- Study Materials Library
- Further Resources
Abilities, Work and Purpose
Third sentence is where we will start. Like [participant] has said, we have this false world, it’s all false…. Everything in it. So, what can we do with it? We can get up in the morning and go, ‘Okay, this whole this is false, AH! I still feel constrained and constricted and I have to do this and this and this or there will be consequences.’
So we really need to turn this over to the Holy Spirit and this section really starts to articulate what that’s going to be like. It says, “The Holy Spirit teaches you to use what the ego has made, to teach the opposite of what the ego has "learned”. So this whole world is learned. And anything that can be learned, can be unlearned. It’s kind of a neat idea. And the ego is learned. Back in the self concept section it says, “This is what the learning of the world is for, that you come without a self and you make one up as you go along”.
So even when we are a little child and we are labeling things, ‘That’s a ball, that’s a table, that is a sandwich, that’s a boy, that’s a girl’. There we go, this is the learning of the world. It’s just reinforcing what the mind believes. The mind wants a false self concept and now it seems to be learning all the separation, that everything has a different purpose.
“The kind of learning is as irrelevant as is the particular ability that was applied to the learning. All you need do is make the effort to learn, for the Holy Spirit has a unified goal for the effort. If different abilities are applied long enough to one goal, the abilities themselves become unified. This is because they are channelized in one direction, or in one way. Ultimately, then, they all contribute to one result, and by so doing, their similarity rather than their differences is emphasized.”
Now we get a real insight. It seems like everyone has a different personality. Some people seem to have more academic abilities, some people seem to have more physical athletic abilities, mechanical abilities, different aptitudes and what he is saying is all of these abilities if they are put towards the same purpose will be channelized and that the differences between them will start to fade from awareness. Playing the violin is a very highly developed ability but the question underneath all this is ‘What is it for?’
Participant 1: So after a while it doesn’t really matter whether I am spreading butter on bread or playing the violin because all of my abilities are channelized in one direction and become unified. It doesn’t matter.
[joking] There’s a butter spreading recital coming up!
Speaker: Come and watch me spread butter.
Participant 2: It’s just like my efforts are so futile now. Why am I doing these things? I just…
Speaker: But see the good news in this is that it’s just changing the purpose for them. It’s not like I have to pretend like I don’t have any abilities, or don’t use them.
Participant 1: I feel like the Holy Spirit is really having me do a lot of practicing right now. And as I got into it I could see these tremendous ego goals were behind that. I immediately implemented by learning to move through those but I am still feeling at a gut level that I am to do some practicing. For what purpose I don’t know. But it’s not like I have to drop it. I do have to learn to let it be used. But it’s not like once I start reading the Course and getting into the Course I have to give up my violin. Because all of this has a use and a purpose.
Participant 2: I guess I am questioning the purpose for the things I am doing.
Speaker: The more we go into this, the more we move our attention towards forgiveness as our one purpose some things will start to fall away. So some things that seemed to serve before we may no longer find ourselves involved in, they may fall aside. But the neat thing is, is that nothing is wasted in the sense that all abilities can be used as long as it’s being channelized.
And then it continues on, “All abilities should therefore be given over to the Holy Spirit, Who understands how to use them properly. He uses them only for healing, because He knows you only as whole. By healing you learn of wholeness, and by learning of wholeness you learn to remember God.” And a little further on in the next paragraph it says, “Healing is the way to undo the belief in differences, being the only way of perceiving the Sonship as one.”
Healing; we could equate that with of having one purpose, a unified purpose for everything… wanting so much to look through that Holy Spirit’s lens at everything and however that seems to be used in the world of form. Behavior then is a by-product, it comes automatically. It says in another place that miracles shouldn’t be consciously chosen, that you don’t go, ‘Okay Jesus, I am going to do a miracle now.’ What it is saying is that all you have to do is be ready and then the Holy Spirit will do the miracles through you and the behavior, you have to let go of that component. It has to be a by-product of your thoughts, otherwise the miracles won’t be pure. I forget the exact words from the text but there is still a sense of trying to control in there. It won’t be consistent either because there will be this element of control. What a strain of trying to figure out what to do and what to say, there is an enormous amount of strain if you want to do it just right. You are down there on that lower level, that form level, which is guilt inducing.
Participant 2: And if they are not accepting the miracle as you are offering it to them then you will feel like you must have done something wrong.
Speaker: Here we go again, guilt.
And so at the beginning of the next section it comes to the same point again. It says, “The body is nothing more than a framework for developing abilities, which is quite apart from what they are used for. That is a decision.” This is that form / content thing we were talking about. A decision in mind is content. A decision of purpose, like where it says in the text; ‘What is it for? This should be asked about everything.’ This is just starting to train our minds to start asking in every situation, ‘What is it for?’ That is so opposite and backwards from the way in which the deceived mind thinks because the deceived mind goes plunging into things already thinking that it knows what it’s for. You can use the examples of shopping or laundry or when we go to work or when we are on the tennis court or whatever. The deceived mind is convinced that it already knows what it is for and it has something to do with form or an outcome.
Participant 3: Is it so important to know what it’s for as to ask Spirit, ‘I don’t know what this is for but I am willing to be shown or told or taught what this is for’? For me, I get tripped up really easily if I ask what it is for, my ego can come in and grab that big time and I off in another direction completely.
Speaker: Yes, that’s the essence of it. To be shown is to say that ‘I really don’t know’…
Participant 3: I don’t know but I am willing to see this another way, clearly.
Speaker: We talked about this last week as this being a two part thing in that sense that accepting the Holy Spirit’s purpose or healing or forgiveness as your only function is part of it. But the other part is letting go of the ego goals. We went through that whole section last week on our investments and expectation and everything and there is obviously the self concept in there and the ego has all kinds of goals and outcomes that it wants.
So, now we have to articulate something positive to move towards because obviously we are going to be laying aside the self concept but the self concept…. Remember to the deceived mind, is it’s existence it thinks. That’s why when we got into the pain / pleasure thing and people were saying that it seemed like a sacrifice, it seemed like giving things up. We want to phrase this and bring this into a whole context of what we are moving towards knowing that this other stuff is going to fade away automatically. Instead of thinking that you are going to have to fight the ego every step of the way and that you have to give things up that you value … ‘Twist my arm God’. From that kind of attitude of coercion you know that the mind is already feeling that this is going to be a nasty Course.
So what came to me today was taking a workbook lesson that really starts to articulate what we are moving towards. It’s lesson 154, ‘I am among the minister of God’. How many of us have thought of ourselves as ministers of God? I think a key thing that we can keep in mind as we go into this is that it’s a loosening. To literally turn our purpose over to the Holy Spirit, to turn over our skills and abilities and goals, he is the one that has to make those decisions in consent with us. But literally he can see how best to use our skills and abilities. So its like getting the ‘me’ and the ‘my’ out of there, not going home and sitting down and writing all of your abilities down on a piece of paper and trying to figure out how you are going to work it all out and to unify it. You are not the one that is going to figure it out. And that is good news because then you don’t have to feel the weight of trying to put these things together.
“Let us today be neither arrogant nor falsely humble. We have gone beyond such foolishness. We cannot judge ourselves, nor need we do so. These are but attempts to hold decision off, and to delay commitment to our function. It is not our part to judge our worth, nor can we know what role is best for us; what we can do within a larger plan we cannot see in its entirety. Our part is cast in Heaven, not in hell. And what we think is weakness can be strength; what we believe to be our strength is often arrogance.
Whatever your appointed role may be, it was selected by the Voice for God, Whose function is to speak for you as well. Seeing your strengths exactly as they are, and equally aware of where they can be best applied, for what, to whom and when, He chooses and accepts your part for you. He does not work without your own consent. But He is not deceived in what you are, and listens only to His Voice in you.
It is through His ability to hear one Voice Which is His Own that you become aware at last there is one Voice in you. And that one Voice appoints your function, and relays it to you, giving you the strength to understand it, do what it entails, and to succeed in everything you do that is related to it. God has joined His Son in this, and thus His Son becomes His messenger of unity with Him.”
There is a sentence in there, there is three parts to it, “And that one Voice appoints your function, and relays it to you, giving you the strength to understand it, do what it entails, and to succeed in everything you do that is related to it.” So you can see how much this relies on listening. He is giving the function and as far as understanding it, doing what it entails and succeeding, it all depends on that. He is just relaying the messages, the signals. Like the prayer on page 24, ‘I am willing to be truly helpful. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do.’
The only way our abilities can be unified is to be literally taking those instructions moment by moment on faith. That’s the flip side of the way it seems in this world; to be secure and confident the world says that you need to know what you are going to do ahead of time, have things well scoped out, have everything laid out. But this is a totally intuitive approach to listening. It’s like all of your analytical abilities that you have relied on, that is all out of the window. It can seem a little scary because it is so familiar. It is like walking off the ledge and trusting that there is something there to catch you on the other side.
There is a little section that I wanted to read from lesson 135 which is, ‘When I defend myself I am attacked’. There are a couple paragraphs that really get into the idea that we are trying to tease out. This goes with the same theme that we have been talking about.
“A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans that it receives through listening to Wisdom that is not its own. It waits until it has been taught what should be done, and then proceeds to do it. It does not depend upon itself for anything except its adequacy to fulfill the plans assigned to it. It is secure in certainty that obstacles can not impede its progress to accomplishment of any goal that serves the greater plan established for the good of everyone.”
You can see that we are talking about completely letting go…
Participant 2: That is such a contradiction to what the world is like.
Speaker: It is such a contradiction. When I was taking classes in Urban Planning, I had a class in problem solving. You define the resources. Analyze the factors. Generate all the different approaches. Then decide which one you want. That is what you start to get good at. Everyone does it to some degree whether it is at the supermarket or with a career or getting our car fixed. Which place has the best price? It’s the same kind of thing. Now we are coming to this thing of letting go of all that, of doing it based on our past experience… saying that you know from experience that you can get a product cheaper at store A, or that you know from experience if you take a certain class that it will take you further ahead than another one.
This is one of the most amazing paragraphs in this whole book, “A healed mind is relieved of the belief that it must plan, although it cannot know the outcome which is best, the means by which it achieved, nor how to recognize the problem that the plan is made to solve.”
If you really look at what that is saying, you can’t know what the problem is ahead of time whether it seems to be your problem or someone else’s. He is saying, “You can’t recognize ahead of time the problem that the plan is made to solve.” We have all been taught that the outcome that is best is part of defining the problem and knowing what is best, knowing what the goals are. That is what all of the judgment of the world is based on; you know the good outcomes and the bad outcomes so that you can strive to achieve the good outcomes and avoid the bad ones. He is saying that you can’t know that nor the means by which it is achieved. You have to trust him there.
Participant 4: Can you imagine someone running for election and saying, ‘I have no plan’?
Participant 5: ‘So, vote for me. A vote for me is a vote for Jesus.’
Speaker: Maybe we could look at a little insight on this. If you jump a couple lines ahead… “The mind engaged in planning for itself is occupied in setting up control of future happenings.” That’s been your whole life!! Look at all of our lives. What kind of life is this if you are not trying to plan for or control future happenings?
Participant 4: Psychology, the prediction and control of behavior.
Participant 2: That is exactly what I was going through last week. I knew this was a lesson for, it’s something that I deal with all the time in my business and it’s time for me to learn that lesson. I don’t know how much of it I learned, but I do know to quit reacting to things that happen. It was just for me to take notice that I was reacting. Recognizing that I had an outcome and expectation planned.
Speaker: And when you trace it back a bit, there is the fear of falling behind and being in debt and when you trace that back a bit it gets back to my security. The security of what? In the beginning of this lesson it tells us that it’s the body. To save it from death. You can see that when you trace it back.
The more that we start to do this, the more we can start to see the insanity of constantly defending, protecting the body and working for it’s betterment and everything like that. It is a heavy investment in that. The more that we start to see that it’s foolish and that it’s tightening the grip on our mind the more we start to let go if it. It was a great example to take something concrete like that and work it back. I really appreciate you bringing it up because we need to start like that. If we get too much into a high theoretical conversation it isn’t truly meaningful. We want to keep it practical. And that was a good example. Each one of us, when we can do that, all of us get clearer.
Participant 6: I can see that in business, where I work, this just wouldn’t work at all. If I told my boss that I didn’t have a plan or that I didn’t have goals they couldn’t deal with it. I was doing some of this when I was in twelve steps but I still had to play the game at work. I really did. And it’s still with me. I just thought of this, I have to do my report of operations; I have to do my accomplishments for the month. There aren’t any!
It’s like, okay, I read the Course and I did this and that but if I was in my other job… I would have a hard time. So do people integrate that or do they leave these jobs?
Speaker: When we went to the restaurant after the meeting [participant] was talking about taking a leave of absence from work and then [participant] was asking why you would do that when you could be making all that money. You could tell that there was a contrast of thinking there. We feel guided by the spirit… The shift takes place in our mind and then what takes place on the screen is the witness or the out picturing. Otherwise it seems like we are trying to put round pegs into square holes. Its like, hey Jesus I can’t apply this Course where I am working. And Jesus is saying, ‘Come back here into the mind and we will question the beliefs,’ And as you start to loosen the identification of being a worker or being in that mode of planning and outcomes and start to step back, what happens is that we start to call forth witnesses and it seems like we have more expansive concepts of our self. In other words, Jesus isn’t saying going from this limited little tiny self concept – bingo – to this abstract reality. He says it’s not going to work that way, that salvation’s task is changing concepts.
So maybe someone could see himself or herself as just a factory worker and then they begin to think maybe there are more than just a factory worker. It seems like we develop abilities and our concepts start to expand, we seem more fluid and flexible. Really what we are doing is that we are changing concepts in our mind. We are starting to approach the one concept that leads out which s forgiveness. Forgiveness is an all inclusive concept. It’s still a concept; because there is no forgiveness in heaven, there is nothing to be forgiven for. The Course says that God does not forgive because he has never condemned. It’s illusions that need forgiveness. So we take these little steps more and more and more. That is where we are being led to is having a concept of total forgiveness or a teacher of God or a minister of God which is a lot different than /production manager’…
Participant 6: Part of what got me so wrapped up in this is that the first of the year I have a set of goals that I turn in and they are usually real focused on the balance and everything. What I thought about was going back and writing my goals, Course-wise, and what’s really important for me… peace and alignment with the Holy Spirit and not turning something like that into a manger but these are my mission goals type of thing and these are how the operations type can go along with them.
Speaker: We had a friend in Cincinnati who was working for a company in a sales job where his manager kept telling him to set these sales goals. And he kept feeling more and more that there was a conflict that was going and that the whole point was to start seeing that the conflict is in the mind. But eventually it became a very competitive situation where the boss would be saying that he needed to stick to the goals and accomplish this and that and he was feeling more and more drawn to meditating at times and studying the Course. In the end there is a shift of mind… and he ended up leaving the position… but it is not that leaving will relieve the conflict. The ego is saying that if you leave one situation and you go to a better situation that you will be in good shape. But the whole point of the Course is starting to see that the competition wasn’t in the sales job. The competition is in my mind; the belief in competition is what the problem was. As we start to go on and move more towards what the Course is talking about, things get taken care of. You may start to move away from the work ethic and the five year plan or the ten year plan and open to the Holy Spirit and follow it out and trust that it will work out. But you won’t get it in writing from Him.
’This is what you will be doing next year as part of phase one of the plan’. Its not that, its just taking the step for today and when the doubts come about how you will get by…
Participant 6: So that’s how you build confidence is what you are saying as part of that trust, listening.
Participant 1: Listening and practicing it.
Participant 5: And maybe as the practice unfold and then rather than looking at the externals and judging them and saying, ‘The Holy Spirit is guiding me well, I am still making enough money, I am still doing such and such.’ I don’t think it’s there because that kind of judgment can be a trap.
Participant 5: Because the judgment is not that the Holy Spirit is guiding me well because I have all these comforts, it’s that the Spirit is guiding me well because I have all this peace.
Speaker: Yes. For me, I needed experience at the time to let me know that I was going to be provided for. There were many synchronicity experiences. I was guided to a garage sale and got a car for $100. I was guided and my other car broke down in front of the garage sale and had to be towed away. It was so synchronistic, I couldn’t have planned that in a million years. It was obviously hand off time. I needed that. That was the Holy Spirit going before me saying, ‘You are going to be okay. This seems scary, but you are okay’.
The temptation can sometimes be to get stuck in this thing of manifesting. You hear in some circles, ‘I manifested myself a job, I manifested myself a new mate just the way I wanted.’
The Course is saying that you have this powerful mind, why don’t you use it for peace of mind, to wake up and be totally free. Don’t rest it in bringing these certain outcomes, don’t pray for the ‘effect’. Ask to be shown a different way of looking at the world. But see, that is a natural progression and as we traveled we had many synchronistic experiences where things would seem to show up just as we needed them. You could write a book on that. It makes for good reading because it’s exciting and its’ fun and seems magical in a way, but after a while you get so focused on your purpose and now you are convinced that you will be provided for. The fear level has gone down. Then the whole focus is just on seeing the world differently, on seeing the ego belief system and getting to the bottom of it.
Home | About this Website
| Study Materials | Contact | Donate | Resources - Order