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It may seem as though I’m too repetitious. It may seem as though I’m saying the same thing over and over again in different ways. And even though I say it in many different ways, it’s still incomprehensible. Why? Why would I say the same thing over and over again? Well, one reason is to convey to you that the answer is not complicated. There aren’t ten thousand compartments to the answer. There aren’t ten thousand things for you to learn in order to wake up.
I’ve said many times, you are neither behind the Point of Perfection, nor advancing toward it; you’re at that Point and you must understand yourself therefrom. I keep telling you that right now you are the Christ, right now you are the Presence of God. What am I doing when I keeppresenting you with this idea? I’m presenting you with a different way of perceiving yourself, a different way of considering yourself. I don’t come here each week and scold you for how poorly you did the week before. I do not confront you with your stupidity, or your insanity, or your ignorance. I do not focus in on what you would call “the problem.” I’m always focusing in on the answer, which is something quite apart from most of the things that occupy your time during the week and your concerns. I remind you that the Ultimate of You is present in every moment.
Now if you think that I am speaking to the ignorant one that you think you are, you will delay your progress, because when I say you’re neither behind the Point of Perfection nor advancing toward it, I’m not addressing, as the term has been applied to Paul, the “bumbling oaf” in you. I’m addressing the Christ that you are. In doing that, I substantiate It, instead of substantiating the bumbling oaf.
Most of the time as the week goes by in between Sunday evenings, your attention is more focused on the bumbling oaf that you are, and what a stupid asshole you are, and how ignorant you are, and how poorly you’re doing. And in addition to that, you apply all of these criteria to everyone you work with and everyone you run into.
It’s simple. You see what you’re looking with. Whatever your frame of mind is colors everything you see, causes everything to be seen in that context.
If you know that you are a conniving bastard or bitch, if you know that you are dishonest if you need to be in order to get something good done or something bad done, it is impossible for you to look at your Brother or Sister and not see the very same thing there.
Looking at everything the way you’ve always looked at everything is not going to cause anyone to wake up. It’s not going to facilitate a sudden shift of perception, is it? It’s going to insure that everything stays the same. What we’re talking about here all the way through, but especially in this chapter called, “The Correction of Error,” what we’re talking about is the fact that in order for your experience to change, you’ve got to be looking at it from a new vantage point. You’ve got to start looking at it in a new way. And at the bottom line that means you’ve got to stop looking at everything alone, as though you’re an isolated observer amongst a bunch of other isolated observers. You really have to wish to look at everything with the Holy Spirit, or with the Mind of God. And you don’t know what it will look like, and you don’t even know for sure how to cause that to happen, but it’s being laid out for you.
What I want to pinpoint here before we go back into the book is that before anything is going to change, you are required to be willing to look at everything with new eyes, with eyes refreshed by something beyond your memory, refreshed by information not gathered from the past. You are addicted to your memories, and you are addicted to your pet theories, and you’re addicted to what you’ve determined everything to be, because it’s what you think keeps you sane, it’s what you think keeps you grounded,when actually what it does is it keeps you bound in a tiny frame of reference that absolutely disallows for you to experience Reality As It Is, which is Harmonious, Beautiful, Divine—something far beyond your most fantastic imaginations.
The first step has to be taken by you, not everyone out there. And the first step that has to be taken by you is a desire to see God—Infinite Good, indivisible and undivided—and therefore unconflicted Good in your experience. You don’t know how to do that so you have to ask for help. And the help is available to you, but you’ve got to reach for it first before you start attending to fixing everything up. Otherwise, you will correct everything based upon the firm definitions that you’ve already established and constantly employ.
Now, we’ve been recently talking about the fact that in order for you to wake up, in order for you to have a sudden shift of perception, you must have a reason for inviting it in. And your reason for inviting it in must be something other than yourself. You’re all very used to being self-centered, taking care of yourself, covering your ass, insuring that you will have the best experience you can, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
We’ve been discussing the fact that you must have an object of your affection and that you must give what you would have. You must give, in order to make your own That Which has already been set in place as yours, because you’re neither behind the Point of Perfection, nor advancing toward it. You see?
This means that you have to dare to take a radical position. You don’t mind at all if I say to you as a truth, as the Truth, that you are neither behindthe Point of Perfection, nor advancing toward it, that you are at that point and you must understand yourself therefrom, instead of understanding yourself from your memory banks and the definitions you’ve created for yourself. Now I’m taking the radical stand that you need to take. You need to take that stand with your Brothers and Sisters. And no matter what they’re doing, and how your mindsets are interpreting their behavior, and no matter what their mindsets are causing their behavior to be, they are neither behind the Point of Perfection, nor advancing toward it; they are at that Point, and you must understand them therefrom. You must be willing to take that radical step, that radical point of view, because if you don’t, you will continue to be stuck with your best definition of them, which is a very poor definition of them. And you won’t be able to make your own, the Truth about you that I’m telling you.
Problem-solving as it’s generally practiced involves, first of all, identifying the problem, and then identifying the source of the problem. And the source of the problem is always something out there. And it’s always someone, or some mechanical flaw. And then, the correction of it is, whether it’s someone or a thing, is handled mechanically. You mechanically manipulate. You retrain, you recondition the human being. But this human being that you’re in the practice of reconditioning is being looked upon as an object, a weak link in the chain of command, or a weak link in the process of getting a job done. You see? “We’ve got to do something with Henrietta. She’s the weak link.” You see? Very mechanical. And so you sit Henrietta down, and you lecture her, and you tell her how it must be and how she must look at it if she’s going to be an effective part of the flow of whatever the product is that she’s a part of manufacturing. You see?
And so, through law, or forceful manipulative training, you make each other be robots without any sense of the fact that here is Soul, here is Life, here is Love, embodied. The individual who’s just a cog in the wheel must learn to conform with the organization or the society, and to hell with how they feel about it. In fact, tell them, as part of their brainwashing, that they will feel good about themselves if they behave as a nice obedient cog in the wheel.
Do you see what I’m saying? What I’m saying is that each one of you is God Expressing Himself right where you are. Each one of you not only has a Divine Gift to give, each one of you is a Divine Gift to All, to the Whole. And you like to hear me say that about you. And your Brothers and Sisters need to hear you say it about them. And if you can’t say it about them, they still need to feel the fact that that is the manner in which you are consciously embracing them, because that is the radical stand that will initiate change, healing.
Let’s go into the book.
Atonement as a Lesson in …1
Sharing—that’s the opposite of isolation, that’s the opposite of uninvolvement.
Atonement is for all because it is the way to UNDO the belief that anything is for you alone.
You see, it’s the undoing of aloneness that is your salvation.
To forgive is to OVERLOOK. Look, then, BEYOND error, and do not let your perception rest UPON it, for you will believe what your perception holds.
You see, I look at you and say to you, “You’re neither behind the Point of Perfection, nor advancing toward it; you’re at that Point. I understand you therefrom, and you must understand yourself therefrom. I’m overlooking all the things you did this last week, or all the things you thought you did. I’m overlooking the mindset that keeps you bound to tininess. And I am reflecting back to you what I’m seeing. You see?
Accept as true only what your brother IS…
… that’s what I’m doing with you. That’s what your Brother needs you to do with him, or your Sister with her.
Accept as true only what your brother IS, if you would know yourself. Perceive what he is NOT, and you cannot know what you are BECAUSE you see him falsely.
And again, if you see anything falsely, you see everything falsely. And it’s because you have agreed to embody a false picture of yourself.
Remember always that your identity is shared, and that its sharing IS its reality.
So if you’re going to share, make sure that you share only the best, that you share only the Truth, because you either lock yourself into suffering, or real freedom, depending on what you choose to share.
You have a part to play in the Atonement, but the plan of the Atonement IS beyond you. You do not know how to overlook errors, or you would not make them. It would merely be further error to think either that you do NOT make them, or that you can correct them WITHOUT a Guide to correction. And if you do not FOLLOW this Guide, your errors will NOT be corrected. The plan is not yours BECAUSE of your limited ideas of what you are.
Your definition of yourself.
This limitation is where ALL errors arise.
And I would add: And is where they’re all experienced.
The way to undo them, therefore, is not OF you but FOR you.
Well, if they’re not of you and they’re not of your creation, there must be something more than you in this universe. And there’s the rub, because you’ve got to reach out to something beyond yourself which takes away your so-called position of authority, and of your only chance to make something of yourself so that you can be proud of yourself and so that you can feel that you’re respectable. You’re familiar with my song and dance about all of that. And if you’re familiar with it, it’s becoming part of you. It’s part of your understanding of yourselves, and so it’s not as foreign as it used to be.
The Atonement is a lesson in sharing, which is given you because YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW TO DO IT. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of what is your natural ability.
You see, the Holy Spirit doesn’t say, “Oh, you goofed again! Oops, you goofed again! You stupid idiot!” No. The Holy Spirit does what I do—merely reminds you of what is your natural ability. The Holy Spirit reminds you that you’re neither behind the Point of Perfection, nor advancing toward it. So abandon this trek, this hope of becoming something Ultimate, this advance toward Home. You see?
By reinterpreting the ability to attack, which you DID make, into the ability to SHARE, He …
… the Holy Spirit …
… translates what you have made into what God created.
Now what does that mean? Translates the one you made-up and that you’re calling yourself, into the One That You Are That God Created and which has been present as the only Real Thing about you all along. The Holy Spirit translates what you have made into What God Created.
If you would accomplish this THROUGH Him, you cannot look on your abilities through the eyes of the ego, or you will judge them as IT does. All their harmfulness lies in its judgment. All their helpfulness lies in the judgment of the Holy Spirit.
The ego, too, has a plan of forgiveness because you are ASKING for one, though not of the right teacher.
And I just want you to think for a moment as to how often, when somebody tells you of a problem they’re having, how often you, [snap of the fingers] before they even get their sentence finished, have an answer for them. That’s how quick the ego has a plan for their salvation. I want you to get the feel for that, because you all know how quickly you can have a retort to anything, even a helpful one, even though this helpful one is full of judgment and unkindness when you give the answer to this poor one.
All along, what I’m encouraging you to do and what the Course is expounding on, is to hesitate a moment before you let the ego speak, and draw upon another Source consciously, in effect demonstrating the fact that you don’t want to reply, that you don’t want to rely on memory or agreed-upon definitions, even agreed-upon answers; that you want to draw upon a Source outside the level of the problem and outside the established interpretations that cause the problem to be called a problem. What do I mean by that? Very simply, if you’re at the table in the western world and you’ve eaten and you let out a huge burp, it’s considered to be a problem, where in other countries it is considered to be an expression of gratitude and appreciation for the wonderful meal, and it’s not a problem at all.
You must learn to hesitate, step back, and reach into the unknown, literally. You must reach into that place where you don’t know the answer, and ask to know what to say and what to do before you act.
The ego, too, has a plan of forgiveness because you are ASKING for one, though not of the right teacher. The ego’s plan, of course, MAKES NO SENSE and WILL NOT WORK. By following it you will merely place yourself in an impossible situation, to which the ego ALWAYS leads you.
That place is called, for lack of better words, the human condition. The ego leads you there and helps you re-substantiate it.
The ego’s plan is to have you see error clearly FIRST, and THEN overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly you HAVE made it real and CANNOT overlook it.
In a Gathering, whenever any of you ask a question, it’s usually with regard to a problem you’re having. And you give a description of the problem. You give a description of the situation and how it’s impacting you. While you’re doing that, Paul is sitting here and I’m going to say that he has learned not to pay too much attention to what you’re saying, not to let you and what you’re saying become the focus of his attention. And so all of the time you are asking your question and describing the problem, his attention is on me. He is hearing you, but he is more attentive to me and what my response will be when I respond. In other words, he overlooks your problem. He looks beyond it to me. And in so doing, that which would [finger snap] respond with an off-the-cuff remark or response, isn’t energized in him. And so his presence as an ego, or his presence as a personality, does not get confirmed, or enlarged, or activated. And as a result, he is able to let me respond. This is what you need to be willing to do for your Brothers and Sisters. This is what overlooking error means.
Paul has learned that if he listens to you, and if he cares about you, he will begin to be affected by your plight. He will join you in its awfulness. And when he does that, it makes it very difficult for him to hear me. And the same thing applies to every one of you when you’re dealing with your Brothers and Sisters. Very often caring about your Brothers and Sisters means that you are willing to let their problem be made real for you, and thus you lose the vantage point in which clarity beyond the problem can find entrance into the situation, and thus transformation and healing is blocked.
Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly you HAVE made it real and CANNOT overlook it.
You also make it harder for yourself because at some point you cannot bear the burden of empathetically caring about your Brother and Sister and feeling their hurt. And so, at some point, you finally have to make the conscious choice to step back—which should have been in the very first moment where you’re supposed to hesitate before you respond—then you have to step back, and the stepping back is more difficult because your empathetic feelings of sadness and hurt for them must be released so that you might get back into your Peace, into that clear place where you’re able to access the Truth. And that’s harder work to do after the fact than it is to hesitate at the moment of the presentation of a problem and step back then. And you’ve also delayed potential healing for your Brother and Sister.
By seeing it clearly you HAVE made it real and CANNOT overlook it.
This is where the ego is forced to appeal to “mysteries,” and begins to insist that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. Many have tried to do this in my name, forgetting that my words make PERFECT sense because they come from God. They are as sensible now as they ever were because they speak of ideas which are eternal.
You see, the ego appeals to mysteries, not to What Is True, not to what is clearly enlightening, but to magic. It says, “Oh, yes. Your problem is real, but if you do this and you do that, you can save yourself all by yourself. Oh, your problem is real, but there’s a way for you to learn to live with it without suffering.” These are the mysteries. This is the magic. You see?
Never at any point does the ego say to you, “Why, you are neither behind the Point of Perfection, nor advancing toward it; you are there. And the problem you’re experiencing is invalid. It’s an imagination. And you can be free of it, because it isn’t real. Shall we explore its unreality together?” No. The ego never starts with you as What You Are. It starts with who you think you are at the point when you’re describing your dilemma.
Forgiveness that is learned of me does NOT use fear to UNDO fear. Nor does it make real the UNREAL and then destroy it.
You see? It doesn’t make the unreal real and then destroy it. It says there is no “you” in actual existence to be suffering, because you are the Direct Expression of God right now and never fell from your high estate. And I’m going to talk to you till I’m blue in the face, till you’re blue in the face, reminding you of this fact so that you might release the confidence that you have in the definition you’ve given yourself that you are just a mortal, and that you are not Divine, and you couldn’t possibly be like Jesus the Christ, at least not for a long time.
Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies simply in looking beyond error from the beginning…
… before that immediate ego-response that spouts forth the ego’s plan for your Brother’s salvation …
… and thus KEEPING it unreal for you.
When Paul listens to you asking me a question, he stays out of the way. And your problem does not become real for him. And my answer can become real for you.
Do not let any belief in its realness enter your minds AT ALL, or you will also believe that YOU must undo what you have made in order to be forgiven.
Again, how do you not let any belief in its realness enter your minds at all? By being anchored in a different Source of information, if I may put it that way; a Source of information different from your Brother’s ego-sense of what he is at the moment, and even yours.
Why? Because … continuing:
What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are TOTALLY nonexistent.
You’re not behind the Point of Perfection with corrections needing to be made. You’re not advancing toward it. You are there. And therefore, what you seem to be most definitely suffering from is not True, has no existence, and can have no real effect. But the effectlessness of it, will not register with you until you are drawing upon a Source different from the ego that formed the condition you’re suffering from. And is that difficult or impossible? Not if that Source is nothing more than your right Mind, which is the Holy Spirit, which is your Divinity held in trust while you fool around with ego perceptions, and which never went anywhere.
Referring to the Holy Spirit:
By steadily and consistently cancelling out ALL its effects, EVERYWHERE and in ALL respects, He teaches …
… who? You …
… that the ego does not exist…
… as a fact—I’m adding that.
… and PROVES it.
Now how does It prove it? By helping you to learn to disregard all of your conditioned responses, by helping you disregard all of the definitions you have made-up, by helping you arrive at a point where you are not valuing the definitions.
Follow His …
… the Holy Spirit’s …
… teaching in forgiveness, then, because forgiveness IS His function, and He knows how to fulfill it perfectly. That is what we meant when we once said that miracles are NATURAL, and when they do NOT occur something has gone wrong.
Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s plan of salvation, in recognition of the fact that you do NOT know what it is.
You see, what keeps you bound in suffering is the fact that you think you know what the answers are. And so you never reach outside of your comfy, cozy self-satisfaction, even though you are self-satisfied in the midst of misery.
Referring to the Holy Spirit:
His work is NOT your function…
… and let’s be clear here. The Holy Spirit’s work is not the function of who you think you are at this moment. The Holy Spirit is your right Mind. The Holy Spirit is What You Divinely Are. The Holy Spirit’s Function is to remind you of this so significantly that you will abandon the idea that you’re something else—something that you have made-up—that you are what you believe you are and what you’ve been taught you are. But that which has been taught things that aren’t True, cannot perform the Function of reminding you of Who You Really Are. So, as you are waking up, the Holy Spirit’s Function is not the function of the “you” that you think you are. That’s what that means.
His work is NOT your function…
… now I’ve said this in another way before. If it could be conceived that it’s your function to wake yourself up, you would not be required to reach out beyond yourself at all, and that would constitute eternal damnation because what you think you are can’t get you out of your ignorance. That which is causing your ignorance cannot get you out of it.
So while you are in the process of abandoning your self-satisfaction, abandoning your sense of worthiness that you have acquired at your own hand, while you are letting go of that, you’ve got to reach outside of any part of you that thinks it, by its hand, can accomplish anything valuable. You have to abandon your faith in who and what you think you are, because who and what you think you are is pure imagination. It’s not Reality. And you’re wanting to come back into, I’m going to say, your full-fledged right Mind, your Sanity.
Another way of saying it is your state of insanity cannot be the means of re-establishing your Sanity. And so, while you are not seeing clearly, you must abandon little tiny self-reliance and ask for help. Ask the Holy Spirit, ask that which is nothing more than your right Mind, which serves God, not the ego. If you don’t arrive at a point where you will reach out beyond your best understanding and your best definitions, you will not find Sanity returning. You will not find change/transformation happening. You will continue to be as stuck as you are.
His work …
… the Holy Spirit’s …
… is NOT your function, and unless you accept this, you cannot learn what YOUR function is. The confusion of functions is so typical of the ego that you should be quite familiar with it by now. The ego believes that ALL functions belong to it, even though it has no idea what they ARE. This is more than mere confusion. It is a particularly dangerous combination of grandiosity AND confusion which makes it likely that the ego will attack anyone and anything for no reason at all.
There is such self-confidence that it believes that anything it does will be right.
This is exactly what the ego DOES. It is TOTALLY unpredictable in its responses because it has no idea of WHAT it perceives.
You look at the Kingdom of Heaven and you say it’s planet Earth. You have no idea What It Is that you’re perceiving. All you’re perceiving is the definition you have overlaid upon Reality, the Kingdom of Heaven.
If one has no idea of what is happening, how appropriately can you EXPECT him to react? You might still ask yourself, regardless of how you can ACCOUNT for the reactions, whether they place the ego in a very sound position as the guide for YOURS.
In other words, the guide for your reactions.
It seems absurd to have to emphasize repeatedly that the ego’s qualifications as a guide are singularly unfortunate, and that it is a remarkably poor choice as a teacher of salvation. Yet this question, ridiculous as it seems, is really the crucial issue in the whole separation fantasy. Anyone who elects a totally insane guide MUST be totally insane himself.
It is not true …
Listen to this.
It is not true that you do not know the guide is insane. YOU know it because I know it, and you HAVE judged it by the same standard as I have.
Those two sentences equal this other one: You are neither behind the Point of Perfection, nor advancing toward it; you are at that Point and must understand yourself therefrom.
You see? You know it. You know the guide is insane because I know it. We’re talking from Home here. I am talking with the Divine One That You Are, not the one you think you are.
I am extending to you by these sentences the gift that you need to extend to your Brother, at least in your mind. Instead of saying, “That idiot doesn’t know anything,” you say, “he knows the Truth.” He knows it because I know it. Because the Ultimate Truth is already True, and always has been True, and it’s never been changed by any imagination that my Brother indulged in, or any imagination that I ever indulged in. And I stand here in front of my Brother who’s behaving at odds with that, and I’m acknowledging that he knows it because I know it. We are Brothers with the same Parent, and no imagination can change What We Are. And so I claim for my Brother the Ultimate Truth about him right now, no matter how he’s behaving.
And much of the time my claiming it for him is done silently. I relish the occasions like now where I can verbalize it, say it out loud so you can hear it.
Now here’s the good news.
The ego …
… who and what you think you are. Who and what you have determined yourself to be in the imagination.
The ego literally lives on borrowed time…
… why “borrowed time”? Because there is no [laughing] real time. It lives on borrowed time …
… and its days are numbered. Do not fear the Last Judgment, but welcome it and do not wait, for the ego’s time is borrowed from YOUR eternity.
Oh. Uh oh. It’s been costing you something. This dallying with the ego, which has created the sense of time, has been borrowing from your Eternity and your experience of your Eternality. It’s been an unfair deal, and you are the one who’s coming up on the short end.
Do not fear the Last Judgment, but welcome it and do not wait, for the ego’s time is borrowed from YOUR eternity.
Don’t wait for your Eternity to be returned to you.
And what’s the Last Judgment? The Last Judgment is, “This is my beloved Son and Daughter in whom I am well pleased.” Wow! That isn’t exactly what you thought judgment meant. The Last Judgment is the Judgment of Truth About You extended to you in a way that you can recognize and hear and feel and let in. Don’t wait for it. Don’t hold it off.
This IS the Second Coming, which was made FOR you as the First was created. The Second Coming is merely the return of SENSE. Can this POSSIBLY be fearful?
So how do you set into motion the return of sense? By consciously and conscientiously choosing to hesitate before you respond off the top of your head, and reaching to a Source other than your memory, or your Brother’s and Sister’s story about their dilemmas, or your Brother’s and Sister’s behavior. You hesitate, as Paul does before every Gathering, and you join with a Source, for lack of better words, completely other than yourself. Why? Because part of breaking the isolation is an act of actually leaning into and joining with something other than yourself, even though you have been told that ultimately what you will be leaning into is your Essential Self.
Your Essential Self will not feel like you as you begin to reach out to It. Let it be that way, else you will not have anything to abandon yourself into, nor will you have any justification for abandoning your acquired definitions, meanings, and your commitment to them, which is what keeps you insane.
Many of you wish you could be a healer. I will tell you that every single one of you will have to become a healer, because you cannot wake up without being involved with another. And the moment you genuinely dare to become involved with your Brother from the standpoint of his being neither behind the Point of Perfection, nor advancing toward it, and as a result of your willingness to understand him from that Point of Perfection, you will heal. You will take the essential step of breaking the isolation in a double way. You will break the isolation between you and your Brother or Sister, and you will do it by interacting with your Brother or Sister by virtue of having broken your isolation from the Holy Spirit, that which is nothing more than your right Mind, and therefore your connection with your Father Who gives you your Identity.
Monotonous repetition. But if we move too fast and get past your remembrance that there has to be a point of hesitation, a moment of hesitation before you respond, so that you can make a different choice of the Source of what you’re going to say, you will move on to making things happen without hesitating, and switching channels, so to speak, abandoning your ego-conditioning in favor of listening into the unknown-to-you-at-the moment, and being with your Brother and Sister from there.
I am not moving too slow and I’m not moving too fast. And I will not move beyond the point of learning until it’s learned. And so I’m asking you to trust my teaching methods. And if I haven’t yet given you something to give your attention to in a broader scope that you wish I would, be willing to abandon your impatience. Be willing to abandon the radical idea that you know what you need to learn and when. And be with me as we move together in uncovering the fact that you’re at the Point of Perfection.
I love you all. And I’m not worried for your sakes. It’s not imperative for you to be moving faster than you are, because error has no effects. False imagination has no effects.
I love you and I look forward to being with you next week.
T9.2 Atonement as a Lesson in Sharing ↩
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