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Okay. As it’s said in the vernacular, tonight I’m just going to hang out with you. We’re going to be together, so you can put away your books.
God is Love, you know. And when the going gets tough, sometimes pause is called for … where you can take a deep breath and feel the fact that God is Love and not be under the gun of learning-learning-learning. Make no mistake, though, I will take advantage of every opportunity in being with you tonight to cause learning to occur.
One could say, “So little to say and so much time to say it.” And so you could say that I’m here to say over and over and over again the little that there is to say for as long as it takes. And I’m demonstrating God’s Love by doing it. And you can all afford to express God’s Love by doing it for yourselves and for each other.
The times seem to be rough and the roughness seems to be persistent.
The economy, globally, is in a rough situation and it seems to be going on and on and on. And the suffering, the tension, the on-going lack of resolve in so many people’s lives becomes discouraging, or there are physical problems that seem to be delayed in responding to any healing effort that’s being put forth and that is cause for discouragement.
It seems to put a demand on each of you in many different ways. And many times you might find yourself like a relatively new student of music, let’s say, learning how to play the piano. And he’s playing his piece that he’s been learning and his teacher says, “Stop … no, here’s the way to do it … listen.” And the teacher demonstrates. And the child hears and he becomes fretful. And he says to her, “What if I don’t do it right?” The teacher says, “Well, it just won’t sound so good.”
“No!” he says, “What if I don’t get it right?”
“Well,” the teachers says, “It will just mean that you’re not playing it the way the composer of the song envisioned it—meant for it to be played.”
And the little boy (the student) says, “No! What will happen to me if I don’t do it right?”
And the teacher is sort of amazed and looks at the child and says, “Well, nothing will happen to you. You’ll just need to practice it. You’ll just need to do it over and over until you get the idea—until you get the hang of it.”
And the boy says, “Ah-h-h, thank God! I was really worried that if I didn’t get it right, something would happen.”
It’s a concept that all of you labor under in one way or another and it’s called, “truth or consequences.” The phrase has been bandied about. There was a television program, “Truth or Consequences,” as if there was such a thing. When the fact is, that there is truth or truth—there’s no truth or something else.
“What if I don’t get the truth right? I’ve got all these problems. I’m having trouble feeding my family. I’m not having the kind of healing that I want to be having or that I was told there would be. I need to do something! What if I don’t do it right? Oh-h, maybe I already didn’t do it right and maybe this is the consequence.” You see.
And so what amounts to a simple opportunity for practice until you get it right, practicing to get it right becomes a potential for being made wrong and being made responsible for being wrong. And the attention is drawn away from something that the little boy (the piano student) realized: “Oh-h, oh-h, thank God! There is no consequence for me. Nothing will happen to me. All I need to do is to keep doing it until I get it … I see.”
God wants you to stop turning your learning into cause for guilt and for self-recrimination, and for blame directed at yourself.
Now you will only ever run into this dynamic if you’re trying to get your healing from the orphanage or if you’re trying to move into an experience of your abundance as though you were a poor little orphan, you see, [chuckle] and here’s the thing that can catch you up: You can’t get to the experience of what is true about you from the orphanage or from the orphan mind-set. The only place you can access your wholeness, your healing, your transformation, is from the Kingdom of Heaven.
Well now, that’s pretty darn near impossible, isn’t it. Because you’re obviously not in the Kingdom of Heaven—you’re pretty damn sure you’re an orphan. But you know, we’ve talked about something: We’ve talked about the fact that you’re neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it. You’re at that point and you must understand yourself therefrom.
Oh, wherefrom is that, “therefrom?”
That thar, “therefrom,” is the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s the point of perfection. It’s the place or the frame of reference in which you can look at yourself and see what’s true because you’ve chosen to neglect to exercise or practice doubt, fear, guilt, etc. You’ve chosen to become still. And in the stillness say, “Father, thy Will be done.”
Now, we’ve also talked about letting radical idealism become practical realism.
Well, what the heck is radical idealism? [chuckles] At the bottom line, it’s whatever the truth is that doesn’t seem to be true for you. That makes it radically idealistic and impractical.
What’s radical idealism? That God is Love. What’s radical idealism? That you are His Daughter or Son. What is radical idealism? That you are very holy. What is radical idealism? That the perfection of every act of God that is called Creation is utterly and unchangeably perfect.
And that means that everything about you is unchangeably perfect.
Now why is that radical idealism? Because it don’t seem that way to you! And you’re pretty darn sure that it can’t actually be the truth about you because you have so much evidence to the contrary. And you know what? Your word goes. Your word rules.
Now, I’m going to back up. You’re neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it. You are at that point. You are, at this moment, at that point and you must understand yourself therefrom. You must understand yourself therefrom if you are to arrive at a conscious experience of the truth of that fact. Standing at that point constitutes being in the holy instant. It’s that place where God’s laws prevail. It’s that place which seems to you to be a new arena of being in which laws are working that express God’s governance. And the laws of matter, the laws of physics that seemed to have been governing you, are no longer governing you.
And so you have healing. You have a transformed experience.
Now I’ve talked before about the fact that you tend to use your minds carelessly, mainly because no one ever really taught you how to use your minds carefully.
Now I’m going to use a meditation as an example. Ordinarily you go through your days every day thinking-thinking-thinking. But then you learn about meditation. And you learn whatever practice of meditation you learn. In the process of learning it, you find that there’s a new experience to be had—an experience of silence, of peace in your mind. And it is experienced when thinking stops. And so, as part of your practicing your meditation, you have a mantra or a focus, a candle flame, whatever, and you give your attention to it gently. And you find yourself thinking a thought, “Ah-h,” you realize, “not the time for that.” And you abandon the thought and bring your attention back to whatever the focus of the meditation is.
Now this is like the child learning how to the play the piano or a child learning how to ride a bike, where there’s repetitive practice of the act of riding the bike or of doing the particular trill … whatever it might be.
What I’m trying to say is, that if you want to have the experience of radical idealism becoming practical realism, you have to be willing to practice what it takes for that to happen. And if you’re not good at it, you have to persist. And when the temptation comes to say, “Well, what I’m persisting about is particularly important, it’s an issue that could make radical changes in my life that might not be good—what…if…I…don’t…do…it…right!”
It’s like doing a meditation, and in the meditation when you’re in your peace, the thought comes: “Oh, I forgot to call so-in-so and it’s important!” And you are tempted to not just recognize that as a thought that doesn’t fit what you’re engaged in so that you may set it aside and bring your attention back to the focus of your meditation. You’re sorely tempted, because of the seriousness of the matter, to abandon what, for lack of better words, is the translation of radical idealism into practical realism or the fact that God is Love, into the experience of feeling your peace so that you are able to attend to whatever needs to be attended to, in peace, in wholeness, in the holy instant where God’s laws prevail.
There’s practice. That’s the point. You must be willing to practice radical idealism. Idealism has the word, “ideal” in it. So radical idealism doesn’t describe something radical that could be good or bad, radical idealism has as its focus, the ideal. And God is the Ideal. And God’s actions are the Ideal. And you as the evidence of God’s actions are the Ideal. There, we’re starting to understand you from the point of perfection. I’m talking about you from the point of perfection.
And when you bring your attention there rather than letting it dwell on the constant rehashing of fear, doubt and anxiety, you become less opaque, if I may put it that way. You, in your being as you know yourself to be in the moment, are becoming less afraid, less dense, less tense, more flexible, more open, more receptive, with less and less of your confident fearful self-assertion. And in the absence of that—in the quietness, the presence of the perfection of you, because it is God-derived, and because, for lack of better words, it constitutes an assertion of God’s right where you are—radical idealism, the truth about you can, by virtue of the laws of God that prevail in that place, find yourself being healed.
But it will not happen as long as you’re trying to get your healing from the orphanage, as long as you’re trying to be the best damned orphan you can be, or the most spiritually proficient orphan you can be. You see, it doesn’t have anything to do with filling old concepts about who you are as a good boy or who you are as a good girl. It’s not fulfilling your mother’s or your father’s concepts of who you ought to become, or how a good girl is, or how a good boy is.
You see, as you do the two-step, as you let yourself into the holy instant, the old passes away. The old fades and is replaced with new rules. This is what you need to understand. And the new rules, without fail, render visible God’s laws that prevail and none else do.
Again, you must understand that all the holy words in the world, including those in the Course, if they’re worth anything at all, bring you to a point of having radical idealism rendered practical realism. God created you and the act of Creation He engaged in was an act of perfection. And His Creation, called you, is therefore perfect and that radical idealism, because it doesn’t seem to be the case, becomes the practical realism which is, that a physician examining you will find the problem invisible, unavailable to study, unavailable to see—not only that, it will mean that deformities or things that were out of balance but not diseases or problems, will vanish as well.
Oh I know … you say, “this is far out.” But this is radical idealism. This is truth. And this truth is something you’re supposed to be experiencing. And so, the Course is leading you to the point where you will have that experience. It’s leading you to the point where you say, “Holy Spirit, I now know you are nothing more than my right Mind,” or put another way, “I now know, intellectually at least, that my right Mind is nothing less than God’s Holy Spirit! And I invite this right Mind of mine to register with me as mine. In other words, I desire for that which represents to me at the moment, radical idealism, I invite that to register with me as the truth about me, in other words, the down-to-earth, here and now practical realism of me.” Because that’s the point.
It is so easy, especially when “hard times” persist or a problem that doesn’t yield … it’s very easy to become discouraged and to justify frustration and anger. But it doesn’t make it practical. It doesn’t make it appropriate. It doesn’t ever constitute something that lays the groundwork for radical idealism to become practical realism. And you all know that. You all know that every expression of hate, every expression of anger is something that doesn’t even register well with your body, much less [chuckles] provide the environment in which the Love of God can register with you.
Now, I’ve got to tell you that generating anger and vocalizing it with as great strength as you can, will never constitute the means of shutting the ego up. Why? Because it, itself, is pure ego attempting to get charge of the situation all by itself—all on its own. And always, it will constitute getting control of the situation, finding authority that works on or over another, or a thing, “I’ve got dominion over this cancer. I’ve got to get dominion over this asshole who’s ruining my life. I’ve got to get control over the people who are governing the economy and our world. I’ve got to find my voice!”
And this feels very justifiable to you. Of course, it’s all being done from the context of the orphanage—a state of being which is based upon a basic false assumption that you exist autonomously and have no connection with a Source other than what you can create with your fantastic imagination, and the rules you can get other people to believe so that they’ll behave in a way that supports you and keeps you safe, blah, and blah and blah.
I started out by saying God loves you and that we would take some time to talk about things, because sometimes you need to step back and not try so hard, so that you might, in the quietness, have a chance to be reminded by the presence of God, the presence of Love in you, that God loves you.
And so that’s what I’m talking about tonight, the ways to … (ah, I don’t like this) … the ways to think about it, the contexts in which to be present with the demands in front of you and with your opportunities to practice over and over something that you’re not skilled at but you will become skilled at as you practice—just as a meditator, through the practice of noticing when he’s thinking and saying, “I’ll do that after the meditation,” and going back to the focus. That one through that simple repetitive practice learns how to be in the stillness for long periods of time and has the opportunity in that stillness to let God in.
I have to say that there are those who meditate who think the stillness is the point, and maintain the stillness so that the moment God speaks, that one says, “I’ll deal with that after the meditation,” and holds himself to perfect silence, to perfect stillness in which no Movement of Creation in its true aspect can register with him, and in which the Voice for truth can’t register with her.
There’s a reason for all of this that we’re doing. And it isn’t just peace in the middle of chaos—peace within, while there’s chaos without.
When it doesn’t feel easy to have faith, when radical idealism like, “God is Love and God loves you,” seems like nothing but crap—a false promise, a crazy concept, something that mortals came up with as a salve for the awfulness of existence which doesn’t have a shred of truth to it—when those thoughts occur to you, what do they do? They immobilize you … one way or another they keep you from practicing that trill … for one reason or another they keep you from getting back up on that bicycle.
And one of the main reasons is, as I said before—and everyone of you have to watch out for this—it becomes turned in upon you, “What if I don’t get it right? What if I do it wrong?” Nothing! But if you let it immobilize you, you won’t be available to hear that one word, “nothing,” . . nothing will happen.
You, whether you do it right or wrong, will still be, because you can’t get outside of the fact that you are the expression of God, therefore, eternal, therefore, unchangeable in terms of Being. So if you get it wrong, nothing happens, except that you still have the opportunity to do it right.
And tonight I’m reminding you that there’s a way to do it right. There’s a way to be, that is the way God created you to be. And there really is no other way to be that’s actually available to you, but you’re all trapped in the belief that there is. And so, you just muck around in the miserable beliefs that, “There ain’t no such thing as radical idealism that can possibly become practical realism, because practical realism is a state of existence unto itself that has nothing to do with this other thing called radical idealism.”
It’s really like saying, “What’s real is error and what’s unreal is truth. So don’t reach for the truth, don’t waste your time on it. The suggestion that radical idealism can become practical realism is nothing more than a false temptation, a carrot placed on a stick ahead of you that you can’t ever reach. The truth is impossible to have!” No. Truth is inevitable for you to have, just like the perfect trill is available for the piano student to have. You just need to persist. The child needs to not get up and walk away from the piano and go outside with his buddies and say, “Playing piano is for sissies. I’m not going to do it anymore. It’s not worth it. It’s too hard. Let the girls do it.”
Be patient with yourselves. Love yourselves enough to stop doing what hurts you, even if at the moment it feels so good to do it. Anger always feels momentarily satisfying. At times it’s almost better than an orgasm. Many times, anger has prevented the possibility of an orgasm, “Honey, I’d rather be angry tonight … no way.”
Anger and guilt are like drugs, they give you an apparent high, but they are debilitating in their use. And there’s a point that you have to arrive at where you decide not to employ them. And when you make that decision not to employ them, you have to begin to exercise a little self-discipline. You don’t run off like the child from the piano, angry. You sit there and you say, “Oh, nothing’s going to happen to me if I don’t get it right. And if I keep practicing it, I’ll get the hang of it, everybody else has. I’ll get it.” And you persist. Or in your meditation, you have a thought, you abandon it and bring your attention back to the focus. This is the practice of discipline.
Some of you feel in the clutches of anger. Some of you feel as though you’re in the clutches of depression. Some of you feel that you’re in the clutches of fear and you say, “The things that I’m in the clutch of are so strong and I’m not responsible for them, circumstances are such that I can’t be anything but anxious or fearful or depressed or whatever.
This is where, like the user of drugs, you have to be willing to take a look and see whether such an attitude or the practice of such an attitude is detrimental to you or helpful, so that you can recognize that, “No, it’s actually detrimental and I must change what I’m doing. I must stop yielding to the clutching of fear, the clutching of anxiety, the clutching of depression and so on. I may not be able to make it go away, but I can give my attention somewhere else. I do not have to give these things my full attention.”
And here’s the best way to start: By reminding yourself that you’re neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it, that you are at that point and that you must understand yourself therefrom. Because therefrom is the holy instant and therefrom God’s laws prevail, God’s laws govern absolutely. And in the presence of those laws, whatever it is, whatever the fantastic imagination was that brought up fear or anxiety or depression, together with the fear, anxiety and depression will be gone and radical idealism will have been rendered practical realism. And that’s the point.
Always, always when you are in pain of any sort, psychological, physical, whatever, the furthest thing from your mind is the truth that you’re neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it, that you must understand yourself therefrom if you wish to be free of this which is debilitating your ability to see God in everything, including yourself, and to experience transformation, healing, the direct experience of Creation as it truly is.
So sometimes you need to stop plowing through your lessons and be present with things you’ve already learned. Because they will help you to dare to choose for your peace when chaos seems to say you need to be afraid. Or to choose for your peace when your health seems to be saying there’s no justification for you to be experiencing peace. And then be in that point of perfection, be in the holy instant like a led weight, so that nothing moves you, nothing distracts you, because you’re not interested in being distracted.
You want to know something? The holy instant is that place in which God’s laws prevail and prevail absolutely. But I promise you that the experience of the holy instant isn’t just a permanent experience of invulnerability and perfection, the holy instant is the threshold, for lack of better words, of your being swept into the Movement of Creation Itself as a participant in It by sharing with God the instantaneous conscious experience of all that Creation Is now… now … now … now … now.
And so, the holy instant isn’t a destination. The holy instant is the beginning of being Awake again. It’s the beginning of radical idealism becoming practical realism. That’s what Creation Is: God being radically ideal. And in the act of being radically ideal, causing practical realism without any of it ever becoming unlike its Source, without any of it becoming some physical universe and without any of God’s Sons or Daughters becoming independent agents who seem to be able to generate for themselves frustrating, sickening, dying experiences … seem to be able to create for themselves.
New meditators or meditators under stress have difficulty being free of thoughts, but with practice they become free of thoughts. You may have difficulty watching the truth become real for you, watching radical idealism become practical realism, but through practice you will.
And the one thing I want you to go home with knowing tonight is, that what doesn’t contribute to radical idealism being translated into practical realism, is a useless, meaningless activity for you to engage in. And as the threshold of Awakening—generally speaking—is closer, your dallying with a capacity to imagine negatively, is going to be met with more discomfort than it has in the past. And the freedom that you used to have will seem to be taken away from you, the freedom to do it and not suffer. And you will be reminded more instantly that what you’re doing is not providing the environment in which the holy instant can occur. That what you are doing is making it impossible for you to remember that you are neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it, you are at that point and you must understand yourself therefrom. You must approach everything in your apprehension of all of Creation from that standpoint. I don’t mean apprehension as fearful, I mean apprehension as being conscious of.
Now you may do whatever you like this week. You may read on in the Course, but I’m going to encourage you not to do that and to spend some time learning to be gentle with yourselves, give yourselves the benefit of the doubt. And while you’ve let yourself off the hook that causes you to certainly automatically feel guilty, consider these gentle things … these gentle truths that we’ve been talking about … that God loves you … that your perfection is what you are supposed to be experiencing … that doing what will allow your perfection to manifest is not something that will be met with good affect or consequences and that therefore you can freely and without remorse, without guilt, persist with some diligence—gentle diligence as you would use in a meditation.
You’re meditating. You’ve had some quiet time. And then a damn thought pops up! You see. And that’s what you do. “A DAMN THOUGHT JUST POPPED UP!” Wow … call that a disturbed meditation! You could just say, “Oh, another thought. I’m going back to my focus.” You don’t have to disturb your meditation further than the thought did. Just notice it gently and come back to your focus.
If you don’t get it right, don’t get upset about it. Notice that you didn’t get it right and come back to doing it again. “Damn I forgot that I was at the point of perfection and not advancing toward it. Oh, yeah, I gotta remember, I’m neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it, I’m at that point and I must understand myself therefrom. That must be the context in which I consider things or listen for what the truth is.”
Kindness … self-kindness … be kind to yourself as you reach out to God. Be kind to yourself as you desire to know the truth that is revealed in the holy instant in which the laws of God prevail absolutely.
And again, no matter how satisfying it is to bitch or grouse about this, that or the other thing, remember: Begin to remind yourself that as satisfying as it feels at the moment it doesn’t allow for the holy instant, and therefore, it doesn’t allow for that place, that experience in which God’s laws prevail absolutely. If you will remember that, you will realize that there is nothing satisfying enough about being angry to sacrifice the other.
And then go back to remembering that you’re at the point of perfection and that you want that fact, which seems to you at the moment to be radical idealism, to be rendered practical realism to you, rather than your awful beliefs.
I love you all. Be kind to yourself this week with the truth. Let the truth love you into your health, by not fighting against it with your absolute negative confidences. You don’t need to do it. You don’t need to block your good.
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