Jul 9, 2011
Workbook: Lesson 23
Good evening. And welcome to everyone who’s joining us on the Internet.
This is me, Paul. And Raj has said for me to go ahead and say a few words first.
My son, Chris, has said on occasion—when I didn’t feel as though I was as centered as I needed to be—he said, “Hey, you can’t fail or succeed at having a meeting, you can just show up. You’re not called upon to do any more than that.” And so, I’m showing up … I’m showing up because I care and because I do, I do need to connect with everyone.
For the last three weeks Raj has been dictating a letter. It isn’t that it’s taking him that long, it’s that it’s been difficult for me to be willing to hear the letter. It’s still not finished but the letter arises out of my need for answers that I’ve turned to Raj for. And what has triggered the request—the need that has triggered the request—is one that’s well know to everyone who is on our mailing list or comes to the website. And that is that we have, in the last year, purchased a new property—a new house—for the Foundation to function out of and the old one has needed to be prepared for sale and put on the market to sell.
There has not been the means to prepare the house for sale. And so it is almost a year since the new property was purchased and a loan that was made to the Foundation at that time comes due in August. And it was to be paid back by the sale of the house.
Now, this is me, Paul speaking, these are not the words of enlightenment or wisdom and they’re not the result of my having joined with Raj and gotten an answer that has put me at ease. So if everyone thought I have it easy because I’m in touch with my guide … ’tain’t so. There are times that it’s difficult for me to stay in my peace.
Now, it happens that in this last week, both Susan and I have spent time on Lesson 23 in the Workbook. And I’m going to share it—not the whole lesson, but the caption at the top:
“I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.”1
I will read the first sentence because it’s key. It says:
The idea for today contains the only way out of fear that will succeed.
Whew! Have many of you done a lesson and not had the result that the lesson said would occur … if you did not have the result that was supposed to result from having done the lesson?
I know intellectually that I can escape the world I see by giving up attack thoughts and I can understand that that’s the only way. But when I seem to be faced with … well, let’s say, threat, let’s say, a problem that I don’t seem to have the means to address, it’s hard for me to let go of my fear even though I know that my fear is caused by my forecasting a negative event. You see? That’s my attack thought—and then reacting to it.
Now, this is not to say that as I have worked with this lesson I haven’t had periods of peace. But I’m here tonight—it’s time for the Study Group—and I’m not in my peace and I’m not about to give up practicing that lesson.
I’m reminded from time to time, that God is in His holy place and all is well. That’s the truth and that is comforting.
Now because of this need, I’ve asked Raj if there’s anything he wishes to say that we could share, and so he started dictating a letter. I’m going to share what I have of the letter so far. It’s interesting to me because he’s not saying, “we need to drum up some money” he’s talking about—which is a surprise to me—he’s talking about how things work, how the Foundation works, how the work that we do works. No demands, just elucidation.
So, it begins:
Everything single thing that Paul and I do, from the impulse which gives rise to an act, to the action itself, is an unembellished gift of Love. Every single expression of gratitude which is received in return is acknowledged, appreciated and immediately applied to the meeting of needs … the continuance of the gift. In this, the meaning of Gift is realized—rendered actual in the world. It initiates and implements as practical realism the statement, “To have, give all to all.”
It is more than a novel way to conduct business—the way the Foundation works—it is more than a novel way to conduct business. It is no way to conduct business at all!
Business is a pattern of behavior established by mutual agreement to maintain order between those who are unconscious, uninvolved and therefore insensitive. This relieves them … business practices do … this relieves them of the call for care, morality, honor and respect—the Golden Rule—while protecting them from the otherwise inevitable consequences of carelessness, immorality, dishonor and disrespect.
When I say it relieves them of the call, I mean it protects them from having to care for, honor, respect and be moral with others. It protects them from expending the effort it takes. It protects them against involvement, and therefore constitutes a most significant block to Love!
On the other hand, my insistence upon Gift being the center and circumference of our activities, rather than “simple commerce,” unequivocally calls these things into play, requiring a level of involvement and attention one might not have expected or desired.
And I suspect—this is Raj speaking now—and I suspect that this is the case with many who are familiar with how we function. That what I am calling for requires a level of involvement that hasn’t been expected—a participation that one isn’t usually required to participate in.
Why doesn’t the Foundation just charge money? There are so many people who are interested, they’d be glad to pay the money. And then we wouldn’t have to think about it. You see? Then we wouldn’t have to remember. When we want something we just pay for it…yes…yes, well that’s sort of like being an orphan, isn’t it? It’s like, you know, “I can function quite well and carry on in my daily activities without doing the two-step, without going to the extra effort to remember God. I can function just fine without constantly having to be consciously in a relationship where I and the one I’m in relationship are constantly referring back and forth to each other about everything that’s going on. I don’t have to … I mean, that’s like getting married, isn’t it? I don’t have to … I shouldn’t have to do that all day long with somebody who isn’t even my wife or my husband or my children … whew!”
It protects them from expending the effort it takes, it protects them against involvement and therefore—and this is the problem—and therefore, constitutes a most significant block to love.
You see, if we functioned like other non-profits, if we functioned like a business, there could be a lot of activity without any involvement. And that’s really important! Because without involvement, you’re in a state of privacy. And the fact is, that your experience of orphanhood, your experience of independence is because you’ve chosen to be independent, you’ve chosen to be isolated. You’ve chosen not to have to engage in the normal activity of relating with your Source, of identifying with your Source, of letting your Source “flesh you out,” if I may put it that way, and illuminate you in the fullness of who you Are as His Daughter or Son.
Now, my insistence upon Gift being the center and circumference of our activities rather than simple commerce, unequivocally calls these things into play, requiring a level of involvement and attention one might not have expected or desired.
Yet, such is the nature of miracle—a sudden shift of perception.
A sudden shift of perception means a sudden shift of devotion of attention, as well as the shift of one’s object of affection.
Again, a sudden shift of perception means a sudden shift of devotion of attention, as well as the shift of one’s object of affection. Both attention and affection change.
Instead of “self-protection” being the object of one’s affection, it becomes the caring extension of love to another.
Your support of this work blesses others. And you could come at it backwards and say, “Because I care for another, I wish to bless them with this gift.” You see? Where it isn’t your appreciation of the Gift that prompts you to give it, but your concern and your care about your Brother or Sister that prompts you to give it. You see? There’s a connection. There’s love. There’s relationship. There’s the end of privacy and it undoes the most significant block to love, which is the absence of involvement.
And so again, I’m going to read this:
A sudden shift of perception means a sudden shift of devotion of attention…
Now mind you, you’re all aware that the definition of a miracle is a sudden shift of perception. Oh, well that could seem to be a different viewpoint dawns in your mind. And you could think that that’s a private event or it’s something that you could keep private … “Oh, I suddenly have a new perspective—nobody else knows about it yet, but I do.” Well, it’s not a miracle yet … it’s not a miracle yet, because a sudden shift of perception means, in addition to the clarification, a change of behavior.
A sudden shift of perception means a sudden shift of devotion of attention, as well as the shift of one’s object of affection. Instead of “self-protection” being the object of one’s attention, it becomes the caring extension of love to another.
Not self-centeredness … you could say, other-centeredness. Not you on your mind, but someone else on your mind who gets preferential treatment because you care not to be alone, because you care to express your care. You care to let your care be public.
Instead of “self-protection” being the object of one’s attention, it becomes the caring extension of love to another. Then … we’ve got that second thing called attention, then protecting that other’s holiness becomes the new devotion of attention.
It’s one thing to find awakened in you love for your Brother or your Sister. It’s a second step that needs to occur that takes you out of the orphanage, out of the orphan mindset. And that is that because you care about your Sister or Brother, you genuinely feel caring about them. You now find it important to you to protect that other one’s holiness, to stand up for it, to give voice to it, to witness to it, to treat them as though they are holy by loving them and letting that love move into expression. That’s the key.
In this instance I am illuminating this shift in the middle of what has always been called a “business transaction.”
Non-profit corporations doing a spiritual work sell what they have to offer because that allows the wheels to turn that allow production to happen and so on. And also, because it is the time honored standard. You see? And because it relieves everyone of the call to care for, honor, respect and be moral with others and it protects them from expending the effort it takes and it protects them against involvement. You see? That’s really why. It’s much simpler … it’s much simpler.
In this instance I’m illuminating this shift—the miracle, the shift—in the middle of what has always been called a business transaction. That there is hesitancy about this amongst everyone and a confusion as to why it isn’t just business as usual is understandable but unhelpful if a miracle is happening. Important. And this is relevant to every area of life.
Maintaining the status-quo in any respect … maintaining the status-quo in any respect is the great inhibitor of miracles.
You see? So we’re not just talking about doing things in a novel way, we’re talking about doing things in a new way that involves caring about your Brother and then caring enough to protect their holiness.
You know, the amount of leaven used is always disproportionately small compared to the mass that is being leavened. And it could appear to the skeptical that what I am insisting upon doing here is likewise inconsequential at the most, even though it is actually quite significant.
You know, one could say, “Oh, big impact this is going to have. Some little puny Foundation over there in the U.S. is doing things in a novel way. But what effect can that have?” Well you could say, “Yeah, one individual in Galilee only lived thirty-three years, was a carpenter and a preacher of some sort … you know that was a really small amount of leaven wasn’t it. What effect could it have? What impact could it have?” Well, you know the answer to that.
… the amount of leaven used is always disproportionately small compared to the mass which is being leavened and it could appear to the skeptical that what I am insisting upon doing here is likewise inconsequential at the most, even though it is actually quite significant. And it could also appear to be nothing more than a “slight of mind” at the least—suggesting change when none is actually occurring.
Yet, the Course says, “There are no private thoughts.”
Likewise, there are no private affections and there are no private attentions. What gets your attention and affection weighs in the universal balance. If you withdraw your affections from self-protection it is reduced throughout the Brotherhood in those still valuing and practicing it.
Do you see that?
When you withdraw your investment of faith and emotion in it, it lessens the faith and emotion in it throughout the whole group, we’ll say, who have been finding it meaningful. They’ve lost a valued supporter. And so their resolve is weakened by your withdrawal. It’s as simple as that.
So it’s not inconsequential what I’m talking about, if this shift occurs in each one, not just relative to the work we’re doing and the support it takes to keep it going, but in all areas of your lives. You see?
If you withdraw your affection from self-protection it is reduced throughout the Brotherhood in those still valuing and practicing it. And if your devotion of attention shifts to the acknowledgement and protection of your Brother’s holiness, it likewise enriches the affections of all of the Brotherhood in a more conscious union.
You are not powerless. You are not meaningless. And what you believe and put your faith in constitutes you joining with others loving those same beliefs or those same truths. And so it’s important what you choose.
It is a simple truth needing only to be practiced.
The fact that one can feel the inconvenience of the care and involvement which is inseparable from what I am teaching—because giving is the only way he can have what he wants—demonstrates the fact that a simple truth has been revealed and heard.
If it has been revealed and not heard no one would feel the inconvenience of the care and the involvement. And no one would say, “Oh why can’t they just charge something for what they do? After all, with the outreach of the internet they can charge small amounts and make millions of dollars because people will be willing to pay it.” You see? “Oh them … they’ll pay it … them, huh … not me. I won’t have to be involved.” You see? “I’ll pay it when I get my bill. I’ll gladly pay it. But I won’t care enough to do it without the bill. I won’t embrace my Brother and be conscious of my Brother enough to find his holiness worth supporting by making a gift.” You see?
Now am I saying all of this to make anyone feel guilty, or put the touch on their wallet? No! As you can see I’m talking about a miracle. I’m talking about a shift of perception. I’m talking about an inner action, one that gets translated into outward expressions where connection actually occurs, and where isolation is broken, abandoned, not employed, because something else is more important to that one.
The fact that one can feel the inconvenience of the care and involvement which is inseparable from what I am teaching …
… you see, by my saying everything is a gift, you can’t buy it. The only way you can have it is by it being a Gift to you. And Gift must be the arena, the wholeness of the involvement.
The fact that one can feel the inconvenience of the care and involvement which is inseparable from what I am teaching—because giving is the only way he can have what he wants—demonstrates the fact that a simple truth has been revealed and heard. The familiar blocks have been rendered meaningless—and you don’t like it—and growth is required.
Again, perhaps a little bit more than you were considering having to give, a little bit more involvement than you thought you would have to engage in … you know … like growing, like actually changing, like actually adopting a new way of being.
It is consistent with what I am teaching and what the Course illuminates: To take the steps which remove the blocks to love, not complain about them.
Take the steps which remove the blocks to love. Important. You see?
What I’ve been talking about for the last few weeks involves something more than just a shift in your mind. It involves a shift in your behavior and a shift in your motivation. That’s called growing, that’s called change.
It makes sense to change motives and behaviors when truth is revealed and heard, whether the adjustment is “convenient” or not. You see?
Hm-m, a poor little boy learning how to play the piano, his teacher said, “You need to practice harder.” Oh, that’s not convenient. “I wasn’t bargaining for that! That takes a whole lot more than what I planned to give in terms of learning to play the piano. That’s just not convenient!”
“Well, I’m sorry, young man, but if you want to learn how to play the piano, you will have to engage in the inconvenient. And you’ll have to practice harder. You’ll have to practice longer. You’ll have to pay more specific attention to what you’re doing so that you might master the movement or the tone or the grace that’s called for in the music you’re playing.” You see?
After all, new motives and behaviors are the natural result of sudden shifts of perception—of miracles.
And there it is: New motives and behaviors are the natural result, they should be the expected result of sudden shifts of perception.
So … and this is not Paul talking any longer.
The call here is for a new way to be … a new way to be with each other. This is just the focal point, but it’s for you to take into your relationships with everyone. Oh-h, do you feel overwhelmed at the possibility? Well, I understand. But it’s natural to love. And when you dare to do the inconvenient thing, you’ll find your capacity being illuminated to you. And you will not be exhausted by caring, you will not be exhausted by the inexhaustible love that abides in you because the Father is putting it there at every moment.
Now, I will finish this letter with Paul, because I want him to continue to listen for it. I want him to continue to do what feels inconvenient to him to do, because this is valuable learning for him and for everyone else.
As Paul said when he first started tonight: There is a need. There is a very practical need to pay-off a loan and sell a property that no longer serves purpose. It is a good thing to have happen. The property needs to be cleaned up and somewhat refurbished in preparation for sale. And those are the simple facts.
And I’m glad everyone knows. And as soon as the rest of the letter is done, it will be shared with everyone on the web site and by e-mail. And I thank you for taking your time tonight to listen, because this shift of perception is indeed a significant miracle which will reach farther than you can imagine.
I love you all. And I look forward to being with you next time.
Workbook Lesson 23 ↩︎