Feb 19, 2011
T17.1 Fantasy and Distorted Perception
Good evening. And welcome to everyone who’s joining us on the Internet.
Well, if everyone hasn’t realized it, we have arrived at a point where the key to Awakening, you might say, has been revealed–uncovered, made exceptionally clear.
The practice of the holy instant, the practice of the two-step is the means of Waking up. It’s not any more complicated than that. And there isn’t any more profound lesson to learn. For the most part, what we will cover in the rest of the Course will simply be explanations of how everyone avoids the holy instant.
So, I want everyone to be aware and I–you can count on it–will not let anyone forget that we have arrived at the apex of what the Course teaches. This should not be abandoned. This awareness should not be forgotten as we continue and discover the blocks to Love’s Awareness–the blocks to Awakening.
Now mind you, as we proceed, all of you will find at one time or another, an explanation of the blocks that you specifically use, and it will make sense to you. But you know what? None of you, no one actually has to go through the examination of every single means by which you block the holy instant.
What you need to do is to start practicing it now … and now … and now … and now. Practice it while you’re reading about the blocks to Love’s Awareness–the blocks to Awakening. Don’t read about the blocks and say, “Wow, [chuckles] isn’t that incredible the way the human mind works?” and talk at length about it, without ever abandoning the practice of thinking about how the human mind works. Because as long as you’re thinking, you’re not practicing the holy instant. You’re doing the one thing that blocks it.
During this past week as you have attempted, we’ll say, to be radical and to hesitate and ask for the Father’s Perspective now … now … and now … you may have had clarification, you may have had wonderful examples of God’s Perspective which is radical to your present sense of things. You also may have experienced a week in which things seemed to get worse.
It’s very simple. The ego does not willingly, gladly let go of its hold on your attention. And so when you get close to being free of it, it attempts to the best of its ability, to distract you.
Now, how does it distract you? Not by giving you a string of words that you can use as a defense against Waking up, but rather by suggesting to you really interesting things that you might do to make things better, or provide you with a new radical project for you to work on, for you to develop. You see?
Or it might distract you by preoccupying yourself with how others are behaving. You see? So that you might correct a situation or exercise some beneficent help all by yourself. You see?
Now, the key to Awakening, the practice of the holy instant, amounts to something utterly simple. So simple that it goes right past you. The simplicity of it is that when you stop thinking, when you go into the Silence and there, inquire of the Father, you have stopped thinking.
The Silence is the key. And the inquiry of the Father or the inquiry of the Holy Spirit is the essential and only step needed other than listening and accepting what unfolds–what is presented to you.
But you know what? Most of you think that being conscious means thinking. If you’re not sleeping, if you’re awake, you’re thinking! But of course, anyone who learns meditation soon discovers that there is a way to be conscious without thinking. There is a way to be in the Silence. So thinking is not identical with Being. It is not inseparable from Being. It is not inseparable from your existing as You. What you think doesn’t make you, You.
You simply are You. And in the Silence of your mind you experience that. And in the experience of the fact that thinking has nothing to do with your Being, you become free to listen. You become truly free to ask, “What is the truth here in the unendingness of me in the Silence that I’m experiencing? What is the truth of my Being, in the Silence? What is the truth that it’s the Birthright of my mind to be experiencing?”
You’re conditioned against not thinking, believe it or not. After all, how many of you have heard the admonishment, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”1 as though it is the worse thing in the world for your mind to be idle? “Oh, don’t let your children have idle minds, they’ll get into trouble. You have a mind to solve problems with. It’s your function to solve problems.” You see?
The key to Awakening is abandoning everything that results from thinking. Because what results from thinking are structures of imagination which keep you preoccupied with them and disallow for you in the quietness to hear the still small Voice of God, or to hear the truth. It’s that simple.
So, that’s all it takes. And the reason the Course is so long is because it was important to express how many different ways are used to keep thinking going. How many ways are used to keep Silence from happening? How many little tricks of the mind, how many little habits of the mind, how many characteristics of the ego exist and are practiced for the purpose of not having an idle mind, which ultimately means not having the environment in which your release from illusion can occur? Because the environment of that is Silence with attention being given, curiosity being practiced: “Father, what is the truth here?” You see? Yielding to the Father.
You think that if you do it, you will cease to be. But what you Are in your divine wholeness and in your capacity to experience Creation as what It is, rather than what you’ve defined It as, that is your Birthright and that is what you Are. You are the place of acknowledgement of what Creation is, and by the acknowledgement, in the acknowledgment, participating in Creation, being co-creators by introducing nothing foreign to it, and thereby being able to experience all of it in its actuality, which constitutes the joy of your Being because that is your function.
So, whether this last week has been easy or difficult, whether the practice of the two-step and the holy instant seems to have born fruit or not, there still is only one means of Awakening … and persist … persist.
Well, you say, “I don’t have enough faith. I don’t have enough impetus to go the distance. It’s going to be a lot harder than what I can accomplish.”
But it’s not true.
For most of you, you have arrived at one time or another in your life where you were too exhausted, simply too exhausted to be a fake, to not be yourself. You were too exhausted to try to be something you couldn’t be. And you arrived at a point where you felt like you gave up. And when you gave up, Revelation occurred.
The saying is, “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.”2 And that’s because in moments of true helplessness where you feel truly helpless and you just let yourself be there because you don’t have any energy to be anywhere else, at that moment [snaps fingers] the light flashes–it turns on, the illumination occurs.
To one degree or another, all of you have had some experience like that. And if you haven’t yet, it’s on your threshold. Because it is Awakening time. I promise you that.
So you see, it isn’t a matter of being equal to Waking up, it’s actually a matter of doing less and of arriving at a point voluntarily or involuntarily where you give up, where you stop trying to be something, and you stop saying “my will be done” and you start saying, “Thy Will be done” and mean it.
You know, that’s all it takes. It takes letting go completely without an Ace up your sleeve. It means abandoning the right you think you have to think your way through your life and your problems and engage in problem-solving.
If you have a counselor who can provide you with perspective far beyond what you can drum up in your imagination and that counselor provides you with perspective that you find out is your real perspective but you’ve just been ignoring it, can you see that that process isn’t a loss of worth or validity but an uncovering of a more complete worth and validity than you ever imagined?
That’s what this is about. And that’s what you must remember. And that’s what you must attempt to practice as you go through your day–an activity which you habitually have approached as opportunity after opportunity for you to think your way through this, that or the other thing and demonstrate success–you must be willing to go through your day constantly saying, “Father what is the truth here? Father what is the truth here? Not my will be done but Thy Will be done.” You see? “What is Your Will? Because I know that everything I try to do by myself is going to keep me in the dark, is going to keep me ignorant even though I’m totally familiar with it and feel fully functional.” You see?
It’s the fact that the simplicity of “the process” of Waking up involves doing the very thing that you thought gave you meaning. It’s that that causes you to be unwilling to put your faith in it and to lean into it and to yield into it–to let go into it. You see? That’s the simplicity of it.
And so, Waking up is a matter of going against your conditioning. It truly is. If it wasn’t, you all would have Woken up a long time ago because it’s so darn simple! Understand this, so that when it seems unnatural, you don’t say, “Well, this can’t be a divine activity. God would never set it up like this. If I’m supposed to Wake up, it should be easy.” You see? Well there you are … thinking! And there you are convincing yourself that “an idle mind is a devil’s workshop.” An idle mind, a silent mind is something to avoid. Certainly, don’t even try it and explore it and find out whether it’s the truth or not. You see?
You’ve got to remember that the act, if you will, that triggers Awakening is an act–an effortless act. It’s an act of not acting. It takes less than anything you expect.
Let’s go into the book. The subject of this chapter:
Forgiveness and Healing3
Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship
The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his “sins” are but his own imagining.
The betrayal of the Son of God …
… well, the betrayal is when you turn someone over to an enemy, when you cause someone to be at a disadvantage in the face of something that’s not in his best interest.
Well, you do that all the time with each other. You look at each other and you say, “Oh-h, she’s not the Son of God, Oh, he’s the Son of God, she’s not the Daughter of God and he’s not the Son of God. No, he’s a bastard and she’s a bitch. Boy if you saw what she did last week … and blah, blah, blah.”
You betrayed your Brother and Sister. Why? Because your act didn’t involve acknowledging God in him or her, but something else–something unlike God. Something unlike God is something opposite of God–something opposite of good.
And so you commit that one in your mind, as well as by means of your behavior, to hell–to a position of being unholy. It’s that simple. And you betray that one’s unholiness to everyone you can whose knowledge of it will help you in your cause to make yourself better. You see?
But you know what? When you said, “Father, I would rather see things my way, Father, I would rather make the definitions … I want a divorce,” you betrayed yourself. Because you turned yourself over to what’s left when you’ve disconnected from your Source. And when you’ve disconnected from your Source, you’re left with that which is unlike your Source. And so you’ve betrayed yourself to an ego that you call yours.
The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his “sins” are but his own imagining.
He need not be forgiven…
You know, we’ve been talking about forgiveness, but …
He need not be forgiven but AWAKENED.
That’s what the two-step is for: To put you in a position not of infinite progression, but immediate perfection, immediate experience of what you divinely Are. That’s Awakening. It’s not forgiveness.
In his dreams he HAS betrayed himself, his brothers and his God. Yet …
… and here’s the key …
… what is done in dreams has not been REALLY done.
That’s why I say, that when you look at everything around you and just say that it’s a material world, that it’s a planet and a universe that was happenstance, pure physical evolution, having nothing to do with a divine Principle or God, you are misperceiving and misunderstanding the Kingdom of Heaven. Because the Kingdom of Heaven is the only thing confronting you to experience, clearly or through a glass darkly–unclearly. It’s that simple.
If you’re seeing it through a glass darkly, you haven’t changed what you’re looking at, you’ve just altered your perception. And so, that’s why I say, when you’re looking at this and you see injury, illness, sin and so on, it’s because of the lens that you’re looking through.
There isn’t an actual damage or illness or injury that needs to be manipulated into a better form. You have to take off the lens through which you’re looking at it. And, like that, the illusion of sin, sickness and death will stop … because it isn’t happening! It is a current misperception of the current manifestation of Creation, God’s Creation, The Kingdom of Heaven, right now.
If you understand that, if you grasp what I’m saying, it will allow you to embrace radical sudden changes of perception, because you’ll realize you don’t have to wait for matter to go through necessary physical processes to change.
The lens that causes you to see the substance of Spirit and call it matter, when you take that lens off, the appearance of matter that’s difficult to change is gone and you are left with the flawless perception of Reality–of the Kingdom of Heaven–not just a perception but also the feeling, because whether it’s a sofa or a carpet or a flower or a rock, it is absolutely divine. And it is not a separate divinity from your divinity. And it is living Love. And it is expressing Love toward every other part of Creation, so that all of Creation blesses all of Creation constantly. And that feeling is radically different from what you’re experiencing right now.
Again, it doesn’t need to take eons to arrive at that experience. What it requires is a certain defenselessness. See? Not hard work but the absence of work. Not a strong defense but [deep sigh] defenselessness. You see?
… what is done in dreams has not been REALLY done. It is impossible to convince the dreamer that this is so, for dreams are what they are BECAUSE of their illusion of reality.
At night when you’re dreaming you have no sense whatsoever that what’s happening isn’t anything other than real, but it’s not. But …
It is impossible to convince the dreamer that this is so, for dreams are what they are BECAUSE of their illusion of reality. Only in waking is the full release from them, for only then does it become perfectly apparent that they had no effect on reality at all, and [it] did not change it.
Simple. It didn’t change it. That means that at this moment nothing has been changed from what God is Being right there where that thing is right now. The truth of what God is being right where you are or right where anything is, is available to you now, because it’s a distorted perception that’s blocking its truth from you, while not changing it at all.
Keep reminding yourself of this because it’s foreign to the way you think. You must help yourself by practicing, I’m going to say, thinking truly (and I’m hesitating to say that). But as you consider what I’m saying it will become clear to you that no matter what’s in your face, the divine truth about it, the God presencing fact about it, is present right now, no matter how unlike that it appears. And what It truly Is, is available to you right now. And the only thing that needs to happen to see It is the abandonment of your confidence that you know what it is, or the abandonment of your supposed right to have the authority to see things the way you want to see them, which means saying, “Not my will but Thine be done.”4
Fantasies CHANGE reality. That is their PURPOSE. They cannot do so in reality, but they CAN do so in the mind that would have reality different.
See? They can do so in the mind that says, “Father, I’d rather see it my way. Father, I’d rather experience everything without joining with You, so that I might experience Your perspective and the meaning You were embodying of Your divine Self, your divine Being in that thing.” You’re saying, “I don’t want that.” You see? Now all you have to do is stop not wanting that … and saying, “You know what, I don’t have the foggiest notion what that carpet means. I haven’t the foggiest notion what divine Movement of God is embodied in what I call a carpet.” You see? Everything becomes something to become curious about … alive to.
It is, then, only your wish to change reality that is fearful…
… you introduce the fearful by wishing to see things differently. Now you don’t really say, “Oh-ho, I see … I see a bug there that I’ve never seen before and I want to have a different perspective on it than what God has.” You don’t say that. You just decide spontaneously to study it and come to your own best conclusions, with the best use of logic, without ever abandoning your independent examination to invite the experience of revelation. That’s all.
It is, then, only your wish to change reality that is fearful…
… and you wish to change Reality by determining what Reality is yourself …
… because by your wish you think you have ACCOMPLISHED what you wish.
That’s part of the dream. The dream is unreal but it seems to be real. And you think you have accomplished your goal of defining what things are and gaining a meaningful understanding of how things work. But the problem is that the rationale and the logic that you use to come to an understanding of what things mean is based upon a fundamental ignorance, a fundamentally flawed mind, if you will. Because you’ve taken out of the infinity of your mind a small portion of it, circumscribed it, separated from the rest, causing the rest to become the Holy Spirit–your right Mind held in trust while you dally with this tiny small part. You see?
And you’re caught by what seem to be your accomplishments. And you’re caught by the ego hit that you get from this sense of actual accomplishment, when the fact is, that disconnected from your Source, separated from your whole Mind, there is no way to come to unflawed conclusions. It’s that simple.
This strange position, in a sense, acknowledges your power.
You have power. But your power is present for the purpose of recognizing the Movement of God and acknowledging It, experiencing It for what It is, and by your awareness of It and recognition of what It is being the completion or the wholeness of the Movement of Creation.
… you think you have ACCOMPLISHED what you wish. [And] This strange position, in a sense, acknowledges your power. Yet by distorting it, and devoting it to “evil,” it also makes it unreal.
What does that mean … devotes it to “evil”? Well, it devotes it to what isn’t God, right? Because you’re not connecting with your Source, you’re not connecting with the Father, so you’re connecting with an imagined presence that is not God. And what is not God is not good. What is not God is evil–not a power, not a presence, but an experience you have as long as you exist in a state of denying God and denying your Birthright. Simple.
That experience you get hooked into and you function at odds with the Father and you function in a manner that disallows for your Awakening. That is destructive. And “evil” is as good a word to use for destructive as anything else.
Yet by distorting it, and devoting it to “evil,” it also makes it unreal.
Why? Because it brings everything into the realm of the disconnected orphan mentality, in which nothing is actually happening, because there is no such thing as a disconnected orphan mentality except to the dreamer as long as the dreamer insists on dreaming.
You cannot be faithful to two masters who ask of you conflicting things.
What you use in fantasy you DENY to truth.
In your devotion to your private orphan mindset you are actively denying the Father. You’ve gotten your divorce. You’re happy to act independently. You’re hooked on independence and the hit you get from potentially becoming real and actual and valid in your own right–all by yourself. Well, that’s denying who you Are and it’s denying that you have a Source and therefore, it’s a denial of the Father. It’s not only confused mind it’s insane mind. But even so, insanity is an illusion. So it hasn’t changed You and it hasn’t changed anything that you’re having misperceptions of.
What you use in fantasy you DENY to truth. Yet what you GIVE to truth to use for you is safe from fantasy.
And there are four words there–key words: to use for you. And here again we come to this thing that’s so insulting for the ego, where you have to completely yield to Something else governing you.
What you use in fantasy you DENY to truth.
Your state of independence is a denial of your Birthright and your Sonship, Daughtership.
Yet what you GIVE to truth to use for you …
… what you GIVE to truth so that it might reveal to you what is the truth, so that it might be that which you do not wish to have an opposing perspective about …
… is safe from fantasy.
You see? This is a hard thing to embrace. I know you can catch the idea and then it escapes you. You get a glimpse of it and you feel the truth of it, but it escapes you immediately.
Keep providing the opportunity for the glimpse by considering what we’re talking about, so that it might, by virtue of more and more glimpses cause you be able to be more believing. So that you might arrive at a point where it seems justifiable to just simply stop thinking and listen, so that the true perception can be provided to you, uncovering the true experience of who you Are so that you might take your place as co-Creators with God and be through with the dream–be through with prolonged sin, sickness and death.
Immediate release is the only kind of release you’re ever going to experience.
So, practice the holy instant. Do the two-step with a radical anticipation of truly different perspective and truly different perceptions of the same-old-same-old that uncover that what you thought was the same-old-same-old is the incredible, awesome Kingdom of Heaven, and it’s the uncovering of capacities you didn’t know your mind had, which it’s your Birthright to have returned to you. And which the Holy Spirit–which is nothing more than your right Mind–is insisting on helping you reincorporate.
Don’t get serious about this. Don’t get bogged down with it. Treat it lightly this week. Treat all of these things lightly. Let them be grace-notes in your mind that lift you, buoy you up, allow you to have a confidence to let go more significantly.
And I will look forward to being with your next time.