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Well, I’m not going to harp indefinitely on the subject of offense and being offended, but I’m going to invite you again during this coming week to pay attention to the times in which you become offended. I don’t want you to pay attention to what it is you’re offended at, but the fact that you’re engaging in being offended. Being offended is serving some purpose for you. It’s not a useful purpose, and that’s what you all need to become aware of.
You need to become aware of the fact that the act of being offended is a choice you are making. It is not a choice that the circumstances are calling for. Whenever you’re offended, there is another way to look at the situation and there is another way to respond. So you are using the act of offense on purpose.
And I want you to become aware of why you’re doing it. You will always find that when you are offended, you have become defensive. And the offense that you are experiencing is a means of self-protection. But why? The simple fact is that if you indulge in taking offense, you are incapacitating yourself. You are incapacitating your capital “S” Self. You are incapacitating your ability to be an agent for change. You are incapacitating your ability to make a contribution that uncovers God, that uncovers Good.
I want you to pay attention so that you may find out why you are choosing to do that which incapacitates you, rather than that which enlarges your capacities. What purpose is it serving? What is it you’re protecting yourself against? And this is an examination that each of you needs to engage in by yourself with the greatest degree of honesty that you can bring to bear upon the situation. Why? So that you may find out how stupid you are? No. So that you might understand from an experiential place in you that you don’t want to do this anymore, because you do not want to be incapacitated, you do not want to become ineffective, and because you want to wake up.
Taking offense is never justified. It is a use to which you are putting your mind. A use to which you’re putting your mind. And there’s nothing real or genuine about it. It’s so much tinkling brass, even though it feels like you are engaging in something with strength, and being a forceful presence. It is nonsense. It is nothingness. Nothing is happening, all the while you’re offended.
When you’re offended, you’ve lost your peace. Peace is your most valuable asset, because in your peace none of your Good is distanced from you because you are not distancing it from you by withdrawing from it so that you might engage in the private, personal pleasure of being offended. Peace is your most valuable asset. And it’s not an asset like an asset that you acquire. It’s the fundamental ground of your very Being. Peace is that which is utterly natural to you. You can’t get rid of it. You can preoccupy yourself with other things, but you cannot get rid of it.
And in your willingness to abandon reaction, offendedness of any sort—in your abandonment of that—what is left is the peace that was there all along, the undifferentiated Wholeness of you, the Integratedness of you or the Integrity of you, which when you have chosen for it, allows the Love that you are to find spontaneous expression and bless whatever circumstance appears to have occurred that occasioned your offense.
In your peace there is nothing standing between you and your capacity to look at your Brother in the eyes and remember God, or to look at the flower and remember God, to look at whatever you’re conscious of and find Ultimate Good there. And this is your goal. If you are on a so-called spiritual path, this must be your goal. You want to see things truly. You want to experience things as they truly are. You do not want to be befuddled, ignorant, confused.
So you’ve got to stop doing the things that cause befuddledness and confusion. That’s all you have to do is to stop doing those things. You don’t have to start doing something radically different from your very nature, or something so radically different that you couldn’t possibly achieve it. Being awake and experiencing everything as it truly is, is the experience you’re left with when you stop doing all this irrelevant crap: reactions, self-righteousness, offense, jealousy and on and on and on.
So please, for your own enlightenment, pay attention this coming week. Let it be your project to take note of when you are offended. And mostly I want you to start your inquiry about it with the question, “In what way is my being offended at this moment serving me? Why am I using this response right now?” It’s a key question, and it will help to uncover wonderful “aha’s” for you. And the reason for engaging in this practice is so that you can more easily set aside the practice of offense in the future, because it’s so obvious to you that it is nonproductive.
Defense is always an act of isolating yourself from something else. And well, that’s the name of the game, isn’t it, since you got your divorce from your Father. You separated yourself. The nature of existence, the nature of being, the nature of relationships is one of being different from, separate from everything, not like anything else really. And therefore, foreign to, alien to everything else; and everything else is alien to you. And life becomes a matter of somehow making a truce, an uneasy truce with all of this that is alien to you and that you are alien to.
And it’s a silly thing to be doing in the middle of the Kingdom of Heaven with your fellow Christ’s, your Brothers who are the Sons and Daughters of God. It’s a silly thing. And you can afford to look at it in that light-hearted way. “It’s a silly thing to be doing.” The only problem is that it seems to have devastating effects on you and on relationships. It turns Heaven into hell, all because you’re engaging in a silly thing to do. The fact that the effects are so devastating to you doesn’t mean you’re doing something terribly wrong. It just means that you’re doing something silly that has devastating effects until you stop doing it. That’s all.
So become conscious enough during this coming week to actively practice paying attention to when you are offended, so that through this conscious practice of paying attention, you might arrive at a point where you can willingly abandon reacting, being offended. And of course, if you hesitate before you act out your offense each time you recognize that you’ve started to employ it, the immediate experience that you’re in will change.
Remember, all we’re talking about, all we have been talking about for months as we’ve been going through the Course, is experiencing a miracle, a sudden shift of perception, in which, because of the shift, your behavior changes—not just your mind, while your behavior continues. Not where your mind is healed, but your body continues to be sick. Not where you feel love for your fellowman, and yet stand offensively against him because his behavior is calling for it. We’re talking about, well, in biblical terms, becoming a new man, becoming a new woman—which really means [laughing] becoming something refreshingly different from what you have been being; refreshingly different, like the smell of the air after a rain.
This isn’t a head-trip. It’s about actually being conscious enough to experience a sudden shift of perception, and then letting your behavior follow and embody the new perception, the clearer experience of Truth, so that you are not repeating yesterday’s behavior today, or your parents’ or your grandparents’ behavior in your lifetime. We’re talking about changing—being in a new way.
Again, when you find yourself being offended, immediately ask yourself, “Why am I employing this response?” Not, “Why is he or she making me respond this way?”—but, “Why am I choosing to respond this way instead of some other way? What selfish motive or purpose is my reacting in this way serving?”
Okay. Let’s go to the book.
I’m going to back up just a little bit for continuity.
Our mission …
… Yours and mine …
… is to escape CRUCIFIXION, not redemption.
We’re not at all interested in escaping redemption. That’s what getting your divorce from your Father was.
Our mission is to escape CRUCIFIXION, not redemption. Trust in my help for I did not walk alone, and I will walk with you as our Father walked with me. Did you not know that I walked with Him in peace?
There’s that word, “peace.” I want you to walk with me in peace. And I am here to help you walk through your day, and the apparent booby traps that you see, with peace so that you find it unnecessary to engage in taking offense.
Did you not know that I walked with Him in peace? And does not that mean that peace goes with US on the journey?
What journey? The journey back to your right Mind.
Not a journey in time, not a journey back to Heaven, but a journey of beginning to behave in a way that is not a constant denial of your right Mind and a constant assertion of an imaginary mind that has purposes that you have made up for it.
Peace has to go with us on the journey, because we’re not on a journey together when you’re not in your peace. That’s how valuable and important your peace is. You’re not on a journey at all when you’re not choosing for your peace.
Peace is like a greased slide in an amusement park in the middle of the Kingdom of Heaven. And when you choose for your peace, you’re in for the ride of your life that takes no effort from you because it spontaneously and naturally leads you to “Aha!” after “Aha!” after “Aha!”—light bulbs going on all over the place, and greater and greater pleasure in every event of your day.
There is no fear in perfect love.
True. But love escapes you if you’re not in your peace. Why? Because if you’re not in your peace, you’re in a state of self-defense, self-protection. You are anti- “all that is out there that’s going to get you.” And of course, “all that’s out there that’s going to get you” are your Brothers and Sisters and all of the Kingdom of Heaven which you don’t recognize because you’ve said, “It’s all foreign to me. [slight pause] It’s all foreign to me. It’s not like me. It can’t be like me, because if it were like me, I wouldn’t be anything in my own right—and life for me is about being something in my own right.” Well, I will tell you that there can’t be one iota of Love embodied in you when you’re in that frame of mind.
There is no Love without peace. With peace, Love is inseparable from you, and fear is nonexistent. So if you want to be the Presence of Love, you are going to have to choose for your peace in every circumstance where your conditioned thinking tells you that you must be defensive. You must begin to devalue defense, because it is keeping you absolutely ignorant of, it absolutely obscures to you the fundamental ground of your Being, which is peace, which is inseparable from the movement of Love.
There is no fear in perfect love. We will but be making perfect to you what is ALREADY perfect IN you.
We’re going to whole-ize you. Whole-ize you. We’re going to integrate you so that you might experience the “all of you” that has always been present, that couldn’t have been changed—in which the capacity to be afraid is nonexistent.
You do not fear the UNKNOWN but the KNOWN. You will not fail in your mission because I failed not in mine.
Because I did not fail, I did for you and for everyone the only thing that needed to be done. Because once it was done once, it was done for all time. And it was done for you. Therefore, you will not fail in your mission, because all you will be doing is uncovering what has already been done and what has always been true about you. You’re not in some great project of creating a “new you” and of causing some great leap in evolution that lifts you and all of mankind out of some caterpillar level into a butterfly level. You see? We’re not wreaking, wroughting (w-r-e-a-k-i-n-g, w-r-o-u-g-h-t-i-n-g) some great new thing. Rather we’re relaxing back into the simple Originality of you and of Being and of God.
So do not conceive of this, even though there’s a very long book here that seems at times to be complex, we’re not engaging in some complex project. We’re yielding to the way things work. We’re yielding to the way things already are. We’re yielding to the Divine One that you never ever stopped being, even though you took an imaginative vacation in fantasyland.
Give me but a little trust in the name of the COMPLETE trust I have in you, and we will easily accomplish the goal of perfection together.
This is not a place for you to take pride in struggling your way through this “all by yourself” and achieving the fantastic goal without help from anyone. [laughing] That’s a little, standoffish position, wouldn’t you say? Off-putting to all of Creation that stands one with you, and in support of your knowing who you are and what you are and what your purpose is, so that you might find your inseparability from it.
Give me but a little trust in the name of the COMPLETE trust I have in you, and we will easily accomplish the goal of perfection together. For perfection IS, and cannot BE denied. To deny the denial of perfection is not so difficult as the denial of truth, and what we can accomplish together MUST be believed when you SEE it as accomplished.
Well, I can promise you one thing. You won’t see it as accomplished until you break down the defenses that stand between you and me, or you and your Brother; until you abandon your isolation. And I encourage you to abandon it in the presence of one who is Awake—your Guide, or the Holy Spirit. You will see it as accomplished because your Oneness with all things was never broken, never interrupted. So, stop trying to do this all by yourself—as long as you do, you’re maintaining the isolation that’s causing you to have a dream.
You who have tried to banish love have not succeeded, but you who choose to banish fear WILL succeed.
Why will you succeed? Because fear is not actual. Fear is not a creation of the Father, else it would be eternal. Fear is not eternal because it’s the absence of the experience of Love. And it’s the absence of the experience of Love because you have been willing to abandon peace for the so-called invigorating excitement of doing things all by yourself.
The Lord is with you, but you know it not.
“Ooh. Whoop-de-do. The Lord is with you! The Lord is with me! Yeah.” And what is the Lord that is with you? Your right Mind. The Holy Spirit. That of you which you have not been paying any attention to while you’re having so much fun pretending to be an independent authorizer.
The Lord is with you…
So you don’t have to be offended because the Mighty Lord, the one who is so far ahead of you and so different from you, is with you to—out of His Beneficence—give you a wonderful, new experience of yourself. No, it’s simpler than that. It’s your own Sanity. “The Lord that is with you” is your own capital “S” Sanity which hasn’t gone anywhere, and simply awaits your interest, your curiosity, to embrace it once again. When you’re willing to acknowledge “the Lord that is with you,” it will appear that reintegration will occur in which you come into your Whole Mind, in which you come into the state of being Totally Awakened.
Well, now, that takes a lot of the excitement out of it, doesn’t it? I mean, after all, you like to kick against “the Lord that is with you,” the Great Lord that is with you. But, on the other hand, you like the prestige that comes along with “having the Great Lord with you.” And now I’ve just told you that “the Great Lord that is with you” is nothing more than your right Mind. What’s exciting about that? What’s egotistically boosting to you about that? No, it’s something simpler, something less exciting, something so utterly natural that, to your ego, it doesn’t look at all interesting.
Thank God it isn’t. Thank God it isn’t any more complicated than that. Remember this so that you don’t project out in front of you on your path of Awakening some humungous effort that you’re going to have to put forth.
And then, simply because your experience of life right now isn’t too much fun, try it. Try yielding into your right Mind. Try letting in the Lord that is with you.
The Lord is the Lord. The Lord is meaningful. The Lord is significant. The Lord is your Savior. But what is so wonderful about the Truth is—Truth with a capital “T”—is that the Lord that you are to yield to, is your very own Being, with a capital “B”. And therefore, once you grasp this fact, you can see that you’re not yielding to anything foreign.
And in fact, you are yielding to that which has apparently been artificially split apart, creating an unreal experience that isn’t the happiest experience. And you can see that all it takes, at least intellectually to begin with, you can see that all it takes is a simple reintegration with your very own Being—which is an utterly intelligent thing to do and costs you nothing. Any of you can do it at any time, without money, without possessions, without anything outside of your mind.
The Lord is with you, but you know it not. Yet …
Here it is …
… your Redeemer …
… the Lord is significant. Your right Mind is significant.
… your Redeemer liveth…
Oh, yes, the oratorios and the Christmas music. “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” And you all look off to me; off into the place where the Redeemer will return through the skies. No.
Yes, your Redeemer liveth right in the middle of you. And your Redeemer is nothing more than your right Mind.
Yet your Redeemer liveth, and abideth in you in the peace out of which He was created.
He who? He you in your right Mind.
… your Redeemer liveth, and abideth in you in the peace out of which He was created. Would you not exchange THIS awareness for the awareness of your fear?
You have to stop and think about it, don’t you? “Well, what’s in it for me? Will it give me the advantage? What’s it going to mean? Well, I’m not really sure. I think I want it. I like the idea of Awakening, but do I have to exchange my awareness of fear and the exhilaration I get from employing it?” ’Cause you employ fear just as you employ offense. “Do I have to give that up? The excitement of it, the not-knowing of it, the unnerving aspect of it that keeps the adrenalin flowing and makes me feel like I’m alive? You mean, you’re asking me whether I would be willing to exchange all of that for the boredom of peace and the sweetness of love, and nothing else?” You see?
Would you not exchange THIS awareness for the awareness of your fear?
Well, the simple fact is that you’re so familiar with dealing with your fear without letting go of it. See? Wanting to change without having to stop doing what is causing you your suffering. You’re familiar with it. And it doesn’t call for you to embrace anything new and unsettling. [laughing] You already embraced something imaginatively new and unsettling—and you call it “the human condition,” which is a hell of an experience.
You’ve got to arrive, you will arrive at some point at making the choice to exchange this awareness for the awareness of your fear. You will. But you don’t have to delay.
When we have overcome fear, not by hiding it, not by minimizing it, and not by denying its full import in any way, this IS what you will really see.
So you not only have to realize that your right Mind is your Redeemer and is significant, you’ve got to realize that the fear and the offense that you employ also is significant; not significant because it’s a real oppositional force in the context of Creation, but because it seems to absolutely blind you to the Truth.
So you’re not going to be able to awaken by denying the full import of fear. You’re going to have to take a look at it so that you might see that it is devastating; so that you might see that employing it is costing you dearly. Not so that you may see it as an evil oppositional force, but so that you may see it as an unintelligent, ignorant practice of imagination that isn’t really getting you anything or anywhere at all—that it’s a useless, meaningless activity—so that you will see it as useless to continue to employ it. When you see that it serves you not at all, you stop doing it, whatever it is. This is important.
You cannot lay aside the obstacle to real vision without looking upon it, …
That’s why I’ve said, during this coming week, continue to pay attention to when you employ taking offense. Look at it squarely and ask yourself, “What am I getting out of employing it? What selfish, self-seeking purpose is it accomplishing?”
You cannot lay aside the obstacle to real vision without looking upon it, for to lay aside means to judge AGAINST.
I put out a bowl of apples and oranges on the table between us, and I say, “Would you please give me all the apples?” And you go through, and it’s called “sorting out.” You don’t call it “judging against.” You “sort out” and you hand me the apples.
And there is something left in the bowl: oranges. “They didn’t make the cut, poor things; they got judged against and left behind.” But they were simply recognized as not being apples, and what was asked for were apples.
You cannot lay aside the obstacle to real vision without looking upon it, for to lay aside means to judge AGAINST.
It means to discern the difference between and not select. It’s called “perspicacity.” It’s called the capacity to distinguish and see what fits where. And if you’re going to make apple juice, you don’t squeeze oranges.
You cannot lay aside the obstacle to real vision without looking upon it, for to lay aside means to judge AGAINST.
If YOU will look the Holy Spirit will judge, and will judge truly.
If you will look. And the essential thing is for you to look with the Holy Spirit. Look at what is offensive to you. Look at the reaction you’re having and ask yourself, “What self-serving, selfish purpose is my employment of taking offense serving?” Now don’t ask yourself that question; ask the Holy Spirit. Stand there and invite the Holy Spirit to answer that question for you.
If YOU will look the Holy Spirit will judge, and will judge truly.
We could say: If you look by yourself, you will judge, and you will judge falsely.
… the Holy Spirit …
… cannot shine away what YOU keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him, and He cannot take it FROM you.
Your right Mind cannot take from you your ignorance until you show your ignorance to your right Mind for the purpose of having your ignorance about whatever it is, taken from you because the Holy Spirit has uncovered what is true there where you were having a false perception.
We are therefore embarking on an organized, well-structured and carefully planned program aimed at learning how to offer to the Holy Spirit everything you do NOT want.
Well, you didn’t know that “being offended” was something you didn’t want. [small laugh] “Being offended” was a handy tool to use to confirm your righteousness, which is essential to your becoming a divine being. You didn’t know that it was an inappropriate use of your mind, and that you didn’t want it.
And so the Holy Spirit, like me, works with you to uncover to you what you don’t want, but which you didn’t know you didn’t want. And that’s why you can’t wake up by yourself—because you don’t know what you don’t want. You don’t realize what isn’t working, because in your twisted perception, you think that the dissonance of life is really a divinely-placed catalyst for you to learn to practice how to be divine and gain dominion over it so that it is no longer threatening to you. And as a result, you lock yourself into an ongoing tension and conflict which you value highly because you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s refining your soul. That’s how caught you are, and that’s the kind of darkness you’re caught in. And you need help to be able to disentangle yourself from such convoluted thinking.
Now the way I just described it might cause you to think that there’s no way you’re ever going to get out of this kind of complexity. But, as I said, I have done it. And I have done it for you. And none of you has to break new ground in order to wake up. The breaking of new ground has been done, and it doesn’t have to be done again. The path is unobstructed.
Ask for help from me. Ask for help from the Holy Spirit; that which is nothing more than your right Mind, but which is your Redeemer. And let in the help.
We are therefore embarking on an organized, well-structured and carefully planned program aimed at learning how to offer to the Holy Spirit everything you do NOT want. HE knows what to do with it. You do NOT know how to use what He knows. Whatever is revealed to Him that is not of God is gone.
That means it is gone from you.
Yet you must reveal it to YOURSELF …
You must be willing to look at what you do not want. You must be willing to look at the motive you have for your reactions.
… you must reveal it to YOURSELF in perfect willingness, for otherwise His knowledge remains useless to you.
This is like a child. If a child doesn’t say:
“Daddy, what’s that?”
“Well, that’s a cow, son.”
If the child doesn’t say, “Daddy, what is that?”—there’s not going to be an answer that causes the question to disappear, replaced by knowledge; never needing to be asked again.
So you must reveal it to yourself in perfect willingness. You must be willing to say, “I don’t know what this is for. Dad, Holy Spirit, Jesus, what’s it for?” Because if you don’t, His knowledge remains useless to you.
Surely He will not fail to help you, since help is His ONLY purpose.
What? The help of the Great Lord? The help of your Redeemer as someone greater than thou? No. Your Redeemer, the Lord, yes, but not something greater than you. Your very own Being. That which is nothing more than your ever-present, ever-cohesive, ever-one right Mind that is inseparable from all of Creation.
Do you not have greater reason for fearing the world as YOU perceive it than for looking at the cause of fear, and letting it go forever?
Only you can answer that question.
And I would encourage you to answer it to yourself, and take a position. Take a stand within yourself so that you get off the tack, and so that you open the door for sudden shifts of perception that will change your behavior; that will change your responses; that will cause you to respond to a “call for love” with the love that’s being called for, rather than an ego-response responding to the obtuse way in which the call for love was made—so that you become, you be an agent for change, rather than that which confirms and solidifies and freezes the illusion into greater apparent solidity and immovability.
“The greatest fear” you all have is that when you ask to know the Truth, that the Truth will convict you. When the fact is that the Truth revealed to you uncovers what was illusionary in your way of perceiving that caused you to see yourself as guilty of something that you never could have done, so that it exonerates you by lifting you up in your awareness to a clearer experience of what you divinely Are—that in whom your Father is well pleased.
So the help you have is truly help. It helps you because it brings you into an awareness that penalty and crucifixion is not part of the Kingdom of Heaven or of Reality. It helps because it removes any imagined call for penance, for penalty having to be paid, for time having to be spent suffering from the awfulness of the sinful one you’ve been told you are. The help is recognizably helpful and does not extract from you suffering of any sort, but relieves you of the suffering you have been experiencing from your ignorance. So don’t be afraid of the help because help is relieving.
And remember that the help is coming from your Redeemer, “the Lord that is in you,” called the Holy Spirit; called that which is nothing more than your right Mind. And therefore, your invitation to it, causes reintegration to occur—which every single one of you can comprehend at this moment is a desirable thing; one which, because it is whole-izing, instead of disintegrating, will be an experience of harmony, and therefore nothing that you need be afraid of.
They used to say, “Let the games begin.” And I’m saying, “Let the help begin.” Invite it in. And know that to the degree that you don’t resist it, it will be a wonderful experience.
To the degree that you resist it, it won’t extract any penalty from you. It won’t react to your resistance. But your resistance will simply continue to keep you “in the human condition” that isn’t too happy an experience, and no movement will occur. Nothing will be happening.
Let … let us in. Let the help begin. Abandon the fierce pride that you employ in attempting to do everything all by yourself. Abandon it. The help will flood in, because it’s always confronting you. It’s always nurturing you. It’s always finessing—in any way it can—you into a recognition, a defenseless recognition of it. And so when you abandon the defense voluntarily, you will feel it washing in on you, infusing you, clarifying you to you.
Mind you, we’re still not tackling problems. We’re still getting your heads on straight before tackling quote “being an agent for change” unquote.
I look forward to being with you all next week, and I love you.
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