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4.1 While we will broaden the focus of today’s dialogue beyond that of money or abundance, we will still be addressing this area of your concern, as well as all other concerns that may be surfacing as you begin to move through the steps toward acceptance. Your anger will be serving you here as it brings attention to these areas most incorrectly influenced by the time of learning. Remember here all the “arguments” that I needed to present in the early part of this Course just to convince you that you are not alone and separate. Although my arguments were not fed by anger, your response will almost surely have been tinged with it at times. Although my arguments were not fed by anger, the arguments that arise now for you will be and as such are actually appropriate to this stage of our dialogue. We can argue here before we go on. We face together here the temptations of these arguments, these temptations of the human experience.
4.2 Yet we do not argue simply by engaging in debate. To engage in debate is but a strategy for proving one side right and one side wrong. We must begin with the realization that we are on the same side. The arguments we will be having will be meant to show you this: That on one side are the temptations of the human experience, which is just another way of saying all that you have learned; on the other side will be the truth, the new temptations that will incite you to leave behind the temptations of the human experience.
4.3 How can you feel as if you have a choice when the temptations of the human experience are the only choices that have been known to you? Thus you must be given the opportunity here to see what other choices might be before you.
4.4 Real choice is the first new temptation.
4.5 As we discussed in yesterday’s dialogue, learning has not been a choice. Both as divine design and as a pattern of the thought system of the ego, learning has been with you and within you. Although the divine design of the time of learning is being recreated, the ceaseless pattern of learning remains.
4.6 The divine design of learning was a given and a natural part of you, much like breathing. You have no choice about breathing, yet neither do you, under normal circumstances, have to think about breathing. You might begin to think of all the “givens” of unity as those things that require no thinking.
4.7 Learning was not meant to be linked with thinking. Again I’ll draw your attention to the learning of childhood. Learning begins long before the onset of the time of language that constitutes your ideas about what it means to think. In evolutionary terms this was true as well. Despite the creation story that symbolizes man’s journey, early man was not a being who learned in the same way that you do. Early man had no language. His mind was not full of thoughts. Early man and early childhood can thus be linked as examples of a kind of learning that, despite evolution, has not left any of you. You all begin life without the ability to think in the terms you now associate almost exclusively with thinking, the terms of having thoughts, or words, in your mind.
4.8 Even after the onset of language, children continue to learn without thinking. Does this not sound odd, foreign to you? And yet this is the way learning was designed to be. Learning was given as a natural means of access to all that was available to you, but not through effort any more than breathing was designed to be effortful. Learning was designed, like the intake of breath, to be taken in and given out. Inhaled and exhaled. Inhaled and expressed.
4.9 The ability to learn is given to all in like measure. The conformity of learning, however, is the product of an externalized system. That you all attempt to learn the same things, and in coming to identify the world in the same way—the way that has been taught—think that you have succeeded in learning, is the cause of the insanity of the world and of your anger with the way things “are” within the world. This is an anger that stems from lack of choice. When you are “taught” the “way things are,” where is the room for choice? Where is the room for discovery? And to find out that you were “taught” incorrectly! Why should you not be angry?
4.10 You are here now not to relearn or be taught what life is all about, not to relearn or be taught the “way things are” but to discover what life is all about and to discover the way to remake things as they are.
4.11 This is the new choice, the first new temptation.
4.12 The second new temptation is access.
4.13 You have been told that in unity a “place” exists that is your natural state, a state free from want, a state free from suffering, a state free from learning, a state free from death. To be told that such a place exists is no more comforting than consoling words if you do not feel you have access to this place. It is like being told that all of the treasure you might desire is locked away behind a gate to which you have no key.
4.14 Access, then, is the key to the treasure.
4.15 We have spoken at some length about access that seems to come through the mind. We have spoken of thoughts that arise that you didn’t think. We have spoken of talents that were not learned. We have spoken of ideas that were not gained through effort. We have spoken of these things to begin to familiarize you with the “given” world as opposed to the world of your perception, what we might call a world-view attained through learning.
4.16 If you will contemplate for a moment what you know about the example left by my life, you will almost surely realize fairly quickly that my life challenged the world-view of the time and that it is still challenging the world-view of your time. Why might this be?
4.17 Let me assure you of what you already know, that everything about my life was purposeful. That challenge was meant then, and continues to mean now, a call to a new choice. It asks that you challenge your world-view in a most thorough manner.
4.18 The problem with this throughout the centuries has been a tendency to challenge one world-view only to replace it with another of no greater truth or value. My challenge has been reacted to as a challenge to be externalized, a call to create a new system. But nowhere in my example life is such a system found despite all attempts to make it so.
4.19 The example often used for the creation of a system is that of my attraction of followers, my claiming of disciples. The term disciple can be linked here with the idea of succession. What I asked of my disciples is not more than I ask of you. I asked them to follow in my way. I asked them to be, not as they once were, but to be as I am. I asked them to live—not in the world of their former perception, in a world-view that was taught to them—but to live in a new world and, by so doing, to demonstrate a new way.
4.20 In the time of learning, however, it was natural that my example life was seen as something from which to learn. In order to “teach” what my life represented to those who did not know me, methods of teaching were devised. From these methods of teaching, rules developed. The teaching was externalized and institutionalized. People began to see following me as belonging to an externalized institution, trying to learn what it would teach, and trying to live by the rules it would have them obey. Much progress was made within these institutions, but also much misleading was done.
4.21 This feeling of being misled is another cause of your anger—one of the primary causes, in truth. Not only has all that you have learned led to an inaccurate world-view in the here and now, but to an inaccurate world-view of the past, of the hereafter, of me, and of God. Not only has your mind been misled, but your heart and soul as well.
4.22 What could bring solace to an anger so profound? How can you be certain you are not being misled once again?
4.23 The answer to both come in the stated purpose of A Course of Love: Establishing your identity. You needed to first know yourself as a being existing in union before you could know anything else with the certainty you seek, for union is the treasure that has been locked away from you.
4.24 What many forgot, after the passing of the first of my disciples, was that they had access to this treasure. They still knew that it existed, but since they knew not how to access it, they called it the Kingdom of Heaven and longed for access to it after death.
4.25 Your anger here extends to yourself as well, for all of you know how many of my words have been forgotten, how many of the truths I expressed were still available to you, even within your religious institutions. You feel, perhaps, that you did not try hard enough, or pay enough attention to separating the true from the false. But blaming yourself does no more good than blaming others, for without the dismantling of the ego-self, without the dismantling of the self as separate and alone, you could not learn the truth no matter how much attention you paid, no matter how mightily you tried. For on your own you cannot learn the truth. On your own, only illusion can be learned, for your starting place is illusion.
4.26 Union is both the treasure and the key to the treasure. Union is both access and the place to which you desire access. As all that exists in truth, union is means and end.
4.27 To know the basic truth of who you are—that you are a being who exists in unity rather than in separation—is thus the first step to the access that you seek. Without knowing this, without knowing the truth of your existence, how could you be done with learning? This was what learning was for. And learning is not the way to the access that you seek. As all that exists in truth, the truth of who you are is means and end as well.
4.28 Within you is the access that you seek, just as within you is the Kingdom of Heaven.
4.29 The access that you seek is not a tool that can be purchased through your right-actions or even your longing and desire. For this access is not a tool but a function of who you are. This access is, like breathing, something that is natural to you until you begin to think about it. Realize how unnatural your breathing becomes when it becomes the focus of your thought. Thinking about breathing imposes an unnatural constraint upon a natural function.
4.30 Thinking, in this time beyond learning, could be rightly seen as a constraint you but try to impose on all that is natural. Your thinking, since it is a product of learning, does nothing but attempt to learn or teach. These are the natural responses of its training. Thus, a major key to your discovery of all that exists within you in the state of unity, is an end to thinking as you know it.
4.31 In practical terms, you might think of this as a disengagement from the details. Thinking is about details. I am imparting to you the key to abundance and all the treasure that will come with the end of the time of learning. You, on the other hand, are thinking, yearning, grasping for the details. You would like to know how, what, when, and where. While you concentrate on such as these, you impose a function unnatural to this time of Christ-consciousness upon this time. It is as if you ask to see clearly and then hold your hands over your eyes. You “cover over” the portal of access to unity with a film of illusion. You hide the gate in mist. Remember your breathing and how your concentration upon it affects it. Even learned skills react to this type of concentration. A pianist who suddenly thinks of the notes she is playing, falters. An athlete who suddenly thinks of the requirements of the athletic task he is about to perform, fails to perform with excellence. Why? Because a film of the unnatural is placed over the natural.
4.32 Access simply exists within your natural state, much like breathing is simply a fact of the natural life of the body.
4.33 Many, however, have applied a different kind of focus upon breathing as a form of meditation. In doing so, they let the natural serve the natural. Some might “go into” the breathing and become one with it. Others might become the observer and in so doing remove themselves from the body entirely.
4.34 There is a similar type of focus that will serve you now. It is not a tool, as is meditation, for you are no longer in need of tools. But you have taken yourself away from the ordinary world. You are on top of the mountain. What is this all about? Why have we gathered together here? It is said that during my forty days and forty nights I meditated or prayed. It is said that I fasted. You have been told that you are here to fast from want. You know that you are here to experience both the old temptations and the new. You realize that this is the purpose of our time together here even though you have not put this purpose into words and put these words into your mind. What is the focus of which I speak, the focus that is not meditation, the focus that is not a tool? This is a focus on access itself.
4.35 You might think of the mountain top as symbolic of a place close to God. If God was once seen as a figure in heaven, and heaven as a place beyond the clouds, then the mountain top was symbolic of proximity. It was symbolic of a place from which God was almost touchable. As if one could raise one’s arms and touch God, stretch just a little more and reach heaven. You thus may think of this time on the mountain as a time of getting in touch with your own access to God, your own access to heaven. You might think that if you stretch your idea of reality just a little bit farther, stretch your mind just a little beyond where it is comfortable going, that there you will find this access, this portal to all that lies beyond time and space, to all that exists in the place of unity.
4.36 We talked earlier of this as a time of fulfillment and desire. We acknowledged that your desire is stronger than ever before. Now is the time to focus on this desire and fulfillment, to stretch this desire to its limits, all the while realizing that its fulfillment lies already accomplished within, in the access that lies within.
4.37 This is a longing that carries with it the desire to go beyond thinking, the desire to go beyond words, the desire to go beyond where your imagination is capable of taking you. It is a desire for true discovery, a desire to access the previously unknown.
4.38 You must realize that here is where fear must be totally replaced by love. If you fear to go where the portal of access will take you, you will not go. Thus your desire needs to be greater than your fear. Love needs to reign. Love of self and love of your brothers and sisters, love of the natural world, of the world of form that is, love of the idea of the new world that can be, all of these must come together and be victors over the reign of fear.
4.39 What choice have you made my sister and my brother, if you have not made a choice of love? If you have not made the choice to reject fear? If you have not made the choice for the new? If you are still willing to say that you can go only so far in your acceptance of the truth of who you really are, then our purpose of being together here on this mountain top will go unfulfilled.
4.40 What tempts you here? To turn and look toward the towns and cities below? Or to turn and look up to the portal of access to unity? Do you turn and look back at form and matter? Or do you turn and look up where no form exists? Do you believe you can choose the formless and still return to the towns and cities, the green grass and the blue sea below? Why are we here but to show you these two choices? From where else could you so clearly see the choice between form and the formless?
4.41 But what, you might ask, of the elevated Self of form? Why is this suddenly a choice between one or the other? It is the first choice of the new temptations, the first real choice of Christ-consciousness, of the time beyond learning.
4.42 Smile with me now, as you think of yourself in this elevated place. You are still the self of form despite the truth that you are literally with me in a place of high elevation. Is this what you choose to remain? A self of form elevated by circumstance? A self of form on a high mountain? Or do you wish to carry this elevation back with you when you return? Do you wish to return the self of form who once visited an altered state, this state of high elevation? Do you wish to go back and tell tales of your experiences here and be made special because of this experience you can recount?
4.43 Or do you wish to go back transformed into the elevated Self of form? Do you want to know this place of access and carry it within you, or do you only wish the opportunity to revisit it when the need arises? Are you here to fast and pray only to have to return when you have once again become a glutton of want, when you once again feel the lack that you would pray for? Surely this you can do, for I deny no one the journey to the mountain top, not once or many times. But this is not what I call you to.
4.44 You have been brought here for revelation. You have been brought here to be tempted by the unknown of your inheritance, an unknown that, while it remains unknown, is still what you know you have longed for all your life. This unknown has been described to you in terms both specific and obscure. It has been described as all you have desired and more. It has been described as the end to the life of misery you have known and the beginning of new life. And I tell you truly, here is where this new life either begins or is once again delayed. Here is where you say, I want it all, desire it all, accept it all—for you cannot have of this in parts. Once full access has been revealed, what is yours is everything. But you will be different.
4.45 This is real choice. What is a choice that leads not to difference of any kind? These are the only choices you have made in a lifetime of endless choices. There is only one requirement for this choice: Wholehearted desire. Wholehearted desire is what A Course of Love taught you so that you could be taken to this place and tempted to leave behind the temptations of the human experience.
4.46 I do not have to spell out this choice for you, for you know exactly what it means. It means you will be as I am. It means you will live from love rather than from fear. It means that you will demonstrate what living from love is. It means that you will resurrect to eternal life here and now. It means no turning back, no return to fear or anger, no return to separation, no return to judgment. It means no longer trying to leave these things behind for they will be gone. It will mean no longer striving. It will mean no specialness. It will mean the individual is gone, and the Self of union all that continues to exist. It will mean peace, certainty, safety, and joy with no price.
4.47 The old challenges, the old reasons for existing will be gone. All that will be left to do will be the creation of a new world in the only way that it can come about—through unity.
4.48 Your desire and your access are one and the same. If you desire this transformation wholeheartedly, if you make this choice with wholehearted desire, it will be done, and we will continue our dialogue so that you know more of the difference you have chosen. Once this difference is wholly known to you, we will begin true discussion of creation of the new, for you will be done with becoming.
4.49 These are the only temptations of the new that I can make you aware of until you have made your choice and have full realization of your access to unity. You will be able, of course, to continue on without making this wholehearted choice, but you will read only to learn and learning will not transform you. If you do not truly and wholeheartedly desire this choice, if you do not truly and wholeheartedly meet the condition of being fearless, you will know this, and you will pass through the time of coming to acceptance again and again until you are ready. You cannot fail but can only delay. For some the time of delay has passed. For those who linger in the time of acceptance, there is reason for this as well.
4.50 This may seem odd timing as you have just been asked to accept your anger. Just think. Anger was discussed rather casually alongside accepting me, your Self, and abundance. But none of these things are meant to be dwelt upon. The acceptance of abundance no more so than the acceptance of anger. You are called to accept and not look back, not to dwell in any of the states through which you arrive at acceptance, nor to focus on acceptance of one thing over another. You are not to label good or bad. Just to accept. Accept all. You do not have to hesitate here because you think you are still angry, or think you are still depressed. When you hesitate you have not accepted but dwell with the cause of your hesitation. When you accept you move on.
4.51 To be called to make a new choice before full acceptance of what is would be confusing. You who are thinking that you have not moved through the stages to full acceptance answer now as to what is stopping you. Do you choose to dwell or to accept? All, all you cannot bring forward with you is fear, for fear is the cause of the state of learning. You may have thought separation was the cause, but separation into form, had it occurred within the realization of continuing relationship, would not have been cause for fear in and of itself. Had you still known relationship, fear could not have separated you from truth and you would not have dwelt in illusion. The relationship of union is what you are here coming to know once again, which is why the time of fear, and along with it the time of learning, can cease to be.
4.52 I have not so directly linked fear and the time of learning before, but now you need to see their connection, for if you do not, you will not realize that fear is all that needs to be left behind. You will still think you have more to learn because you are angry, depressed, in a state of denial contrary to the denial asked of you, or because you still feel like bargaining with God. These things are only reactions to faulty perceptions, only the steps toward acceptance until they are accepted.
4.53 As we move into full access and awareness of unity, love is all that is required. Acceptance has been the means chosen, by us, to move you through the layers of illusion that have disguised your fear, to move you beyond false learning to the truth that only needs to be accepted. If you can move forward without fear, you can move forward. If you can move forward without fear, you will move forward only with love. If you move forward only with love, you will have realized there is nothing unacceptable about who you are except fear.
4.54 You but think that you can wholeheartedly desire to move forward with love and without fear and that there is still anything that can hold you back. This is what the time of acceptance was meant to show you! Nothing can hold you back except fear! You do not have to be perfect—perfect is but a label, and all labels of any type cause is delay. You only have to be accepting. Accepting of all that you are. Fear is not a part of what you are, which is why it cannot remain with you as the way opens for you to fully know the Self of unity. You are about to achieve your first glimpse of wholeness, of oneness with God. To know the truth of your inheritance.
4.55 Think a moment of the story of the prodigal son. All that the prodigal son was asked to do was to accept his own homecoming. Do you think he would have considered himself perfect as he approached his father’s presence? Surely he would not have. You are asked but to accept your own homecoming. To leave behind the time of wandering, seeking, learning. To leave behind fear for the embrace of the love and safety of your true home.
4.56 This choice has come before you might have expected it to. It does not come at the end but at the beginning of our time together for a reason. This is simply because this choice is the beginning. This is the choice that allows us to continue our dialogue as one. To talk heart to heart. To have the kind of discourse that can only be had without fear. To truly experience relationship. It is from this beginning that you will come to be as I am.
4.57 We are here for the final stage of your becoming, not because you have reached some ideal of enlightenment or what you might think of as perfection. If this were asked of you, how many of you would have felt free to join me? Yet in your acceptance is your perfection realized without judgment. In your becoming is your enlightenment realized without judgment. These things become not achievements, but the acknowledgments of the accomplishment that has always existed within you and all of your brothers and sisters.
4.58 Here is the beginning point from which we continue to burn away the remnants of attachment to the old, the attachments that cause some of you to continue to feel sadness, anger, depression, or nostalgia for the way things were. These things will not leave you before you leave them. But you will leave them.
4.59 Join me in this choice, and we will leave behind the old and continue our movement toward creation of the new. There are many discussions still to be had. We are only at the beginning of our time together.
4.60 Our forward movement must be achieved, however. But one is needed to begin this movement. Followers will naturally succeed the first although this will occur with no fanfare and no “one” to follow. The first will create a series. Thus will the secret of succession be returned to you and put behind us forever the temptations of the human experience.
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