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Okay … good evening again. It’s really a rather simple lesson that we’re all in the middle of and that we’ve been discussing. We’ve called it different things: The two-step, hesitation, going into the stillness, going into the void, abandoning thinking.
One of the things that Paul has become aware of more clearly than ever before in the last three weeks since we were together is, that when he is thinking, he’s not speaking with me. He’s not consciously, let’s say, connected with the Holy Spirit, either. And he’s not reaching out to the Father.
He is self-sufficiently attending to figuring things out … attending to saving his ass, protecting himself—insuring himself that he won’t be vulnerable.
Now, here’s the simplicity of it: When one is thinking and is unjoined, in other words, not engaged in active companionship with the Holy Spirit or with me or with the Father, one is no different from a toaster that’s not plugged into the socket. It sits there, it looks like a toaster, if you put the toast in and push it down, it looks like it must be toasting the bread, but nothing is happening and nothing can actually happen.
There have been things requiring Paul’s attention just as there are things that require your attention, and have, let’s say, during the past three weeks. And in many instances, Paul immediately began to engage in figuring out how to cope with those issues—those things. And he could come up with different scenarios and different solutions and be concerned about whether they would really work and which one was the right one and so on.
And he suddenly realized, “My God, I’m thinking! I’m not joined, I’m not listening. Therefore, all that’s going on in my mind is meaningless.”
He came up with a little phrase which he would use whenever he realized he was beginning to think or had been thinking. He would say, “But I still don’t have the answer” … “But I don’t have the answer.” A fear would come up. He’d be attracted to it. He would think about it and maybe spend a half an hour seriously considering it. And then remember and say, “But I don’t have the answer.”
Now, not only did he realize he didn’t have the answer, he realized that he couldn’t possibly have the answer as a result of thinking. And that it was futile for him to do this thinking process that his whole life had taught him how to do rather well, intelligently, reasonably. And therefore, the only solution was to take whatever the question was—whatever the need was—to me or to the Holy Spirit and ask for the answer.
You know what? You all love the mystery. You all love the not-knowing. You all love the process of discovery. You all love the anticipation of the answer that will come to you. And the fact is, you feel that it would be utterly dull to immediately [snaps fingers] have the answer and immediately [snaps fingers] know exactly what to do or exactly what the truth about the situation is. Where would the fun of this discovery be? Where would the mysteriousness be? Where would the wondering be? And of course, then use a play on words: The wonder of the answer, the w-o-n-d-e-r, the awesomeness of it.
Well, wondering and wonder are two different words with two different meanings. Wondering is not knowing. Wondering is being ignorant. And to enjoy wondering because of the mystery of it is to make ignorance valuable and worth embracing and engaging in. And all the time, you still don’t have the answer. And you still don’t have the answer because you haven’t gone to the place where the answer is available, which is not in the midst of your thinking processes. It’s in the silence. When you abandon all of your best reasoning and judgment and you ask, “What’s the truth here?” of That which knows the truth: The Holy Spirit—that which is nothing more than your right Mind—the Father or the Christ, That which knows the answer which has been from the Beginning and which has involved no variableness whatsoever, and the knowledge of which brings you peace and not the mystery of not-knowing and the supposed pleasure of discovery, all of which goes on in the orphan-mindset which is the unplugged toaster.
So you see, the simplicity of the lesson here is, if you’re thinking, nothing is happening. If you’re reasoning, if you’re going through logical deductions, nothing is happening. You still don’t have the answer. And I promise you something: If suddenly, apparently in the midst of all of your mystery and wondering, the answer comes to you, it will be because you were momentarily undefended against the answer, you were momentarily not invested in your coming up with the answer. You were momentarily innocent of trying to be something you cannot be and the Holy Spirit entered and you had the answer. And the answer was peace embodied. And the answer was wholeness experienced. And the answer was the capacity to be utterly appropriate in whatever the circumstance was that you were in at that moment.
Now you want to be plugged in. You want to Wake up. The simple fact is that as long as you are thinking and not joined, you are unconscious!
You say, “Well, how could I be unconscious? I’m driving the car. I’m interacting with people. I’m conscious.”
Are you conscious of the truth though? Are you conscious of Reality in which sickness is non-existent and which, because you’re in the middle of it, constituted a healing for you—an instantaneous healing in which illness disappeared? If that hasn’t happened, you are not yet conscious of the truth. You are unconscious and nothing meaningful is happening except you enjoying this fantastic experience of the “mystery of life.” “Ah-h Sweet Mystery Of Life”… a beautiful song. You enshrine the “mystery of life” in the concept of beauty.
Stop it! Stop enshrining and embodying unconsciousness, ignorance, meaninglessness. If you don’t have the answer and you’re doing a lot of thinking, remind yourself: “But I still don’t have the answer!” And in the reminding of yourself of that fact, abandon your independence and say, “Father, what is the truth here?” Ask, “Holy Spirit, what is the truth here?” Say, “Jesus, show me the truth, show me the way, share with me the experience of truth, not the idea of it. I want to experience what you’re experiencing when you, Jesus, are not holding yourself separate from your Father and thus you, in your full capacity of the Christ, are able to be co-creators with the Father. Help me have that experience so that I, in the fullness of the Christ that I am, can co-create with my Father and be in that place where the Laws of God prevail and where the sense of mystery is no more.”
The boredom of not having answers to discover doesn’t constitute a loss of any kind because it puts you in direct communion with unseparated Oneness with God. And you therefore stand with God in the Movement of Creation that God is Being so that you discover and experience what God is Being brand-new in every moment and are free to acknowledge It as what It is and not be confused about It and not need to go through a process of mystery in order to arrive at an experience of what It is.
And so, it’s far from boring. But of course, it doesn’t involve any ego processes of becoming, which actually constitute an absence of meaning: Toast not getting toasted, actually … and you being unconscious when what you want is to be conscious.
So, you know you have situations in your life and you think, “Oh, well a miracle is a sudden shift of perception!” And you think, “Oh, it’ll be a shift of perception from this kind of experience to this kind of experience in the world—from a lesser situation to a better situation.”
No. The shift is from being unconscious to being conscious. The shift is from thinking to listening. The shift is from isolation to unity—joining, togetherness. The shift is from emptiness to fullness or wholeness.
The simplicity escapes everyone because there is great faith in the power of thought. You have great faith in your capacity to think. You know what? None of the great discoveries in history were the result of thought. They were always the result or presence of insight, nothing else!
Insight is what you need to be valuing, not thought processes. An innocent mind, unconditioned, needs to be valued more than an educated mind that has been taught how to be very specifically orderly in very specific ways—bound, not free, not available for Revelation. Because I promise you, Revelation goes beyond concepts. The Movement of God goes beyond thoughts, it goes beyond orderlinesses—intellectual orderlinesses. It’s utterly original. It doesn’t fit in anywhere. You see?
The lesson is simple. The place where we are in the process, you might say, of Awakening, is a place of great simplicity now. It’s like being at the last step. There’s only one more thing to do. Now, we can read through the rest of the Course and we probably will … or we might not. But the point is, that you’re at the step of being able to recognize what the issue is—the simplicity of it—and doing it.
When you learn how to do meditation, you have something to give your attention to: A mantra, the flame of a candle, a mandala, your breath. And when you find yourself beginning to what? think … you remind yourself to come back to the breath or the flame, or the mandala, or the mantra.
Well, you’re at a point in life where life itself is this choice—this same meditational choice, I might say—where you have to notice when you’ve started thinking so that you might say, “No! I still don’t have the answer and never will have it this way. I’m going to go back to what? . . thinking more? . . better?” No. The silence and attentiveness called, “listening” and actually allowing for engagement in communion—communication—dialogue with the Holy Spirit or me or the Father.
It’s not just a matter of being still. It’s not just a matter of not-thinking. It’s a matter of stopping the thinking which preoccupies you from being attentive to Something outside yourself, beyond your thinking and thereby positioning you so that you might experience the loss of independence and the experience of Brotherhood and communion with That which can share the truth with you, so that you no longer indulge in the “mystery of life.”
Everyone loves a mystery. Well stop loving a mystery. Be willing to be grounded and stable enough to want to know the answer that ends the mystery, ends the wondering and which might therefore seem boring to you or uninteresting.
You’ve all got to get past the desire for stimulation … even the stimulation of fear, which is part and parcel of the mystery. You want to discover it but what if you don’t discover it, what if you don’t discover it in time? Oh-h, you need the mystery to end. It’s fantastic to have the mystery, but you know, how are you going to pay the bill on the 22nd and it’s the 18th today? Oh, boy the mystery’s getting really interesting …
Hey, why not listen for the answer on the 1st? No mystery, but ease and peace and a capacity to be joyful because you’re not engaged in the details of the mystery.
Remember, if you’re thinking … you’re unconscious. You’re unconscious because you’re not joined with That which holds the answer. And ultimately, that means you’re not joined with the Holy Spirit which has the answer—which is nothing more than your right Mind. And so you are disjointed from your right Mind—you’re unjoined with your right Mind. You are therefore, experiencing some form of insanity.
This is the simplicity of where we are in the learning. This is the point where we are in the discovery of real Meaning that means something significantly enough to warrant risking the chance that if you stop thinking you might come back into your right Mind and for it to seem practically realistic enough to do it … to do it!
There is a point you will all come to where it will no longer be fun to be engaged in the mystery. Where the mystery will feel exhausting, where the ignorance will be so depressing that you’re going to finally say, “U-n-c-l-e!” … and listen.
Don’t wait for that! There’s no need. But you are going to have to dare to get up in the morning and go through your day as you have for many, many, days, year-in-and-year-out, let’s say—and all of your friends have been doing everyday, day-in-and-day-out for years—and be in the flow from a new vantage point. Not doing it the old way. Not doing it the way everyone else is, because today, now … now … now … now you are choosing to listen, you are choosing to be joined and in dialog with your Guide, in dialog with the Holy Spirit, Who’s whole intent is to cause you to remember your Self in your wholeness as the holy Son or Daughter of God that you Are.
The Holy Spirit is nothing more than your right Mind. And your right Mind has one intent and that is to bring you consciously into It, so that you’re not trying to operate from a fragmented tiny part that you are managing, imaginatively, to hold separate from the totality of your right Mind. Your right Mind is intent upon breaking down the boundary around this fragmented little part that you’re trying to hold in place because of the “mystery of life” and how involving and exciting and interesting and be-au-ti-ful it is. You see?
You need to be able to get up everyday and as you’re driving to work and you see everything you say, “But I still don’t have the answer.” You see? Meaning, “But I’m still not seeing this movement … traffic … people, etc., as the Movement of Creation. I’m not seeing it the way God is seeing it. Therefore, I don’t have the answer, therefore, I’m not conscious right now, even though I’m quite capable of maneuvering in and out of this traffic safely without injuring myself or anyone else. And I can manage to get to work and punch in on time … not be late … take care of business.” And on and on.
When you punch in, are you doing it by yourself or did you and the Holy Spirit do it together with maybe a certain grace and beauty, because all movement is the Movement of Life, which is the Movement of Love, which is Art in Action.
When you walked down the stairs, is it methodical and mechanical, is it strict and careful or is there grace to it like a ballet? Because it is a Movement of Life, it is a Movement of Being, it is a Movement of Art if you are connected, if you are joined. And if you’re not having that experience you’re unconscious of the truth, you’re unconscious of the Kingdom of Heaven right there in the stairwell, right there on the freeway.
So, let there be this constant impulse to listen, in the middle of a business conference, in the middle of a telephone conversation whether it’s a business conversation or a personal conversation with a friend. Don’t just assume that you know who you are and you know who your friend is and therefore, you don’t have to be conscious because the two of you can just rattle off together and do the most marvelous processes of friendship without ever being conscious of the holy Son or Daughter of God that you’re talking to and that you Are, where there’s no consciousness of glory in it. If there isn’t, you’re unconscious of what is there to be experienced.
“But I don’t have the answer yet. I don’t have the fullness of the experience yet. And I want it. So I will not settle for being unconscious. I will not settle for continuing to think this thing through. And I will shut up and become curiously attentive and I will ask for clarity to be provided.” And That of you which has the answer will provide it and bring you therefore into the wholeness of your Being by re-Minding you of what you already Know, but which you forgot in the great attraction to the “mystery of life” and the wondering and the pleasure of figuring out the answers for yourself
So this week, watch it! If you find yourself beginning to get flowery in your spiritual concepts and your language with your friends when it comes to talking about the truth or even resolving problems and you’re relying upon past memories and ways of presenting ideas which you have come to the conclusion are excellent ways of stimulating spiritual discovery, [snaps fingers] catch yourself, because you’re unconscious, you’re not joined, you’re not listening, you’re not letting what you’re saying come from some place other than your conditioning and your memory. You’re not letting it come from the freshness of the communication of God or the freshness of the communication of the Holy Spirit, which is revealing to you what God is Being in that moment so that what you say is really inspired, because you’re plugged in and the current is there, the current of Reality, the current of Creation.
Now, as you come close to this realization of the simplicity and that it’s simply a matter of stopping this and starting that, becoming still—you know, stopping thinking and starting listening—you will seem to find that there are more occasions to be concerned, there will be more issues.
Now it isn’t because there truly are more issues, but it will be because in the process of, for lack of better words, turning things over to the Holy Spirit, in other words, turning to the Holy Spirit, asking of the Holy Spirit with the intent of being consciously present listening in order to hear the Holy Spirit, you put yourself in the position of having many more answers than you ever dreamed of. You will take more needs, more issues to the Holy Spirit for answers. And pretty soon you’ll run out of … I mean really quick … you will run out of little things to want to know the truth about and you will want to know the big things, the things that you are positive there are not answers to, or answers that will be impossible for you.
And so, you will find yourself reluctant to ask all the questions. And you will begin to worry about the bigger things that you hadn’t looked at before because you kept busy with the little tiny ones that it was easy to deal with. And rather than asking and listening as though the impossible were possible, you will confirm to yourself that it is impossible. But since you now see that it’s on your plate, you will feel confronted with serious problems—even danger. And it will seem totally justifiable to you to worry, to become thoroughly engrossed in fear, because you know, “here is something,” but it’s going to be impossible to deal with. And when that happens, you’re in the ugly part of “mystery” and you are completely distracted from listening. And you have emotional justification for staying as far away from listening as possible because you are called upon to what? Solve the problem yourself!
And yet we’ve just been talking about the fact that the solution comes in the awareness that you can’t solve anything. And it’s not your responsibility to solve anything.
As I’ve said before, the closer you get to the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven the ego throws up gargoyles around the gate, you see, to distract you and scare you off. The gargoyles aren’t real. They don’t represent anything valid. But they would if they could distract you from simply moving forward through the gates or across the bridge, moving forward by virtue of the simple step of stopping thinking and listening instead. Listening with the demand, I’m going to say, for an answer. Listening with a firm unyielding receptivity to and expectation of dialog, communication.
“Oh I know,” you say, “Paul’s in touch with his Guide. I’m not in touch with my Guide. I listen and I listen and I don’t hear anything.” Well, I’ll tell you something, the time will come when the situation is serious enough and you don’t feel like you have any alternative and you will listen and you will hear because you will give permission. Why? Because when there’s no alternative, it means that you’ve given up faith in your own capacity to think your way through it successfully and experience the wonder of the “mystery.”
Now, again, you don’t have to wait until you seem to have no choice. You can make that commitment when there isn’t a dire circumstance, when you’re not at the end of your rope.
If you’re not hearing your Guide, you’re simply not committed to hearing your Guide. You still feel that you have some capacity to cope with life on the basis of your own best judgments and your own thinking. And you’re going to opt for that, “thank you very much.” And you’ll listen for your Guide at another time. The only thing is, that the other time that you will do it is one in which it will be very uncomfortable because circumstances will be equal to your stubbornness.
You see, one way or another, correction is going to occur. One way or another, the holy Son or Daughter of God that you Are is going to come forth, is going to pop into view. Salvation will occur because this illusion cannot endure. It’s a fantasy and Reality will undo it.
But it’s no fun to be coerced because it always involves a struggle with your stubbornness. A struggle between your stubbornness and the Movement of God that would have you discover that you do not have a will of your own, truly, that can stand up against God successfully. That is bound to be discovered by you. And my task is to encourage you to let that discovery happen voluntarily, now, with curiosity—bring to the listening and the desire to be joined in everything you do—let that be as interesting to you as the “mystery of life,” and the attempt to solve it on your own.
This week I encourage you to read from where we left off last time1 to the end of this section. The things I’ve shared tonight have been very consistent with what’s there. But what I shared tonight didn’t come out of abiding by a string of words in a certain order, but out of the very nature of life itself and the experience each of you has and the experiences each of you will encounter and the way to deal with them in a sober way rather than attempting to do it in a way that constitutes unconscious behavior, which accomplishes nothing, while at the same time believing that you are accomplishing something. That illusion has to be abandoned willingly, gratefully, happily.
You know, not a one of you has to read another sentence out of the Course. I mean, you can decide to stop thinking and be joined and stay that way now. If you don’t do it now, you’d better read the rest of the pages. But it’s not required. Your Salvation is not at the end of a process in time. It lies in shifting from thinking to listening. And that will always happen in the instant you’re in when it happens. It’s always going to be now when it happens—simplicity itself.
I love you. And I look forward to being with you next time. And value the recognition that you don’t have the answer yet when you’re thinking, so that you can immediately stop the thinking and get back to listening and reach out in joining with the intent to be in communion, comradeship.
T16.4 Illusion and Reality of Love ↩
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