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This is a significantly important chapter that we’re reading right now. Well, let’s put it this way, this chapter is dealing with a significantly important point relative to Awakening—relative to the experience of Salvation. It is disclosing, for lack of better words, the mechanism of Awakening—taking it out of the realm of theory that so many would love to keep it in.
The mechanism of Awakening is to care enough about your Brother, and I mean by that, actual involvement. Not just association, like being with your Brother in a theatre, but actual involvement. Actual involvement, where by means of the involvement, growth occurs, change occurs, blessing occurs.
The mechanism could be described as: Looking into your Brother’s eyes or Sister’s eyes, and remembering God. The two-step that we’ve been talking about has been a matter of stopping yourself before you blurt out your best judgments and stepping back and inquiring of God, “What is the truth here? What do I need to know that will address whatever the problem is, in a resolving way, not in an aggravating way so that my Brother is blessed?”
For all of the thousands of words that are in this book, it all boils down to one thing. One thing: Your Brother is your salvation.
So if you want to say you’re a student of the Course, or if you want to say that you are in the process of Awakening, that you are, let us say, applying yourselves in the direction of Awakening, you must mean that you have arrived at a point where your Brother becomes your main—not concern—but point of interest—focus of attention: Object of your affection, not just intellectual interest, but affection—Love.
It means that no matter how obtuse or difficult or unpleasant a Brother is being, you have arrived at a point where you are refusing to react to the behavior. And you are insisting upon homing in on what has to be the truth about your Brother in order for there to be anything there to behave badly or well. Something real has to be there to behave poorly or well. And the something that is real, that is there, is the Presence of God Be-ing your Brother.
This is the nitty gritty. This is the meat and potatoes of it all.
And if you intelligently stop to think about it, you’ll realize that the only way things are going to change on your planet, is going to come from an expression of love and involvement with your Brothers globally that honors those Brothers and Sisters; even honoring them beyond their present awareness or concept of themselves, so that through involvement with them, change can occur. Why? Not because of a show of force, not because of a stronger will, but because someone—many—everyone has decided to care enough about your Brothers to find out what means something to them. To find out where their willingness to embrace the reasonable is. To find out where in them their willingness to express love rather than defense lies, so that you can join with them there.
But this requires involvement. Involvement of a new kind. Involvement that has as its intent and goal, peace. And you must dare, everyone must dare to persist on behalf of peace right in the face of fear; fear that is telling your global neighbors to be afraid of you, or to be afraid of each other, and to stay in a high state of defense.
Now, you all know that big things come often from small beginnings. And so, what we’re talking about, that you can see the truth of, globally, is something that can be initiated right in your day—right with the people you are dealing with—right with the people you can’t get away from, whether they’re the people who you would choose to be your savior or not.
Obviously, if what I have described is the proper use of relationships, the proper purpose for relationships, and if indeed peace, world peace, Awakening, healing, is the inevitable result of that, then you are using relationships for another purpose at the moment.
And some of you in the last two weeks have become more familiar with what you use relationships for, as you have tried to practice the two-step. And as you have remembered, occasionally, that to find the place in you that can love your Brother in spite of his behavior, is not always something easy to do, and it also isn’t always something you want to do. And if you don’t want to do it, then you are consciously using your relationships for a purpose other than Awakening. And the only other purpose or result that can be had, is to be locked into orphanhood; to be locked into strife, sin, sickness, death, war, hate, jealousy.
Now, the difference between reality and unreality is only that, whether you call it reality or you call unreality, it is Reality itself experienced 180 degrees out of sync. It’s either Reality used properly, or it’s reality used improperly. It’s either Reality known for what it truly is, or perceived to be what it isn’t.
But remember, it’s always Reality that you’re dealing with—that you’re confronted with. It’s always the Kingdom of Heaven that is present being misinterpreted, misunderstood, or perceived and Known truly.
Now, to use a relationship appropriately in order to Wake up, you find the place in you that can care about your Brother and extend to him the Father’s Perspective that you have desired to know before you open your mouth—before you engage.
And so, it is a matter of making a Gift. It’s a matter of extending Something to your Brothers, or Sisters, your fellowman.
But, when a relationship is used improperly from an orphan standpoint, it’s always to get something. And at the bottom line, it is to get safety. It is to get security. Because being an orphan, is itself a state of insecurity. It’s a state of having no birthright. It’s a state of lack.
Now, what is it you want to get from your Brothers and Sisters as an orphan? You want obedience. You want cooperation. You want them not to behave in a way that is threatening to you.
And, let me ask you this: What is the mechanism by which you accomplish that kind of control? It’s guilt. Think about it. When you are confronted by somebody who is making you upset, it’s because in one way or another, they first of all, have suggested by their behavior that you can’t be in control of the situation. You are out of control and you can’t get control because you don’t really have that kind of power. And that makes you feel at a loss. And it’s unfair that that one has put you at a loss. So that all you can do is feel angry and self-righteous.
They are guilty of mistreating you. And so you retaliate. You don’t do the two-step. And you project out onto them by your words, the things that make them guilty. So that you might convince them that they are so guilty that they must therefore, stop their behavior that’s making you feel bad and guilty. Guilty for not being able to handle the situation.
And you together, do a dance of guilt of laying guilt trips on each other. Why? So that you can arrive at a point where you think you can relax and not feel frightened. Not feel potentially at a real loss because of their behavior. And that’s war. But it’s also the bottom line fundamental dynamic of the human condition—the state of orphanhood.
You see, when you’re in your Right Mind, when you do the two-step and step back and inquire what truly needs to be known here that will bless, you are making your Brother your savior one-hundred eighty degrees out of sync. When your Brother is threatening you and making you feel vulnerable, you do the same thing. You turn your Brother into your savior. You say, “You are responsible for my being well. You are responsible for seeing to it that I’m not uncomfortable. Else, [chuckles] you’ll be the death of me yet!”
See. There’s the dig. There’s the guilt trip. But it is an expression of power that lacks intelligence. It is an attempt to leverage your Brother’s behavior into behavior that will secure your peace of mind. The only thing is, that you can’t get peace of mind from a fundamental premise that you are an orphan. And so it will never work.
So let me put it this way, we’re not talking about learning anything new. You already have turned your Brother into your savior. You have said, “If you will behave in this way and this way and this way, I will be able to be happy.”
Your Brother and his or her behavior is your salvation.
The lot of the orphan is a life of constant coercion. Coercion that you are bringing into play against others, and that others are bringing into play against you.
But what we’re talking about in terms of moving from perception to knowledge, is an extension of love to your Brother because you care enough to want to know what the truth is about your Brother even if he may not be aware of it at the moment and is suffering from his ignorance. And you want to extend it to him so that he might be relieved by the truth. And what makes it your salvation to love him that much, is that what you extend to him you get to keep.
And all there is in it is love. No fear. All there is, is the acknowledgement of already existing perfection, not coercion to bring about a concept of order that isn’t really freedom.
So what we’re talking about here and uncovering, is again, the simplicity of the Course and the simplicity of Awakening.
You’re all involved with each other already. You’re just involved with each other in ways that reek havoc. And what we’re doing is learning how to relate to each other in ways that bring peace.
Now let’s go into the book.
The Shadow of Guilt 1
Guilt remains the only thing that hides the Father, for guilt is the attack upon His Son.
Guilt remains the only thing that hides the Father. Well you say, “I don’t really go through my day feeling guilty.” Some of you do go through your day feeling guilty and you say it’s for no good reason and you wish to be relieved of this constant feeling of guilt. But for the most part, most of you say, “I don’t feel guilty.”
But the fact is, that as long as you employ guilt in your relationships with each other in order to effect changes, you value guilt and it remains the only thing that hides the Father from you.
… for guilt is the attack upon His Son.
What does an attack cause? It causes defense. One who is attacked recoils, regroups, and comes back with a strong defense. And if that defense isn’t a two-step, which most of you aren’t going to encounter when you’re the attacker, then all you are doing is confirming your misperception of reality and you are locking yourself into it.
The guilty ALWAYS condemn…
… hm-m well, they do. Because whatever measuring sticks you use for yourself in your life and your behavior, you do apply to others. And if you are dishonest, you do expect others to be and you guard yourself against it. And if you consider yourself to be honest and upstanding, you generally expect that to be what will confront you in your fellow man.
So, those who value guilt will always utilize it. That’s what that means:
The guilty ALWAYS condemn, and having done so they WILL condemn, linking the future to the past …
… having done so in the past, they will in the future, condemn.
… linking the future to the past as is the ego’s law. Fidelity unto this law lets no light in, for it DEMANDS fidelity to darkness and FORBIDS awakening.
Not really as ultimate and bad as it sounds. It’s really very simple. If you choose to practice and employ guilt, you will by virtue of not using your Brother as your salvation—as an object of your affection, you will deny yourself the experience of recognizing God there, remembering God there when you look into his eyes.
Fidelity unto this law …
… the practice of guilt …
… lets no light in, for it DEMANDS fidelity to darkness and FORBIDS awakening. The ego’s laws are strict, and breaches are severely punished. Therefore give no obedience to its laws, for they are laws of punishment.
That sort of sounds impossible:
The ego’s laws are strict, and breaches are severely punished. Therefore …
… [chuckles] it sounds like it’s saying: “Therefore, be stupid and give no obedience to its laws even though its breaches will be severely punished for they are laws of punishment.
Here’s where it takes courage and strength. Because the ego’s laws are so much tinkling brass—bullshit—so much meaningless folderol! And so therefore, when you dare to give no obedience to its laws, for they are laws of punishment and are not consistent with what you value, the punishment will not be forthcoming. But you have to dare to have the strength to violate the insinuation that the ego puts forth that you will indeed suffer if you breach its laws.
Therefore give no obedience to its laws, for they are laws of punishment. And those who follow them believe that they are guilty and so they MUST condemn.
Between the future and the past the laws of God must intervene, if you would free yourselves.
This is key:
Between the future and the past the laws of God must intervene…
Remember, what you think of as a timeline—an unbroken timeline—from the past to the future, is not an unbroken line. Where the present is, there is a gap: It is what we have referred to as “The little gap.” But it is the place where the past never bridges into the future. And it is in that gap, which is the place of silence within you, it is the place you go to when you do the two-step and say, “Father what needs to be known here?” It’s the place of the Altar within you—the holiness of you—that plays no part in memory or in imagination; memory being the past, imagination being the future. It is that which exists in reality actually.
Between the future and the past the laws of God must intervene, if you would free yourselves.
So, that could have been sort of mysterious and esoteric:
Between the future and the past …
… hm-m but it’s simpler than that, it’s between memory and imagination; that in the silence and the peace of your being, where you go when you meditate, or where you go when you ask truly of the Holy Spirit or the Father, “What is the truth here?” and you stay in the silence and listen, ready to be infilled with the experience of Knowing—of knowledge.
Atonement stands between them…
… the future and the past …
… like a lamp that shines so brightly that the chain of darkness in which you bound yourselves will disappear.
The experience of insanity, the experience of misunderstanding, the experience of misperceiving reality, is something going on in you. And so it is there in you where the misperception is covering up the conscious experience of reality, that correction will occur.
But the interesting thing about it is, that for correction to occur, you must engage in one thing only: You must dare to become involved with each other for purposes of healing. Not because your Brother is in such great need of healing, but because your Brother really isn’t an orphan and neither are you. And neither one of you should be experiencing the effects of having no source when it’s impossible for you to exist without a Source and therefore you aren’t existing without a Source. And therefore, at this moment, you are exactly what God is Be-ing right there where you are, nothing more and nothing less.
And therefore, in spite of the way you behave when you’re confused and in spite of the way your Brother behaves when he is confused or afraid, he deserves your persisting in wanting to see the truth there. In wanting to remember and see God there.
Now, many of you in the last two weeks may have said, “Well, I did…I did reach out, I listened, I did the two-step, I extended the truth that clearly would have been relieving. And it was not received. It really pissed everyone off!”
Now, as I said last week, that is no reason for, like Moses, throwing down the tablets and unlike Moses, walking off and abandoning your Brother. You know, when you’re learning how to ride a bicycle, how many times do you fall down? And how many times do you pick the bike up and climb back on and persist?
But hey, you say, “Well, Raj said do the two-step with my Brother and persist with him. And I’ve done it…and I’ve done it…and I’ve done it over the last two weeks, and I’ve gotten nowhere—I must be doing something wrong.”
Ah-h do you hear that? What is that G-U-I-L-T, guilt? “I must be doing something wrong! It’s my fault. I am flawed, I am faulty. I must pay for it by experiencing no correction in my world, by not having played a constructive part in correction and healing here. I [chuckles] don’t know how to do it so I’m not going back up that mountain again to listen again!”
And that’s exactly when you have to go back up. Just like that’s exactly when you have to get back on the bicycle. Why? Why do you get back on the bicycle? Because, that being on the bicycle is where the opportunity to get the feel for riding the bicycle can occur. Because that’s where the learning can happen. And suddenly, you don’t fall down again. You got it! You know. You know how to do it.
It’s at those moments when you feel like throwing the tablets down. It’s at those moments when you feel like giving up because your world is telling you that it’s no use, it’s no use at all, it’s at that moment that you need to acknowledge who is going to be the determiner here. Is the determiner going to be your world? Is the determiner going to be a material body that isn’t healing? Is the determiner going to be anything “out there?” No. Because nothing “out there” has ever been determining anything. Always, you in your mind, have been determining everything.
Moses came down from the mountain. He surveyed the partying and the drinking and the worshipping of golden calves and he determined within himself that this was intolerable—unacceptable—and that their behavior was unworthy of the divine event that he had been participating in on their behalf.
Is that what was happening? Or is that just what he determined was happening which offended his sensibilities and made him angry. God, it made a fool out of him didn’t it? I mean, here he was, and you can picture Charlton Heston if you want, coming down with those tablets in his arms in grand robes having performed a holy function and look, what a lack of respect, what little faith. “Don’t they know me? Don’t they know what I’m really about?”
He was rendered powerless from his mental attitude and stance. He was rendered ineffective—meaningless, when he knew, [chuckling] he knew beyond a doubt that something with Meaning was occurring in the delivery of these Commandments and his participation in it.
And so he determined that their behavior proved that he was flawed. And that obviously, he was failing. Whew!
Now he could have, as I did at the Crucifixion, said, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.[^2] That could have been his determination just as easily as the negative one he defined and acted upon and believed. He could have said, Father, forgiven them for they know not what they do. And he could have begun speaking to them, sharing the truth, finding the place of willingness in them which was there because it took that kind of willingness to leave Egypt as a people. And it took that kind of faith to cross the water on dry land.
The willingness was there but they had lost sight of it. He could have stayed there and talked. And talked in a way that found the willingness and reestablished it in their awareness so that they said, “Yes…yes! Wow, I really got off the beam there but it doesn’t make any difference because the truth is true. And what you’re saying, I know is relevant to my safety and wellbeing and proves the integrity of my being because I have a Father, God, and I wish to be his Son and follow His directions.”
So, you must be alert. Because you are the determiner in all cases. You either determine for what is true or you determine for what is false. And that’s why you must remember to do the two-step so that you might be reminded of what is true when your habit of thinking causes you to spontaneously move down an unconstructive paths. And, you can’t find a more worthy object of your affection for doing this than your Brother.
And this is what it’s about. This is the simplicity of it. And again, the thing that causes you not to wake up and blocks you from waking up, is the value you place on guilt. Guilt that you use to manipulate and control your Brothers and Sisters and guilt that you lay on yourself for no intelligent reason whatsoever.
Release from guilt is the ego’s whole undoing.
Here’s a motto for you:
MAKE NO-ONE FEARFUL …
Let that be your motto for this coming week: MAKE NO-ONE FEARFUL.
That means that when you are inclined to curse somebody out, when you’re inclined to yell at them, and call their very existence into question, don’t do it! Make no-one fearful. Do not do anything that will cause another to be afraid.
… for his guilt is yours, and by obeying the ego’s harsh commandments you bring its condemnation of yourself, and you will not escape the punishment it offers those who obey it. The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it IS pain.
You see, faith in the ego is or constitutes the experience of pain. But you don’t recognize that the pain you’re experiencing is because of the determination you are engaging in. You think that it is something “out there” separate and apart from you.
Moses experienced pain—great pain. Remember, he had come down off of the mountain after having a “God” experience. And then he was confronted with the faithless that the contrast hurt. But is it because someone holy came down the mountain and was confronted by faithless followers? Or did Moses come down the mountain and create a definition of what he saw and then suffered from the definition he made that he chose to believe?
This is important. Because you’re suffering from determinations that you have made in your mind. And because you are suffering from a determination you have made in your mind, you can end the pain and suffering by doing something different in your mind.
The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it IS pain. And faith can be rewarded only in terms of the belief in which the faith was placed. Faith MAKES the power of belief, and where it is invested determines its reward.
So, if you invest faith in guilt, both for yourself and for others, that’s where you’ve invested it. And your investment will determine its reward. Simple. Mechanical. There’s no evil force involved. There’s no evil intelligence affecting you. You’re just simply doing something stupid and experiencing the stupidity of it. And you can do something intelligent and experience the intelligence of it. That’s all.
For faith is ALWAYS given what is treasured, and what is treasured IS returned to you.
If what was treasured was, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do and then love proceeded to be extended, and the illumination of the God experience that he had was shared with those who were really hungry for it, which was what was causing them to, in their panic, reach for a golden calf and alcohol and other things. They were ripe. And if he had made that determination, [chuckles] he would not have had to make a second trip. And those whom he was leading would not have had to wait as long for their relief.
The world can give you only what you gave it, for being nothing but your own projection, it HAS no meaning apart from what you found in it and placed your faith in.
Now, we could be as easily speaking about your Brother. Your Brother can give you only what you give him. For being nothing but your own projection, he has no meaning apart from what you found in him and placed your faith in.
Be faithful unto darkness …
… be faithful unto his orphanhood …
… and you will NOT see, because your faith will be rewarded as you GAVE it. You will accept your treasure, and if you place your faith in the past the future WILL be like it. Whatever you hold as dear you think is YOURS.
You know what? You’re all here to be something far more than orphans. And you’re all here to be experiencing each other as what you Are. Not as, shall I say, second class citizens that orphans are.
Whatever you hold as dear you think is YOURS. The power of your VALUING will make it so.
That’s why you do the two-step, so that you have a moment to allow a re-evaluation to occur in the gap between memory and imagination in you.
… Waking up …
… brings a re-evaluation of everything you cherish, for it is the means by which the Holy Spirit …
… that which is nothing more than your Right Mind …
… can separate the false and the true, which you have accepted into your minds WITHOUT DISTINCTION.
As an orphan you are governed by habit. And you can determine things correctly and you can determine things incorrectly. And you can do them one after the other or sometimes simultaneously. And you can behave as though you are divided against yourself; split and confused, if you want. And you can have the results of that.
But, if you do make distinctions and if you do determine things correctly by not coming from knee-jerk reactions, but instead you do the two-step, your life will be transformed and so will your Brother’s. And so will the world’s.
Atonement brings a re-evaluation of everything you cherish…
… everything! You will be faced with the opportunity to see everything new. Not slimed over and caked under definitions that you have applied and reapplied and applied and reapplied over the last thirty years out of habit.
Atonement brings a re-evaluation of everything you cherish, for it is the means by which the Holy Spirit can separate the false and the true, which you have accepted into your minds WITHOUT DISTINCTION. Therefore, YOU cannot value one without the other, and guilt has become as true FOR YOU as innocence.
Isn’t it wonderful? That’s exactly one of the things that you will find Atonement brings a re-evaluation of, so that you will find that guilt and innocence cannot both be true about you: only innocence.
You do not believe the Son of God …
… whether it’s you or your Brother.
You do not believe the Son of God is guiltless because you see the past and see HIM not.
What is the past? The past is memory. It’s not a physical thing. The past is memory.
You do not believe the Son of God is guiltless because you see the past …
… you see your memory of him …
… and see HIM not. When you condemn a brother, you are saying, “I who was guilty choose to REMAIN so.”
Because what you give, you get to keep. And if you love guilt and employ it, that is what will be your experience for yourself.
You have …
… in so doing …
… denied HIS freedom, and by so doing you have denied the witness unto YOURS. You …
… as Moses …
could as easily have FREED him from the past, and lifted from his mind the cloud of guilt that binds him to it.
You could as easily have done that:
Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
“Father, forgive him for he knows not what he does. Father, forgive her for she knows not what she does. Father, help me to see what is true about her that makes it impossible for her to be what she thinks she is and impossible for me to see her otherwise than as she truly is so that I may be able to be with her in a way that finds the place of willingness in her that will be able to acknowledge the truth about her and we might join together in the acknowledgement and appreciation of what is true about her and about me.”
Well, a lot of words. It could be. We could determine it to be a lot of words, or, it’s a Movement of uncovering—a Movement of Revelation occurring in everyone who’s listening. And that is what it is. And in the uncovering, it’s clearer to you all that you’re something more than an orphan. And that your function is to engage in something more or different from guilt, self-applied or applied to others. And that in fact, the something else that’s there for you to do, than to employ guilt, is something that will actually, for lack of better words, lift a people out of bondage. Lift mankind who’s dreaming dreams out of his dreams.
It could’ve been said, Moses was just a shepherd. And you’re just an accountant, or you’re just a gardener, or you’re just a senior citizen.
No. You’re more than that. And you’re engaging in what we’re talking about contributes to the lifting of a people out of bondage; out of war; out of defense; out of lack; out of sin, sickness and death.
But if there’s anything that should be clear to you now, it is that clear, correct thinking isn’t going to do it. Clear, correct thinking in the privacy of your mind in your living room or on a mountain top, is not going to do anything. Involvement with your Brothers is.
Involvement with your Brothers, with the intent to find the place of willingness within them to see the truth that they can gladly lay hold of. That is what it’s about. And you make that Gift to them by indulging in the two-step and in making that Gift to them, you receive it too. But not until then.
And if you say, “Well I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried and it hasn’t worked . .” Hey, get on the bicycle again. It doesn’t matter that it hasn’t worked. Nothing out there is making it not work. But you can say, “Oh boy, I’m not going to try again because I’m flawed, or I’m not going to try again because it’s really not worth learning how to ride a bike, or I’m not going to do it again because so-in-so is such a bastard and he’ll never change!”
Hey, you can say any of those things if you want. But remember, it isn’t what you’re saying that’s true. Hell yes, it’s worth learning to ride a bike and Hell yes, it’s worth persisting with your Brother. So, get on the bike again. Do the two-step again. Nothing else will introduce the Atonement into your experience.
God has not given you something impossible to do and therefore, the experience of the Atonement is something available to you. God did not mean for it to be or make it difficult to accomplish. Therefore you can experience it without struggle. So be careful what you determine things to be. Be careful that you don’t determine for yourself that it’s going to be hard. If God didn’t set it up that way, it can never become true.
I love you. And I look forward to being with you all next week.
You are all mightily supported in your experience of the Atonement. Don’t go through this week feeling that you’re doing it all by yourself. Let the experience of being actively loved in. Okay.
T13.2 The Shadow of Guilt ↩
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