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Good evening. This is perfect. Just the right size. And it’s no accident that you are the ones who are here. And I am including Paul and Sue in that.
We will continue where we left off last week and read one paragraph and then pass it on. And if as we’re reading, something really sticks in your mind or sticks in your craw, don’t hesitate to interrupt and ask about it.
So we will start with section two of chapter 31 called: Walking with Christ
Walking with Christ1
An ancient lesson is not overcome by the opposing of the new and old. It is not vanquished that the truth be known, nor fought against to lose to truth’s appeal. There is no battle that must be prepared; no time to be expended, and no plans that need be laid for bringing in the new. There IS an ancient battle being waged AGAINST the truth, but truth does not respond. Who could be hurt in such a war, unless he hurts himself? He has no enemy in truth. And can he be assailed by dreams?
Let us review again what seems to stand between you and the truth of what you are. For there are steps in its relinquishment. The first is a decision that YOU make. But afterwards, the truth is GIVEN you. You would ESTABLISH truth. And by your wish, you set two choices to be made each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true. Nor are they different. Yet must we see them both, before you can look past them, to the one alternative that IS a different choice. But not in dreams you made, that this might be obscured to you.
Before we continue…
Let us review again what seems to stand between you and the truth of what you are. For there are steps in its relinquishment. The first is a decision that YOU make. But afterwards, the truth is GIVEN you. You would ESTABLISH truth.
In other words, left to your own devices you would establish truth.
And by your wish, you set two choices to be made…
…by your wish to be able to establish truth.
And by your wish, you set two choices to be made each time you think…
…each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true.
In other words, whenever you think you must decide on anything, you set two choices and neither one of them is going to be true.
Nor are they different.
Whenever you decide… whenever you decide what truth is… whenever you think for the purpose of deciding anything, you can always count on it that the purpose of the decision is to cover your ass. In other words, the purpose of your decision is to make yourself safe—is a defense, in other words.
You would ESTABLISH truth. And by your wish, you set two choices to be made each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true. Nor are they different.
They’re not different because they have the same goal and that is defense.
Yet must we see them both, before you can look past them, to the one alternative that IS a different choice. But not in dreams you made, that this might be obscured to you.
Okay. We’ll let you go next. Did she show you where?
She just went like that.1
What YOU would choose between is not a choice, and gives but the illusion it is free, for it will have one outcome either way. Thus is it really not a choice at all. The leader and the follower emerge as separate roles, each seeming to possess advantages you would not want to lose. So in their fusion there appears to be the hope of satisfaction and of peace. You see yourself divided into both these roles, forever split between the two. And every friend or enemy becomes a means to help you save yourself from this.
Perhaps you call it love. Perhaps you think that it is murder justified at last. You hate the one you gave the leader’s role when you would have it, and you hate as well his not assuming it, at times you want to let the follower in you arise, and give away the role of leadership. And this is what you made your brother FOR, and learned to think that this his purpose IS.
…and learned to think that this his purpose IS.
Unless he serves it, he has not fulfilled the function that was given him by you. And thus he merits death, because he has no purpose and no usefulness to you.
And what of him? What does he want of you?
And who is him?
What could he want, but what you want of him? Herein is life as easily as death, for what you choose, you choose as well for him. Two calls you make to him, as he to you. Between THESE two IS choice, because from them there IS a different outcome. If he be the leader or the follower to you, it matters not, for you have chosen death. But if he calls for death or calls for life; for hate or for forgiveness and for help, is not the same in outcome. Hear the one, and you are separate from him and are lost. But hear the other, and you join with him, and in your answer is salvation found. The voice you hear in him is but your own. What does he ask you for? And listen well! For he is asking what will come to you because you see an image of YOURSELF, and hear YOUR voice requesting what you WANT.
Before you answer, pause to think of this:
Go ahead and pass it on.
Before you answer, pause to think of this:
“The answer that I give my brother is
What I am asking for. And what I learn
Of him is what I learn about myself.”
Then let us wait an instant and be still, forgetting everything we thought we heard; remembering how much we do not know. This brother neither leads nor follows us, but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.
As we continue reading this, I want to emphasize again the impossibility of being alone, the impossibility of independence, the impossibility of sovereignty in which no one else matters to you. This is impossible. And so as we’re reading, I want you to read it with the awareness that you need your Brother. You need your Sister. You need your… you need companions. You need companions because you have adopted an unnatural attitude that says that somehow you can be happy and you can be whole all by yourself. This is a lie. You can’t. And you also can’t adopt an attitude of inclusion or an attitude of embrace. It will be meaningless if you don’t feel the need.
It’s very easy to behave in a friendly way. It’s very easy to go to a social gathering and find ways to fit in and appear to be gregarious and friendly and inclusive, and yet not have touched anyone at all, and not have let yourself be touched at all. It’s possible to go and be lonely before you got there, and be lonely while you were there, and be lonely after you left.
No one is going to get past the flawed experience of reality until they’re willing to feel their neediness—their needing their fellowman. And until you feel the need, you won’t know where the door is to open to let your fellowman in. You won’t know where your door is if you’re not feeling the need. So, as we continue, keep this in mind.
Raj, how is that connected to the idea of the two… of two choices and that there’s a decision to be made? There’s two choices and neither one of them is right. How is that related to… I can see where we give our brother … either… we look at our brother two ways—either as someone to be defended against, or someone who deserves our forgiveness. And that… that forgiveness is actually us forgiving ourselves. But I’m not sure about the first part… the first part of the [concept.]
The two ways—neither of which is true—are when you would use your fellowman for positive or negative reasons.
When you would be friendly to make a gain, or when you are friendly because this one fits your concept of what a decent person is or what a lovable person is—when the fact is you haven’t connected with who they really Are at all—all you are doing is responding to those criteria that tell you in your concept of things that this is a worthwhile person to know, or to get to know. On the other hand, if this person does not meet the criteria—in other words, she’s not a blond, because you like brunettes—you automatically categorize her as one unworthy of your getting to know.
When you are using others to fulfill your purposes, for positive or negative reasons, you are making the same choice, which is not to connect at all with her or with him, but to stay safely secluded in your sieve through which you determine who is worthy or unworthy of your love or attention.
Do you understand now?
Okay. Let us continue…
Because he is your equal in God’s love, you will be saved from all appearances and answer to the Christ Who calls to you.
…you will be saved from all appearances…
You will be saved from the appearances that you have been using as criteria.
And when will we be saved?
Very simply, when you recognize that he is your equal, because he is your equal in God’s Love.
Then there is no greater or lesser than he is your equal.
No judging to be desirable and non-desirable.
That is correct.
Be still and listen. Think not ancient thoughts. Forget the dismal lessons that you learned about this Son of God who calls to you. Christ calls to all with equal tenderness, seeing no leaders and no followers, and hearing but one answer to them all. Because He hears one Voice, He cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only Son.
So this Brother who is your equal is not just your equal, let us say, on the way Home. He is not just your equal as a fellow human being. But he is equal as the Christ—which tells you that you, right here, right now are the Christ—that you are the fullness of what the Father set into motion that looks like you and you had been that from the beginning. And this could never be altered except in the imagination.
And so, when the Course asks you or suggests to you that when you look at your fellowman you recognize the Christ, it isn’t to say, that one is ahead of you, that one is better than you, but it calls upon you to recognize that what you see about your brother is the truth about you so that you might conceive of yourself more truly and thus lift the potential for the relationship much higher than, as someone else has said, your poor thought models would allow.
Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before, and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent.
Hmmm. Read that sentence again.
The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent.
Interesting… without any willfulness expressed on your part, positively or negatively.
The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent.
There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious, and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made.
What might that be? A call that never has been made that you might hear?
You’re asking me?
And you are free to say, “I do not know.”
Well, I’ll give it my best. I believe it means, first of all, that I… that, first of all, it’s my wish to see whatever I’m seeing. And so if I hear a call that never has been made, that would be my wish to see something that would give me the justification for defense or attack. Is that correct?
Indeed. A call that has never been made might be when it appears that someone has thought poorly of you or become unjustifiably angry with you, that colors your subsequent perceptions of them so that when they are not saying anything derogatory, you tend to hear it derogatorily, because that is what you expect to hear. And by translation, you might say, that is what you wish to hear because that is what you are convinced about, about them.
But as the healing of relationships occur, the process brings no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. It won’t argue with you. It won’t try to coerce you. It will melt you. It will melt your resistance. It will melt your commitment to the way you had been seeing things. But it won’t argue with you. It won’t fight with you about the way you had been seeing things and how wrong it was and how false it was.
When there is the willingness to see the Christ in each other, because somewhere you have heard and then you have come to feel that the essential being of your fellowman is the very Presence of God and therefore the Christ, that opens the door for spontaneous dissolving of the wishes you had to see them differently.
Sometimes you wish to see another untruly because they seem to have something you don’t have and you’re jealous. And so you get angry at them for your lack and you hold them in that vision. It is your wish to see them as terrible because you think you can’t have what they have. And the problem isn’t with what they have but with your belief that you are not the Christ, that you are not as worthy as they are, and that therefore God has short-changed you. But rather than being mad at God you get mad at them and hold it against them. I’m not singling you out and I’m not illustrating an actual example that’s true in your life.
But the key here is that as the willingness to recognize the Christ in your fellowman occurs, the means by which you held a distance between them—between yourself and them—melts spontaneously without coercion being applied. And you know what? That always feels like being loved. When your thought is transformed without coercion and without making you feel stupid, when it happens for no good reason and you have come into a new point of view that blesses you and blesses them, you always feel loved. You will always feel honored, you might say, honored by the process. And that tells you something of the nature of God, and it tells you something of the nature of Awakening. At every point you will find that it confirms your dignity, confirms your value in a way that doesn’t escape your attention.
Nothing will hurt you in this holy place, to which you come to listen silently, and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want, and that were never true.
Forgive your brother all appearances, that are but ancient lessons you have taught yourself about the sinfulness in YOU. Hear but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is, and of what you must be. He is afraid to walk with you, and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead, would be a safer place for him to be. Can YOU make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back, and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey’s goal, which is but to decide to walk WITH him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go TOGETHER, not alone. And in this choice is learning’s outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.
Wow, such a sentence.
And in this choice is learning’s outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.
So, how has the Christ been reborn to both of you? It is reborn to both of you when you choose to walk together. This is very important. It can’t be reborn to you as long as you are maintaining any degree of separation—of distance. It can’t be reborn as long as you are practicing defense—self-protection. And so if you would find the Christ reborn in you as your conscious experience of yourself, you’re going to have to find a way to dare to be innocent with your brother or your sister. I do not mean innocent of bad behavior. I mean being present with them innocently. Being with them without preconceptions. Being with them without ancient hatreds. Being with them without holding the past between yourself and them.
The Christ can’t be reborn in both of you until you feel the need for each other and let it happen—meaning, let the need be felt and then proceed together, giving each other the benefit of the doubt constantly, caring enough to hang in there through whatever might come up in the process of both of your finding out even more clearly how completely you are the Christ.
But, you see, it’s interesting… you can’t be the Christ independently. There is no way to stand up and say, “I am the Christ.”
Exactly… I alone.
The only way your Christhood can be your conscious experience of Being is when you allow for the possibility of the Christhood of your brother, and even more, stand in confirmation of that truth about your brother. You won’t feel it until you dare to be defenseless with a brother who you were convinced was your opponent or your enemy, or even just someone you didn’t know too well but didn’t care get to know any better either—whatever is being used to keep a distance will block that birth in your conscious awareness of what it means to be the Christ.
Because, you know, what it means to be the Christ isn’t at all special. It isn’t glorious. It’s experienced at a much more fundamental level. It’s experienced as the ability to be unafraid with your brother, as the ability to be genuinely present with and on behalf of your brother. Being the Christ is experienced not as a high but rather as a deep calm, out of which an unimaginable Love can come forth and be expressed no matter what has gone on before, no matter what even might be going on in the moment that this extension of Christhood is being made.
Sometimes when you see and feel the Christ in another, that other one may not yet be feeling it and may not be behaving consistently with the peace and the calm and the genuineness and the love that’s coming forth from you and which you have no doubt whatsoever is the same fundamental truth about them. But because the Christ in you has been awakened, their behavior doesn’t push the buttons that it used to when you were not coming from that place of the Christ reborn in you. And so whether it’s seen by them as something that allows them instantaneously to give themselves permission to feel the Christ of themselves, you are a benign presence—a benign but meaningful presence—that you might say fertilizes the territory, nurtures the territory in which the other one is feeling uncomfortable, and makes it viable, makes it liable to the discovery of their Christhood for themselves.
Let us continue.
An instant spent without your old ideas of who your great Companion is and what he SHOULD be asking for, will be enough to let this happen. And you will perceive his purpose…
Ah, so simple. An instant. Not an hour. Not a month. An instant spent what? Absent your old ideas. Absent your old concepts. An instant of having abandoned your convictions about who your great companion is and what he should be asking for, will be enough to let this happen.
And you will perceive his purpose is the same as yours. He asks for what YOU want, and needs the same as YOU. It takes, perhaps, a different form in him, but it is not the form you answer to. He asks and you receive, for you have come with but one purpose; that you both may learn you love each other with a brother’s love. And as a brother, must his Father be the same as yours, as he is like yourself.
Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you. Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no-one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you HAS the light.
It would be well to write that on a piece of paper and hang it on your refrigerator door.
…He Who travels with you HAS the light.
That’s not what you believe. That’s not what you are conditioned to think. That’s not what everyone’s bad behavior, which occurs as a result of their being ignorant of the fact that they have the Light, teaches you. And so it is well to have a reminder that you can see every day. You might even put it on the wall across from your toilet so that you will be sure to encounter it at least once a day, so that you can remind yourself that there is something more going on in your fellowman than his conditionings and his firm convictions that he has come to, based upon inadequate information about you or about people in his life. So that you might be reminded that no matter how another presents himself or herself, the presentation is probably not coming from a place of groundedness in what is true about them, and therefore you would be foolish to treat their presentation as though it were true, even if they’re firmly convinced of it.
Because until someone begins to dare to have a vision different from the status quo, there is no way for a clearer light to penetrate the beliefs and the conditionings—there is no way for you to be an agent for change in another’s life. So you must be willing to take the unusual and perhaps radical stance that not only is your brother the Christ and your sister the Christ, but he or she has the Light. What Light? What Light? What Light does he or she have?
The Christ Light.
And what difference would that make to you?
If you were the only Christ, I mean if there was not some other Christ to be looking at, boy, that would be pretty dull. You know, that would be an empty thing.
I mean even if these gurus, these self-professed gurus that say… that are talking about how “they are the ones that know” and everybody else had better listen to them, they must be having a pretty bad time of it, because they don’t get to enjoy all this reflection that could be coming back to them. I think about that a lot, you know.
That is exactly the point that the Light your brother has is the Light that illuminates you. The Light they have is the Light that blesses you and helps you realize your Christhood. The Light they have is the Light that shines the way for you.
Whether they recognize it or not.
That is absolutely correct.
‘Cause there could really be such a thing as lack if somebody had it and somebody else didn’t.
That is correct.
And that’s the whole imbalance that we’re dealing with is that there could be something or someone that didn’t have the truth about it, even though it may be shrouded by an ignorance currently held.
That is correct.
To see through the ignorance is seeing through the veil, isn’t it?
And not believe it. That’s the hard thing is if they’re believing it and throwing it up. And it can look real interesting even. And that’s been holding us all in check here–playing with that.
You see, no matter how you perceive yourselves, no matter how ugly your determinations have become about yourself, you still can’t stop being the Christ. You cannot alter what God has set in place as You. You cannot alter it from His intent. And so, in spite of the imaginations everyone gets involved in, all of you continue to be the Light for each other.
And so, even in your ignorances, you bring into play exactly the things that illuminate the points at which you’re ready to grow. And so, when someone is in a particularly morose or critical or depressed state and they express themselves in an ugly manner, you have the option to take what they’re saying as though it’s the gospel truth and respond to them as though they actually are their behavior. And in so doing, not grow at all yourself, and remain stuck in the same place they are… or you have the opportunity to recognize that they are shining the Light on a capacity you have to express more love and compassion than you ever thought you could bring to bear upon an ugly situation, that you have the capacity not to react from the hip—from habit. It provides you with the opportunity to discover your capacity to stand with them in their dark moment, without confirming their dark moment to them. And by virtue of not confirming it to them, providing them with a face-to-face provision of the fact that there is another way to look at what they’re looking at, whether they opt for it at that moment or not.
You see, every single fight, every single argument, every single testy relationship is really two Christs being the Christ with each other, even though both of them are seeing themselves and what is happening through a twisted dark glass, you might say. But because they are the Christ, and because they have the Light, and because that Light is shining on both of them—you might say from opposite directions—there is always the opportunity for a breakthrough in one’s perception to discover the opportunity to be the Christ that you Are. And that’s why you must always approach your relationships from the standpoint of there being a need to feel needy, that you need your brother, because if you need your brother, your brother needs you.
And if your brother needs you like you need your brother, then his or her obtuse behavior is a call for that which isn’t being experienced at the moment. And if you know you need your brother as much as your brother needs you, then you know at the moment that what is called for is the willingness to hang in there with him or with her, with an unwillingness to judge on the basis of incomplete information, on the basis of an assessment of him or her that is anything less than that they’re the Christ, that they are at that moment the direct Expression of God just as you are.
Until there is an experience of this need, there won’t be the willingness to help, to be there for them, stand there for them, witness for them even when they’re arguing against your witnessing for them. It is so important, because in the choice to go together learning’s outcome is changed for the Christ has been reborn to both of you. It’s so important to discover that a realization of the truth in your own mind will not whisk you off into the Kingdom of Heaven. You can’t come Home alone. You can’t come Home without connecting with your brother, and not only remembering God but remembering who you Are and who they Are, the Christ.
May I say something?
That statement you just made about it’s not going to… realizing the truth, or something like that, is not going to whisk you off into Heaven, it made me think about the fact that maybe that’s why a lot of us have waited, have hedged on however waking up happens because it’s not a high. I mean you don’t get high from just the acceptance of your brother and this thing you call a deep calm that comes from it. And it’s just coming to me now that that experience is something that we so often, you know, fall away from because we go about the experience of continuing these highs and lies and lows that we’re so used to that don’t give us that deep calm. But they make us somehow feel like something is going on.
Hmm… or seeking for a further high… or a…
…more potent truth.
…or a better guru… or a better teaching.
So it’s easy to decide, “Well, it’s just not worth it to me,” whatever is going on with that other person, or the dilemma possibly where there’s a thought, “Well, I can make a choice here.” I can choose to say, “Well, it’s just not worth it to me,” and then what I’m really proving is that I’m really not worth it. [small laugh] And that’s the kind of hidden thing that’s going on that we just stay just blinded… just blindsided to.
And it always seems like it’s somebody else.
And when you… when the message that you’re not worth it registers with you, then you get mad at them for uncovering this to you.
Right. Because it’s very humiliating. And it dare not be exposed.
Which still keeps you distracted from the discovery that there is a different way for you to look at this, and that you have the choice to look with love. And you have a choice to consider the possibility that there’s more to this other one than you are giving him or her credit for. And that this something more to them is God-derived, and not derived from their prior experience, from their upbringing, from the conditions of the world or from their simple human beingness, that the something more is derived from God just as yours is.
You know, it is impossible for you to treat another differently from how you treat yourself. And so what you do not allow for another, you do not allow for yourself. On the other hand, what you are firmly convinced about for yourself, you will fight tooth and nail to convince another is true for them.
And so often it is worthlessness.
What you’re proving. Yeah. [truth?] acts to yourself.
It is worthlessness. But also the truth you have become aware of about yourself you will hold them to as well, because you do not want them to believe anything less about themselves…
…than you know is true about them. So you cannot believe that you are being mean to someone else, but being kind to yourself.
That you would never treat yourself the way you’re treating them. It’s absolute.
However you treat your brother you are, you do treat yourself that way. And if you will not let them off the hook for something, it is because you will not let yourself off the hook for that same thing under other circumstances. And you will not let them off the hook if you’re going to be held accountable because that’s not fair.
So, how do you get out of the bind of holding another to your best and worst concepts of yourself? By conceiving the possibility that there’s more to you and them than your poor thought models will allow. And that the more there is of both of you is God-derived, and therefore has an entirely different set of criteria than those you’ve been using. You see? Once that is entertained as a possibility—a pretty desirable possibility by all standards—it becomes easier to be a little bit curious and ask God, “How do You see us? What is it You are being here according to an entirely different set of criteria than the ones I’ve been using?” And that’s prayer. And then caring enough about yourself and your fellowman to listen for the influx of inspired new awareness that involve the criteria God is using.
Okay, I will open it up to you.
So it’s the need that establishes the desire for the connection with the other one. And the desire for the connection with the other, with the communion with the other, is the dynamic by which we recognize who we really Are. And without the need, there’s no trigger to do that. We stay with the old criteria without the need.
That is correct. However, as you described it, you left off the initial factor. And that is: Because you never were separate from your brother really, you, in having adopted an attitude that you could be separate and who have come to believe that you are separate, must of necessity feel a lack because it’s your Birthright to be feeling the unity, and you have denied It and believed your denial.
So it is because you are inseparable that you feel, and you must feel a need for each other, if you have adopted autonomy. And in feeling the need, it opens the door for connection to occur and for both of you to remember who you Are. The reason you must feel the need is because your inseparability is the fact that has never changed.
And in order to come back into your Sanity where that unity is consciously experienced, you must go through what the independent autonomous one finds intolerable, and that is feeling a need for another, which means failure at being successfully autonomous. So, the fact that you are inseparable from one another is the reason that one, who has successfully fooled himself or herself into believing that he or she is independent and autonomous, must feel in order to have the Christ reborn, to have the… well, to be very frank with you, to have the element of real Love come into play once again—Love undefended, unpretentious, uncontroling togetherness that occurs because one would withhold absolutely nothing of himself or herself from anything else.
So this need that we speak of, it comes from the root of the fact that we’re all One.
But as one steeped in his own delusion of sovereignty and autonomy, I might interpret that as the desire for communication, the desire for companionship, the desire for help. Is that the misinterpretation or the…
[and here it ends abruptly]
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