD not know of it. The study of the ego is NOT the study of the mind.

You see. [Chuckling] “You need to get hold of your mind and apply a little structure to it. You need a more orderly mind.” And if you manage to create these structures of order, you say, “I have an ordered mind,” or you say, “He has an ordered mind.” No. You just have a bunch of rules that you’re abiding by quite well. That’s behavior, that’s not consciousness. You see? That’s behavior, not consciousness. That’s not Mind. Mind is that messy, nebulous, uncontrollable space, you might say, in which miracles occur, in which enlightenment happens, in which consciousness exists.

The study of the ego is NOT the study of the mind. In fact, the ego enjoys the study of itself, and thoroughly approves the undertakings of students who would analyze it, approving its importance. Yet they but study form …

… patterns, definitions and so on.

Yet they but study form with meaningless content. For their teacher is senseless, though careful to conceal this fact behind a lot of words which sound impressive, but which lack any consistent sense when they are put TOGETHER.

They sound impressive when you sit and say, “Well, their behavior probably stems from not having been raised in a highly educated family and probably with parents who lacked certain principles, which if they had had would have caused their life to be more orderly and would have generated an educational environment in which this person would have absorbed the intelligent rules and behaviors that would make their life better and cause them not to be imposing upon me.” You see. Sounds impressive, even though it’s an indictment, even though it’s unkind and even though it’s untrue.

You’ve got to begin to devalue the orderlinesses of concepts and definitions and structured mental behaviors, which keep you unconscious of reality—reality right in front of you. I don’t mean divine Reality off in the spiritual realms. The realm you’re in is as spiritual as it’s going to get. But you’re not going to experience what it divinely is as long as you keep yourself bound in these orderlinesses. And in the constant reestablishment of order where in your mind … the constant reestablishment of which keeps you disconnected from your brother and incapable of really expressing and extending love.

So the ego puts together words that sound impressive but which lack any consistent sense when they’re put together.

This is characteristic of the ego’s judgments. Separately, they seem to hold, but put them together, and the system of thought which arises from joining them is incoherent and utterly chaotic.

Why? Anything that is not based upon what’s Real, which is utilized as a basis for actions in the Real world, result in chaos. And I’m going to tell you, that right now as long as you look at this world and you call it a material world, and you say that the basic building block of this world is matter, you will experience the Kingdom of Heaven—which is really what you are confronted by—as chaotic, as incoherent, incoherent in the sense of being polarized and conflicted, not expressing unification which would be coherence.

… the system of thought which arises from joining them is incoherent and utterly chaotic. For form is not enough for meaning, and the underlying lack of content makes a cohesive system impossible. Separation therefore remains the ego’s chosen condition. For no-one alone can judge the ego truly. Yet when two or more JOIN TOGETHER in searching for truth, the ego can no longer defend its lack of content. The fact of union TELLS them it is not true.

“Oh dear,”

… no-one alone can judge the ego truly. Yet when two or more JOIN TOGETHER …

“You mean like me and this fearful lady sitting next to me on the airline? You mean if I’ll join together with her? But that’s going to be chaos.” No, chaos is what you’re in the middle of right now because you think you’re alive when you’re actually unconscious. You think you are relating when you’re being absolutely private. And it just happens that through the use of order all of you are managing to be private well enough so that you don’t impinge upon each other and you say, that’s civilization, that’s being civilized, that’s orderly, that’s real harmony. It’s unconsciousness. It’s not life at all.

So yes, if you join together with the frightened person in a search for truth, the ego can no longer defend its lack of content.

The fact of union TELLS them …

… the ones that are joined together …

… it is not true.

So, in that act, in that willingness to abandon the orderlinesses and the willingness to step into the messy, apparently unstable because it’s un-orderly, disorderly place where being present with each other can occur—the miracle occurs. And you’re blessed and the other one is blessed.

And so, again this week you’re faced with the same opportunity that we’ve been talking about, the continued opportunity to dare not to respond to each other from the orderlinesses in your mind.

You know what? That may mean that your encounters with your brother are going to take longer than is convenient because possibly something marvelous will happen that will keep you together longer, because there’s so much joy.

I will be watching. And I love you all.

  1. T14.5 The Shift to Miracles ↩︎

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