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Good Evening. And welcome to everyone who’s joining us on the Internet.
Well, I’m going to start off the night tonight with something for a new yellow post-it—or sticky note to put on your refrigerator. It is this; THINKING IS NOT THE NORMAL ACTIVITY OF YOUR MIND. Thinking is not the normal activity of your mind. The normal, the Divinely Normal activity of your mind is attention. It’s what I’ve referred to in the past as the willingness to be present with a thing; to be present with someone else; to simply be present with, without pre-conceptions. The normal activity of mind is attention.
Attention is attentiveness, isn’t it. Which means that attention is an expectation—an expectation of having something to pay attention to, an expectation of experiencing something. You could say that attention is an invitation to experience. It is a state of innocence, if you don’t bring into it preconceptions. If you don’t bring into play memory. If you don’t bring into play all of your typical knee-jerk mental responses which means your habits of thinking. Attention is quiet. It is not an assertion of anything. It is a receptivity, a willingness to receive; an expectation of standing in receipt. Because it is not divided up or structured by thoughts or theories or concepts. It stands unresistant against all of Creation. It is a capacity to have Infinite Experience.
All of you have the capacity to set aside thoughts. And the most typical practice for doing that is called meditation. As we’ve said before: Thinking is not synonymous with being conscious. When you allow your mind to simply be, not in the state of attention, but to be itself the state of attention, holiness, holiness of Being, holiness of perception is available to you.
In the silence of Being the state of attention, revelation can occur: The direct Experience of God Being You; of God’s Infinite Mind Being your Mind becomes available to you. Now mind you, what we’re talking about becoming available to you, is something you originally had. It’s something that you still have, but you cover over by the busyness of your mind; by the busyness of your thinking, by your habits of assessing situations and coming to conclusions and then basing decisions upon those conclusions. And you busy yourself with this all day long.
But thinking is not the normal use of Mind. It’s one of the reasons I talk so much about listening. Because even if you’re with a friend and there’s a conversation going on, if you want to hear what the friend is talking about and, you have interest in the subject that is being discussed, you will shut-up so that you can hear. You will become still enough to pay attention to what your friend is saying.
So you know how to still your mind and be quiet long enough to hear. Paying attention to what you hear. All of you do. It’s a capacity you all already have. It’s just that you don’t realize its value; it’s life-changing significance and importance.
Ultimately all of you are afraid that if you stopped thinking you would lose your Identity. But it’s not true. You think that if you stopped thinking, you would become unable to function in the world. And this is not so. Paul is not thinking right now, but he’s functioning in the world. Intelligence is being expressed. But more than anything, Love is being extended. He is letting Love move through him; Love that is finding expression in words that allow transformation to occur in those who are listening. Why? Because what is being shared stands specifically as a useful means for sudden release from your old ways of thinking so that an aha! [finger snap] can happen. An insight can occur that leaves you in a new place so that you can never leave. You can never really go back to where you were before the insight happened.
You know what? When you let yourself be in the silence, when you value the absence of thinking enough to allow the silence to occur and you let yourself be in it without goals, you just let yourself deserve the experience of Peace and rest in it, sudden shifts of perception do occur. Insights occur. A new experience of something around you reveals itself to you. And what happens? You say … your mouth opens and “Ohh … oh Wow!” comes out. You see?
You’re not incapable of speaking. You’re not incapable of communicating that something has happened. But what comes out of your mouth becomes an expression of some sort of awe: a-w-e. Some sort of recognition of the actuality of Divinity—of Holiness. What comes out of your mouth in Biblical terms can be called, “praising God” because it’s an exclamation of recognition of something meaningful. Even now, what is coming out of Paul’s mouth expresses a recognition of something meaningful that he is having.
How much better it would be if, as you went through your days, what came out of your mouth was some form of an expression of awe, some form of praising God. Something which, when heard by others, would inspire them—would put them at ease—would make them feel comfortable, where before they were filled with fear.
Now, I am talking the way I am talking because it’s in the context of A Course In Miracles. But in a different setting, under different circumstances, I may not say anything about God. I may not say anything about Brotherhood, I may not say anything about guiltlessness … you see. And neither will you. You will always be appropriate in the setting. And so, you will not stand out like a sore thumb, as I’ve said before.
Now, what makes thinking so damned valuable to you that you invest every moment of your waking day employing it? Well, you think it gives you your identity. You think that the thoughts you think define you.
You’re a doctor. Your language—the thoughts you think—the way you reason, gives you medical identity and respect, let’s say, within the medical community. If you are a social worker, your language is expressed in a completely different context. And again, we will say, wins you happy patients as well as, let us say, respect among the community of social workers.You’re a mother. And everything your mother taught you about motherhood that was of value and perhaps even what wasn’t of value, but you find valuable, you embody. And, of course, your grandmother is in there somewhere. And your great grandmother is in there somewhere as well; and all of the means you have to elicit the best from your children comes out in the language you use and it identifies you as a mother—distinctly different from a telephone operator or a backhoe operator. You see?
And so you fill your mind with the thoughts that give you identity. And the clearer you are about who you are, the better off you are. You say: “The clearer I am, the more clearly everyone else can see me. The more confused I am, the more confused everyone else will be about me.” You see? Well, how did you pick your role? How did you pick what identity you were going to employ so that you would learn the appropriate language? Well, I’m going to rephrase the question: Why did you pick a role and then pick a language for expressing that role in order to give yourself identity?
You did it because you for got that in the silence of your Being, in the state of Being Pure Mind—Being Pure Attention, you are that. And the capacity you have in the silence of your mind allows your mind to be filled with the Movement of God, that causes you to speak in praise of God. It allows you to speak in praise of the Good that is obvious to you; profound Good that is obvious to you, where, when you were active in your thinking mind, what you saw seemed to be relatively good. Certainly not awesome. Certainly not smacking of holiness.
You think. Because you’ve forgotten Who You Are.
Now, that phrase you’re not unfamiliar with: you have forgotten Who You Are. And the Holy Spirit helps you remember Who You Are. And it’s almost inevitable that you all imagine—spontaneously imagine that Who You Really Are will be a new definition; a new role. You’ll just know that you’re a holy man or a holy woman. You’ll know that you are … mm … let’s say, the Presence of God in the world, whatever that might mean. But you have the idea that it will be a new definition, which will be accompanied with new language of expression, that will identify you like the old role did.
But I want you to listen carefully here: What you are, is not a new set of thoughts. What you are, is the absence of thoughts. What you are, is the Silence of Mind that is attention undivided, attention—whole attention, simple, pure attention.
Well, that sort of throws you out into the deep blue, doesn’t it? Because if you take what I’ve just said to be the Truth, you have no way of anticipating what it’s going to mean, do you. You have no way to peg ahead of time what it’s going to be. And you have no capacity to assume that any of the skills you’ve currently been employing will be employable. Because, after all, they require thinking, don’t they? And if you’re not going to be thinking, then what is going to be happening? You see?
The Course says that teaching what Love is, is beyond the scope of the Course. Well it’s beyond the scope of anything because Love is What you discover yourself being infilled with when you’re willing to stop thinking and go into the Silence and say:
“Father, Thy Will be done. Father, let me be filled with all that You Are Being—right here where I see me. Father, I wish to yield to the Reality of Me that has to be going on right here where I thought I have been alone, isolated, and constantly in danger. I will listen for Your Voice. I will stop listening for my voice—meaning my thinking; my best practices of reason. I will shut up long enough to hear. Fill me today with all Thou art.”
Now that sounds perhaps a little stilted and formal. I’ve said it many times in a much simpler way. I’ve said, bring curiosity into play so that when you look at a thing or you look in a mirror at yourself, you say: “What is the More that is here than I’m presently seeing?” You see? “What I’m seeing does not look like the Kingdom of Heaven, but Raj continues to tell me that the only thing that is ever in my face is the Kingdom of Heaven, so there’s more here than what I’m seeing. And I would like to see It. I would like to feel It. I would like to experience It.”
How do you do that? You shut up your mind as though a communication was occurring so interesting and so full of the unexpected that you don’t want to miss it! Because no matter where you are at this moment, and no matter what is within your line of sight, It’s the Kingdom of Heaven. It is Ultimate Reality, even though that is not what you’re experiencing of It at this moment. Your use of your mind is exactly what blocks you from experiencing Reality As It Is. And the use you put your mind to is not its normal use. You put it to the use of thinking. And basically, you put it to the use of thinking poorly about yourselves, and poorly about your brothers and sisters, and poorly about the world. And on and on and on.
Now, we talked last week about the great value there is to you in your having a brother that has eyes that you can look into and that your Function is to look into your brother’s eyes and what? Remember God. To have an insight—an aha!—a shift of perception! It’s your Function to look into your brother’s eyes and remember God.
Well now, let’s think about it for a moment. Things are not really complicated here, although thinking makes it so. If your Function is to look into your brother’s eyes and remember God and thus be blessed yourself, as well as your brother being blessed, what is your brother’s Function, whose eyes you’re looking into? His Real Function—just as yours, is to look into your eyes and remember God! The Function the two of you have is to bless each other with recognizing God in your sight.
Now, if you are busy thinking poorly about yourself, and you’re busy thinking poorly about your brother—let’s say, downright awfully about your brother, what if your brother is standing there looking at you and actually remembering God? And you’re sitting there or standing there looking—not remembering God, but thinking awfully about him or her! Are you not standing in a position of condemnation toward your brother? Judgment? And if you are intent upon validating your perception of him, are you going to be anywhere near willing to value the “Oh Wow!”that comes out of his mouth, because he’s seeing God where you are? Are you going to be able to accept the wonderful exclamations of the Truth about you that he or she is seeing, as you’re sitting there with your awful thoughts about him which you feel fully justified in having? Is it anywhere within your capacity at that moment to see the slightest glimmer of a possibility that this awfully-considered one might have of the Truth about you, and that you could be standing at that moment in receipt of a blessing that would turn your head around and change your life?
Is there even the slightest capacity to see the smallest glimmer of Love that might be coming from there? Or is your awful thought about him one that says: “Impossible! And even if she did have a kind thought about me, I wouldn’t have any truck with it. She is so this, or so that! Or he is so this, so obstinate, so stubborn, so mean, so thoughtless! And I can give you example after example after example after example. In fact, I can show you their whole life history and show you that it’s a pattern that’s been going on forever. What me? think for a moment, [chuckling] that this bitch or this bastard might be able to give me a gift that would change my life because of What They Truly Are?” No.
Now just for practicality, it may be that—humanly speaking, that person does have this history, and the long list that you could spell off might very well identify behaviors and attitudes that this one has expressed. Oh Ms. perfect so-in-so you, who can provide the list, are you really so perfect? Are you not standing there with self righteous arrogant, awful judgmental thoughts about that person? Does that embody good character? Does your behavior reflect a worthiness that comes from anywhere other than a great smallness of mind? Do you not need someone to look at you no matter who it might be and see God there and be able to reflect back to you your Holiness so that you might let go of your awful thoughts about yourself?
And do they not, even in the midst of their bad behavior, need someone to recognize that their bad behavior doesn’t identify them, and that their bad thoughts or unintelligent thoughts or incoherent thoughts don’t identify what they really are? Do they not deserve someone who’s willing to look beyond them because in order for there to be any awful definition there, there has to be something Real there that’s been covered up by their own awful thoughts and the awful thoughts of others, just like you?
You believe that you are your thoughts and you believe that others are their thoughts. And you think that idea—that thought has substance to it. You think that it is absolutely dependable. And so you hold onto it as though it were an anchor. You anchor yourself in the thought. When you need to be anchoring yourself in the Mind in which the thought was occurring. You need to anchor yourself in the Mind in which that thought is occurring so you can set the thought down. So that you can be silent and move back into the state of attention that is the normal activity of Mind.
Now, let’s go into the book.
Guiltlessness and Invulnerability.1
If you did not feel guilty, you COULD not attack, for condemnation is the root of attack. It is the judgment of one mind by another as UNWORTHY of love and DESERVING of punishment.
Now, that is the accepted definition of guilt. It is a different meaning than I was using for the word, guilt, last week. And I just want to make that distinction.
If you did not feel guilty you COULD not attack.
See, if you didn’t feel like you were out of your skin, if you didn’t feel as though you were in an unnatural state, in otherwords, if you were in your peace and you therefore felt whole, you would never attack.
But you do feel like you’re out of your skin. You do feel like a stranger in a strange land. You do feel out of place and at odds with everything and out of sorts with everything and not being able to make sense out of what everything is and not being able to fit in with it because it’s not like you.
And so you feel at a loss. Constantly at a loss in one way or anther to one degree or another. I wonder why? Well, do you suppose it might be because at some point you said, “Father I’d rather see it my way. Father I would rather do it my way. Father I want a divorce. I want to cut off communication with you for awhile and explore my capacities on my own.”
As we’ve said over and over again, when you did that, which you’re capable of imagining you can do, you put yourself in a position of forgetting your Source, because you pushed the Awareness of your Source, your Father, out somewhere in the back forty of your mind. And you said: “I’m just going to pay attention to the part of the Infinity of my mind that’s not behind me; that’s not where I shoved all the things I don’t want to look at.” And this caused you to feel alone and isolated.
Now, as I also said last week, when you deny part of yourself, you can’t—it is something you cannot fully accomplish. You can ignore Part of yourself, but you can’t actually get rid of it in that state of self-denial. And denying your Father is part of your denying yourself, you will feel the fact that you are trying to do something that is impossible and that therefore, your attempt is going to be a futile attempt, which means that it’s unintelligent. Or we’ll put it another way, stupid!
Ah, here’s where you’re faced with having to make a choice: Are you going to take responsibility for and acknowledge that you are doing something that won’t work? that you’re doing something that is fundamentally wrong? And in the honesty of that acknowledgement, stay in your Sanity? Or are you going to deny that you’re misusing your mind and fight for the right to stay in this state of ignorance, without having to acknowledge that it’s a state of ignorance? Are you going to do something that is wrong, meaning that which can’t possibly be done—and that which won’t work? Are you going to deny that you’re wrong and persist with a confidence that what you’re doing is not only possible because God gave you the right to do it because He gave you free will and you are going to persist at the expense of your Peace?
If you choose for that, you’re choosing for insanity. And because you will not be able to get rid of the discomfort—the dissonance of being at odds with that which you can’t successful being at odds with, you will have to account for the discomfort in some other way than owning it. Which means you’re going to have to account for it by disowning it. And you’re going to have to blame something or someone else. You see? You will feel guilty for doing something that can’t be done. And knowing that it can’t be done, you’re going to persist anyway!
Now, if you’re going to disown it and place it out there, it means that every time you look into your brother’s eyes, you are not going to remember God. It isn’t that you will forget to. It is that you have decided—actually ahead of time—that you’re not going to let your brother look at you and remember God, and let that have any effect on you! Why? Because if you did that, you would have to come back into your Right Mind and acknowledge: “Yes, I have chosen to do something that is impossible and I know it’s impossible. But I’m insisting on doing it anyway. I am doing something unintelligent. I am being stupid.” You see? That’s what would have to happen if you would let your brother look at you and remember God, and bathe you in his clear awareness of you.
If you did not feel guilty, you COULD not attack, for condemnation is the root of attack. It is the judgment of one mind by another as UNWORTHY of Love, and deserving of punishment. But herein lies the split. For the mind that judges perceives itself as SEPARATE from the mind being judged,…
“Oh that so-and-so over there, that bitch, that bastard. [chuckling] They’re not like me. We’ve got no connection. They’re their own independent soul just like I am. That’s about the only thing we have in common.” You see?
For the mind that judges sees itself as separate from the mind being judged, believing that by punishing another, it will escape punishment.
So you blame the other one so that you don’t have to look at what you’re really doing. And you think that by blaming the other one, you’ll escape the punishment—the penalty—that you will escape having to pay attention to the ever-present dissonance that you are actually experiencing because you’re trying to do the impossible, and deny some part of yourself, which is Forever Whole, and Forever Unchangeable—Forever Unalterable. And therefore, as long as you persist in trying to deny Part or All of What You Divinely Are, you will feel the insanity of the attempt!
And so, no matter how much you project it out and blame everyone else and everything else, the discomfort—the dissonance—will not disappear. Why? Because you haven’t abandoned any of the thinking and let yourself sink back into the normal use of your mind; the normal function of your mind, which is not thinking at all, but is pure, unadulterated attentiveness … attention.
All this is but the delusional attempt of the mind to … what? deny itself and ESCAPE THE PENALTY OF DENIAL.
Now, what needs to be clear here is that you usually think of penalty as something that is assigned some time after the offense has occurred. Somebody commits an offense. Oh, he’s arrested. He’s put in jail. A court date is set. Attorneys are hired. They present their cases. Guilt is decided, and then a penalty is set.
But you see, the only penalty there is here, is the instantaneous experience of the fact that you can’t become insane. And what I mean by that is, that when you attempt to deny What You Are, which is an attempt to do the impossible, the energy you bring to bear upon ignoring some Part of your Self is inseparably accompanied by a dissonance; the discomfort that comes from using your mind wrongly. It is simultaneous with the attempt. And it is as strong as the attempt. So if you push against an immovable object, you could say it presses back with equal force, because the attempt is an attempt to change something that can’t change. So the penalty is simultaneous, and equal to the amount of energy you bring to the attempt to be out of your mind.
And what’s pressing back against your attempt to be out of your mind is your innate Sanity, that cannot never be lost!
And so it’s always an immediate and equal standoff. You push against Truth and you experience the impossibility of there being any effect of your pushing against Truth. And it’s equal to the attempt. And the attempt is thwarted. And, as long as you persist in the attempt, it will bean on going standoff. Until what? Until finally you arrive at a point where you say: “Whew. It’s not worth the effort. I’m not getting where I thought I would be going. This is too hard. I’m wearing myself out.” And you arrive at a point of giving up pushing against the Truth, or denying Something that can’t be gotten rid of.
And inevitably you stop intellectually or mentally insisting upon doing what can’t be done. And your mind becomes still, and you have a holy moment—a moment of holiness because in the absence of the noise of your thinking, the sounds of Heaven that have always been going in your attention can register.
All this is but the delusional attempt of the mind to deny itself and ESCAPE THE PENALTY OF DENIAL. It is not an attempt to RELINQUISH denial, but to HOLD ON to it. For it is guilt that has obscured the Father to you, and it is guilt that has driven you insane.
The acceptance of guilt into the mind of God’s Son was the beginning of the separation, as the acceptance of the Atonement is its end.
If you only Knew What You Were. If you only knew Who You Really Are. And Knowing Who and What You Are is what lies in store for you awaiting your willingness to let It in. Because It’s Awesome. Right now It is Awesome, as you sit there, as you listen. And the only thing that keeps you from experiencing It is you think you have your identity pegged. You think you’ve got it down. Why? Because you can explain it. And then, using other thoughts, you can justify your explanation. And on and on and on.
Really … really begin to devalue whatever definition of yourself you’ve been employing, whether it’s one that’s excellent or whether it’s one that’s awful. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what the explanation or the definition or the justification is. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a good one or a bad one. Either way it’s a structure of thoughts and either way they blind you from the experience of the Awesomeness of What You Are As Mind that is available to you when you abandon the thoughts and the definitions and the concepts.
We’re sort of narrowing down the situation into its fundamental simplicity. Because as I said, you all know you have available to you right now the means to be thought-less. You have the means. Even if it’s only been momentary for you at times, you’ve had the experience of Silence … of Being without thought, beyond thought however you might want to put it.
What you didn’t know was that that silence is the threshold of you coming back into your Right Mind And that therefore, it is of Infinitely greater value than any thought you might fill your mind with!
The world you see is the delusional system of those made mad by guilt. Look carefully at this world and you will realize that this is so.
Just look in your own household or turn on the TV and look at the insanity going on in your world. And notice how the insanity that is being carried out has its basis in mindsets, whether it’s national mindsets, whether it’s racial mindsets, whether it’s military mindsets, whether it’s political mindsets, what is being carried out is occurring because people are not being able to let go of the definitions and the rules that they have thought up, that they further think constitutes their salvation.
Notice this when you watch the news. And then, take advantage of its transfer value, because sometimes it’s easier to see about someone else what you can’t see about yourself, but which is absolutely true about yourself. Recognizing that it’s true about yourself is the beginning of Sanity, because it’s the beginning of being able to take responsibility for what you’re doing. And once you take responsibility for it; once you own the fact that: “Hey. Yes, I am doing that too.”You’re in a position where you can change your mind. Or, I’m going to say: Change the use to which you’re putting your mind. And practice letting go of thinking. And practice “the Silence.”
Look carefully at this world, and you will realize that this is so. For this world is the symbol of punishment, and all the laws which seem to govern it are the laws of death. Children are born into it through pain and in pain their growth is attended by suffering, and they learn of sorrow and separation and death. Their minds are trapped in their brain…
or at least that’s what they’re led to believe
Their minds are trapped in their brain, and its powers decline if their bodies are hurt. They seem to love, yet they desert and are deserted. They appear to lose what they love, perhaps the most insane belief of all. And their bodies wither and gasp, and are laid in the ground and seem to be no more. Not one of them but has thought that God is cruel.
If this were the Real World, God WOULD be cruel, for no Father could subject His Children to this as the price of salvation and be loving. Love does not kill to save. LOVE DOES NOT KILL TO SAVE. If it did, attack would be salvation, And this is the EGO’s interpretation. NOT God’s.
So, here it is:
Only the world of guilt could demand this, for only the guilty could CONCEIVE of it.
Got to be careful here because it makes it sound as though there is someone who could really be guilty. The whole experience of guilt is a resultof a poor use, an improper useof the mind. Not the normal use of the mind.
And as long as the improper—or not normal—use of the mind is occurring, the description we just read of your experience of the world will persist. Not because it’s actual, but because you’ve made a commitment to making up definitions about what you’re seeing,and you’ve chosen to commit to those definitions and ignore the fact that you’re making them up. Ignore the fact that in committing to them you are choosing to refuse to see What Everything Really Is. And you’re doing it by means of the thoughts you’re thinking.
And the Answer to the dilemma is simple! Abandon the thinking and start listening. Because when you listen for the Truth, what are you going to hear the Truth about? You’re going to hear the Truth about everything that you’ve been believing a lie about and committing yourself to.
And so by listening, you won’t be transported out of this cruel world. You’ll be transported out of context of thinking about Reality, in which everything is screwed up, into the Awareness of Reality As It Is. And thereby, everything you have been seeing in a distorted fashion, you will now see clearly. It will not constitute a loss of anything meaningful, but the regaining of the Actual, Divine Holy Awesome capital M Meaning of everything you had applied an awful, little, tiny, demeaning definition to, in an attempt to secure an identity that you could never have privately… all alone.
Now,the subject tonight is not serious. Nor is it something for you to become depressed about or worried about. I have expressed the ideas with excellent logic, which your thinking mind can appreciate. But the logic and the clarity with which I’ve shared it gives you a trigger for moving beyond your logic, and consider a new way of Being. And, perhaps, even a curiosity to try to employ listening rather than thinking!
What we’ve been discussing tonight is essential to what we’re going to be discussing as we move further on. And so, I encourage you all to review it, because of the benefit it holds for you between now and next week.
I have extended to you an Excellent Gift: A Gift of Excellence — the Function of Which is to uncover your Excellence, so that you might consider It a possibility, rather than an impossibility.
I Love You All. And I look forward to Being with you next week. Don’t be afraid of the Truth. “Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.” And let Me just say that doesn’t mean; Ye shall know the Truth that you already know, and the Truth shall set you free. It means; Ye shall Know the Truth—What It Really Is. And in the aha! and the insight and the revelation that follows, you will be set free.
Let your desire be to know the Truth that’s greater than any of your present concepts of Truth. Okay.
T11.9 Guiltlessness and Invulnerability ↩
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