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We’re reading about the Obstacles to Peace and how to overcome them.
Tonight it’s going to be my goal to bring home the practicality of what we’re reading. Many of you have been studying the Course for many years. What I want to be very clear to you, is that the Course is not a philosophy. It is not a set of ideas that are pacifying, that give you a good warm fuzzy feeling and allow you to function in the world with more ease.
The Course is, at the bottom line, about changing—about being in the world in a new way, where your behavior is not what it used to be. To have changed thoughts with no changed behavior means you’re not in a position to make any contribution, whatsoever, to the world.
But listen to what we ended up with last week:
I am within your holy relationship, yet you would imprison me behind the obstacles you raise to freedom, and bar my way to you. Yet it is not possible to keep away One Who is there already.
Important! And to repeat myself, I was there before you took your first breath. I have been with you since the “Beginning.“ I cannot be barred and you cannot decide to let me in. I’m here. I am with you. You and I are together, whether you are paying attention or not.”
… it is not possible to keep away One Who is there already. And in Him it IS possible that our communion, where we are joined already, will be the focus of …
… the new perception that will bring light to all the world, contained in YOU.
You’re here to join with me and bring light to all the world. How? By means of new behavior—behavior elicited from our communion, our relationship. This means that your behavior is going to be different from the accepted behaviors of the world. If they’re not, there will be no transformation. It’s that simple.
Now, today was a day of tragedy of, we will say, cataclysmic natural weather events which caused much tragedy. And for those of you who watched the media keeping track of the developments, I would be willing to bet that you didn’t keep your peace. I would be willing to bet that you didn’t feel that your peace was more important than anything else—the reason being epitomized in a popular statement which says: “If you’re not upset or disturbed, you don’t understand the situation.”
Obviously, if you chose for your peace and, as a result of that choice, found yourself where fear and guilt were not occurring, where peace was present, that would be the equivalent of demonstrating that you didn’t understand the situation and, therefore, you could not possibly be able to function in a truly helpful, compassionate way.
It’s not true. The opposite is what is true. Without your peace you cannot be a transformational presence. Without your peace, you do not have the presence of Mind—because it’s overridden with by emotion—to know what would transform, heal and correct the very situation that seems to call for you to be upset in order to be truly helpful—in order for you to be a sensitive human being—something you don’t want to lose the capacity to be.
But if being a sensitive human being means you lose your cool, means you lose your balance and all you can do is sort of collapse in a heap along with everyone else who is in the midst of the drama and the trauma, you’re useless. You’re not able to fulfill your purpose of “bringing light to all the world.”
Now, let’s be very clear: When you choose for your peace and you abandon those things which are obstacles to your peace, you come into a state of inner balance. Not a state of incapacity, not a state of stupidity, but a state of natural spontaneous intelligence. And you will know exactly what the practical things to do are … what will meet the human need: How to bind up the wounds, how to be truly supportive, how to be involved in a manner which those being helped recognize as being imbued with Light, imbued with Love that is beyond their momentary loss and fear and trauma. And they feel it and are blessed. Light is brought into the world.
I am talking here in very practical, I’m going to say, “physical terms” of providing comfort, or for giving your attention to desiring that comfort be provided and, in the state of inner balance that I’m talking about, knowing that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give peace, to give healing, to undo the illusion of something claiming that fear, guilt are justified—that being upset is justified.
And so you will not become insensitive, but more sensitive at the level of the immediate human need as well as the larger scope of awareness of divine Reality that every single one involved in the drama and trauma is still embraced by and governed by. And by which they can have a transformed experience immediately because God loves them, and they are what God created them to be, not what they believe themselves to be. They are more.
Now we mentioned that the starting point—in other words, the measuring stick that you should have been bringing to your observation of the events as broadcast in the media, should have brought into play that the starting point is that “God, Spirit, is all-in-all, and there is no other might nor Mind.” That which seemed to be a cataclysmic weather system does not have more power than the might and Mind that is God, Spirit.
This, I’m going to say “mental stance” is what the Course is leading everyone to, so that you do not succumb to the interpretations and the definitions that everyone on the media are supplying, and which are molding your emotions and your reactions.
Now here’s the radical standpoint. Here’s where you will be in a new way: It is by understanding, for example, that being mortal is a behavior, not a condition. Again, being mortal is a behavior, not a condition. And conversely, being holy is a condition, not a behavior.
You must be willing to stand with yourself and your brother on the basis that you are holy and holiness is your condition—not a behavior you can adopt. And that mortality is not a condition of yours, but is a behavior you use to misrepresent yourself, and which it’s time for you to stop using because the misrepresentation of yourself is not transformational.
Now, in the section:
Pleasure and Pain1
Your little part is but to give the Holy Spirit the whole IDEA of sacrifice.
Don’t try to do something with the feeling of sacrifice you have when you decide to do the two-step and yield to the Father. Abandon it.
Your little part is but to give the Holy Spirit the whole IDEA of sacrifice.
Just put it on the Holy Spirit’s doorstep and turn your back on it and walk away!
Sacrifice … well, when you practice the two-step, you actively engage in a practice of choice. You make a choice between two things: One is abandoning what you call your free will, and the other is, yielding to or surrendering to the Father. It’s that sense of sacrifice that you need to just stop giving your attention to. It’s not something to figure anything out about. Abandon it so that you can surrender to God.
That’s being in the world in a new way.
Now what does the word “surrender” mean? Yield. But more specifically, “surrender”—what does it mean? It means “to yield to the power or possession of another.” In other words, it means to let God have the power and to let yourself be His Possession. That’s the sacrifice that you see. You’re going to give up yourself, you’re going to give up your right to have your own perceptions—your own perceptions of what constitute pleasure and pain, for example … among other things.
It’s insulting to the ego and we’ve talked about it before. It’s insulting to the ego to surrender—to yield to the Power of the Father, to let yourself be the Father’s possession … which means your giving up your right to have an independent self-assertive standpoint from which to be.
But here’s the incredible truth: When you surrender to the Father, when you let yourself become the Father’s possession and you are captive, when you surrender to the Father by asking Him what to do, or what is the truth here? He will release you. When you let yourself be the captive of God, God will release you from your captivity—meaning that you will find yourself being in a new way and, for lack of better words, at a new “level” in which everything you do is in harmony with Creation and in harmony with the ongoing creativity of the Father, causing you to experience not only no loss, but “infinite gain,” for lack of better words.
This is important. Think about it:
When you surrender to the Father and become the Father’s captive by asking Him—by genuinely asking Him—what to do, and then listening for and accepting the answer, He will release you. Now you will be free of the captivity of the self you thought you became when you got your divorce from the Father. You see? And you become released from the captivity that you thought you were entering into by surrendering to the Father.
Now in your release, the Holy Spirit is not separate from you. That which is nothing more than your right Mind, is now your right Mind. This experience is what is embodied in the practice of the holy instant.
But again, it’s going to mean that you’re going to have to be in a new way right here in the world. And so it is going to seem to create difference between you and your Brothers. But since the difference will not arise out of the ego, it will be experienced as a blessing. It will be experienced as a blessing and others will grow from it.
Now, doing this requires discipline. It requires you to be willing to stand in the face of threat, in the face of disaster and move through it with intelligence, groundedness, and a love that is not distorted by fear or anxiety or great emotional reaction. And you’re not used to this. You’re not used to facing into the call for intelligence when unintelligence seems to be governing, or the call for “meeting the need” when the need seems to be so overwhelming that it can’t be met.
You are not here to study the Course to become ineffective, dreamy, happily doing nothing when needs need to be met, (said facetiously) “because you know they’re not real and therefore nothing really needs to be done and knowing that it’s not real is all that’s required …”
That is not transformational! And as I’ve said before you can’t get into the Kingdom of Heaven by yourself. You’ve got to bring your Brothers with you. Which means you’ve got to get involved with your Brothers in a transformational way.
Now, pleasure and pain: “Oh, one man’s pain may be another man’s pleasure.” Psychologically speaking, one man may hate to work on cars and fix them and modify them, and another man may love it. It is his greatest pleasure. Another man may hate to work in the fields, while another man gets great pleasure from it. Even the same man, as a young man working for his father on the farm, may find it painful to engage in the labor of farming. And as he matures and begins to find the value and meaning of it, that very same person begins to take great pleasure in it.
So, here is the thing: Pain and pleasure are learned. They’re not absolute and they are not arising out of the infinite stability of Creation. They are not a part of what God has made. Don’t put such great value on pain and pleasure.
Learn to look at your Brothers and Sisters with attentiveness to their needs so that it is their needs that you attend to by going into and practicing the holy instant. Then neither pain nor pleasure will be the result, but fulfillment will be, and it will never be solitary or private.
But again, this will not happen unless a stand is taken, unless a choice is made where you stand in the face of need, whether it is severe or catastrophic or minimal, and care enough to surrender to God.
Let yourself become His captive. Let Him own you because you are His offspring—you are Him in expression. And in doing that, you will be transformational and you will contribute to bringing Light to all the world, which is the point! If you are not doing anything to bring Light to all the world, then you are missing the opportunity for fulfillment beyond your wildest dreams and your very existence is rendered meaningless, unfulfilling, because the Father’s Love, the Father’s clarity is finding no extension through you.
Your little part is but to give the Holy Spirit the whole IDEA of sacrifice. And to accept the peace He gave instead, without the limits which would hold its extension back, and so would limit YOUR awareness of it.
You’re not here to hold His extension back and …
… limit YOUR awareness of it.
You’re here to be the “throughput,” you might say—that which allows it to flow into expression. And what you give you get to keep. It’s a law. It’s just the way things work.
For what He gives must be extended, if you would have its limitless power, and use it for the Son of God’s release.
… use it for the Son of God’s release.
Well I tell you, you’re not going to be able to use it for the Son of God’s release if you are upset and disturbed and think that because of that you understand the situation. You use it for the Son of God’s release by not understanding the situation of terror and destruction and loss of loved ones, or any other lesser manifestation of tragedy, of distress.
It doesn’t have to be the sort of thing that happened today that’s in the news. It’s happening everywhere, as a financial crisis, as lack of jobs, as peoples lives deteriorating and falling apart because there isn’t enough creativity being allowed that would generate the extension of that which meets needs and would therefore generate income.
There are distressing things—monumentally distressing things—that are much quieter than a tornado. And all of these things call for your being able to abandon the obstacles to peace. Why? So that in the presence of the turmoil and the catastrophe you have your peace and therefore the presence of mind—you know, that Mind which is the only might or Mind—to look at the situation and address it with such intelligence that it reduces fear and inspires constructive action by those who were devastated and, as a result, giving them hope. See? But it happens by not agreeing with the situation. It happens by being in a new way, a way that you become aware of when you surrender to the Father in the holy instant. You see?
The holy instant isn’t just a nice meditation in which you become quiet and peaceful and in that peace you ask sweetly, “Father, what is the truth here.” Or you ask to know what needs to be done, what holy thing can you do, what can you do that represents the holy Son of God for your Brother so that you might feel good. It’s a lot more active and focused than that. And it requires that you put yourself in the position of being in a new way that opens the door to fulfillment that is new to you and therefore is transforming to everyone else. That is the wonder of it. That is the miracle of the Course In Miracles. That’s the point.
… what He gives must be extended, if you would have its limitless power, and use it for the Son of God’s release. It is not this you would be rid of, and having it you CANNOT limit it. If peace is homeless, so are you and so am I. And He Who is our home is homeless WITH us.
[Repeats] It is not this [that] you would be rid of…
It isn’t something, perhaps, that you’ve thought about taking hold of, even though you may not have ever thought about getting rid of it. But in order to have the limitless power of the gift of Love extended, you must use it for your Brother’s release. This is not something you would actually be rid of. You wouldn’t choose to be rid of it. You can’t choose to be rid of it, because then it would mean that peace would be homeless. And peace cannot be homeless. Therefore, it never has been homeless. And therefore, regardless of what you think, you have never wished to be rid of the capacity to make the gift of the Father’s Love that expresses limitless power. You see?
… He Who is our home is homeless WITH us.
… if he could be, if these things could be.
Is this your will?
“Well, I never really thought about it, hm-m-m. I’ll have to give that some thought.”
Is this your will?
No, it can’t be your will, because it expresses something impossible and it elicits an effect that can’t actually really happen, even though you’ve fooled yourselves into believing that it has happened and is true, and is therefore justification for being upset or disturbed, and is therefore justification for not choosing for your peace because you don’t want to be an insensitive human being. You see? None of it makes sense.
Would you forever be a wanderer in search of peace?
No, not really. But you will seem to be until you make a choice, until you’re ready to make a stand with the Father after having surrendered to the Father, so that you might know how to stand in your peace in the face of great need without being moved by it into an ineffectual frame of mind that’s governed by fear and emotion and is totally useless.
Would you invest your hope of peace and happiness in what MUST fail?
Well, no. Of course you wouldn’t. But you didn’t realize that it would have to fail because it’s an attempt to do something impossible. Now you do, and that means that you’re in a position to make an intelligent choice and stand by it and be in the world in a new way.
Hey, it may be hard work to work in the fields. But when you engage in it willingly, bringing your attention to it with gratitude in your heart, the laboriousness of it gives way to the pleasure of, for lack of better words, “being effective,” being meaningful, being a part of that which is Life. You see?
Faith in the eternal is always justified…
“Oh come on, what does the eternal have to do with the tragedy that happened today? What about the deaths? What about the children that were crushed under the walls?” And so on and so forth. “What the hell does the eternal have to do with anything right now? I feel justifiably upset and my heart aches for the parents. I know how I would feel if it happened to me.” Yes, you do. And to know how they feel is important. But to be moved by it to the point where you lose your balance and your ability to feel your peace so that you might have a stable mind with which to respond effectively, that is stupid. That is not what you would choose for and that is not what this is about.
It is about having the courage not to react but to find your intelligent peace, so that you might act consciously, constructively and helpfully. That takes determination. And that’s what you’re learning about through the study of the Course, because it’s not just beautiful theory. It’s about that which motivates change in you so that you do become the extender of the Father’s Love in transformational … truly transformational ways.
Faith in the eternal …
… right in the face of the tragedy, is always justified. Why? Because it will help you move out of and free of the influence of pure, raw, uncontrolled emotion which intelligence is not governing, but which overrules or overrides intelligence and the capacity to act truly helpfully. You see?
Faith in the eternal is always justified, for the eternal is forever kind, infinite in its patience, and wholly loving.
Well, I know you can justify the presence of that which is loving and patient with those who are suffering from tragedy. Well, how are you going to extend it if you’re caught up in the same reactions they are? You’re not. Don’t miss your opportunity to express your holiness by reflecting the Father in the middle of the tragedy.
… faith and the eternal …
… will accept you wholly, and give you peace. Yet …
… and here is the key …
… it can unite only with what ALREADY is at peace in you, immortal as itself.
Faith in the eternal …
… can unite only with what ALREADY is at peace in you…
… so you must take the time and put forth the effort it takes to find your peace and abandon the reaction.
So that faith in the eternal …
… can unite only with what ALREADY is at peace in you…
… because what is already at peace in you is …
… immortal as itself. The body can bring you neither peace nor turmoil; neither pain nor joy.
Those are all learned meanings, not actual things.
It is a means…
… the body is …
… and not an end. It has NO purpose of itself…
As I’ve said before, it’s simply the visibility and tangibility of your Individuality. It has no goal or purpose other than to identify your presence, which is the Presence of God.
… the body …
is a means, and not an end. It has NO purpose of itself, but only what is given to it. The body will seem to be whatever is the means for reaching the goal that you assign to it.
[Repeats] … goals that you assign to it.
The goals that get assigned to it will be different depending upon whether you’ve surrendered to God or whether you are asserting your orphanhood.
Peace and guilt are both conditions of the mind, to be attained. And these conditions are the home of the emotion which called them forth, and therefore is compatible with them. But …
… and this is the big “but” …
… think you which it is that is compatible with YOU.
Now I’m going to end here this evening. Again:
… think you which it is that is compatible with YOU.
Who are you? The holy Son of God, or a mortal? How can you be a behavior? Being mortal is a behavior, not a condition. You can only be holy. That is a condition, not a behavior.
And so you must choose that which is compatible with you. And then you must be willing to stand there. And you must practice standing there, approaching your world from that stand point … what? . . as a result of having surrendered to the Father in the holy instant and learned of the Father what you need to do, so that you might be released from bondage that is not yours and bondage which causes you to be ineffective, useless and meaningless in the world as far as bringing Light to all the world.
This is a pep talk tonight, not a scathing criticism. It is an encouragement to you to find out how to labor in the field and find the Meaning of it, so that fulfillment fills you because you haven’t contributed to the ongoingness of the suffering human condition, but are actually bringing into play that which brings Light to all the world.
I love you very much and I look forward to being with you next time.
T19.7 Pleasure and Pain ↩
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