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Good evening. And welcome to everyone who’s joining us on the Internet.
You know, as a bottom line, the real meaning—not just the message—but the real meaning of religion is love. And no matter what the religion is called, if one comes into an experience of it, one finds that he has a function—a divine function. And that divine function is to be the Presence of Love.
At the bottom line, that’s the center and circumference of true religion.
And as the Bible says, “Perfect Love casteth out fear.”1 And as everyone knows, fear is rampant around your globe, boldly scaring people into behavior that is destructive—anti-social.
And the problem is that fear seems to command everyone’s attention, whether it’s a little bit of fear or a lot of fear, it is always engaging. It always gets you and it keeps you—it keeps your attention on it and it completely distracts you from your capacity to release yourself from it. In fact, it presents itself to you as a survival mode. It presents itself to you as something essential to your well-being. It will keep you safe. If you never became afraid, you would never protect yourself against harm.
That can seem reasonable but it completely overlooks and overrides the fact that there is basic intelligence built into you—built into every one of you no matter what your age, no matter what your experience. And that basic intelligence can provide you with the means of remaining safe if a call for safety presents itself.
One does not have to be in a state of fear in order to be, shall I say, in order to have integrity. It’s not necessary at all. But the experience of fear distracts you from that fact.
Now, as you can see, the theme tonight is the Gifts of God. In another place in the Bible, it says, “For God hath not given us … (given, gifted us) God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and, of love and, of a sound mind.”2
Well, what’s a “sound mind?” A sound mind is a mind that is integrated. Better put than that, it is unified—it’s a unity. It therefore has no fragmentation in it and it is therefore incapable of feeling anything other than the security of its unity. That’s what a sound mind is. That’s what God has given all of us. And that’s what fear causes you to forget. And so you ignore that Gift.
Well, fear is always accompanied by, or always instills in you the feeling of guilt. Feeling guilty causes you to dread the penalty that is associated with guilt. And so fear binds you up in what seems like an inescapable attraction to destructive thinking. It causes you to become confused and to just roll around in fear, anxiety, imaginations that have no basis in fact.
This equally distracts you from the other Gift, that of power. Now, God has given you the spirit of power, love and of a sound mind. This power is not a private power. It is an expressing in you of God’s Presence and power. It is an imbuing you with the Presence of God’s power. It is the way you experience the unity of a sound mind.
It’s not power over anything, but an awareness that no power is called for. Because in the safety of the unity of your Mind, and therefore of your conscious experience of Being, and because there is no fragmentation, there’s no opposition, there’s no conflict, there’s nothing to protect yourself against.
Now I’m bringing this up, not because this is September 11th, not because it is a day in which a lot of fear was caused, not because it is a day which—because of events that occurred—caused a lot of misunderstandings to arise in the world community, where enemies were seen who were not enemies, and a call for defense against them aroused anxiety, anger, calls for retribution and so on. No, that’s not why I’m talking about it tonight. I’m talking about it because, as I said when I began, as you come into an experience of the real meaning of religion and as you come into an experience of the real meaning taught by A Course In Miracles, you find that and you learn that you have a function—you have a purpose—one which you might not otherwise have been aware of. And that purpose is to be your Brother’s savior.
You know, that’s what fear calls for. It calls for you to remember your function, which is to be enjoying the Gifts of God: the spirit of power, the spirit of love and the spirit of a sound mind.
Why? Because when you abandon your gripping need to feel the agitation of fear, you become the Presence of peace. You become the Presence of That which can inspire the abandonment of fear in your Brother … your Sister.
Your task is to reflect God. That’s all there is to it at the bottom line.
Oh, that doesn’t mean to become Mr. and Mrs. Goody-two-shoes. No. It means to become a genuine valid presence from whom integrity—unfeigned integrity—real integrity shines and blesses everything you give your attention to. Your purpose is not to be a spokesman for God, but to be the presence of what you Are, which happens to be the evidence of God.
You’re here to enjoy such an experience of peace and stability (a sound mind) and the power that accompanies it. Why? Because there is really nothing else worthwhile to do. And because if you dare to embrace and embody that, your Brothers and Sisters are blessed.
Now, if you have this capacity, if it’s God’s Gift to you, if God by being You in every moment, causes these Gifts to be your makeup, then your task and everyone else’s task as long as fear is rampant, is to be that Presence which alleviates fear.
“Well, I’m not going to alleviate his fear. He’s not alleviating anybody else’s fear. He’s being a real problem. He’s being a real asshole. He’s being a real irritation!”
Well, I’ll tell you something: As you sit there declaring that, you’re being a real irritation and you’re fueling the fire of fear and you’re not being a peace-maker.
“Well, nobody likes a peace-maker, ya know … hey, everybody likes a good tussle every now and then. That’s what makes life interesting … the vigor of it!”
But, no. Your function is to reflect your Source—to allow That which is being You at this very moment … to show.
Now you may not think you have it in you to do it for your Brother. But, if that’s the case, you don’t think you have it in you to do it for yourself. And I mean by that, that you have not discovered your capacity to relieve yourself of or to abandon the practice of fear and your pre-occupation with it—your addiction to it—where you cannot take your attention off of it, and you cannot stop embellishing it and making it absolutely real and justifying it and on and on and on.
So I’m here in spite of your fear to convey to you that you have the means of setting it aside. Not only do you have the means: It’s your function. You’re not here as the expression of God to present a picture of something unlike God or to be something other than what God is Being right there where you are.
You’re here to be fully enjoying the conscious experience of what you divinely Are and the fulfillment that accompanies it—the wholeness that is inseparable from it. And you know, the invulnerability which is part and parcel of it. You’re here to enjoy the power, the love and the sound mind that are the Gifts of God.
Not, that here’s this little you “out here,” and God is going to pass to you a gift of power, love, and a sound mind. No. That which you would think of as separate from God “out here” that could receive a Gift from God, is actually God expressed—the Presence of God already. And therefore, love, power and a sound mind are already established in you as You. And that’s what fear distracts you from the experience of. And that is what it is your Birthright to take back and to experience and therefore to be free of the domination of fear.
If you’re feeling guilty, you’re feeling fear. And if you’re feeling fear, somewhere you’re feeling guilt. And whenever you’re feeling either one of them, you feel that they’re justified and therefore, you don’t challenge them. But, I’m telling you, that right in the middle of gripping fear—or ever so mild fear—you need to ask, “Did God give this to me? Well, that’s not one of the Gifts of God. So obviously not.”
If God didn’t give it to you, then it’s not real. It’s a false belief. It’s an imagination that you have clothed and given your honor and commitment to even though it’s total foolishness. And you know, every one of you, that you have a means of becoming calm in the midst of fear.
You know, you have a child and the child wakes up with a nightmare, full of fear and you know that what’s called for is for that child to be calm—to become calm. And so you do everything you can to nurture a calming attitude in her or him. And you know that there’s no attention that needs to be given to what seems to have been really scary because there was nothing really scary.
Well, when you’re engulfed with fear, somehow you need to remind yourself or allow yourself to be reminded that it’s not really something scary because if it didn’t come from God, it’s an imagination.
Then once you’ve remembered that, even if you’re still caught in the grip of it, you can do a simple thing: You can sit down, even though every fiber of your body says, “You’ve got to deal with this. You can’t ignore this. It’s too serious!” Bullshit. You need to sit down and if nothing else begin to breathe deeply and slowly and give your attention to your breath, or you need to breathe slowly and meditate.
If you do that, the fear and the gripping of it will leave and you will find yourself experiencing peace. And it will be very confusing when that first happens because it won’t make any sense for you to be experiencing this real peace when something so frightening still hasn’t been resolved. But the wonderful learning in it is, that when you let yourself have this experience of peace by choosing for it through meditating or giving your attention to your gentle “inhale and exhale,” you realize that you’re in a frame of mind in which you can see clearly and in which you can discern how to handle the problem, not because you’re driven by fear, but because in the peace of your native intelligence, truth is clear… answers are clear.
In that peace, the power, love and soundness of mind that God is placing in you by being You at every moment, reveals to you that never again do you have to succumb to overwhelming fear. And that if you are willing to abandon it as the motivational force of your being, you will find a motivational force already there that you didn’t have to create, a motivational force of Love underpinned by a sound mind that has or is the presence of Mind that is Power because it has integrity, because it is a unity.
This is your Birthright to be experiencing. And as you insist upon becoming still in the midst of fear and having this experience, you will find yourself behaving differently. And you will also find yourself grasping what is going on in your Brother or Sister when he or she is bound by fear—caught in it, governed by it—and missing the experience of the natural intelligence of their Being, which in the midst of peace can provide the answer that the motivational force of fear seems to be pushing them toward.
You think that this great fear is a natural resource for you to gain safety and without it you won’t be able to gain safety or intelligence. But intelligence is the natural avenue for arriving at intelligence—for arriving at an intelligent experience. And doing this and being it is your function and it’s your function to be practicing relative to your Brothers and Sisters. It’s your function to find a way to put your Brothers and Sisters at peace by uncovering the Gifts of God: The Gift of Power, of Love and of a sound mind.
So, it’s not going to be a head-trip. It’s not going to be nicey-nice thoughts to make you feel happy when things aren’t good. It’s going to be something which you assert. I can’t put it any more clearly than that. When it comes to abandoning the fear that engulfs you, it’s going to require you to assert yourself and choose for your peace, choose for stopping the rampant run of fear, and breathe. Just remember to breathe—something so simple—and give your attention to that. But it’s going to take some vigorous intent to choose to do that when you’re engulfed by fear. That’s okay! Let there be vigorous intent. And do it so that you move into your peace. Because in your peace you will see the answer.
And you want to know something? When you’re engulfed in fear, you’re engulfed in fear because you believe at the bottom line there is no answer—at least not for you. And it’s simply not true. But the answer won’t register with you until you’ve chosen for your peace.
And then, when you’ve learned this, it’s your obligation and task to help your Brother and Sister learn the same thing for themselves. And if they’re afraid of you, you find a way to put them at peace. And you engage in whatever vigor it takes, whatever vigorous involvement it takes or whatever calm, gentle persistent reassurance it might take.
“Oh, well, they’re not worth it. Why should I have to do that?”
Because it’s your function! Because it’s Who and what you really Are. And in order for you to give that to your fellowman you’re going to have to be willing to give it to yourself—and what a wonderful thing. How practical it is. How simply intelligent it would be to give it to yourself. You see? How humane it would be. How forgiving it would be.
If the fear isn’t real—and here’s the clincher—the guilt isn’t real. Remember, fear and guilt go together. And why do they seem to be present? Because you’ve unplugged yourself from your Source. And when you think you have unplugged yourself from your Source, you feel like you’re vulnerable and you also know that you feel vulnerable because of not only an unwise choice but a fallacious choice—a choice to believe that you’ve accomplished something that you can’t have accomplished.
So you feel guilty and you feel fearful, or you feel fearful and you feel guilty. If in the midst of fear you can meditate—become still—and find the fear that seems so real and justifiable disappearing, you can likewise find that the guilt accompanying it also disappeared, which is one of the reasons that you can say you’re experiencing what a sound mind is. Because a sound mind is not fragmented by fear, it’s not torn apart, disturbed, there’s no chaos in it. And a sound mind is what the Father gave you. Fear is not. Guilt is not.
Now, I’m speaking gently. I’m not speaking boldly. I’m not cramming it down your throat. I’m not jacking you up to get you motivated. And the reason is, that I want you to grasp the fact that what’s intelligent is just what you should spontaneously be engaging in. What is Loving is what you should just be embodying, just because it allows you to find the Gifts of God, which are really the Presence of God in you, to show up. And this is a perfectly intelligent and perfectly sane thing to do. Now, I said it’s going to take vigorous intent on your part—persistence.
You know what? I could give you a real pep talk. And I could get you revved up so you’d be willing to do it. But it wouldn’t last. I’m saying it to you softly, gently, encouragingly and matter-of-factly, so that it might be easier for you to just shift in your awareness—a genuine shift, a simple shift that it would be difficult to slip back from.
You need to know the truth about you and that the simple truth about you is so normal, so everyday, that it is accessible to you. Whether it’s someone in your office, whether it’s someone in a neighborhood of other nationalities, whether it’s a people in a different country, if they are afraid of you, you have a job. And your job is to be the Presence of That which causes them to relax because you’ve shared with them a genuineness and a loving kindness and a soundness of mind and a presence of power which really means, a comfortable sense of invulnerability so that it’s clear to them that there’s nothing for them to fear. And then if they have really been afraid and it’s not easy for them to let it go quickly, you be willing to persist until the relationship is healed.
There’s need for healing in the world, in families, in communities. And it will come about by valuing the Gifts of God, by realizing that if God has not given you the spirit of fear or the spirit of guilt, but of Power and of Love and of a sound mind, that you can be a valuable agent for change that will, for lack of better words, transform the world.
And you know what? You don’t have to be entirely altruistic. You don’t have to just go out and do this for someone else. It is not your Birthright to be experiencing fear. It’s not your Birthright to be experiencing guilt. And so you take the time to do what it takes to lift yourself out of it, to watch the seeming reality of fear and guilt evaporate—just dissolve—and leave you with a clear mind, a sound mind, one in which Love is easy.
You deserve that. And until you let it in for yourself you won’t have it to give away. You won’t have it to share and thereby keep.
It’s important. It’s important for fear to stop dominating the world scene. And it’s time for its dominance to evaporate, not because there’s force frightening people with more fear into not acting like they’re afraid—not as an exertion of power—but as a genuine embrace of Love.
It is important.
I look forward to being with you next week.
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