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This Instant is the Endpoint; Clarity is Now 

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.

Speaker: So once again I don’t think this is something that is a standard to hold up as an ideal and say, ‘Oh, Gosh I still feel!’ But, I think once again it’s like Jesus is telling us just like he told the apostles: “When I’m gone there’s going to be some trials and tribulations and I tell you this to prepare you for it.” I think he’s just kind of giving us the far ends of the road map, so to speak. This is how it’s going to be so don’t be shocked if you have moments in your bliss and your deep periods of meditation when you don’t feel ill or well or pain or pleasure, when you lose all sense of feeling in the body, because he’s told us a number of places in the Course that the body doesn’t really feel at all. The mind just tells it what to feel and when the body gives up its judgments of the world and gives up its categories and it’s ordering of thoughts then it no longer attempts to tell the body to feel pain or pleasure because those both reinforce the body as being real. “No response at all is in the mind to what the body does. Its usefulness remains and nothing else.” So, it’s used solely as a communication device to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to the mind that knows it not, and it doesn’t feel anything. That’s kind of a little snap shot of what the advanced teacher of God experiences.

“Perhaps you do not realize that this removes the limits you had placed upon the body by the purposes you gave to it.” (Workbook Lesson 136) So, all the limits you had placed upon the body, in other words it’s got to be fed regularly, washed regularly, clothed, and housed. All the rules that you think you’ve got to do to keep the body healthy can be removed. Those limits can be removed as you remove the purposes you gave to it. So, that’s why it’s so important for us to be clear on the Holy Spirit’s purpose versus the ego purposes because as long as I’m holding onto ego purposes then the limits still seem to be held in place by the mind. “As these are laid aside the strength the body has will always be enough to serve all truly useful purposes. The body’s health is fully guaranteed because it is not limited by time, by weather, by fatigue, by food and drink or any laws you made it serve before. You need do nothing now to make it well for sickness has become impossible.”

It’s still at the metaphor level talking about the body’s health but in the end it’s kind of saying, you need take thought for nothing. Be neither careful nor careless; merely cast your cares upon him because he cares for you. Now, here we go! Yet, this protection needs to be preserved by careful watching. If you let your mind harbor attack thoughts, yield to judgment or make plans against uncertainties to come you have again misplaced yourself and made a bodily identity which will attack the body, for the mind is sick. It’s one of the clearest statements there are for why we have to be so vigilant with our mind watching.

Participant: So, those are just the causes of sickness. He’s defining them specifically.

Speaker: That’s why when we get into these subtleties about attack thoughts, there are seemingly recognizable overt attack thoughts like thoughts of anger and condemnation towards your brother but also thoughts of desiring your brother in a bodily sense are attack thoughts. Compliments like, Oh I just think your body is in such good shape and you’re always such a good weight or all those kinds of things that focus attention on the body are attack thoughts. They aren’t compliments they’re actually attack thoughts because you’re focusing on the body. The content below them is that you’re a body and I’m a body. I think it’s great that your body is such an advantage or you keep it in such good condition. Or even the brain, you can do the same thing with the brain about learning, ‘Oh, you’re such a learned person. I envy you.’ You know, all those subtle things which in the world’s eyes are nice compliments are attack thoughts when they draw attention away from the Spirit and focus on a small bodily identity.

Participant: I find that people will say things like, Oh, you did a real good job Dorothy and I’ll kind of say ‘I had lots of help, thank you’ and it’s odd because a lot of the time they don’t hear that. But, I accept that they don’t have to. I hear it.

Speaker: I think that’s good too because that gives a focus instead of getting just away from the compliments, is to always put it back to the Father [saying] ‘I had lots of help.’ or ‘thank you Father.’ As long as we in our mind keep bringing it back to all my gratefulness or any gratefulness that anyone can direct even towards me needs to be directed back to the Father or to the Holy Spirit because that’s where the gratefulness truly has a basis. Not for anything that this body has done or said but just gratefulness that I am as God created me. I like that because it gives it a positive focus instead of thinking about negating the compliments. It really just puts it where it belongs.

I think this almost brings us back to full circle on our topic of listening too because when you look at those three conditions that he’s laying out of this being preserved by careful watching, you’d have to have something to rely on or to truly listen to, to go along even. If you let go of attack thoughts, if you attempt to not judge in anyway, not to judge what I should do, what I should say, how I should go about solving this problem and that problem and the last one is really where the trust comes in, about making plans against uncertainties to come; it’s just a total giving over to the listening without any care or concern for anything because as soon as the thought comes in, ‘Oh, I must do this or else.’ Whenever it’s based on fear of consequences; that’s what all activity through the ego’s lens is based on, is it’s a fear of consequences. ‘Yes, I’ll do this and this and this because I know (the ego thinks) if I don’t do this and this and this it’s going to be trouble.’

Participant: That’s where the coercion comes in, feeling that there are consequences to not doing.

Speaker: Yes, in the end, I feel that the whole section of ‘I need do nothing.’ is the key or the short cut. In the end, once the mind starts to welcome that light and starts to see that listening is really all that it’s about then ‘I need do nothing’ becomes the short cut or the most plain and obvious passage in the whole book because then you can let go of even thinking about the body. What I should do. What I shouldn’t do. It’s just then the mind is willing and open to just sink into that stillness and accept the atonement, accept the fact of what’s there. There’s no more restlessness about ‘Oh, I have to tie up these loose ends before I can be still and meditate.’ Because as long as the mind thinks it has loose ends to tie up, there’s still a bodily identity. What loose ends in this projected world could there be to tie up? In the end I feel this is more in line with the mystical path of just going within. That’s been the traditional mystic path has been just to turn within through meditation and this is just a Course in helping set the mind in that direction. Once it can see the value of that, that there’s nothing of value, nothing that glimmers any more in the world to hold it back then, that’s the obvious thing to do, is to just go within. It’s no longer wasting time. It’s no longer unproductive.

Participant: It really is what I live for at that point.

Speaker: And that point is NOW. Can you feel that? As we go into this, we should just always arrive at this calm restful place of clarity right now. It’s not about well, I got another piece of the puzzle and tomorrow I’ll solve this and this. But, there’s such a contentedness. That’s it. Do you feel you’ve come to a calm contentedness about the whole idea that you started to talk about, feeling guilty about symptoms and all that other stuff? Does it seem very different now that we’ve gone into this?

Participant: It seems different. I don’t know that I can say it seems very different. I feel like there’s room for greater clarity still.

Speaker: If you take that thought. I feel like there’s room for greater clarity. Is there anything that you can get in touch with in that thought?

Participant: I think there’s probably a lot of linearity in there for me. I notice I have a disbelief that I can be that clear once and for all and that’s it.

Speaker: You feel like you’ve got lots of evidence as a witness in the past against that possibility? Is that what you mean by linearity?

Participant: Well, I guess what I mean by linearity is that I don’t believe that I can have all the clarity I need right now and remain in that state of clarity.

Participant: So, it’s projecting it into the future somewhere instead of maybe the past as you would describe it. It’s like I couldn’t possibly be there yet or I couldn’t possibly understand all there is to know about this.

Participant: And not in a continuing kind of way like it would seem like it for right this instant but…

Participant: It’s sure to be gone in a half hour.

Participant: That’s it. Yes. It’s actually that same thing I voiced when I came to a real clear point when we were having a discussion about relationship and I said, “You know, I don’t want to lose this. I don’t want to forget this.” It’s that same theme of not trusting that the clarity is going to be enduring because there’s evidence in the past that that’s not the case. Otherwise, I’d never be saying, ‘I want to be clear.’ I’d always be as clear as possible.

Speaker: This makes sense when we talk about the idea that you either believe this course entirely or not at all. That idea that it would have to be kind of an all or nothing kind of idea; how does your mind approach that idea or what kind of reaction do you have with that kind of an idea; That to truly forgive one person is the same as to truly forgive one situation, any situation that you can think of and that anything short of complete and total forgiveness is not it.

Participant: Well, I think the thought that I have about that is that seems reasonable or logical, that’s the way it would have to be, and I have not had the experience of that.

Speaker: In the past or present. So, you believe it will come in the future.

Participant: Well, if it’s going to come at all I guess that’s when it would have to be. If I’m not experiencing it at this moment and there’s any hope of experiencing it, it would have to be still ahead of me.

Speaker: Then we’re back to that basic question that we came to last time we came down to Michigan. Why should the good appear in evil’s form? In other words, if the Holy Spirit or true forgiveness is available then it comes from God and is good then why not now? Why?

Participant: I feel like I must be throwing up some kind of obstacles to the experience being now. I don’t think God’s holding out on me. But, there’s some fear that keeps me from my awareness or my experience of that.

Speaker: That’s a present fear.

Participant: A present fear.

Speaker: And every time we come together to talk and go into it, there’s nothing more than that that we’re trying to get at. What am I afraid of right now? That gives us a starting point.

Participant: Is it perfect clarity that you’re afraid of?

Participant: I don’t know.

Participant: That just came to my mind. I wasn’t expecting an answer. It just occurred to me. If I have perfect clarity or if I say I have perfect clarity then that’s going to be a standard that I hold up for myself and then I will have to demonstrate that. And so I better not say that I’m perfectly clear then that will give me some room for improvement. To say, ‘Well I’m still working at it. I’m still trying to get there.’ I think when you were talking about how we feel about coming to the end of this lesson and discussing it, for me it was like, how do I feel right now. I feel peaceful. I feel calm. I’m not having thoughts about anything outside of this room. I’m not having thoughts about fear. It’s just like doing an inventory: what is it that I’m aware of right now and it just felt like, well, I’m aware of just being here and doing this and it felt calm and it felt peaceful and yes that felt like clarity to me and it was as simple as that, versus that thing of, just do it. How is it? Don’t think about it.

As soon as I start to think about it that’s where the projecting into the future and saying I better not say I’m clear about this because if I say something in ten minutes that demonstrates that I’m not clear then I was just lying to myself. Any of those kinds of excuses that I might make like wanting to give myself some room. I better not say that I’m clear. That’s how my thinking would go if I let it get into thinking about it versus just experiencing where am I right now? Am I peaceful? Am I clear? Yeah, ok that’s it. Don’t think about it.

Participant: What is clarity? What does it mean to be in an experience of perfect clarity?

Participant: What came to me was that there’s a fear out there and I’m grateful that I didn’t want it and also when you asked about what you’re afraid of and the only thing that came to me was are you afraid of the love of God. Maybe you might not think you’re good enough to accept it. I accept it gladly and I have this feeling, I want to help you so much and I know I can’t. I only can say what comes out and I really don’t know what else to say.

Participant: Sometimes for me too when you say what is the clarity? It’s like my mind is still and the questions are still and that may feel like clarity. My mind’s still. I don’t have to figure it out. I don’t have to ask a million questions. Just accept.

Speaker: I think of years ago when I was reading in psychology Abraham Maslow talked about means and end and he said that to the self actualizing person that they were the same and I thought what a phenomenal idea that the means and the end are one. That this instant is the end point. So much for linear thinking, it’s almost that always thinking means there’s always something coming in the future. And to think of it as the questions cease and the peace of just seeing the present as an end point. In a sense, there’s no need to get into why I feel peaceful or clear because that ceases. There was nothing that preceded that. It just is. That’s the end point. I remember my heart took a little leap when I read that for the first time. It’s so simple! Instead of chasing something and always doing something or thinking something that’s going to be, it’s just the present.

Participant: One of the things I got in touch with the Warner Earhart work was that I’m always in a place, a position or a stance of waiting in my mind. It’s the waiting game is how I refer to it. It was never ‘now’. It was always ‘to come’ and I think this is related to that, and at that time I looked at it in terms of external things. I was always waiting until I arrived at that point in my life when it was possible to start traveling, for instance. I was always waiting for that point in my life that the finances were such that we could have the house the way we wanted it. That’s what my life was. My life was going through the waiting period. So, now to apply it more at a mind level I think I probably transferred it over and now I’m waiting for certainty and clarity, and if I apply my mind to this hard enough and long enough I’ll get there. It’s still very much a process orientation. I think built into that is some kind of feeling or sense or belief that I don’t deserve it right now, that I have to earn it and waiting is earning it; paying your dues. You don’t start out at the top. You start out at the bottom and through much effort you may get to the top. But, you earn it. You prove your mettle and part of it is having the perseverance and the persistence to wait as long as it takes and not give up.

Speaker: It’s an interesting story line but when we trace it back to God though, and you try to fit the waiting game to God in heaven, the story starts to fall apart a bit, when you start to approach it from that absolute.

Participant: So what is there I can look at with this waiting game to get more underneath the beliefs for why I would hold onto the waiting game? What do I think it gets me?

Participant: What are you waiting for? That’s my question. What do you think you’re waiting for?

Participant: Well, now what I’m waiting for is clarity and certainty. Lasting clarity and lasting certainty.

Participant: In what?

Participant: In my mind.

Participant: So you believe you have a mind that we don’t have? This mind I’m a part of is clarity. I don’t understand what mind you’re talking about. (Long silent pause & laughter)

Speaker: A belly laugh and a long silent pause. It’s kind of the same as when you’re talking about sickness, guilt or innocence or whatever. But, once again would it make sense that there could be some brother that would have something that some that wouldn’t whether it’s guilt or innocence, sickness, health, clarity, confusion…

Participant: What about the awareness of any of that? Because it’s always all there, it’s always been. It’s my awareness of it that seems to keep it apart from me or unawareness of it.

Speaker: But that would be the wrong mind.

Participant: Where is unawareness? It has to be the wrong mind.

Speaker: And what is this mind? That would be what Dorothy was saying.

Participant: And at the same time, if clarity is something I’m waiting for off somewhere in the future how am I going to know when I have it? Are there degrees of it? Do I know I have a little bit of it but not all of it? Again, all I can know is what I feel right now and David didn’t say are you totally clear or are you partially clear or are you half way clear or are you 75% clear. No, it was “Are you clear?” The thing for me is always, “Is it lasting?” That’s the thing that makes it real or true or authentic or not is that it’s lasting.

Participant: But where is the lasting to?

Speaker: Right Now.

Participant: As long as it lasts right now. That’s really what you’re saying huh?

Speaker: The whole idea of ‘last’ is linear. It’s just so simple. If you boil it down to how am I feeling right now? That’s just so simple. The wrong mind will try to contort but it’s just now. (long pause)

Participant: It came to me yesterday when Beverly and I went to the lake. We went to the lake to see if there was ice on it still from the day before. She just said it’s so clear! It’s so clear! And so I was asking what that could mean for Beverly and it was, imagine that that’s God’s Mind and imagine it’s a symbol and be in it. In the clear lake and then what does it mean by being clear?

Speaker: Very still. Is there a reflection from it without any kind of distortion.

Participant: I wasn’t really aware of reflection. Just remember how easily I could see to the bottom of it.

Participant: Like there are no obstructions to block your vision. It just came to me. When I’m in that still place and I feel clear the obstructions that would have been blocking my vision are the fear or the resistance or all of the stuff that I’m not feeling in that moment. And God’s not blocking it, he’s not saying, ‘Sorry you haven’t paid your dues yet. I haven’t seen any blood sweat and tears coming out yet.’

Participant: One of the fears that gets in the way for me is that, ‘This isn’t going to last.’ and that very thought that this isn’t going to last, ends it.

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