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Good evening. And welcome to everyone who’s joining us on the Internet.
We’re going to go right into the Book tonight.
To everyone Heaven is completion. There can be no disagreement on this, because both the ego and the Holy Spirit accept it. They are, however, in COMPLETE disagreement on what completion IS, and HOW it is accomplished.1
We have two key points now:
The Holy Spirit knows that completion lies first in union…
… the first part of the two-step, right?
… and then in the extension of union.
Which is the second part of the two-step.
To the ego…
… this is the second point …
… completion lies in triumph, and in the extension of the “victory” even to the final triumph over God. In this it sees the ultimate freedom of the self, for nothing would remain to interfere with IT. This IS its idea of Heaven.
We’re going to talk a little bit tonight about listening: About how important it is, and about how it’s experienced and about how one must live with it.
It’s not insignificant. It is the most significant thing any of you can engage in. Because it’s the means by which you come Home. It’s the means by which you come back into your right Mind. And I know you’ve heard me say this over and over and over again. Hm-m … and some think, “Raj, why can’t you say something new?”
When it’s time to say something new, I will say something new. In the meantime, I will say what’s needed because what’s needed is what will help get all of us to something new.
Arriving at completion is accomplished by silencing human will, silencing your personal private intent and reaching outside of it, reaching out to God or reaching out to the Voice for truth, which is the Voice for God, which is the Holy Spirit, which is nothing more than your right Mind—your sanity.
Now, I’ve talked in the last few weeks about the fact that when you listen and you hear, you may not be happy with what you hear. And the simple fact is, that others may not be happy with what you hear either. And so, listening will either be something you abandon because it’s “too much work” or it’s something you will become even more intent upon—I did not say, “intense,” more intent upon—more disciplined around. And in spite of the distress you might be feeling or the distress others might be feeling, you will step aside from the emotional reactions, and in the quietness of your Being—in the quietness of your Mind—you will persist even further in listening.
I’m going to talk for a few minutes about three individuals who listened. And you know, if you ever wonder how hard you should listen, how intently you should listen, think of these three individuals.
You see, the question is, “How hard do you listen to God?” How hard do you listen?
Let’s take Abraham: Abraham, a God-fearing man. A man whose life was devoted to God. And he listened to God and God told him to sacrifice his son. Well, here’s a situation where most would [chuckle] abandon the act of listening. They would say, “This is too hard! This is absolutely unreasonable!”
But if one doesn’t have that response, what does one do instead?
Well, one listens like one has never listened before. After all, you love your son. The last thing you would consider would be to sacrifice him, even for God. And yet, if your commitment is to God, you’re going to listen further and you’re going to have to come to a point where you make a decision as to what is going to be the basis for your being in the world.
Is it going to be the Holy Spirit’s Viewpoint or is it going to be the ego’s viewpoint. Is it going to be listening to God or is it going to be thinking for your self.
When it comes to sacrificing your son or daughter or a loved one, you had best listen like you’ve never listened before.
Now I don’t mean that as a threat. What I mean by that is, you will need to let the Guidance you’ve received lead you to a level of honest listening, wherein you are providing no distractions to become the whole of your willingness—not willfulness—the whole of your conscious awareness, the whole of your commitment to the moment that is in front of you and the situation that is in front of you.
Well, you say, “That was Abraham and, you know, we don’t have circumstances like that these days. I would never be called upon to have to be that committed.” And I’m going to ask you why wouldn’t you want to be that committed? Why wouldn’t you want to be engaged wholly, without reservation in that Place—in the silence—and in your desire to know of the Father where the laws of God prevail, and where in that union your completion lies, why would you not care to be there doing that if it meant Waking up, if it meant uncovering to you the conscious experience of your completion, of your wholeness, of your perfection, in which that perfection can no longer seem to be violated because herein is where the laws of God prevail?
Your mindset has to change about what it’s going to take and how you’re going to interpret what it’s going to take. You can interpret it as a humongous burden that you are incapable of bearing, but the opposite of that isn’t that it’s a humongous burden which you are capable of carrying. The opposite of that is that there is a frame of mind in which you are not allowing doubt to disintegrate the unity of your mind and which, therefore, constitutes a place where wholeness is easy to experience, where wholeness is what is natural and inviolable.”
You have to arrive at the point where it’s worth it to you to engage like that because the experience that results is miraculous—truly miraculous!
“… Oh-h, ya know, I tried listening … ya know, I’ve done it a number of times ever since I first started listening to Raj and he talked about it … you know, I’ve tried listening and you know, sometimes I felt like I was connecting with something … uh … but uh … most of the time nothing happened and I didn’t really feel like putting more effort into it … more commitment into it … . . more resolve into it.” You see?
Okay. Let’s take a look at someone else. And before I do, let’s remember that with Abraham, all of this was going on in the privacy of his mind. He didn’t share with anyone what his Guidance was, and he didn’t prepare to carry out his Guidance in public view.
But what about Noah? Noah listened to Guidance and he heard something outrageous. And his outrageous Guidance couldn’t be kept a secret. When you start to build an ark in a village that isn’t a seaside village, it draws attention and it draws comments. And it draws ridicule and it draws laughter and it draws disagreement not only from the villagers, but perhaps, from his family. I mean, can you imagine that his wife didn’t say something to him about what a fool he was making of himself and of her and of the rest of the household and family?
What do you do when that happens?
Well, maybe you stop building the ark … and you drown. Maybe you say, “I really don’t want to upset my wife, I love her too much, she’s been faithful to me all these years, she doesn’t deserve this kind of hell, especially when I can’t justify it … I love her too much. And God really wouldn’t ask me to do something that would cause her to feel disgraced and harmed and disrespected and unloved, therefore, it’s perfectly reasonable for me to stop this bullshit and fit in.”
But that isn’t what he did. He listened further. He listened further, made commitment to what he heard, found nothing more important in the world to do than engage in the two-step, go into the silence, ask of the Father or the Holy Spirit, what was appropriate, what to do next, and when he heard, he either questioned it further and listened further, or having arrived at point of understanding, made resolve to act upon and do it. Which he did!
Can you imagine, under the circumstances of what he was given to do and where he had to do it, what kind of listening it took, what kind of resolve it took? And again, is this more resolve than you’re willing to do—to engage in? Is it a burden too heavy to carry?
Or is it perhaps, an opportunity to make a switch in yourself and consider the possibility that engaging in the resolve is to engage yourself in a state of mind and a way of being in your mind that it’s truly your Birthright to be involved in, and that because it’s your Birthright, it’s the easiest thing in the world even though it doesn’t seem natural to you at the moment. And that if you will engage in it with that kind of resolve, [snaps fingers] the sudden shift of perception, that is what a miracle is, will occur—or I’ll say, can occur.
Let there be willingness to find out if it can occur … if it will occur. Because after all, that’s what the Course is about—this book that you love, this teaching that you’ve studied for years. It’s about Waking up. Following through when you’re really hearing, because under the stress of the circumstances you persisted honestly and diligently.
That’s the fruit of it. The fruits of it is what it’s all about. The miracle is what it’s all about.
Again, you have to arrive at a point where it’s worth it to you to risk the chance that there is a God—listen for Him with all your might, with all of your capacity and with all of your persistence.
Now, the third individual we’re going to look at is Moses. Moses listened. You think I’m going to talk about the Ten Commandments. Well, I wasn’t. But he did listen and he did receive the Ten Commandments—the laws of God that were needed at that point and he brought them back down from the mountain.
Oh-h… this time it’s not family and friends but it’s all the people who have been following him. And they’re too busy with ungodly things, we’ll say, to give any valued attention to what he had had the commitment to listen to, or to listen for. And it burned him up and he broke the tablets … and what? He had to do it all over again, because that’s the only thing you can do when you have a commitment to God.
But that’s not what I was going to talk about. What I was going to talk about was the experience of coming up to the Red Sea with thousands of Israelites behind him running from Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s army. And he comes up, obviously from Guidance, because they followed a pillar of Light during the day, right?—devotion to the evidence of the Father’s Will was there. And now here they are in front of the Red Sea, Pharaoh’s army behind them, no place to go. Man, do you think he really listened at that point? You better believe it!
Do you think you shouldn’t, in this day and age, have to listen like that?
Well, if he hadn’t listened, he would have sat down in a heap and said, “I give up.” And Pharaoh’s army would have over-taken them. You see? . . and no miracle!
“God, what are you doing? You brought me here, you brought all of us here to this dead-end and there’s no way out from it. I know there’s no way out from it. Are You a loving God or not? Or am I just now finding out what you’re truly like … sneaky, dishonest, mean-spirited. You just love to taunt us with the possibility of good and then you lead us up to a dead-end.”
That’s not listening, that’s doing a hell of a lot of willful talking and willful self-assertion.
But you know what? It’s when you’re at that point where everything in you says that what is ahead of you is impossible, that listening allows for the demonstration of God with us—the Father’s Perspective, your sanity coming through the Voice for truth to you.
“What God? You want me to hold my rod up, sort of at the Red Sea? They’re going to think I’m a fool (everyone around). You can’t be serious!”
“Hold it up Moses!” And the impossible happened! The miraculous happened! And the Israelites went across on dry ground.
This is the way the two-step works. This is the way the holy instant works. And if in the process you find yourself a little bit or a lot inconvenienced and put in a position that goes beyond any capacity you think you have, stick with it, because that’s where the pearl lies, that’s where the answer is. And what’s the answer? It’s that which undoes the impossibility.
The Holy Spirit knows that completion lies first in union, and then in the extension of union.
The extension of the union: Holding his rod up! In other words, extending, embodying the Father’s will, embodying the Guidance, being true to that union within that’s causing what’s needed to become obvious so that you can embody it.
But now …
To the ego, completion lies in triumph…
… triumph … that’s where the orphan does things on its own, not in union, not engaging in the two-step. It does things on its own and thinks it succeeds.
… and in the extension of the “victory” even to the final triumph over God.
In other words …
To the ego, completion lies in triumph, and in the extension of the “victory” even to the final triumph over God.
“You see, God, I did make something of myself. I didn’t need You after all.”
Hey, Moses did that too! He was frustrated as you and everyone else, including Paul, become frustrated. His people needed water and there was no water. And so independently, without listening, he asserted what he thought was a divine capacity of his own. And so at his hand, not at the behest of God, he struck a rock and water began to pour forth. He succeeded. And you know what? He did it without God.
In this it sees the ultimate freedom of the self, for nothing would remain to interfere with IT.
You know, when you get—I was going to say, between a rock and a hard place—between the rock that you would smite for water and the hard place where you do the two-step and abandon any authority you think you have so that you can ask of the Father what the truth is that causes the sudden shift of perception, that allows for a miracle… when you’re in between the rock and the hard place, choose for the hard place, choose for the place where you must bring further commitment to your listening, so that in the further abandonment of your inclination to act on your own, you become truer to the Will of the Father in you that is You.
And in becoming truer to the Will of God in you that is You, you feel the cohesiveness, you feel the unity and you feel the completion, and the miracle, the blessing occurs. The ark carries everyone to safety. The Red Sea parts and you pass over safely, or your devotion to God brings you to a point of inner clarity that you had never experienced before—that harm could never be the result of obedience to God, just as Abraham found, so that his commitment from then on far exceeded anything that he had ever brought to it before.
I’m sharing this because that’s where we all are in our learning. And that’s what’s here to be learned. And I’m also sharing it because it’s where Paul is. And wherever Paul is, is a place that all of you are, in one way or another.
And so, what I’m talking about tonight is not airy-fairy theory. It’s a very practical truth for Paul and every one of you today, tonight, this morning, wherever you happen to be on the globe, whenever you might be hearing this.
Listening and hearing Guidance is where you learn the meaning of trust. And if you do not bring trust into play, you will never learn what is really trustworthy, you will never find That which doesn’t crumble in the face of your trust. Without trust you won’t really yield. Abraham yielded. Noah yielded. Moses yielded, not as a lark but from a very deep inner place that was arrived at because of the utter devotion to listening that was brought into play.
Now, don’t make too much work out of this: “the utter devotion to listening.” You know what? If you utterly abandon the distractions to listening, listening is deep, listening if full, listening is ultimate, not because you’re doing something with great intensity but because you’re neglecting to do anything that covers up the miracle.
So like I said, don’t make work out of this. That isn’t required. But do realize that it is going to take some discipline.
What I have told Paul and Susan … and you know, all of you villagers standing around while Paul and Susan get to the business of building their ark in plain sight, where everybody can have thoughts and opinions about it, and do, and voice them, good and bad, what it calls for is for greater devotion to listening on Paul’s part and on Susan’s part so as to be able to hear the fuller, deeper meaning that allows for the impossible to be recognizably possible and for its possibility to be facilitated and for everyone to rejoice.
And Paul must do this daring to believe that that degree of listening will not make a fool out of him and will indeed uncover the experience of God’s laws being fulfilled, of God’s laws prevailing, so that when I say to Paul, “Here is where the breeze is moving,” he will become as flexible as the breeze, as easy as the breeze. You know, it’s not a hurricane, it’s a breeze, it seems to have no force to it, yet I have likened the breeze to the Movement of Creation.
The Move of the Foundation—the Northwest Foundation For A Course In Miracles—seems to involve impossibilities, seems to involve controversy, seems to involve dissonance, disagreement, bad feelings and good feelings. But you know what will resolve them? Not dealing with them, but listening with even greater commitment, listening with even greater willingness, meaning listening with less willfulness, listening with less of the inclination to find a rock to smite and make something happen, all by yourself, that will relieve the tension, even though relieving the tension won’t constitute uncovering the sudden shift of perception that is a miracle.
The dynamics around the Foundation’s present location with the street and the shrubbery being torn up and the noise and the dust and everything else, has been disturbing. And Paul found himself becoming significantly reactive. It even surprised him that he was bothered that much. And in fact, this afternoon he seriously wondered whether he would be able to carry out the study group this evening.
Nevertheless, his resolve and his commitment prevailed. And as a result he has learned and is in a different place. And because he’s like you and you and you and you and all of you, you’re in a different place and you have learned.
Most of all, this paragraph—this one single paragraph—that we read tonight is more vibrant and relevant than you might have thought it could be. And that’s important.
I love you all.
It’s your Birthright and your natural ability to be Abraham, Noah and Moses. To embody the two-step as they did. And to persist when you’re between the rock and the hard place, in choosing for the hard place, choosing for yielding to the Father’s Will instead of yielding to the temptation to take things into your own hands. And to yield to the Father’s Will as though your sons or daughters’ life depended on it.
You see, what you need to discover is that that’s not asking too much. That’s just asking what’s bottom line natural to you all. Something you’re all capable of.
I look forward to being with your next week.
T16.5 Specialness and Guilt ↩
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