- Study Materials Library
- Further Resources
Setting the Goal
Editor’s note: This transcript has been lightly edited to bring clarification to certain points of the dialogue and for easier readability. For this reason, it does not match the corresponding audio mp3 word-for-word. However, the overall content and the expressed ideas remain unchanged.
David: Can somebody look up the Setting the Goal section, because that’s one of the ones you were referring to this morning.
Friend: It’s on page 365.
David: It’s called Setting the Goal.
“The practical application of the Holy Spirit’s purpose is extremely simple, but it is unequivocal. The simple is merely what is easily understood, and for this it is apparent that it must be clear. The setting of the Holy Spirit’s goal is general. Now He will work with you to make it specific, for application is specific. There are certain very specific guidelines He provides for any situation, but remember that you do not yet realize their universal application. Therefore, it is essential at this point to use them in each situation separately, until you can more safely look beyond each situation, in an understanding far broader than you now possess. In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is ‘What do I want to come of this? What is it for?’ The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning for it is this which will determine the outcome. In the ego’s procedure this is reversed. The situation becomes the determiner of the outcome, which can be anything. The reason for this disorganized approach is evident. The ego does not know what it wants to come of the situation. It is aware of what it does not want, but only that. It has no positive goal at all. Without a clear-cut, positive goal, set at the outset, the situation just seems to happen, and makes no sense until it has already happened. Then you look back at it, and try to piece together what it must have meant. And you will be wrong.”
Notice how he says, “You will be wrong.” Remember the story in the Bible of Lot’s wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back. When you look back at any situation—any situation—you will be wrong.
Friend: Are you sure it’s not maybe sometimes? [laughter]
David: No, you will be wrong. That’s a beautiful sentence: “You will be wrong.”
Friend: What if you look with the Holy Spirit?
David: The Holy Spirit never looks back, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
“Not only is your judgment in the past, but you have no idea what should happen. No goal was set with which to bring the means in line. And now the only judgment left to make is whether or not the ego likes it; is it acceptable, or does it call for vengeance? The absence of a criterion for outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible. The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen.”
I’ll read that over again because it’s very profound. You can tell there’s a time lesson in this: “The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen.” So perception is not the determiner of our state of mind. For a lot of people, a sunny day makes it a happy day and a rainy day, no. But it’s not the situation that’s the determiner of the peace of mind or of the state of mind.
Again, “The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen. You will therefore make every effort to overlook what interferes with the accomplishment of your objective, and concentrate on everything that helps you meet it.” When you set your goal in advance, you focus your mind. You rivet your mind on what you want. Your mind is so powerful! In fact, the whole situation, the whole world, the whole cosmos that you see is your mind. So when your mind is aligned with peace as your one goal and you’re riveted in that, you cannot help but perceive it as peaceful, because your mind is the determiner for the whole universe. Your mind contains the entire cosmos. So that’s how important it is for us to practice mind-training , and focus on what we want.
“It is quite noticeable that this approach has brought you closer to the Holy Spirit’s sorting out of truth and falsity. The true becomes what can be used to meet the goal. The false becomes the useless from this point of view. The situation now has meaning, but only because the goal has made it meaningful. The goal of truth has further practical advantages. If the situation is used for truth and sanity, its outcome must be peace. And this is quite apart from what the outcome is. If peace is the condition of truth and sanity, and cannot be without them, where peace is they must be. Truth comes of itself. If you experience peace, it is because the truth has come to you and you will see the outcome truly, for deception cannot prevail against you. You will recognize the outcome because you are at peace. Here again you see the opposite of the ego’s way of looking, for the ego believes the situation brings the experience. The Holy Spirit knows that the situation is as the goal determines it, and is experienced according to the goal. The goal of truth requires faith. Faith is implicit in the acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and this faith is all-inclusive. Where the goal of truth is set, there faith must be. The Holy Spirit sees the situation as a whole.”
Friend: …she showed up.
David: Until she showed up. The Holy Spirit always sees the whole and the ego always tries to believe in solving conflict through fragmentation. Oh, if we just get rid of her, everything’s going to be just fine. If we just get rid of him, it’s all going to work out fine. Solving situations through fragmentation.
“Therefore, it seeks to split off segments of the situation and deal with them separately, for it has faith in separation and not in wholeness.”
The temptation of the world is to believe in specific problems. Our friend was using the example of a plumbing problem, but clearly, from the example, it was just an opportunity for collaboration and the experience of wholeness. That was the only purpose for that situation. We’ll call it the broken-toilet-in-the-trailer situation. The only purpose of that situation was collaboration.
The only purpose for any relationship is for the divine collaboration. It has no other purpose other than that. The world simply sees a fragmented world and tries to solve everything through fragmentation. Even if you had a house that was like a money pit; it had wrong plumbing, wrong lighting, wrong electrical, wrong ventilation, wrong heating, wrong air conditioning. If you had a house for example, that had 142 different problems and you solved all of those 142 problems—as long as you hold onto the perspective of fragmentation, there’ll be more problems. And there’ll be more attempts to solve those problems through inappropriate means—through fragmentation. Through plumbers, through carpenters, through engineers, through all the different people that come, and all the different skills that are needed, and all the different tools that are needed—and still the problems of the house will go on and on and on and on until you change the goal, until you change the purpose for the house. When you change the purpose to peace, to truth, the entire perception of the whole universe is transformed through that change of purpose, through that change of goal. But without a change of purpose, the seeming problems will just seem to go on and on and on, as opportunities beckoning the mind to choose again—to choose once again. “Confronted with any aspect of the situation that seems to be difficult, the ego will attempt to take this aspect elsewhere, and resolve it there.” TAKE THIS ASPECT ELSEWHERE, AND RESOLVE IT THERE.
Friend: Broken toilet? Get the engineer as opposed to collaboration, probably.
David: Resolve to collaboration in the mind. Think about how that works: “…attempt to take this aspect elsewhere, and resolve it there.” Even with the thing that our friend was bringing up this morning: I’ve got a resistance to somebody, anger, a difficulty, but I’ll just go to my room and resolve it. [singing] There’s a place in my room, in my room. Even if we try to resolve the problem in our room, in our lotus position with our favorite mystical song playing I know I can do it by myself in my room. No, it’s going to take a change in the goal to solve the problem. As long as I have a fragmented perspective, there’s no place on earth that I can go, no place I can run to, no place I can take it “elsewhere and resolve it there.” The problem is in the mind, and it can only be resolved in the mind. The world was made to generate all kinds of specific problems that have no answer. The plumbing problem is a good example of an impossible problem with no real solution, but if I change my mind and I give my mind over to the Holy Spirit and ask for a new way of looking at the world (a new vision), then I’m really going inward towards the real solution—towards the only solution that will work. Now we’re getting to the last paragraph of this section. This is like the crescendo, so I’ll reread that line:
“Confronted with any aspect of the situation that seems to be difficult, the ego will attempt to take this aspect elsewhere, and resolve it there. And it will seem to be successful, except that this attempt conflicts with unity, and must obscure the goal of truth.”
Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky! It will seem to be successful—the plumbing problem is fixed. How’s our friend doing with that plumbing in the trailer? It’s fixed. How are you doing with that marriage difficulty? We’re doing fine, we’re still together. How’s it going with that debt? Oh, I paid it off. It’s fixed, it’s fixed, it’s fixed it‘s fixed! How many things can you fix in this world, and is anything really ever fixed? If there’s just going to be a bunch more problems coming, have you really fixed anything, or have you just accepted the illusion of a fix that isn’t really a fix? “And peace will not be experienced except in fantasy.” Okay, you fixed the plumbing problem, and you get the fantasy of peace. How are you doing now that the toilet’s not running anymore? It flushes fine—got a good day going here. How’s your car? It starts now. How’s that hitch on the back? Oh I fixed it—got a new one. It’s fixed. It can tow all kinds of things.
“Truth has not come because faith has been denied, being withheld from where it rightfully belonged.” The faith is the faith in the Holy Spirit in the Mind. You can’t put faith in anything of this world—in plumbers or carpenters or mechanics. You can’t put faith in tools and fixing anything of this world because when you do, you get just the fantasy of a fix. “Thus do you lose the understanding of the situation the goal of truth would bring.”
So we’re back to that thing: As long as you have a fantasy of the fix, and maybe you have been successful hundreds of times fixing many broken things, and maybe you even feel like you’ve fixed broken relationships and that now they’re healed, until perception is healed, nothing is fixed. Fragmentation remains the formula for solving problems, and fragmentation will never solve anything. “For fantasy solutions bring but the illusion of experience, and the illusion of peace is not the condition in which truth can enter.” So that’s really clear why we’re here. We’re here truly to have a peaceful and understanding experience. Not to try to solve things through fantasy solutions by removing aspects of situations; removing parts of books… so it’s very practical. That’s something we can take with us today from the church service. And when you get to the point where you just throw your hands up and say I cannot handle this anymore; I cannot figure this out; I don’t know where this is going in form; I don’t understand a damn thing about this world or how it works and it seems like I never will, rejoice and be glad! You’re on the right track and you’re not a failure. That moment of truly getting into what you can call beginner’s mind, truly not knowing anything of the world, is the beginning of wisdom. It’s the beginning of humbleness and humility. Amen to that!
Home | About this Website
| Study Materials | Contact | Donate | Resources - Order