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Well, as I know everyone is quite aware whose joined us in the last few weeks, I have spoken quite unequivocally and in fact, the Course has as well, about the special relationship, about it’s mean-spiritedness, about its destructiveness. I have not used the word, “evil” related to it to any degree, but its function is the best and truly only definition of evil there is.
And although you know that you aren’t experiencing every relationship in your life joined with the Father and experiencing it from His perspective, and that therefore, every relationship you’re having in this fashion is a special relationship, you’re relatively comfortable with engaging in special relationships. And so you find it, I know, difficult to believe that what you’ve been experiencing is malicious, is unloving, is hateful, is destructive, is mean-spirited and above all, it would be difficult for you to believe that it is evil in the fullest meaning of the word, “evil.”
Looking at this is part of looking at the picture of the special relationship in the gilded heavily carved and polished frame. But you’ve got to.
Now, you are capable of understanding in what way it is evil and destructive. And it’s simply this: A special relationship is a relationship you are having with something—it could be anything—an object or it can be a Brother or a Sister. And I’m limiting myself at this moment to the special relationships with Brothers or Sisters.
Special relationship with objects are not particularly or significantly evil. They are perverted and they are destructive to your capacity to recognize truth. But because objects cannot join with you in your misperception, there is a fundamental element missing that is brought into play in a special relationship between a Brother and a Sister, a Son or Daughter, or a Son and a Son, or a Daughter and a Daughter of God.
What is it?
It is, that indeed both individuals, both Sons or Daughters of God are most capable of bringing their will into a mutual agreement as to what a thing is or as to what each other are. You can bring willfulness into it. You join in a mutual agreement backed by will and what? Cemented by emotion. That’s what a special relationship with an object cannot bring into play. And this infusion of emotion into a mutual agreement to understand the meaning of something that is unrelated to the Meaning God is giving it and backing that up with an emotional commitment constitutes a frame of mind, a state of mind in which the two of you have committed to being unconscious of God.
You have made commitment with emotion to be unconscious of the divine Meaning of everything you are giving your own meanings to.
Do you see what I’m saying? What I’m saying is, that what causes a special relationship to be ultimately evil is because it absolutely disallows for the participants to remember their Source. It secures them in an illusory experience. It grounds them in it.
Anything which has as its purpose your being unconscious of your Source, that is the only definition of evil that means anything. And that is exactly what comes into play in a special relationship.
Be with that for just a moment.
So, is that helpful or not? It is. It is helpful because it’s easy to understand, at least the logic of it. And if the logic of it proves to be true then it behooves you to not participate. It behooves you to make significant effort to establish yourself in the experience of the holy instant to get yourself out of a bondage which is built, fabricated in such a way as to absolutely disallow you to regain your sanity.
Let me ask you this? I know what I’m saying sounds severe. But as I said, let me ask you this: After all of the timewe have spent together whether you’ve been joining for just a few weeks or for a number a years, I have constantly encouraged everyone to be willing to acknowledge that they are not just mortals, not just physical human beings, but that this which is being perceived as a physical human being is a holy Son or Daughter of God, the substance of which in all of your form is Spirit, not matter, subject to the laws of God not subject to the laws of physics.
I have encouraged you to be aware of something beyond what your present mind-sets allowed you to have a conscious awareness of and which denied you the option of exploring. And in spite of the fact that we have spent all this time, how many of you spend all of your day joined with the Father accessing this Birthright that is yours and experiencing yourself as the holy Son of God or Daughter of God that you Are?
So, you know the answer to the question.
That is the answer to just how destructive the special relationships are. That demonstrates to you in your own experience, in your own mind just how bound you are and how difficult it is for you to release yourself from the special relationship. To look at it and see that it is absolutely impeding you in the spiritual growth you say you want to experience in which your study of the Course and many other spiritual traditions has demonstrated.
So, let this further clarity maybe be the only last thing that needs to be added to your repertoire of reasons for abandoning the special relationship, for abandoning your orphan-mentality, for laying hold of your connection with God so consistently, and so completely, that in fact, you begin to hear Guidance … feel Guidance … you begin to experience the blessing of the holy instant.
It simply does no one any good to have any favorable definition of the special relationship or of the orphan mind-set that you’ve been enjoying—enjoying at least enough not to quickly abandon it.
You holy Sons and Daughters of God, you who are my Brothers and Sisters, there is so much more to what you Are than what you’re experiencing—than what you’re allowing yourself to experience.
Now, the thought systems of the special relationship all wrap around a belief that you all have that you can, by your own effort and your persistence for good reasons and lofty purposes, lift yourselves up by your bootstraps and become something in your own right. You believe this and you’re willing to bring your emotion and your commitment to the accomplishment of this impossible task.
I know, you’ve all been educated to think that it is not impossible. But it is impossible if you’re already Something worthwhile. It is impossible to improve yourself and become something more valid if before you lift a finger or have an imaginative thought, you’re already an ultimate Presence of holiness, of intelligence, of all of the qualities of God. If you are already these things, you can do nothing to improve yourself because you are not the miserable mortal that you think you are that has to lift itself up by its bootstraps and which, through some magical means has the capacity to do so. You see?
So … you know, the awfulness, the miserableness and the removal of any means of accomplishing anything, that’s the picture I’m providing. It can seem like I’m taking something important away. It can seem like something awful is being taught. It seems as though if you participate in it, it will be the end of you. But listen to this: [reading from previous page last paragraph]
Be not deceived by the most superficial aspects of this thought system, for these aspects enclose the whole, complete in EVERY aspect. Death lies in this glittering gift.1
That’s awful words again …
Death lies in this glittering gift. Let not your gaze dwell on the hypnotic gleaming of the frame.
You see, the frame is all of the wonderful concepts that all of you have imagined and worked together on developing so that you come to this magnificent structure of ideas and beliefs and thoughts that tell you that the impossibility of the situation you find yourself in, it can be overcome … you are not stuck with it! You see?
You see … and that occupies you with the endeavor to accomplish all of the things you have imagined you can do to become Real when before the frame was created, you were already Real. And the picture that the frame was built around had nothing to do with you … had nothing to do with you! It was nothing that you had to overcome. It was something you actually had to abandon.
Look at the PICTURE…
… not all of the wonderful grand ideas you’ve come up with and your ancestors have come up with.
Look at the PICTURE, and realize that DEATH is offered you.
You could not be given better counsel … you could not be given better counsel!
Death, of course, ultimately cannot happen to a holy Son or Daughter of God. So no matter to what degree you succumb to the idea that the impossible is possible, and thereby you align yourself with death, death cannot happen.
But here’s the thing: You will end up with an endless ongoing experience of sin, disease and death and all of the suffering that accompanies it because you cannot, you holy Son or Daughter of God, behave as though you’re out of your mind when it’s impossible for a holy Son or Daughter of God to do that. You can try it but you can’t do it, you can’t try it without hurting. You can’t try it without your innate sanity saying, “You can’t do this, this is impossible! You are accomplishing nothing! You think you’re doing something when you’re not!” And your sanity keeps presenting you with these insane ideas that in spite of what you know about your capacity to accomplish things, you can’t accomplish anything. You see?
And in your insane frame of mind, your sanity sounds insane to you. You see?
But that’s because of the nature of the commitment to the special relationship, which because of the willfulness and the commitment, and the sealing of the commitment with emotion, you cannot possibly hear the truth. You cannot possibly remember your Source because your devotion is to the special relationship which holds the frame together and honors everything about the frame to the exclusion of the obvious misery of the picture that it embraces.
So, accept this simple but profound truth about the picture and be willing to abandon the frame so that you can look at the picture and see … “Yes, sin sickness and death follow me all the days of my life. Death is a specter that hangs over my head. It doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with age. It could be accident. It could be injury. It could be just simply physical failure.”
What a thing to live with.
Oh-h, but you’re strong of character! You’ve got what it takes! Not only that, you have Jesus’ words to stand with you on behalf of life. And so, you’re going to use Jesus’ words to overcome and cause the physical experience to misbehave and not abide by the laws of physics. Not because that’s the way everything should be, but because with the power of God you can turn a negative experience to your advantage … or for the “Glory of God.”
But what happens is, you have your miracle and you say, “I live in a physical, material universe. I am a physical, material being. I am an organism. I really have nothing to do with God, I’m not really in this experience a manifestation of His perfection. I’m a divine entity in a physical experience.”
And so you had a miracle and you are still locked into your physical experience. You’re still locked into the definitions and meanings that are entwined in this elaborate frame that give you hope in spite of the hopelessness of the picture in the middle.
And so, do you see the insanity of that? Do you see that such miracles, if they are not lifting you out of a misunderstanding of life, if they’re not lifting you out of a belief that you’re just a physical organism—a divine being in a physical experience—if you’re not getting out of that, you’re still on the treadmill. You’re still on the treadmill of sin, sickness and death.
And that isn’t what this is about. It’s about getting off of the treadmill!
There’s no point in having a holy relationship if all it’s going to do is polish up the special relationship—the human experience, life in the orphanage.
God is not here to make you a happy orphan. God is here to say, “This is my beloved Son, this is my beloved Daughter in whom I am well pleased right now … right where you are! Even though you call it a material world and universe, you are my holy Son or Daughter and what you are calling a material universe is the Kingdom of Heaven misperceived by you. I will say ninety-nine percent of what It really is escaping your attention because of your devotion to the misunderstandings of it that you have mutually agreed to with another holy Son or Daughter of God. And I’m here to tell you both, give up on it. Stop doing that!
“Join with me and remember your Birthright. Join with me and rediscover who you Are. Join with me and watch sin, disease and death become a lost memory.”
The holy instant is a miniature of Heaven…
… you know, a small picture.
The holy instant is a miniature of Heaven, sent you FROM Heaven.
When you say or decide that you want to experience the holy instant and you do the two-step: You shut up, you become still, and then in the absence of thinking, in the absence of reasserting the magnificent frame around the limited tiny miserable experience of life that you’re having, instead of that, you simply say, “Father, Holy Spirit, what is the truth here? What is God’s truth here?”
Well, what happens first of all is that, as we’ve talked about, you experience silence. And what that really means is that suddenly there’s no ornate gilded convoluted, complicated frame in your awareness embracing a negative, a picture of misery.
There’s you without all of that seeming to be in a void reaching out to the Father—consciously abandoning isolation. In that silence in what seems like a void in the absence of this ornate huge frame and all of its meanings and all of the things you have to remember to keep everything straight and on and on and on, in the absence of that, there is silence which I from time to time have referred to as a pregnant silence—the womb of discovery, the womb of enlightenment. And you’re reaching out to your Source and wanting to know what the truth is, separate and apart from all of the definitions you had given everything in the creation of that frame, you provide no interference, visual static that keeps you from seeing everything more truly… everything that you’ve called a material world … what a table truly is, what a leaf truly is, what a hand truly is, what a Brother or Sister truly is.
Without that huge frame and all the meanings that you have all agreed to, there’s nothing to stand in the way of the direct experience … the simple direct experience of the divinity of everything and provide yourself the avenue for Awakening.
The holy instant is a miniature of Heaven…
… which you initially experience as emptiness, [whispers] as quietness, as peace from which love emerges, from which joy emerges for no reason whatsoever. And they begin to illuminate your perceptions of everything you had been seeing and calling matter and calling whatever you all had decided the meanings of those things were.
It is a picture, too…
… the holy instant …
… set in a frame.
What is it set in the frame of? It’s set in the frame of your present perceptions of things. And at the moment when you are shifting from the ornate frame and your mutual commitments to everything about it, you’re still doing it as though an entity in time is shifting his or her attention from one thing to another. You see?
Certainly, when you’re looking at the ornate frame of the special relationship, you are a time oriented creature. But as you shift into the holy instant where time is abandoned, it is still done within the framework of time, because that is the context in which you’re doing this shift. It’s the way you’re conceiving of yourself as you’re making this shift from isolation to joining.
So it’s …
… set in a frame.
The holy instant is set in a frame, not for long, but it’s set in a frame because you’re looking from within a frame—you’re beginning the release of a frame from within a frame.
It is a picture, too, set in a frame. Yet if you accept THIS gift…
… meaning the picture that is embraced in the holy instant …
… you will not see the frame at all, because the gift can only be accepted through your willingness to focus ALL your attention on the PICTURE.
What’s the picture? The picture is blank. It is a blankness into which you say, “Father, what is the truth here?” It is a blank picture. It is the allness and the infiniteness and the non-materiality of eternity and infinity in which nothing obscures what everything truly Is.
And so you look at this blank picture willing, we’ll say, for what’s truly there to come forth and present Itself to you on Its terms, not yours. And that’s an entirely new expression of will, not a will to get, not a will to create for yourself, but a will … a willingness to have the Father present to you what’s Real … to have Reality … to have all of Creation convey to you its infinite Meanings. You see?
[Yet] if you accept THIS gift, you will not see the frame at all…
… time will disappear to you. Time will not be what will gather your attention and it will not be that which defines you, because you will find yourself taken up into a new experience of what’s Real—a truer experience of what is Real—and that you started out to look at all of this from a sense of time will completely elude you because the experience of truth will be so much more significant.
The holy instant is a miniature of eternity. It is a picture of timelessness, set in a frame of time.
Meaning, set in your present means of experiencing everything, which is as though you are a time-bound creature.
If you focus on the picture, you will realize that it was only the frame that made you think it WAS a picture. Without the frame, the picture is seen as what it REPRESENTS.
In other words, if you thought it was a picture representing truth, because you said, “Father, what is the truth here?” and the truth dawned on you … if you thought that what dawned on you was a picture of truth, you would quickly find that it is truth itself and not a representation of it. Wonder of wonders.
The meaningfulness of God, of Creation and of your part in all of it, will dawn on you fully as actuality, not an idea about Reality.
If you focus on the picture…
… meaning, the holy instant, the experience of revelation …
… you will realize that it was only the frame that made you think it WAS a picture. Without the frame, the picture is seen as what it REPRESENTS.
In other words, the actuality of what a picture would have been a picture of.
For as the whole thought system of the ego lies in its gifts…
… the picture of the special relationship surrounded by this incredible frame.
[For] as the whole thought system of the ego lies in its gifts…
… meaning the picture in the center …
… so the whole of Heaven lies in this instant, borrowed from eternity, and set in time for you.
In other words, when you reach out to ask to know what the truth is, the truth will come and meet you, like the Father meeting the Prodigal Son, not after you’ve gotten home, but out in the wilderness where you happened to be when you ask, when you reach out. You see?
[For] as the whole thought system of the ego lies in its gifts, so the whole of Heaven lies in this instant…
… the holy instant, that is the miniature of Heaven …
… borrowed from eternity, and set in time for you.
You see? This is the good news. But you know what? As long as you think that any part of the special relationship is of any kind of value, you will not let it go completely, which means you will not embrace the truth, you will not embrace that which releases you completely.
That’s why it is so important not to gloss over the picture in the center of the frame that gives your life all of its meaning, because the frame says to you that the shit in the picture in the middle is a lie and you can prove it to be a lie through your own efforts! And that is a lie!
The picture is a lie about you. The picture in the center of this grand frame is a lie about you. And you have to say, “Father, I’m willing to abandon the lie. Father, I’m willing to say Your Name again. Father, I’m willing to let You back into my experience again because I know You are what gives me my Meaning as the Son or Daughter of God and nothing else does.
“Not all of the Sons and Daughters of God who are dreaming with me in the orphanage, not all of them put together can cause any one of us to become the holy Sons of God that we already Are. And in fact, every effort we make to lift ourselves up by our boot-straps with commitment and sealing it with emotion, all that will do is to secure us in the orphanage until someone, some way, can find a way to get into the orphanage and get our attention once again.” That’s it!
Doesn’t that make you full of joy?
Two gifts are offered you.
We’ve talked about there being only two points of view. You could say the true and the false. You could say the infinite and the finite. You could say the holy Son or Daughter of God with full capacity of His Birthright, Her Birthright, or the orphan who has no Source, but finds himself existing and finds himself existing in the middle of conflict which because he exists and has vitality and energy and a mind, he must have a way to cope with, because nothing would happen so radically stupid as existence without purpose … right?
It’s time to laugh and realize the freedom you have from such an idea. And now you have the means of abandoning it.
Two gifts are offered you. Each is complete, and cannot be partially accepted. Each is a picture of all that you can have…
… each picture …
… is a picture of all that you can have, seen VERY differently.
Each of the two are very different. In the one, you are an orphan and you can see all that an orphan can have. But you know what? An orphan cannot have a Royal Birthright. An orphan cannot have a Birthright of inheritance of an ever-Present omnipresent, omnipotent loving Life Source … right?
An orphan can have all that an orphan can have, but that’s something an orphan can’t have even though it’s something that exists, and even though it is something that exists for every orphan, because no orphan is an actual orphan.
Each is a picture of all that you can have, seen VERY differently. You cannot compare their value by comparing a picture to a frame.
You know, Oh, the picture of holiness and ornate frame which embodies all of the potentials for righteousness and success and intelligence and recognition that an orphan can get. You see? You can’t combine the picture and the frame separate from the ones they’re already in. It cannot be done.
It must be the pictures only that you compare, or the comparison is wholly without meaning.
So what you have to do is compare the miserable picture with the picture that isn’t really a picture, but is an actual experience of Reality that has been let in when you have abandoned the defenses you use to keep yourself from experiencing your divinity … from experiencing God, from experiencing your Birthright.
Remember that it is the picture that is the gift.
Even the picture of misery. The picture of misery is the gift that is given when one joins with another Brother, and together the two say, “We are going to give preference to our best thinking, our best judgments no matter what Daddy said.”
Remember that it is the picture that is the gift. And only on this basis are you REALLY free to choose. Look at the pictures.
Not the frame. It doesn’t say, not the frame. It says:
Look at the pictures. BOTH of them.
That’s why I’m spending so much time here talking about not being afraid to be honest and quitting this habit of “positive thinking” that glosses things over so that you can ignore the very thing that would help you Wake up, which is a clear assessment that what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working, especially when something else has been given you as a means of getting out of that misery.
One is a tiny picture, hard to see at all beneath the heavy shadows of its enormous and disproportionate enclosure.
One is a tiny picture…
… it isn’t even a lot of misery that’s shown. It isn’t really a lot of awfulness. It doesn’t stand forty stories high and three miles wide. It’s a tiny picture with a huge frame, full of your fullness, full of your pride, full of your arrogance, full of all of you joining together and valuing your ignorance and building upon it with greater and greater complexity. You see?
I’m not judging you and you shouldn’t judge yourself. But it will be very helpful to see that through ignorance you have been employing ignorance and it hasn’t been working. And thank God someone is saying to you, “Hey, it isn’t working,” so you can look at it and say, “Hey, sin, disease and death still repeat themselves over and over in my life and in everybody’s life. Something … something isn’t adding up here. I want to see what adds up. I’m going to try something different.” You see? That’s the great benefit of this honesty we’re talking about.
One is a tiny picture, hard to see at all beneath the heavy shadows of its enormous and disproportionate enclosure. The other is lightly framed …
… and that is a play on words. It is lightly framed, but it is framed with light.
The other is lightly framed and hung in light, lovely to look upon for what it IS.
You see? The other is not lovely to look on for what it is, that’s why the huge frame has been developed. But this one is lovely to look upon.
You who have tried so hard, and are STILL trying, to fit the better picture into the wrong frame …
… you see … have the picture of Reality, the picture of eternity put into the frame that has everything in it to make you important and real and valid. That’s a mistake. Because that which wants to make itself feel important is that which knows it isn’t important. You see?
That’s why all the effort has gone into the building of this frame. But you as an orphan are not important and can’t become important. But you who see yourself as an orphan are not an orphan. And your Birthright awaits you. But you have to abandon your commitment to another, to believe meanings that you have created yourselves.
You’ve got to stop valuing the special relationship, so that in its absence, in the absence of the sealing of the commitment with emotion, there’s nothing present to continue to blind you, to keep you from seeing Who your Father is and what the truth is about you and everything.
You who have tried so hard, and are STILL trying, to fit the better picture into the wrong frame and so combine what cannot BE combined, accept this and be glad: These pictures are each framed perfectly for what they represent. One is framed to be out of focus, and not seen. The other is framed for perfect clarity. The picture of darkness and of death grows less convincing as you search it out amid its wrappings.
As you search the picture out amid the wrappings of its ornate frame.
As each senseless stone which seems to shine in darkness from the frame is exposed to light, it becomes dull and lifeless, and ceases to distract you from the picture.
My intent is to help you not be distracted from the picture by the frame.
And finally, you look upon the picture itself, seeing at last that, unprotected by the frame, it HAS no meaning.
Why do you suppose that in your weaker moments when you look at things and they don’t look good you get depressed … why do you suppose that is? Because there’s no meaning embodied in what you’re seeing. And it’s a miserable experience to have no meaning in anything you’re experiencing.
But you very quickly get onto your positive thinking “jackass” and you give it a good kick with your heels and you try to get it moving. Being a jackass, it doesn’t always move exactly when you want it to move and your misery lasts a little bit longer. Or maybe this time the jackass is ready to move and it leaps forward and you say, “Wow, I knew there was a God! Life is treating me right. I can have control.”
And once again, you’ve been riding this jackass for ages and you ignore the fact that although it may move from time to time most of the time it doesn’t move at all. But you say, “It will move again! I know it will move again. And I’m going to plug away here until it moves. I’m not going to get off this jackass. This is the way I live. This-is-the-way-to-live.”
Laugh with me at the ridiculousness of it. It’s so ridiculous that you can afford to put it down and not expect the world to collapse around you. You can expect Reality to emerge right where you had been seeing a mess, a miserable picture. That’s what you can expect. And that’s what I’m encouraging you all to risk the chance to find out.
Hey, if you risk the chance, all the worst that can happen will be sin, sickness and death continuing to repeat themselves. And you’re familiar with that… you can handle that, right? You’re handling it.
So, hey, risk the chance and have some fun doing it.
I’m going to leave you with a little bit of a cliff-hanger, here. See, we’re just ready to start reading about the other picture that’s lightly framed—nice stuff to talk about. We’ll hold the nice stuff off until next week, because you’re very sober right now. You’re not depressed, you are sober. And I want you to stay in your sobriety for the coming week, considering what we’re talking about: hell, Heaven. It might not be another week you have to do it, it might only be ten more minutes [snaps fingers] and you Wake up.
Well, you have the clarity that it’s your Birthright to be experiencing because you dared to have a little bit of fun about this, while remaining very clear about the seriousness and the severity of the special relationship.
I love every single one of you. And I look forward to be with the new you next week.
T17.4 Perception and the Two Worlds ↩
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